Description: The Dalmatian is a distinctively spotted dog; poised and alert; strong, muscular and active; free of shyness; intelligent in expression. They are capable of great endurance, combined with speed. A friendly, outgoing dog, they will make an excellent companion for anyone who has the time to exercise and train them. Dalmatians will bond very closely with their owner, more so than other breeds and will exhibit separation anxiety when left alone. They are wary of strangers, and males may be aggressive towards other males. Dalmatian puppies are born all white and begin to develop their spots by ten to fourteen days. This is evidence that the spots are actually genetic ticking, as with the Australian Cattle Dog and other breeds that have ticking. Dalmatians are eager, playful and energetic. Potential owners should be aware of the Dalmatians demand for exercise. They can be independent, stubborn and reserved toward strangers. Dalmatians have an affinity to horses, as they love to run beside them as their ancestors did when the British used horse-drawn carriages to pull royalty, and the Dalmatian would run alongside or ahead to clear the pathway through crowded areas. Dalmatians have been described to have a “Gentlemanly reserve.”
Other Names: English Coach Dog, Carriage Dog, Plum Pudding Dog, Fire House Dog, Spotted Dick
Type: Companion Dog
Height: 19 – 24 inches.
Weight: 40 – 65 lbs.
Colors: Pure white with black or liver brown spots scattered all over the body.
Coat: Short, fine, dense and close.
Temperament: Dalmatians are alert, energetic, and athletic. They are friendly, even-tempered, but wary with strangers. They need a stable environment. They are very active, and a good watch dog. They have a “gentlemanly reserve.” They are affectionate and energetic. They have an affinity for running and for horses and cars. They have a strong work drive, but can be stubborn. They can be independent, but are eager.
With Children: They may be too excitable and annoyed by small children, they do best if raised with them.
With Pets: Can be unpredictable with other dogs, aggressive with other males.
Watch-dog: High. Dalmatians are very alert.
Guard-dog: Medium – High.
Care and Exercise: Rub down the coat several times a week. Shedding is frequent. Dalmatians are an active breed and exercise is essential. They should be walked or jogged daily, and their endurance is high. Therefore, this breed would probably do best with an athlete.
Training: Training must begin early and must never be overbearing or rushed. Puppies need to be taught to be quiet and not shy away from strangers, as some can become aggressive. Males with other males tend to be aggressive. Early socialization is best.
Learning Rate: High. Obedience – High. Problem Solving – High. Dalmatians are intelligent animals.
Activity: Indoors – High. Outdoors – High. Dalmatians are very active.
Special Needs: Exercise, positive training, fenced yard, job or activity, leash and socialization.
Living Environment: Needs a predictable, stable environment. The best owner for this breed would be an experienced, active owner in a rural or suburban environment.
Health Issues: Due to their pure white color at birth, they are prone to inherited deafness. This breed is the only breed susceptible to urinary stones. Other health concerns include skin allergies, epilepsy and hip dysplasia.
Life Span: 12 – 14 years.
Litter Size: 8 – 10 puppies.
Country of Origin: Former Yugoslavia, possibly India/Balkans
History: The name is taken from Dalmatia, a coastal region on the Adriatic Sea north of Albania. The breed is listed in the FCI as part of the former Yugoslavia due to early records of the breed’s existence there. Records of Greek hunting dogs from over 4000 years ago indicate they used the Dalmatian. There is also convincing evidence to suggest that the Dalmatian came from India. Regardless of where the Dalmatian sprang from, its popularity took rise in Great Britain. It was here that the Dalmatians became well established as a dog of the British aristocracy, running alongside their horse-drawn carriages. As well as pleasing to the eye for royalty, the dog truly had its start clearing the way through crowded areas for the carriages. They have been used as a watchdog, draft dog, shepherd, ratter, bird dog, trail hound, retriever, circus and stage performer and of course as a firehouse mascot. The breed had its start with firehouses when horse-drawn fire carriages used Dalmatians to clear the way ahead, much like the siren of an ambulance. Due to the invention of automobiles, the breed’s popularity and use declined. Despite the decline, their registration doubled following the 1959 film “101 Dalmatians“, making the breed even more popular. In 1978 a final boost to the breed’s popularity was in thanks to Mrs. E. J. Woodyatt, who’s Dalmatian won the Best in Show award at the Crufts Dog Show in England.
First Registered by the AKC: 1888
AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 6), KC (GB), UKC