The breed stands out for their unique spotted coats, which are short, sleek and glossy. The spots can be black or liver on a white background. The Dalmatian's outline is square, showing them to be well-balanced, strong, muscular dogs. Adult Dalmatians weigh 23-25kg. Adult males stand at 58-61cm and adult females 56-58cm.
The Dalmatian is an ancient breed, dating back to 2000BC when spotted dogs appeared on Greek friezes and tablets, showing them working with the chariots of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Some very early records of the breed are found in Dalmatia, Yugoslavia, from whence the name came. Dalmatians have been used as dogs of war, border patrols, cart pullers, sheep herders, dogs of the hunt, circus performers and, of course, coaching dogs. Whatever the origin, Dalmatians have worked with horses since at least the Middle Ages.
The Dalmation dog breed is friendly and outgoing, but if they are insufficiently exercised they can become hyperactive. 'Dals' are dedicated and loyal and always want to please; they enjoy company and clowning about. However, their strength and stamina can sometimes be too much of a challenge for some owners. Dalmatians are normally two years old before they start to settle down – often older!
Deafness is the most common health problem within the breed, and dogs can be tested for deafness from a young age. They are also predisposed to a certain type of bladder stone.
As puppies, do not over-exercise Dalmatians. Adult Dals are a breed of incredible endurance and are able to travel at a moderate pace almost indefinitely. Two hours-plus of daily exercise is recommended for a fit adult, along with training and brain games to stimulate their mind as well as body. Because of their hunting instincts they love to run, jump and climb so caution should be taken at all times to ensure their safety.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
Because of their short and hard hairs the Dalmatian breed does not require onerous grooming and clipping. Once a week run a grooming mitt over their coats to remove dead hairs, finishing off with a soft cloth to promote shine.