Dalmatians are smart, dignified, and outgoing dogs that are most famous for their spotted coat. This dog is probably one of the most recognized dog breeds in the world because of their appearance. Other names for these dogs are Carriage Dog, Spotted Coach Dog, Firehouse Dog, and many more. Many people will fall in love with their looks and purchase them without knowing anything about this breeds temperament, traits, and needs. That is why it is extremely important that if you are interested in getting Dalmatian dog, you learn as much as you can about this dog breed before you start searching for Dalmatian breeders. They are very lively, active, and independent dogs that will with the right training and socialization be excellent pets. They will get along with kids and will be always ready to play with them. Because this is an active dog you will need to provide them a lot of activity for them to be happy. It is always a good idea to take your dog swimming because they love water. This dog is prone to some serious health problems and the best thing you can do to reduce a chance that you will end up with sick puppy is to search puppies only from official and responsible breeders. You might need to wait for a puppy but it will be worth it.
So, when buying a Dalmatian, be cautious, and inform yourself. Find out who are reputable breeders with healthy dogs; try to see the puppy and its environment; ask the breeder whatever you are wondering; ask him to show you all health clearances to make sure you are going home with a happy, healthy puppy, with an awesome temperament. But, don’t think that getting a dog with good temperament will deprive you of work entirely - temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
FUN FACT: These dogs are known as a “firehouse dog” and they are many times featured riding on fire trucks.
19–24 in (48–61 cm)
45-70 lb (20-32 kg)
This is a medium-sized dog breed whose history is not entirely familiar. “The spotted dogs” are known to have traveled with nomadic bands of Romanies and they obtained their name while staying in Dalmatia (part of Croatia).
FUN FACT: The Dalmatian dog breed is about 4000 years old and is one of the oldest breeds. The first illustrations of Dalmatian dog have been found in Croatia, dating to 1600–1630.
This breed was recognized as a valuable working breed and was used for all kinds of jobs, never specialized in one area. They were used as guard dogs, shepherds, ratters, coaching dogs (during the Regency period, the Dalmatian became a status symbol trotting alongside the horse-drawn carriages of wealthy English lords calming the horses and standing guard; they protected carriages and the horses from other dogs and threats), firehouse dogs (when fire trucks were horse-powered, Dalmatians were used to help control and relax horses reluctant to approach burning buildings), etc. Today, most of the Dalmatians are companions and family dogs. They are great family dogs and they want and need to be where the people are.
Dog Breed Characteristics
This is a cheerful and playful dog with a strong and muscular body and their movement must be elegant. They are built to go distances. Their spots should not touch and overlap.
FCI officially recognized this dog breed in 1955. They belong to the group 6 (Scenthounds and related breeds) – section 3 (Related breeds). Ideal height for the males is 22-24 inches (56-62 centimeters) at the withers and for females 21-23 inches (54-60 centimeters).
FUN FACT: When Dalmatians are born, they are completely white. The spots develop about two weeks later. After about a month, they have most of their spots.
FUN FACT: Studies have established that two liver-spotted Dalmatians when bred do not produce puppies with black spots.
Coat and grooming
Dalmatians are delightful, great-looking, muscular, and athletic dogs with one of the most distinctive coats in the animal kingdom. Their coat is short and smooth. The base color is white with recognizable black (or liver brown) round spots that cover all of the dogs’ bodies. These dogs shed heavily all year long. Often brushing is required. Their hair is stiff and tends to weave themselves into furniture and clothing and are hard to remove. So, if you are getting yourself a Dalmatian, first you should go to the store and buy an extra-strong vacuum cleaner.
If you regularly brush your dog, often bathing is not necessary, only three to four times a year. If you bath your dog too often you will remove essential oils from their coat and skin which will make them dry.
You should brush his teeth weekly to remove tartar buildup and to prevent gum disease. With regular brushing, your dog's teeth will be healthy with fresh breath. Their nails should be trimmed if they don’t wear them down naturally.
During every brushing session, checks their ears for any signs of redness, wax build-up, or bad odor. These things can indicate an infection. Wipe their ears with a cotton ball dipped into ear cleaner and just clean the outer ear (never insert anything into an ear canal).
If you want your dog to enjoy all things mentioned above you will need to start with them from an early age. If you make a positive experience full of praises and rewards you can be sure that your dog will enjoy all these things when he grows up.
