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Dalmatian

Dalmatian

The breed stands out for their unique spotted coats, which are short, sleek and glossy. The Dalmatian's outline is square, showing them to be well-balanced, strong, muscular dogs. They make great company dogs, especially for active families.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

Deafness is the most common health problem within the Dalmatian breed. 

Dalmatians can also be prone to:
- Hip dysplasia
- Urate stones which are a particular type of bladder stone made up of uric acid. Dalmatians are often not able to process this substance which result in a build up of uric acid deposits in the bladder and sometimes the kidneys. 
- Epilepsy¹ which is a condition where abnormal brain function can lead to seizures which damage the brain. 
- Atopy where the skin reacts to allergens in the environment and becomes sore and itchy.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hearing testing (BAER programme)

¹ C. Rusbridge, 'Canine idiopathic epilepsy', May 2016, Veterinary Ireland Journal.

Key Facts

Lifespan: 10–13 years
Weight: Adult Dalmatians weigh 23–25kg
Height: Adult males stand at 58–61cm and adult females 56–58cm
Colours: Spotted coats. The spots can be black or liver on a white background
Size: Large
Kennel Club group: Utility

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 4/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 4/5
Shedding: 5/5
Dalmatian

Personality

The Dalmatian is friendly and outgoing, but if they are insufficiently exercised they can become hyperactive and difficult to live with. Dalmatians are dedicated and loyal and always want to please; they enjoy company and clowning about so can make great dogs for an active family, however, their strength and stamina - and need for almost endless exercise and stimulation - can sometimes be too much of a challenge for unprepared owners.

Dalmatians

History and Origins

Country of Origin: England

Despite their name, it would seem that the Dalmatian is primarily an English breed with their first recorded use being by Thomas Berwick in 1791. Also known as the Spotted Coach Dog, not only are they the only truly spotted breed in the world, but they are also the only dedicated carriage dogs, bred to run alongside coaches either as a guard or a status symbol.

Dalmatians would accompany farmers’ wives and their pack ponies to market to ensure her safety. They were so good at this job that they began running alongside carriages to deter highwaymen - but as they were so showy they quickly became status symbols for the wealthy. They also found work running alongside horse-drawn fire engines. Their history may account for their reported affinity with horses.

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