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.
- Category size: Medium
- Grooming requirements: Once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Usually quiet
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Utility
- Alone: Less than 1 hour
- Other pets: High
- Stability as a guard: High
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.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information