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Know about Breed: Dalmatian


Basic Information:

  • Life expectancy: 10 Ė 13 years
  • Origin: Croatia
  • Height: Female: 56Ė58 cm, Male: 58Ė61 cm
  • Temperament: Friendly, Energetic, Intelligent, Outgoing, Playful, Sensitive, Active
  • Weight: Female: 16Ė24 kg, Male: 15Ė32 kg
  • Colors: Liver & White, Black & White


  • Unique spots are the Dalmatianís calling card, but his running ability is what made him famous. Bred to be a coaching dog, he ran alongside carriages or horseback riders for miles, discouraging stray dogs from interfering with the horses, alerting the coachman to the presence of approaching highwaymen, and guarding the carriage at rest stops. No fashionable lord or lady went driving without a pair of the flashy dogs by their side, and later the Dalmatianís talents were adapted by firemen, who kept the dogs to clear paths through town for their horse-drawn fire engines.
  • The Dalmatian has a romantic and exciting history  not to mention those spots!  but he has health and temperament issues that must be taken into account.
  • The Dalmatian is a smart dog with a sly sense of humor. Heís a clown and will do anything to make you laugh. And he has a tendency to greet people with a big, happy smile.
  • Thanks to his coaching heritage, the Dalmatian has an endless capacity for exercise. He loves to go jogging: Donít be surprised if he noses his way into your dresser drawer, pulls out your jogging shorts, and brings them to you as a not-so-subtle hint. His high activity level makes him an excellent companion for people who spend their time training for marathons, going for long bike rides, or skating along beach boardwalks. He can get enough exercise in his own yard if itís big enough, has a picnic table or other obstacles for him to jump, and contains plenty of toys. Of course, heíd really rather be out doing something with his people.
  • The Dal loves attention and has a strong desire to please, so itís not unusual for him to excel in canine sports such as agility and flyball. Heís also great at performing tricks -- not surprising considering that he was once a favorite circus dog. If you can teach it, your Dal can probably do it.
  • Itís important to Dalmatians to be part of the family. They like to be with their people and know everything thatís going on.


  • Lots of people  adults and children  fall in love with the Dalmatian whenever 101 Dalmatians is re-released, but the cartoon image is very different from reality. This is a highly energetic, athletic dog who can run for hours given the opportunity. A daily walk or run of a half-hour to an hour is a reasonable minimum to meet his exercise needs.
  • The Dalmatian is an excellent watchdog, alert to everything going on around him. If he sees something interesting, heíll want you to know about it.
  • In public, the Dalmatian tends to be quiet and reserved but should never be shy. With his family he lets his clownish side show. Heís courteous toward guests but will be protective if the situation calls for it.
  • The most important thing to know about a Dalmatian is that he wants and needs to be where the people are. Dals like to be involved in everything thatís going on in their family. They do best with older children who can stand up to a rambunctious spirit, but they're fine with toddlers as long as both are supervised. They can get along with cats and other dogs, especially if they are raised with them.


  • All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit disease. Run from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur.
  • Among the health problems in Dalmatians is 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. Itís essential to notice whether a Dalmatian is urinating regularly and to provide him with plenty of fresh water at all times. Dalmatians are also prone to genetic deafness. All puppies should be BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) tested to make sure they can hear. The Dalmatian Club of America has a foundation that sponsors grants and activities to aid research to reduce deafness and find a solution for the uric acid stone problem.
  • Dalmations are also prone to allergies, skin conditions, eye problems and laryngeal paralysis.
  • Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it is impossible to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.  They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for common defects and deemed healthy for breeding. Thatís where health registries come in.


  • On the plus side, the Dalmatianís short, fine, velvety-smooth coat is easy to groom. Brush it several times a week with a bristle brush, rubber curry brush, hound mitt, or pumice stone to strip out the dead hair and keep the coat gleaming.
  • On the down side, the coat sheds day and night according to many experienced Dalmatian owners. Be prepared to live with dog hair if you choose this breed.
  • The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks. Keep the hanging ears clean and dry to prevent bacterial or yeast infections from setting in. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath.