The Dalmatian is famous for its white coat and black spots, though the spots can be either black, brown (liver), dark blue, lemon, brindle and even tri-colored. Although all these colors are available in the dog, only black and brown are considered acceptable for show dogs.
Their ideal height is 22-24 inches and weight around 55 lbs., though the bitches should be smaller at around 20-22 inches. They are a strong dog and have long legs, a long tapering tail and ears that taper to a rounded point.
History. The origins of this breed have been argued about unsuccessfully for years though in 1993 the FCI (an international federation of kennel clubs based in Belgium) recognized the breed as Croatian.
However, the spotted dog has been known throughout history all over Europe, Asia and Africa, even as far back as 2000BC where ancient Greek friezes show them working with chariots.
Until the 1800’s the Dalmatian was used as a hound dog however after this time it became popular as a carriage dog, running with the horses or along side the carriage guarding the horses and carriage while their master was busy.
They are now classed as a utility dog, but are efficient as a vermin hunter, a trail dog, a retriever and also a guard dog.
Temperament. A Dalmatian is a very energetic and loving dog, but because of its high energy needs lots of exercise, if they do not get enough mental and physical exercise a Dalmatian can become highly strung and even mentally unstable.
They get along well with other pets and people but unless the dog knows that the owner if the Alpha, they can become aggressive towards other dogs.
However, due to its high levels of energy and the fact that they are rather intelligent, they can be trained to very high standards, they also have excellent problem solving abilities.
Health Issues. Dalmatians are most prone to deafness with 10-12 percent born deaf, it is not recommended to breed the deaf dogs but this does not mean that they cannot have a normal life as long as their special needs are met.
They are also susceptible to bladder and kidney problems such as urinary stones and high uric acid levels.
Making sure that they can go to the toilet regularly and keeping them well hydrated with constant access to water can help with these problems though. They can also have sensitive skin.
Grooming. Dalmatians only need basic grooming as their coat is relatively short, however they do shed profusely so regular brushing is useful to help manage the shedding, especially during the time when they shed the most, this happens twice a year.
Brushing them regularly will also help to keep looking smooth, shiny and clean. Due to their sensitive skin and the fact that their fur is so short Dalmatians do not need to be bathed often, also bathing them would be detrimental to their natural oils that keep their fur shiny, however if you do bath a Dalmatian make sure to use a sensitive shampoo.
Living Conditions. A Dalmatian is best suited to live somewhere with a big garden or with someone who can take them for long walks and runs at least daily.
They are not suited to living in small apartments or flats as they need a lot of space, they also need a lot of attention.
They can live with small children and other animals but need to be socialized with them from a young age.
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