Dalmatian

A Quick Look at the Dalmatian...

The Dalmatian has a unique personality and an even more unique appearance, as he is the only spotted canine breed. Their spotted coat is their most distinct feature and makes them one of the easiest dogs to recognize.

Alert and highly active, Dalmatians are beautiful canines that possess incredible endurance, intelligence and speed. They enjoy human companionship, love to play with children and enjoy working and taking on a challenge, which makes them both a wonderful family pet and performance champion. Their stamina and independent personality, along with their coat, certainly makes the Dalmatian stand out in a crowd.

Here are some fast facts about the Dalmatian:

Dog Group:
Non-Sporting (AKC)
Recognized By:
CKC, FCI, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Size:
Medium
Weight:
Dogs – 51-55 lbs. (23-25 kg)
Bitches – 51-55 lbs. (23-25 kg)
Height:
Dogs - 22 -24 in. (56-61 cm)
Bitches – 22 -24 in. (56-61 cm)
Average litter size:
7 to 9 puppies
Life expectancy:
9 - 15  years (average of 11 years)
Health problems:
Coat care:
Shedding:
Energy:
Exercise needs:
Trainability:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Affection:
Barking frequency:
Aggression:
Watchdog:


Brief History

To this day, the roots of the Dalmatian dog cannot be traced to any one country or civilization. Spotted dogs that resemble the Dal have appeared throughout the ages in Europe, Africa and Asia and have been credited to many nationalities and have many names. However, the dog that is now recognized as the Dalmatian, was a canine that was used for many tasks, including a hunting hound during the Middle Ages, a coach dog in the 1800’s, dog of war, draft dog, ratter, shepherd, bird dog, retriever, trail hound, firehouse mascot, circus performer, guard dog and more. Throughout the centuries he has been a hard worker and relied heavily upon by humans to complete jobs and to be a true and wonderful companion. Dalmatians were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888.

Dalmatian Breed Appearance and Characteristic

General Appearance - Dalmatians are large, solid and tough dogs. They have a deep chest and a wide, long skull with a flat top. Their muzzle is virtually proportioned to their skull, has a distinct stop and their nose can be black, liver brown, blue or a gray that is so dark it appears black. They have round, medium sized brown or blue (or a combo of both) eyes. Their ears are set high on their head, which hang down and taper gradually to the tip. They have muscular legs, round feet with arched toes and their tail base is level with the topline, narrowing to the tip. The short coat of the Dalmatian is mainly white and features clearly defined round spots that are typically black or liver brown in color.

Typical Temperament - The Dalmatian is an outgoing pooch that is playfully, happy, easy going and very committed to his owner and family. He thrives on human companionship and requires plenty of love, attention and exercise for both his mental and physical wellbeing. He has incredible stamina and needs a lot of physical activity or he can become high-strung, which can lead to destructive behavior and can cause him to become too excitable for young children.

When properly handled and given proper care, Dals are fabulous with children and they are very accepting of other household pets. They are well-mannered and affectionate pets that are devoted, loyal and have a great sense of humor. Furthermore, they are highly trainable and can be taught to be excellent guard and watchdogs.

Basic Dalmatian Care Requirements

Grooming - Dalmatians are easy to care for in terms of grooming, as they only require a daily brushing with either a firm bristle brush or a grooming mitt to keep their coat glossy. Brushing everyday also helps to remove access hair, which aids in the management of constant shedding. They are a clean dog and only require a bath when necessary. Their nails should be trimmed on a monthly basis and their teeth should be brushed every few days to help maintain oral health.

Exercise - Dals are incredibly energetic dogs that have outstanding endurance. They must be provided with long, brisk daily walks and other forms of exercise, which can include but are not limited too: Fetch, swimming, running, jogging, agility trails, etc. Dalmatians love to run and need to be provided with the freedom to run off lead in a safe, enclosed area. If they are not provided with the opportunity to burn their energy, they can become very destructive and will develop an extensive range of behavioral problems. Two hours or more of daily exercise is recommended for this breed.

Approximate Food Cost - The average Dalmatian consumes 3 cups of food per day at an estimated cost of $25 per month. Note: higher energy dogs may require more food and this is a matter that should be discussed with your veterinarian.

General Health Information

Dalmatians are prone to certain health problems, such as skin allergies (particularly to synthetic fibers in upholstery and carpet), bladder stones (they have high uric acid levels compared to other breeds), hip dysplasia, bloat, hypopigmentation (dermatological disorder characterized by white/colorless blotches that can occur anywhere on the body) and deafness.

Deafness in this breed is rather high, as approximately 10-12% of Dalmatians are born deaf. For this reason, it is very important that you make sure the breeder of your choice performs BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responses) tests on the dogs in their breeding program. Note: While breeding deaf dogs should be avoided, many owners successfully raise a deaf dog.

Common Illnesses include: Deafness, skin problems, hypopigmentation and bladder stones.

Are You the Right Dalmatian Owner?

Living conditions - A Dalmatian is not a good companion for apartment dwellers, families with children under the age of 3 and people who do not lead a highly active lifestyle. They are very active indoors but still require brisk walks and the freedom to run several times per day. They are best suited to a home with a large sized yard.  In addition, due to his short coat, this pooch is highly sensitive to cold climates. He should never be left outdoors on his own for long periods of time, nor is he designed to live outside.

Training - An intelligent and highly trainable breed, Dalmatians need a firm and confident pack leader that gives consistent rules, and who will not back down when the dog chooses to be willful and seeks to take control or follow his own desires. He should be given obedience and dominance training, but should never be handled harshly. When provided with proper training, this spotted canine can be taught many things including tricks, guarding, watchdog, hunting, competitive obedience and more.

To ensure training is a success, owners need to be tremendous leaders and must always put themselves first before the needs of the dog. Dals must be taught to heel beside their human master and should never be allowed to walk ahead. They need to be exercised regularly, and everything that is taught must remain constant. Early socialization is also important.

Common Problems - These dogs can easily become high strung if they are not provided with the right outlet for their energy. A high strung Dalmatian can be very destructive and extremely difficult to manage. Sadly, a significant number of people adopt this breed without realizing their incredible need for exercise, and many Dalmatians are surrendered to rescues or abandoned by their owners who simply don’t have the time to provide the dog with the necessary care he requires. It is also important for potential Dal owners to know that this canine requires a strong leader who is devoted to training him and understands what it means to be a pack leader. Finally, he likes to jump and is prone to separation anxiety, as he is highly social and loves to be in the company of his family.

The bottom line...

Dalmatians are highly affectionate dogs who love to be in a social environment. They are a wonderful breed that can be the perfect companion for an active individual or family. They are strong, playful and good natured canines with outstanding stamina. A beautiful pet, a hard worker and an all around champion, the Dalmatian is a remarkable spotted dog that is the perfect fit for the right owner.

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