Dalmatian – The Dotted Beauty With An Impeccable Temperament

Dalmatian – The Dotted Beauty With An Impeccable Temperament

Thanks to Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, many children worldwide have heard about this lovely dog, which origin goes back a few hundred years ago. Once you decide to adopt this particular breed, be prepared that it will demand to be a significant part of your family activities.

Primarily black and white Dalmatian is a stylish and athletic dog created to be an excellent hunter, coach dog, circus performer, and firehouse dog. Nowadays, it is a charming, friendly, and intelligent easy-to-train creature that doesn’t require too much grooming but has high physical needs.

Everything You Need To Know About The Dalmatian:

1. History

Even though the coat’s art pattern points to an ancient origin, no one actually knows when and where this white dog with black spots occurred for the first time. It got the name after Dalmatia, a western part of ex-Yugoslavia, but there is no evidence that it originated in this particular region. As these spotted dogs appeared on Greek tablets, next to ancient Roman, Greek, and Egyptian chariots, there are opinions that this ancient breed dates back to 2000 BC.

On the other hand, it is well known that the modern breed development took place in England. Experts estimate that this dog’s ancestors probably included English Pointer and spotted Great Dane, but there is no evidence for this claim either.


To make things more complicated, there are no records of the breed’s original function, and the probable reason is its versatility and the use of this dog for various purposes. People used them as Dalmatians firehouse dogs, war dogs, shepherds, sentinels, circus dogs, and draft dogs. In Victorian England, it had a role as a coach dog with a suitable position of horse protector and carriage leader.

Interestingly, some cynologists found evidence that coach position had a hereditary component. Dalmatians lost their purpose with the advent of the car. Still, it was possible to see Dalmatians fire dogs as coaches for horse-drawn fire engines, and they became unavoidable firefighter assistants in the 1800s. Dalmatians lost their purpose once again when motorized vehicles came into use. However, firefighters continued to use them as mascots.

AKC recognized the Dal in 1888, and the breed became highly popular because of recognizable Dalmatians spots. The first Dalmatian Club of America was established seven years later, in 1905. This breed was popular as a show dog and pet, but its popularity had unusual and extreme ups and downs throughout history. Cartoons and movies made it highly popular, but most homes were unprepared for this breed. As a result, owners ejected their dogs, and their popularity would decrease.

2. Personality

Almost all people love and admire a cute Dalmatian. It is a smart, dedicated, and alert creature with a strong desire to please. In general, this dog breed is known as sensitive, outgoing, playful, and friendly, so you probably won’t see it as aggressive or nervous.

Dalmatian personality

Be careful with a new puppy to avoid transforming its curious and determined nature into bad behavior. On average, your Dal will need approximately two years to settle down and restrain its dominant character. In meanwhile, you should think twice about whether this breed is the right option for you, especially if you have a toddler.

3. Temperament

Seeing Dalmatian with kids is an adorable picture. Basically, Dalmatians and kids get along well, but you should be aware of the dog’s unrestrained nature. An early and adequately socialized dog won’t have problems living with other pets, including other dogs and cats.

The only thing you need to take care of is to avoid leaving your furry friend alone at home. Its boundless energy can be a negative trait in such a case. Avoid keeping this breed in an apartment to prevent the Dalmatian aggression occurrence.

4. Size And Look

The hight of the average Dalmatian is from 18 to 24 inches (46 – 61 cm), but males are typically larger than females. It weighs about 48 to 55 pounds (22 – 25 kg), and you will rarely see a fat Dalmatian.

Height19 to 24 inches (48 – 61 cm)18 to 22 inches (46 – 56 cm)
Weight50 to 60 pounds (23 – 27 kg)45 to 53 pounds (20.5 – 24 kg)

Long coated Dalmatian is recognizable for its unusual fur. Even though you can find rarities like a Dalmatian with blue eyes, spotless Dalmatian, tricolor Dalmatian, and albino Dalmatian, most of them are white with black spots.

