The Dalmatian dog is one of the most unique and distinct breeds out there. With a special spotted coat, the Dalmatian is widely known for movies such as Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, but what else is there to know about this pup?
The Dalmatian started out as a coach dog and are known for their athleticism and high energy levels. While this energetic nature means that these purebred dogs are not the pup for everyone, the Dalmatian fits happily into an active family home and can make a wonderful companion to many.
If you’re interested in learning more about this famous dog and seeing whether they might be the right pup for you, keep reading below to find out more.
History Of The Dalmatian Dog
The Dalmatian is a very popular dog, but these pups are not recommended for first time owners. Both active and intelligent, they need to be kept mentally and physically stimulated at all times. They can also suffer health issues — mainly deafness. Approximately eight percent of Dalmatians are born completely deaf, and 22 to 24 percent are born with hearing in one ear only.
The history of the Dalmatian dog is quite unknown, although these dogs are recognized all over the world by many different Kennel Clubs and organizations. These include the American Kennel Club (AKC), the UK Kennel Club, the Croatian Kennel Club, The Dalmatian Club Of America and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
While their origins are unknown, the Dalmatian first seemed to appear with travelling gypsies. They gained their name Dalmatian after their stay in Dalmatia, which is an area on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea that is now known as Croatia. They have had many jobs during their history including guard dogs, shepherd dogs, retriever dogs and even circus dogs.
The Dalmatian was used primarily as a coach dog during the Regency period in England, trotting alongside the horse-drawn carriages and even guarding the horses at night. When these dogs first arrived in the United States, they were used for different purposes, particularly as firehouse dogs. While the Dalmatian is primarily a companion dog today, they still have an affinity for horses and are often also still seen as mascots in firehouses!
Characteristics Of The Dalmatian Dog
The Dalmatian dog is a popular dog breed, but they need an owner that can keep up with them thanks to their activity level. These dogs are normally born in litter sizes of between six and nine puppies, although a litter of 15 puppies is not uncommon! A Dalmatian puppy can set you back between $800 and $1200, although you should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.
Dalmatians are a medium to large breed of dog. They stand between 19 and 24 inches tall and weigh between 48 to 55 lbs. Females are usually smaller than males.
These dogs are muscular and well-defined and their outline should be square when viewed from the side. Their body is as long as it is tall and their feet are round. Their ears are thin and taper towards the top, and are set far back and high up on their head. The Dalmatian’s eyes can vary between brown, amber, purple and blue.
The Dalmatian has a very distinct coat. It is usually short, fine and dense. It is also a very smooth coat that can feel like velvet to touch. Although some Dalmatians may be born with a long coat, a long coat is not accepted by the breed standard.
Unfortunately, these dogs shed a lot and all year round! They are certainly not the breed for those with allergies or those who don’t want dog fur all over their house. You will need to be brushing these dogs very often. We will go into more detail about grooming these pups later on.
The Dalmatian’s color is one of their most unique features! These pups are born with white coats and their first spots usually appear within 10 days. Spots are most commonly black or liver. There are other rarer colors, such as blue, brindle, mosaic, tricolored, orange or lemon.
Some Dalmatians can also be born with patches of color, which are not the same as large color masses formed by overlapping or intermingled spots. Patches of color are distinct by the smooth edge of the patch and are mostly found on the head or the ears.
The Dalmatian dog is a fun-loving and active breed whose energy is never ending! Born to run, this dog excels when they are outside and exercising. These pups love their people and will like to be by your side for the majority of the day. They do not tolerate being left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. They are alert and interested in everything that is going on around them, too, which means they can make a great watchdog or guard dog.
Dalmatians are a very intelligent breed, and so do not only need to be kept physically stimulated but also mentally stimulated. This intelligence also means that this pup is easy to train and they have a strong desire to please their owners. Without training and socialization from a young age, the Dalmatian can become headstrong and stubborn.
The Dalmatian dog has a relatively long life expectancy. These dogs can live, on average, for around 12 to 16 years.
Known Health Issues
The Dalmatian can be prone to certain health problems. Not all of these dogs will develop these conditions, but is important that you know about them before purchasing one of these pups.
– Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
– Elbow Dysplasia — this is a common condition in large breed dogs. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
– Hypothyroidism — this can be caused by a deficiency of the thyroid hormone and may produce signs that include infertility, obesity, mental dullness and lack of energy. It can be treated with medication.
– von Willebrand’s Disease — this is a disease that is found in both humans and dogs. It is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. It cannot be cured but it can be treated with small surgery.
– Deafness — these dogs are prone to deafness. Eight percent of Dalmatians are born completely deaf and 22 to 24 percent are born with hearing in one ear only. Check you are buying from a reputable breeder who has done health checks on both parent dogs.