FUN FACT: It is a mystery where the Dalmatians’ spots came from. They may be the result of a mutation in a gene for a ticked coat, but no one is sure where they come from.
They are very active dogs and need a lot of exercises to be happy, healthy, and satisfied. They are wonderful partners for hikers and runners. After all, they were created to run miles alongside carriages. They must be provided daily exercise; otherwise, they might develop behavior problems. Except for being highly active, they are also highly intelligent. Dalmatians have a real sense of humor and enjoy entertaining and being entertained. These dogs love attention and are eager to please, thus they are easy to train using positive reinforcement. Harsh treatment can cause them to shut down.
FUN FACT: In 2009 there was a case where one Dalmatian dog gave birth to 18 puppies.
Like any other dog, the Dalmatian also needs early socialization. While your dog is young, the exposure it to many different people, sights, and sounds, the dog will get used to them and this will help its socialization. These dogs can be a bit stubborn, so training must be firm and consistent. Usually, they are reserved towards strangers. Dalmatians make excellent watchdogs. They are alert to everything going on around and if Dalmatian sees something interesting or unusual, your dog will want you to know about it.
Dalmatian - kids and other animals
With the right socialization and proper training, these dogs can get along excellent with everybody. They love children but they are best suited for older kids not because he doesn’t love small kids but because Dalmatian is a lively and rambunctious dog and he can easily bump into a child. No matter how good your dog is, you will always need to supervise playtime between dog and the kids so that any unwanted behavior wouldn’t emerge. Besides socialization your dog, it is also very important that you teach your kids how to properly approach and play with the dog. With other dogs and animals, they can be excellent especially if they are raised together in the same household.
FUN FACT: The Dalmatian was once a popular circus dog. This dog can learn and perform almost every trick there is.
Their life expectancy is 11 to 13 years. Most purebred dogs have some genetic weaknesses. In Dalmatians, those weaknesses are deafness (approximately 30 percent of all Dalmatian puppies suffer from hearing loss and about 8 to 12 percent of them are born deaf) and a unique uric acid metabolism that predisposes them to stones anywhere in the urinary tract. The stones can cause urinary blockages, most commonly in males. It’s essential to notice whether a dog is urinating regularly and to provide him with plenty of fresh water at all times. Dietary management with food that is not high in purines can be helpful. There is a DNA test for both conditions. Dog breeders use a test called BEAR (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) to check a Dalmatian's hearing at around seven weeks of age.
Other conditions to be aware of are skin allergies (Dalmatians are often allergic and there are three main types of allergies: food-based allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies), hip dysplasia, Iris Sphincter Dysplasia (an inherited ocular disorder that can cause sensitivity to bright light, poor night vision, partial or total blindness).
Dalmatians are very popular dogs and because of their popularity, you must be very careful when searching Dalmatian breeders. The Dalmatians became widely popular after the Disney animated film “101 Dalmatians” came out, back in 1961 (the film was based on the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians written by British author Dodie Smith). But then, all sorts of unknowledgeable people wanted to make some cash by using that popularity and breeding every Dalmatian they could get their hands on, paying no attention to health and the temperament of the dogs. The result is a lot of dogs with potentially unstable temperaments.
Before you start searching breeders learn everything about this dog breed so you won't get fooled. When talking to the breeder always ask them to show you health certificates of his breeding dogs. These dogs can suffer from some serious health problems more than other breeds so you must extremely careful if you don’t want to end up with a sick puppy. Because of that, we advise you to search breeders only on the World Dog Finder website or at the cynological association of your country. If you do so you can be sure that you are talking to official and responsible breeders who take good care of their dogs and puppies.
If you are looking to buy a Dalmatian, prepare your wallet – these beautiful spotted dogs are pricey. When you consider the cost of quality food they need to be fed and possible veterinarian costs because of the conditions they are prone to, the number is even higher.
These are excellent dogs with whom you will enjoy spending time with. You will need to put effort and make time for socialization and training these dogs. With the proper approach, your dog will develop into a well-rounded dog and he will get along well with everybody. Dalmatians are cheerful and playful dogs who will be loyal to your family and with whom you will enjoy spending every minute of the day.
World Dog Finder team