The Dalmatian dog breed is easily recognized by its characteristic black spotted white coat. They are extroverts among dogs, and thrive in human company. They are excellent companion dogs and family pets for people with very active lifestyles.
The Dalmatian dog breed gets its name from a region in Yugoslavia called Dalmatia. Some Croatian paintings and fresco from the early 17th century depict this dog, and there are many references to this breed and its name in 18th century writings. These dogs are supposed to have been used as guard dogs and companion dogs in their place of origin.
But further development and refinement of this breed took place in England, with the first Dalmatian Club registering the standards of the breed in 1890. The distinctive coat of this breed made it popular all over the world. The breed has played many roles over the years such as hunting dogs, retrievers, and guard dogs.
In the United States, these dogs were originally used to make way for horse drawn firehouse carts as these dogs got along well with horses. They were used to stand guard to the firehouse equipments and horses too, which made these dogs the symbol and mascot of firefighters. The 101 Dalmatians movie raised these dogs to instant fame, but with far reaching consequences. The sudden rise in popularity resulted in these dogs being bought in large numbers by people who had no idea of its needs or characteristics. Many of these dogs were abandoned by their owners who couldn’t handle them, and had to be rescued and put up for adoption by kennels.
Dalmatians are large, with a strong, muscular, and well proportioned body. These dogs typically measure up to 2 feet at the withers, and weigh around 50-55 pounds. Their ears are folded and the tail is thin and long.
Dalmatian puppies are born white and spotless, but the dark spots appear as they grow. The spots are either black or liver. Occasionally, other colors such as tan, orange or yellow appear. The coat is short, but dense, and the dogs are known to shed a lot.
Dalmatians are strong and energetic dogs that need plenty of room for their exercise and activities. A large fenced in yard would be ideal for keeping this dog since they like to run around freely.
This breed is known for its stubborn nature, and difficulty in training and housebreaking. Even though they make good house pets with sufficient training and patient handling, they are a bit too fast and boisterous for households with small children. However, they get along very well with other family pets including horses and cats, but the same cannot be said about other dogs they meet.
Grooming and exercise
Grooming is very easy with this short-haired dog breed. However, these dogs are constant shedders. Even though regular brushing will reduce the amount of hair, it is not a complete solution to the dog hair deposited all over the house. The breed is devoid of the doggie smell though, which makes it an excellent breed for keeping indoors.
It takes quite a bit of exercise and running around to keep this active dog breed happy and healthy. Running is the best form of exercise for these very active dogs; sedate walks on the leash may not be sufficient outlet for its tremendous store of energy. They love jogging along with their owners, if a safe area can be found.
Even though these dogs need plenty of the outdoors, and can even live full time in a kennel, it is ideal to keep them indoors with the family at night. These dogs need the company of their owners and family. They cannot tolerate heat very well, hence if you’re keeping the dog outside during the day, it is necessary to provide cool shade, or free access to the cool indoors.
Common health issues of Dalmatian dog breed
Dalmatian dog breed generally enjoys good health and long life. Among the few common canine disorders affecting these dogs are hypothyroidism, seizures, allergies, and very occasionally, hip dysplasia.
Iris Sphincter Dysplasia, or the inability of the iris opening to contract in bright light, is a problem encountered in this breed. They are prone to congenital deafness too. Regular health checkups, with special emphasis on eye and ear health, may help the dog have a trouble free life. Their average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.