– Urolithiasis — the Dalmatian dog has a unique urinary tract system which makes them susceptible to the formation of urinary stones (urolithiasis). Stones are formed from the salts of the uric acid found in their urine. You will need to make sure your dog has access to water at all times and you should visit the vet regularly for checkups, otherwise it can be fatal.
– Skin Allergies — many Dalmatians suffer from skin allergies that can be caused by a range of things. Treatment depends on the severity of the allergy and the cause.
– Iris Sphincter Dysplasia — this is an eye disorder that can cause sensitivity to bright light, poor night vision, partial or total blindness, and cataracts.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
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Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Dalmatian, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
The Dalmatian dog requires around 1.5 to 2 cups of dog food every day. The amount you feed your dog should be based on their age, their weight and their activity level. You should also check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain kibble you should be feeding your Dalmatian based on these factors.
Because of the Dalmatians unique urinary tract system that means they can be prone to urolithiasis, you should make sure your dog’s diet is not too high in purines such as organ meats and byproduct meals. You should also make sure they always have access to clean water, too.
Always feed your Dalmatian high quality kibble that meets all their nutritional needs. Take a look at the food we recommend below.
Best Dog Food For The Dalmatian
We recommend the SPORT Formula dog food from Purina Pro Plan for the Dalmatian. As the Dalmatian is a very active dog, they need a lot of protein in their diet. This kibble from Purina contains 26% protein and 16% fat to help your pup maintain lean muscles and an ideal body condition.
With chicken as the number one ingredient, this food is easy to digest and helps to promote nutrient absorption. There are also many antioxidants in the recipe to support your dog’s immune system, as well as high-quality sources of carbohydrates for sustained energy.
There are no organ meats or by product meals that could make your Dalmatian more prone to urolithiasis in this recipe. Even better, this food is manufactured in the US so you can be sure it is safe for your pup to eat.BUY ON AMAZON
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As you might have guessed, the Dalmatian dog has very high exercise needs! If they don’t get enough exercise, the Dalmatian can become bored and destructive.
These pups need at least two walks a day, but will love to accompany you while you’re out hiking or running and will do best when placed in an active household. Due to their intelligence, they also enjoy dog sports and can learn new tricks and games very quickly.
While you’re out walking or running with your Dalmatian, it is very important that you keep them on a leash. If these dogs could, they would wander off and run for days on end exploring!
Dalmatians can make fantastic family pets for those who understand their needs! As a family, you must be prepared to exercise this high-energy dog plenty, otherwise they can become bored and destructive. The Dalmatian can make a wonderful exercise buddy and, thanks to their intelligence, also excels at dog sports such as agility training and flyball — so the whole family can get involved with training!
The Dalmatian dog is very good with children and their energy makes them an exercise playmate. That being said, you should always supervise young children around the Dalmatian as they are powerful and muscular and may end up hurting younger members of the household. With correct socialization, Dalmatians can also get on very well with other dogs and cats.
You must remember that the Dalmatian doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods of time and so they are not the dog for you if you are out at work every day. If you do have to leave them alone for shorter periods, you should make sure they have plenty of space to move and lots of toys to play with. This pup will also benefit from a yard to play in, so they always have somewhere to stretch their legs!
The Dalmatian is an intelligent dog with the desire to please those they love, and so they have good trainability. However, they must be trained from a young age otherwise they can become stubborn and headstrong. You will need to be firm and consistent with them to show them that you are the boss and in charge!
Like all dogs, the Dalmatian responds best to positive reinforcement techniques and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats. You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
The Dalmatian is a relatively sociable dog by nature, but you will still need to ensure you socialize them from a young age. You should introduce them to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way from puppyhood so they learn how to react in new situations. This will help them to grow up to be a well-rounded and well-adapted dog!
Dalmatians shed a lot and therefore have a strict grooming regime. You should be brushing these dogs at least once a week, if not more — and all year round! Use a medium-soft rubber curry brush to remove the hair before it gets onto your clothes or onto your furniture.
Fortunately, with regular grooming, the Dalmatian is a clean dog that does not require a lot of bathing. They do not have a “doggy” odor and their coats are dirt-repellent. You shouldn’t need to bathe your Dalmatian more than three to four times a year. Bathing them too often can remove essential oils from their coat and skin.
Trim your dogs nails once or twice a month if they do not wear them down naturally. You should brush their teeth at least two to three times a week to help prevent dental decay and disease, too. Checking your Dalmatian’s ears is important so you can spot any early signs of infection.
The Dalmatian dog is a unique breed that almost everyone can identify. Known for their spots, these dogs are an active and intelligence breed that needs an owner who can keep up! When placed in an energetic household where they will get lots of exercise, dog toys and attention, the Dalmatian makes a wonderful family pet that can live very happily with children and other animals.
While they do have a tendency to shed everywhere and need to be brushed frequently, this loving and loyal dog will want to do nothing but please you and protect you. If you’ve got the space and time for the friendly Dalmatian, why not add one to your home?