Caring for a Dalmatian
Feeding: It is recommended that Dalmatians are fed a low protein diet to help prevent urinary tract problems.
Living with a Dalmatian
Temperament: The Dalmatian is a stable and outgoing, dignified dog who should never show signs of shyness.
Family Dog: Dalmatians love to play with children, but can become rambunctious and thus should be supervised around toddlers and young children. They typically get along well with other pets.
Shedding: The Dalmatian sheds excessively two times a year.
Grooming: The Dalmatian should be brushed frequently to help with the constant shedding. They are clean dogs that do have a doggy odor and should be bathed only when necessary.
Training: The Dalmatian is a very intelligent dog, but can be willful. They typically do best with firm, consistent training.
Behavior: Dalmatian's are happy, playful dogs who are extremely sensitive and loyal.
Weather: Dalmatians are not outside dogs and should not be kept outside for long periods of time in cold weather.
Exercise: The Dalmatian was bred to run beside a horse-drawn carriage as such they have unbelievable energy and stamina and thus require lots of exercise. They can become high-strung without proper exercise and mental simulation. They should be taken for long daily walks or jogs. They also need ample opportunity to run off the leash in a fenced in area.
Living Conditions: Dalmatians do not make good apartment dogs unless they can be walked several times daily. They are very active inside.
Appearance: The Dalmatian is a very recognizable breed because of their spotted coat, symmetrical outline and intelligent expression. They are poised and alert dogs with a strong, muscular build and great endurance and speed.
Size: The Dalmatian should be between 19 and 23 inches tall at the withers with an average weight of 55 pounds.
Companionship: The Dalmatian requires human companionship and can become depressed if this is deprived.
Head: The Dalmatian's head should be proportionate to the overall size of the dog's body with an alert and intelligent expression that is a characteristic of the breed. The head should be fairly long and free from loose skin. The head is almost square in appearance with the width being almost equal to its length. The top is flat with a slight vertical furrow and moderately well-defined stop.
Nose: The Dalmatian's nose is solid black in dogs with black spots and brown in dogs with liver colored spots.
Eyes: The Dalmatian's eyes are medium sized, round in appearance and set moderately spaced and well into the skull. They should be brown or blue in color.
Ears: The ears of the Dalmatian are medium-sized with a broad base and gradually tapering to a rounded tip. The thin ears are set high on the head and carried close to its side. When the dog is alert the topmost part of the ear should be level with the top of the head.
Muzzle: The Dalmatian's cheeks blend nicely into its powerful muzzle. The top of the muzzle should be parallel to the top of the head and approximately equal in length with clean and close fitting lips.
Teeth/Bite: The teeth of the Dalmatian should meet in a scissors bite.
Neck: The neck of the Dalmatian is long and nicely arched blending smoothly into the shoulders.
Body: The overall length of the Dalmatian's body is approximately equal to its height at the shoulders. They body has good substance with a strong, sturdy build, smooth topline, deep chest, short loin and well-sprung ribs. The brisket extends down to the elbows with moderate tuck-up at the rear. . The flanks narrow through the loin. The croup lays nearly level with the back.
Forequarters: The Dalmatian's smoothly muscled shoulders are well laid back. The length of the shoulder blades and the upper arm are approximately equal. They meet in such an angle to allow the feet to be directly under the shoulders and the elbows close to the body. The strong, sturdy legs are straight with a slight angle at the pastern giving the dog flexibility.
Hindquarters: The Dalmatian's hindquarters are strong and powerful with smooth, well defined muscles, well bent stifle and well let down hocks. When viewed from behind the rear legs should be parallel to each other.
Gait: The gait of the Dalmatian should appear steady, balanced and effortless. There should be powerful drive and good forward extension with the topline remaining level, as the dog's speed increases there is a tendency to single track.
Feet: The Dalmatian's feet are compact and round with well-arched toes and thick, elastic pads. The nails should be black and/or white in dogs with black spots and brown and/or white in dogs with liver spots. The dewclaws may be removed.
Tail: The Dalmatian's tail is a natural extension of its topline, strong at the base and tapering to the tip. The Dalmatian carries its tail curved slightly upward. It should never curve over the back.
Color: The coat of the Dalmatian is probably its most notable characteristic. The coat should be pure white with dense black or liver brown spots. The spots should be round in shape and well-defined varying in size from dime-size to about the size of a half-dollar and evenly distributed over the entire body. The spots on the head, legs and tail are typically smaller in size than those on the body. The ears should be spotted.
Coat: The Dalmatian has a short, dense coat that fits close to the body and is sleek and glossy in appearance. It should be neither silky nor woolly.
Category: Gun Dog, AKC Non-Sporting
Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Dalmatian is about 10 to 12 years.
Characteristics: Some Dalmatians can become aggressive around strange dogs especially males. They can become very timid without proper socialization. Dalmatians can be trained for defense and make great watchdogs. They can become aggressive if not raised properly. Dalmatian puppies are very energetic and require lots of exercise and attention, however they typically calm down after two years of age.
Health: Ten to twelve percent of Dalmatians suffer from deafness as such they should be BAER-tested. This breed also suffers from urinary stones and is often allergic to synthetic fibers in carpets and upholstery.
Litter Size: Dalmatians typically have large litters up to 15 pups.
History: The history of the Dalmatian is highly debated. This is an ancient breed that can be traced back to Egyptian bas-reliefs and Hellenic friezes. Some believe that the Dalmatian has a Yugoslavian origin but in 1700, the Bengal pointer a dog similar to the Dalmatian was found in England brings this theory into doubt. Others believe that the Dalmatian originated as a Croatian breed. It took until 1993 for their Croatian their Croatian roots to be recognized by the FCI. During the Middle Ages, the Dalmatian was used as a hound. During the 1800s, they became popular as a carriage dog where they ran along-side the horses guarding the carriages and horses when the master was away. This breed has had many jobs throughout its history including being a mascot for firefighters, circus performer, rodent hunter, hound, shepherd and guard dog, but today the Dalmatian is bred primarily a companion dog.