Dalmatian coat color

Nowadays, you can find a few other combinations, like:

  • Black Dalmatian with white spots
  • Liver and white Dalmatians
  • Brown and white Dalmatians
  • Blue-spotted Dalmatians
  • Brindle Dalmatians
  • Yellow Dalmatians
  • Lemon spotted Dalmatians
  • Orange Dalmatians
  • Chocolate Dalmatians
  • Liver colored Dalmatians

5. Grooming

Dalmatian shedding is the reason for the numerous jokes among the owners. They claim that their pets shed only two times, once during the day and the second time throughout the night. Dalmatian long hair is usually stiff and wavy, and it is sometimes impossible to remove these hairs from clothing or furniture. Therefore, Dalmatian care includes brushing your buddy at least once a week.

Dalmatian grooming

Dalmatian is well known for the absence of the doggy odor. Plus, its coat won’t keep dirt at all. You will be surprised to see it rolling in the mud and staying clean and shiny after drying. Take care to regularly clean your dog’s outer ears with pH-balanced cleaner and trim its nails once or twice a month.

6. Exercising

Dalmatian is an active, hardy dog and fast runner that requires plenty of exercises. This pet needs to spend time in human company, so you shouldn’t leave it alone, or it will become prone to wandering.

Dalmatian exercising

7. Training

Dalmatian training is not a hard job. It an intelligent dog, and you can expect it to understand and accept your commands very quickly.

Dalmatian training

8. Diet And Nutrition

You should ensure that Dalmatian’s diet is healthy and nutritious. Your dog will need up to 2 cups of high-quality dry food daily, but it will depend on a few factors, including age, gender, and physical activity. Keep in mind that you can find numerous dog food brands on the market. Since what your furry friend eats directly affects its health, it is necessary to do some research and find the best dog food for Dalmatians.

Dalmatian diet

9. Possible Health Problems

In general, this dog breed is healthy, but you can expect some health conditions to appear, particularly in adults, such as:

General Health Issues:

  • Eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and entropion
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disorder
  • Dental disease
  • Obesity
Dalmatian health

Unfortunately, there is also a high possibility for your Dalmatians to suffer from one of three usual skin allergy types, contact, food-based, and inhalant ones.

Genetic Disorders

Be aware that a newborn Dalmatian may often suffer from a few hereditary health conditions, such as:

Hereditary deafness – Dalmatian deafness is a polygenic trait. Unfortunately, all known bloodlines may contain genes for it. About 8% of all puppies will be born entirely deaf, while 22 to 24% of them won’t hear in one ear.

Therefore, puppies need to be tested for deafness after they are five weeks old. Also, you should keep in mind that Dalmatian ears are closed during the first 12 to 16 days of age.

Dalmatian puppies

Iris sphincter dysplasia – This ocular disorder is inherited and implies poor night vision, sensitivity to bright light, and often blindness.

Hip dysplasia – It is a heritable condition that occurs when the dog’s femur doesn’t fit the hip joint. As a result, the dog will probably limp on one or both legs. Breeders shouldn’t breed dogs with such a problem.

Urolithiasis – Dalmatians have a unique defect implying the inability of metabolizing uric acid into allantoin. As a result, many dogs have an issue with forming urinary stones.

Skin problems – Dalmatian bronzing syndrome (Dal Crud) is a specific skin condition occurring in Dalmatians. The primary cause is not entirely clear, but puppies suffering from this disease have a typical broad pink or bronze stripe along the coat topline.

It is followed by hair follicle inflammation and patchy hair loss. Since this syndrome is verified inherited, such dogs shouldn’t be used for breeding.

Recommended Health Tests

A reputable breeder will take care that all their Dalmatians have passed the required National Breed Club’s tests, including:

You should also ask following tests:

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals’ health clearances for:

The Canine Eye Registry Foundation certificate for eye condition.

Each breeder needs to agree to have all positive and negative test results published in the comprehensive CHIC database.

The average Dalmatian life expectancy is approximately 11 to 16 years.


Dalmatians are intelligent and energetic dogs that need a lot of attention, appropriate training, and enough daily exercise. Early socialization will help it to accept other pets and behave appropriately towards kids.

Be responsible and adopt a puppy or adult dog from a reputable breeder or shelter to avoid hereditary problems this breed is prone to.