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With beautifully patterned coats and a well-defined build, Dalmatians are an easy breed to spot in any crowd. Their aristocratic history as carriage dogs is still prevalent today in the Dalmatian’s regal appearance. While the breed standard states that dogs of this breed must have either black and white or liver and white coloring, Dalmatian coats can actually be many different shades. These are far rarer, but Dals can also have blue, orange, lemon, or tri-colored coats. Some have mosaic patterns, which display a spot of a color different than the rest of the spots, while still others may have brindle patterned spots. No matter what color spots they eventually develop, all Dalmatians pups are born white and their first spotting occur around 3-4 weeks of age. Their coats are typically short, sleek, and dense. The fine furs are close fitting to the body and are inherently glossy. Some Dalmatians have long coats, although this is not very common. Standing at 22-24 inches tall and weighing in between 40-70lbs, these gallant creatures will usually live to be around 10-13 years old with proper love and care.
While a Dalmatian’s coat is typically short, they do tend to shed considerably all year long. Regular grooming should help lessen the amount of excess fur blowing around. Weekly brushing with a hound mitt or dog grooming gloves will work best at removing the short, stiff hairs of a Dal. Very occasional bathing is recommended for this breed; usually no more than 4 times a year is all that is needed to keep the Dalmatian clean. Their short, slick coats are very dirt repellent, which helps them maintain a rather clean coat and won’t have strong doggy odors. Over bathing can strip dogs of their natural essential oils and can leave their skin dry, irritated, and flaky. Due to their high levels of energy, these dogs should file down their strong nails naturally through their boisterous activities. Check them regularly to ensure they aren’t getting too long, since overgrown nails can cause painful breakage or ingrown nails. It is also a good idea to clean out the underside of their floppy ears to prevent infections and to get rid of any bacteria that may be lurking inside. Simply wipe out the outer areas of the Dal’s ear with a damp cloth or ear cleansing wipe to help protect them from infection.
Widely known for their dashing good looks, these dogs are as loving and energetic as they are handsome. Dalmatians have very high levels of intelligence and have seemingly boundless energy. Bred to race alongside carriages to protect the cargo as well as provide a dash of flair, Dals are content to spend all day outside with their owners jogging, hiking, or just playing fetch. They can become bored easily when left alone for long periods of time and need to be mentally stimulated with training and fun playtime activities. They thrive on human interactions and including them in daily activities with the whole family will not only help them feel like part of the pack, but will also help them burn off their rambunctious levels of energy. Even a simple romp in the yard can help them bond with the family and exert some of their energy. Dalmatians are not immediately welcoming to strangers and can be aloof and standoffish to strangers. Their inherent wariness of unknown people make them alert and dependable watchdogs. Within their own family circle, however, Dals are very loyal, loving, and affectionate companions.
As with all dogs, training should begin early to establish a baseline of acceptable behavior. Pups who aren’t taught how to behave will quickly grow up to be unruly dogs who think they’re in charge of the pack. Dalmatians are very intelligent and can seem headstrong when given a command they do not want to follow. It’s important never to resort to harsh training methods as this will just demoralize the dog and even turn them aggressive. Utilizing a positive training approach focused on rewarding good behavior will yield the best results. Consistent training is also key to ensure that training and commands are not forgotten. Their great stamina coupled with positive training will unlock their sporting potential. Dalmatians are often entered in various competitions and excel in sports such as flyball, Frisbee, and other agility-based challenges.
The exact origin of the Dalmatian of today is unknown. Several pieces of historic evidence show that this breed has likely been around for a very long time. There are even reports of depictions of tall, spotted dogs trotting behind Egyptian chariots in ancient Egyptian tombs. These spotted beauties also were known to travel with nomadic bands of Romanies and were utilized as guard dogs, shepherds, and retrievers, just to name a few. The breed earned the name “Dalmatian” due to their extended presence in Dalmatia, now known as Croatia. It wasn’t until the Dalmatian’s arrival in England that they were refined and developed into a sleek, dashing coach dog. They cleared a path for the horses, ran alongside the coach for protection, and guarded the horses and coach during periods of rest. Dalmatians today still have an innate kinship to horses. Dalmatians in the United States of American became fixtures in firehouses due to their amazing stamina, energy, intelligence, and loyalty. Similar to their jobs as coach dogs, firehouse Dalmatians protected the equipment, escorted horse-drawn fire carriages to the fire, and even rescued people from burning buildings. Dalmatians today are most commonly seen as companions and family members, but still remain a firehouse mascot to many stations.
Carriage Dog, Spotted Coach Dog, Firehouse Dog, Plum Pudding Dog, 101 Dalmatian, Disney Dog