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"All About The Dalmatian Dog"

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Dalmatian puppies are born all white and develop their spots as they mature-usually beginning at two weeks of age.

Alternate Names

Carriage Dogs
English Coach Dog
Firehouse dogs
Plum Pudding Dog
Spotted Dick Dog

Common nickname: Dal

The Dalmatian was named after the province of Dalmatia.


Body: Muscular, well balanced body with a long, straight, and broad back, deep chest, and graceful gait. Ribs well-sprung, loin powerful and somewhat arched.

Coat: Short, dense, fine and glossy.

Color: Adults are white with solid black or deep liver (brown) spots. Puppies are born all white and develop their spots as they mature.

Ears: Moderate length, high set, closely held to the head, fine texture, and taper to rounded tips.

Eyes: Medium size, somewhat rounded, somewhat wide-set, alert, and intelligent. Dark brown or blue on the black-spotted Dalmatian and amber on the liver-spotted Dalmatian type.

Feet: Round, compact and cat-like with well-arched toes and rough, elastic pads.

Head: Smooth and square with a flat skull, long muzzle, moderate stop, and powerful jaws. The nose is black on the black-spotted Dalmatian and brown on the liver-spotted Dalmatian.

Legs: Forelegs are straight and powerful with a round bone structure and well-muscled thighs. Hind legs are round and lean with smooth, well-defined muscles, well-developed stifles and well-turned hocks.

Neck: Long with a graceful arch and slight tapering. No dewlap.

50 - 55 pounds (23 - 25kg)
Height: 19 - 24 inches (48 - 61cm)

Tail: Thick and tapering from the root to the tip and carried upwards with a slight curve, but not carried over the back.

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Recommended for experienced dog handlers
Best with children old enough to respect them
Sheds constantly

The Dalmatian is a very regal breed known as much for his ability to remember things, and for his strong desire to work, as he is for his spots. He is high-spirited, playful, self assured, affectionate, graceful in gait, patient, and gentle. He loves to be around horses and loves to dig large holes in the yard.

He is an athletic breed of dog best suited for an athletic owner willing to take him jogging, hiking, and biking. If left alone for long periods of time, he may become bored and possibly destructive. You must provide this breed with both physical and mental stimulation to keep him happy and healthy.

Dals are good with children if introduced to them and socialized with them at a young age but not with toddlers who haven't yet learned to respect them. Some males may show aggression towards other male dogs. Early obedience training and socialization are key to having a well balanced Dalmatian. He is an independent thinker and quick learner capable of adapting to most any task asked of him.

Since the exploitation of the breed, following the movie 101 Dalmatians, unknowledgeable breeders created lines with issues such as genetic temperament and health problems. If you are thinking of owning this breed of dog, be sure to thoroughly check out the breeder and ask for OFA (hip), CERF (eye) certificates, and a BAER (hearing) printout for puppies.

The AKC standard says "The Dalmatian's aristocratic bearing does not give a false impression, for the Dalmatian is, first of all, reserved and dignified. It is a quiet, somewhat aloof breed and an ideal sentinel, able to distinguish between barking for fun or for the purpose of indicating intruders."

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Breed Type

AKC Group: Non-Sporting Breed

Originally used as pack hunters and retrievers, sheep herding dogs, and circus performers, the Dalmatian dog was also used as guard dogs, draught dogs, sled dogs, and he was used by the Dalmatians in 1912 and 1913 as messengers during the Balkan wars.

They are often called the "firehouse dogs" because the firehouses used them to control the horses that pulled the fire-fighting equipment and as mascots. They were also used to move people out of the way of carriages which is why they are sometimes referred to as "carriage dogs". "Plum Pudding" is a name given to him by British children and references the raisins in plum pudding cake.

Currently the Dalmatian us used as a companion dog.

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Care and Grooming

Exercise: The Dal has a high amount of energy and needs a great deal of regular daily exercise such as running, playing, biking, and hiking with an athletic-like owner.

Grooming: Though he is generally a clean dog, Dalmatians shed constantly. Brush daily with a medium-hard brush.


Life Expectancy: 12 Years

Possible Problems:
Congenital Deafness (congenital refers to being present at birth)
Depression (if not receiving constant exercise and companionship)
Hip problems
Low Thyroid

Due to the lack of the enzyme uricase (current in the liver and kidneys of most mammals), they may develop urate (bladder) stones (stones in the urinary system). Be sure to give him a constant supply of drinking water and a means of getting out of doors for frequent urination.

Dalmatians have a short coat. While they do well in most weather conditions they are not the best suited for extreme weather conditions.

Country of Origin

Unknown - some believe he is from the Balkans/India, others say he originated from Dalmatia (Croatia) and others place the origin of the Dalmatian in England.

More Photos

dalmatian dog in field
dalmatian portrait
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