These beautiful and distinctive white dogs with irregularly patterned black spots have been the icon for fire and rescue departments for many years. While the traditional coat color is black on white, spots may also be liver colored, blue, brindle or lemon or tri-color. There is also a white on white Dalmatian that is still considered a purebred although it is typically not shown. The ears are placed high on the head and naturally fold over, giving a very attentive and alert appearance. The Dalmatians eyes and nose should match the spot colors and should be highly visible in the patterning on the face. Dalmatian puppies are born without any spots and are pure white. As they age the spots begin to appear in the coat, making them a distinctive adult dog. The tail of the Dalmatian is quite long, as is the neck. The dog is powerful and athletic in appearance without appearing stocky or overly muscular. They should move with ease and natural grace.
Temperament of a Dalmatian
With proper socialization the Dalmatian breed is a wonderful family dog. They are very active and love to run, but require constant companionship of the family. They are not independent dogs and would rather be with people than other pets. They can be trained to be guard dogs and are naturally protective of the family. Male Dalmatians may be slightly aggressive to other males if not neutered, but typically the breed makes good companion dogs for other pets and dogs. The Dalmatian is a naturally intelligent breed that is easy to train providing no harsh punishments are used. Dogs that are mistreated or yelled at tend to become timid and frightened, which may affect their ability to interact with other people and pets. Positive and consistent training and discipline and early socialization is key with the breed.
Grooming & Shedding of a Dalmatian
The Dalmatian has a short yet dense coat and does shed heavily twice a year. They are average shedders, but the white hair shows up very readily on almost all furniture, making it appear that they shed more than they really do. Daily brushing with a grooming mitt or slicker brush will eliminate much of the dead hair. They can be bathed when needed, but should not be bathed regularly as they are prone to some dry skin conditions.
History of the Dalmatian
The exact history of the Dalmatian breed is not known, but it is believed they descended either from Egyptian hunting dogs or from dogs used as hounds in Croatia. The breed was used for a variety of purposes throughout history, as a bird dog, a scent hound, a carriage dog and as a guard dog. The most famous role of the dog in early times was as the carriage dog, which is where the active and energetic breed we see today likely came from. These dogs would literally run beside the horses pulling a carriage all day, and still have the energy to guard the horses at night. In more recent times they have been bred as companion dogs.
Health Issues with a Dalmatian
Major Concerns: urinary tract problems and blockages, deafness (10-12% of the breed)
Minor Concerns: allergies, epilepsy
Occasionally seen: CHD (canine hip dysplasia) vWD (von Willebrand’s Disease)