Dalmatian origins are shrouded in mystery. Although most experts agree that the name comes from the Eastern European region of Dalmatia, it’s not known whether the breed originated there or not. Spotted dogs with a similarity to today’s breed were painted on tomb walls in Egypt, portrayed running after chariots, and a fresco painted around 1360 in Italy shows a spotted dog. Later, spotted dogs accompanied the Romany gypsies as they traveled throughout Europe.
During the 18th century, the breed was introduced to England, where it developed a reputation as a natural coach dog. The breed’s affinity for horses, ability to keep up with them, and willingness to protect the horses, carriage, and passengers gained the Dalmation an enthusiastic following. It was in England, too, where Dalmatians were first used as mascots at fire stations, first running with the horses and later riding on the firetrucks.
The Dalmatian today is a medium-sized to large dog, muscular and strong, with the appearance of an athlete, standing 19 to 23 inches tall and weighing between 45 and 60 pounds. The recognizable coat is pure white with either black or liver-colored spots. The spots can range from the size of a dime to the size of a half dollar. The Dalmatian’s expression is alert and intelligent. She has dropped ears, round dark eyes, and a long tapered tail. Even though they have fine, short coats, Dalmatians do shed—not a lot, but a little year-round. Brushing the coat with a soft bristle brush or curry comb will reduce the hair in the house.
Exercising the Dalmatian is a very important part of caring for this breed. Bred to run with carriage horses, fire wagons, or gypsy wagons, this breed must get in a good hard run every day. A walk, even a vigorous one, is not enough. A daily brisk run alongside a bicycle or a run with a horse, if you happen to own one, will keep a Dalmatian happy. If a Dalmatian doesn’t get enough exercise, she will find something to amuse herself, and that could very easily be destructive to your house or yard. Early training is important. Although Dalmatians are intelligent and enthusiastic, they can also be independent and stubborn. The trainer will need to find something that catches the dog’s interest to keep her motivated and attentive.
Socialization is also necessary, as Dalmatians are wary of strangers. Many dogs of the Dalmatian dog breed have enjoyed advanced training and performance sports. Dalmatians do great in agility and flyball. Many serve as excellent volunteer therapy dogs. Because Dalmatians are active dogs and are sometimes quite exuberant, they can be too rowdy for very young children. However, once the kids are big enough to play with the dogs, Dalmatians are great companions, never getting tired or bored of the kids’ games and adventures. This breed has some special health concerns. About 8 to 10 percent of Dalmatians are totally deaf and about 20 -22 percent are deaf in one ear. The breed also has a problem with urinary stones.
2 replies on “Dalmatian”
A good Dalmatian is a dependable, dignified gentleman, yet high-spirited and playful. A good Dalmatian.
However, there are lot of poorly-bred Dalmatians around, and these dogs can have serious temperament flaws. In addition, even a good Dalmatian needs plenty of exercise and companionship. Too much confinement (especially without the companionship of his family) and too little mental stimulation lead to boredom, hyperactivity, and destructive behaviors.
This athletic, vigorous dog has great endurance and a working heritage and should be taken jogging, hiking, or biking on a regular basis, or otherwise allowed to romp in a safe, enclosed area.
Challenging canine activities such as advanced obedience and agility (obstacle course) are also highly recommended.
Some Dalmatians greet strangers with enthusiastic jumping, while others are politely reserved. Some have mild protective instincts. Unfortunately, skittishness and/or aggression are seen in some lines, and plenty of socialization is required to promote a stable temperament.
Usually good with other family pets, the Dalmatian is especially fond of horses.
This breed is an independent thinker, but in the right hands is capable of learning and doing anything. Owners who don’t understand the necessity of leadership or training will find him an impossible handful.
My Dalmatians are Wacky ! Best Characteristics of the Dalmatian dog breed: Loyal, loving, intelligent, athletic, energetic, willing. Most challenging characteristics of the breed: High-strung, somewhat fearful, energetic to the point of craziness. I adopted my dalmatians from the front of a store. I intended only to find a home for them that would be appropriate for dalmatians. Too many people are seduced by the extreme cuteness of a Dalmatian puppy and then abandon the dog at six months when the challenges of owning a Dalmatian are at their height. I was an experienced Dalmatian owner and wanted to be sure they found a forever home. However, we fell in love with each other, and they stayed with me. Dalmatians are extremely loyal and loving, extremely high energy, very high-strung, somewhat fearful and suspicious of strangers, very sociable with other pets (my cats routinely slept curled against them). I have found Dalmatians to be very easy to train. They are happiest when they have a job to do and when they are completely integrated into a nearly always present family. Their need for exercise is almost pathological, yet they love to curl against their humans for extended periods of time.
Some advice for prospective dalmatian owners:
Dalmatians are NOT appropriate for families with small children.
It is very important to train Dalmatians to lead, to drop when ordered, and to sit and listen. This allows the dog to know that its owner is taking care of it, and so it can relax into the pack.
Consistency in training, environment and schedule is very important.
Dalmatians are ideal for someone who works at home.