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Breed Profile: Dalmation

You've seen the movies. You might have read the book. But how much do you really know about Dalmations, other than that they're spotty and, well, fabulous? Read on to discover more about the breed that Pongo and his Missus made famous!

History of the Dalmation

As famous as Dalmations are, they're a breed with an air of mystery. They're named for Dalmatia, which is a region of Yugoslavia, but they probably didn't come from there originally. Although no one is entirely sure where they DID come from. Or how they got the spots.

What we do know is that they're one of the hardest working breeds out there, having served in wars, caught rats, been bird dogs, and hunting dogs, and coach dogs. Then, at some point, it started being used on fire engines, and the rest is history!

In 1888, the Dalmation was recognized as a breed by the AKC, and then came the books and the movies!

Physical Characteristics of Dalmations

Dalmations are sleek, lithe dogs with a very short coat, rounded eyes and a flattish skull. They have medium sized, high set, floppy ears, and a long, strong tail that is usually carried with a very slight upward curve.

But of course, the most noticeable trait of the Dalmation is their coat. Black or liver spots, around the size of a quarter, cover their white coat, although, as they point out in the movies, they only appear when Dalmation puppies are a few weeks old.

They're fairly tall dogs, at between 19 and 23", and while not bulky, they are sturdy breed, weighing in somewhere between 40 and 60lbs.

Temperament and Character of the Dalmation

Dalmations are always on the go. If you like slow, sedate dogs that will curl up on the couch for hours and rarely need any exercise, this is not the breed for you.

Dalmations were born and bred to work, and in our modern life, that means they need LOTS of exercise. In fact, if they don't get enough, they can be prone to behavioural issues. They can also have a stubborn streak that demands a strong owner.

They tend not to be overly friendly with strange dogs, but are easy going with other pets, and while their natural exuberance can be too much for very young children, they are good family dogs.

Lifespan of the Dalmation

Dalmations live fairly long for larger breed dogs, at around 12 to 14 years.

Common Health and Personality Issues in Dalmations

Dalmations are usually fairly healthy dogs, but like any breed, there are certain conditions that you are more likely to encounter if you make one of these spotted wonders a part of your life. These include:

  1. Like many large breeds, CHD or Canine Hip Dysplasia is a concern.
  2. One of the most common disabilities in Dalmations is deafness. While most dogs can live quite happy, healthy lives without their hearing, this does create challenges in training and keeping them safe.
  3. Dalmations are known to get urinary stones more frequently than other breeds.
  4. They may also have allergies to food and environmental factors more frequently than other breeds.
  5. Hypothyroidism is another common concern.
  6. Some Dalmations may experience seizures.

On the whole, the Dalmation is a friendly, happy go lucky, energetic and relatively healthy dog that makes a great choice as a family pet. A great choice if you have lots of energy, and the time to devote to giving him the exercise he needs.

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