Breed Group: Non-Sporting Group
Shoulder Height: 22-24 in.
Weight: 33-70 lb.
Life Span: 10-13 years
Colors: Black, white, liver, lemon, orange, tan
- The Dalmatian is named after the region in Croatia where it may have been developed
- The breed is unique in that it was originally a working dog, appearing most famously in firehouses and train coaches, but was demoted to a non-sporting breed after working interest in the breed declined
- Their duties in their heyday were vast and varied. They served as guard dogs, hunting dogs, and horse herders in addition to their role as firehouse mascots.
- Their primary purpose in the firehouse was to deter thieves while the firemen were away
The Dalmatian is an ancient breed that has seen a tremendous amount of change as the years have gone by. Starting off as a gun dog, this versatile breed has served as a tracker, retriever, guard dog, army dog, and general working dog over the course of its history. This makes the personality of the Dalmatian as varied as the spot pattern on its coat.
These days, they are well-loved family dogs and one of the most underappreciated of the non-sporting breeds. They are very friendly and loyal to their owners and get along great with other animals and children — that is, those they are familiar with. Dalmatians still retain strong guard instincts and so can be a little standoffish with stranger humans and dogs. Good social training is essential to help them relax around new faces.
As a result of its history as a working dog and its natural athleticism, it demands the most attention with regards to exercise. Daily walks are recommended to keep it happy and healthy. Dalmatians normally do not do very well as couch potatoes.
Grooming is quite simple thanks to its short coat, though care must be taken when it comes to shedding.
Under normal circumstances, the Dalmatian would be a very healthy breed. However, loose breeding practices have led to a number of problems popping up that reputable breeders are trying to control.
- Deafness is an increasing problem in the breed due to lax breeding practices.
- Hip dysplasia is normally not an issue. However, both males and females can develop bone spurs and arthritis.
- Dalmatian livers have a problem with breaking down uric acid, which in turn leads to gout, kidney stones, and bladder stones.
- The breed has a natural affinity with horses, and a Dalmatian normally appears alongside the Clydesdale horses in Anheuser-Busch commercials.
- The breed’s popularity surged following the popular Disney film 101 Dalmatians, which was adapted from the book by Dodie Smith.
- To this day, Dalmatians are still used by firehouses worldwide as mascots and companions to on-duty firefighters.
Photo ©iStock.com/MirasWonderland, Photo ©iStock.com/taraminchin