THE DALMATIAN

Dalmatian

The Dalmatian, also known as the English Coach Dog, Carriage Dog, and the Firehouse Dog originated from the U.K. This breed is part of the UKC, Companion Dog Group, and the AKC. The origin of the name comes from the Eastern European coastal area of Dalmatian. This dog breed was thought to have been imported to the U.K during the 18th century.

Brief History

The Dalmatian was bred as a coach dog in the U.K. as a guard for passengers and property. The Dalmatian’s love of horses made it perfect for following horse-drawn fire engines. British nobleman also enjoyed having this breed around their stables.

Despite noble origins, today Dalmations are looked upon as a fire station mascot and help bring fire-awareness in education programs for children. The Dalmatian has been in the U.S from colonial times, known as the coach dog breed. By 1888, the Dalmatian was a registered dog breed in the AKC stud book. The Dalmatian is still very popular as a companion dog breed today.

Physical Features

The ever-friendly Dalmatian is a muscular and large dog breed with a slightly square shape. The Dalmatian’s pear-shaped head is almost flat with a slight groove down the center. Their noses are typically black, large and broad. Their medium-sized eyes are brown, blue or a combination of both colors. This breed has medium-sized drop ears with a deep chest and well-arched, compact feet. The Dalmatian has a long tapered tail that they carry with an elegant upward curve. Their coats are short, shiny, and tight. Oh, and don’t forget their famous coloring — white base with gorgeous black spots.

The Dalmatian has lots of endurance and moderate speed. It is an elegant, sporty and active dog that adores people as well as other dogs and animals. Their movements tend to be steady and graceful. With an even temperament, this outgoing dog breed is intelligent, outgoing and dignified.

Average Height:

19-24 inches

Average Weight:

45-65 pounds

Life Expectancy:

11-13 years

Temperament

The Dalmatian is an active and lively dog breed. They tend to be outgoing, friendly, and rarely shy. In fact, they’re known to constantly encourage new friendships wherever they can find them — whether with other animals or people. This dog breed is great with horses and does well on equestrian farms. The Dalmatian is also sensitive and does well with positive dog training. Socialization starting at puppyhood is also beneficial. This dog breed is very affectionate with family and good with children. The Dalmatian has a strong work drive and needs to partake in organized canine activities.

Special Needs

The Dalmatian requires plenty of exercise, socialization, and positive dog training. The importance of early positive housetraining cannot be emphasized enough. Dalmatian pups need to be taught to go outside or they will develop bad habits that will often be difficult to break. It’s also important to prioritize  positive obedience training for puppies. This can start as early as 9 weeks of age and should be done in super short increments of time, like 5 minute sessions a few times a day.

Allow for healthy food treats as rewards when positive dog training. Organize dog training classes outside your home to allow for this dog to socialize and meet other dogs and people. The Dalmatian needs a fenced garden or backyard and does not do well with apartment living. This breed does best on farms or large properties with horses, other dogs and lots of companionship.

Possible Health Concerns

  • Deafness: Dalmatians may be born with normal hearing, yet may lose hearing a few weeks after birth. Deafness is hereditary in Dalmatians, and comes from an auto-recessive gene. This gene also affects eye color, and contributes the blue iris in Dalmatians. As many as 30% of Dalmatians suffer from deafness in one or both ears. Some dog parents may confuse deafness to obedience problems. 
  • Kidney Stones: This is common in the Dalmatian, and can be dangerous if not treated immediately. Feeding a low protein diet with fish or chicken works well in helping to preventing kidney stones. Beef and organ meats should be eliminated from the Dalmatian’s diet. Clean and fresh water needs to be available 24/7.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip joint in large dog breeds like the Dalmatian. It is generally characterized by a loose joint, and then degenerative joint disease.
  • Epilepsy: This has been occurring more frequently in Dalmatians, and can be hereditary or the result of an injury or exposure to toxins. 
Dalmatian dog

Exercise

The Dalmatian needs a consistent exercise schedule if living in an apartment or small home. Dalmatians living on farms and equestrian properties tend to get lots of exercise and travel. This dog breed has superb memory, and is a quick learner. Positive dog training sessions are a pleasure with this dog breed. Dalmatians enjoy going out for runs or long hikes. They’re always game to take part in family activities.

Agility is a great sport for Dalmatians. They can start training at a young age for agility, and tend to do well in this canine sport. Advanced obedience is also a great option.

Nutrition

When it comes to choosing a food, understanding your dog’s current health and nutritional needs is paramount. There is no “best diet” since all dogs have different dietary needs, so it’s always smart to consult with your veterinarian — especially if your dog has a medical condition.

Dalmatian dog breed

Grooming

This breed is quite easy to groom. Daily brushing will keep your Dalmatian’s coat in superb condition. A horsehair mitt or rubber curry comb should do the trick.

This dog breed enjoys frequent baths and daily teeth brushing. Bathing should increase if dogs are playing around on farms and in horse manure. Twice yearly visits to the veterinarian for dental hygiene maintenance is a must. Ears need to be regularly wiped out and checked regularly because they flop down and retain moisture. Nails need to be trimmed every month. If your dog does not enjoy having their nails trimmed, try out a nail grinder, visit a professional groomer or your veterinarian.

Not only is the Dalmatian a gentle and playful dog to have around children and family, this dog breed has a happy and outgoing personality that makes everyone else happy. This dog breed does not do well alone and needs to be around people and other animals. Taking part in family activities like hiking, camping, and playing ball at the dog park are a must.

If it’s summer time, all Dalmatians need to use a canine sunblock because their white coats  make them more prone to sunburn. Exercise should only take place during the early morning hours or late afternoon.

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