Dalmatian: Breed Characteristics, Training & Care

The Dalmatian is an elegant and very popular hound from Croatia. The breed has a very distinctive appearance and is one of the most well-known dog breeds in the world. The Dalmatian is recognized as an independent breed in the FCI and can be found in the FCI Group 6 Hounds, Scenthounds, and Related Breeds, Section 3 Related Breeds. Without work test. With the standard number 153. He is a popular family dog and companion dog for almost every household.

Dalmatian Dog Breed Information

Size: 54-61cm
Weight: 24-32kg
FCI Group: 6: Hounds, scent hounds, and related breeds
Section: 3: Related races
Country of origin: Croatia
Colors: black and white, liver white
Life expectancy: 10-15 years
Suitable as: Companion and family dog
Sports: agility, obedience, fetch
Personality: Active, Playful, Intelligent, Outgoing, Friendly, Energetic, Sensitive
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential: low
The thickness of hair: high
Maintenance effort: low
Coat structure: short, hard, dense, smooth, shiny
Child-friendly: rather yes
Family dog: yes
Social: rather yes

Origin and Breed History

The Dalmatian can look back on quite a long history. It is not exactly clear from which country the ancestors of the Dalmatians come. For a long time, Italy and Spain were assumed to be the origins, as there were pictures of dogs with the typical spotted Dalmatian pattern. However, it was not considered that although there is no longer a dog breed today that has the Dalmatian-typical spots on a white background, there used to be many more breeds with this particular piebald gene.

Experts now assume that the Dalmatians come from Croatia, but this has not yet been proven beyond doubt. The only thing that can be said with certainty is that the English began pure breeding the Dalmatian to a standard. The first standard for the Dalmatian was written in 1882 by the cynologist Vero Shaw. He was a great friend of the breed and was able to set his standard as the official standard for the Dalmatian Club, the “Dalmatian Club”, in 1890. Initially, the term Dalmatian hunting dog was used in the FCI, although its use as a hunting dog is controversial. Most of the evidence that the Dalmatian was used as a hunting dog comes from the ancient images of spotted dogs preying on the game. However, since it is uncertain whether these dogs are really the ancestors of the Dalmatians, their hunting use is also uncertain.

The English wanted the Dalmatians primarily as companion dogs and as coach dogs. The tradition of the coach dog then continued in New York, where the Dalmatians were an indispensable addition to the fire department. During one operation, the dogs ran in front of the fire brigade team and warned people to get out of the way with their barking. The popularity of the beautiful dogs increased rapidly due to their use by the fire brigade. At the latest after the Hollywood success “101 Dalmatians,” the Dalmatian became a fashion dog. There were more and more breeders of the breed. Unfortunately, the health of the animals was often no longer considered and many owners wanted a dog as a status symbol and not as a loyal companion, which meant that they did not pay attention to the education of the animals and many dogs were given back when they caused problems.

Nature and Temperament of Dalmatians

The Dalmatian is a friendly and very lively dog. The animals have a lot of energy and want to run, play, and have adventures with their owners. That is why it is important to give the open-minded dog a good upbringing at an early age. In addition to his bright nature, the Dalmatian is often a very sensitive dog that does not tolerate a harsh hand, but rather needs a sovereign owner who offers him security and meets his needs.

In his family, he is very affectionate and willing to learn. He gets along well with children if he gets used to them early or if the children are a bit older. With strangers, he is a bit reserved but always friendly and free from any kind of aggression. As a scent hound, he needs a lot of exercises, and dog sport can be a useful addition to his daily walks. Jogging, cycling, or accompanying a bike are also ideal activities for Dalmatians. With enough mental and physical exercise, the Dalmatian is a very even-tempered and calm dog indoors. He has no problems with conspecifics and other animals and can be kept both in the city and in the country.

In itself, the Dalmatian is an easy-care dog that likes to learn and loyally accompanies its owner, only its high willingness to run is often underestimated. Anyone who is aware that they are getting a sporty dog ​​that needs a lot of exercises will be very happy with a Dalmatian.

What Does a Dalmatian Need?

Above all, a Dalmatian needs exercise and time with his family. He is a very sociable dog and is happy about dog buddies, also gets along well on his own. For employment, it is advisable to choose a dog sport that is fun for the dog and its owner and ensures shared experiences.

The Appearance of the Dalmatian

The appearance of the Dalmatian is very distinctive. He has a slim and elegant appearance with a short coat that has the typical Dalmatian spotted pattern. Classic here are black spots on a white background, the spots are round or mole-shaped and can be brown, orange, or gray in addition to black. With a height at the withers of 56 to 62 cm for males and 54 to 60 cm for females, the Dalmatian is considered a large dog, having a slim and athletic body, weighing 27 to 32 kg for males and 24 to 29 kg for females. The Dalmatian’s short coat lies close to the body and should have a healthy sheen. The Dalmatian is a low-maintenance breed, although the dog’s coat hair can stubbornly get caught in the fabrics of clothing and furniture.

How Much Does a Dalmatian Cost?

At a reputable breeder, a Dalmatian with black spots usually costs between $1500 and $2000. There are special colors like orange or brown. The price can also be higher.

Upbringing and Keeping of the Dalmatian – This is Important to Consider

The Dalmatian is a fairly uncomplicated dog. A gentle upbringing with good socialization quickly turns the Dalmatian into a calm and reliable family dog. The sensitive nature of the Dalmatian must always be taken into account during training, the dog should not be overstrained and with patience and positive reinforcement, the training also works for beginners. By attending a good dog school, even a beginner can do justice to a Dalmatian, but he must always remember that the Dalmatian is not a dog for the couch, he needs a lot of exercises.

A dog sport is advisable in addition to a good education for the Dalmatian since it allows him to let out excess energy with joy and is a calm and pleasant family dog ​​in the house. Since he has no aggression with other dogs or even people, the basic commands are usually enough for harmonious coexistence. If you want to learn more with your Dalmatian, you can try TrickDogging. The clever Dalmatians enjoy learning tricks and working with their owners.

When training the Dalmatian, attention should be paid to its hunting instinct, not every Dalmatian has a pronounced hunting instinct, but some representatives of the dog breed show hunting behavior. With a little training, this is easy to get to grips with. The dog forms strong bonds with its family and especially with its owner. As such, the Dalmatian is not a kennel dog and should always be kept in the home and family, although they can be left alone for a good few hours a day. Even in the office, he’s a calm and friendly dog ​​who doesn’t cause any problems or disruption at work.

Are Dalmatians Difficult to Train?

With positive reinforcement and a lot of patience, the Dalmatian is easy to train, but he likes to take advantage of his people’s weaknesses. He is still considered beginner-friendly and easy to train.

Diet of the Dalmatian

When feeding the Dalmatian, attention should be paid to existing food allergies, because many representatives of the dog breed have an intolerance to grain or even certain types of meat. If there are no intolerances, feeding with wet or dry food depends on the owner. The Dalmatian gets along well with both types of feeding. However, care should be taken to ensure that the dog, who likes to exercise, first rests after feeding. This prevents stomach torsion, which unfortunately Dalmatians are very prone to.

Which Dry Food for Dalmatians?

It should be a high-quality feed that has a very high meat content and, if necessary, takes existing allergies into account. Otherwise, no special food is required, as the Dalmatian does not tend to become overweight if it gets enough exercise.

Healthy – Life Expectancy & Common Diseases

With a Dalmatian from a reputable breeder who pays very close attention to the health of their animals and a healthy diet and sufficient exercise, the Dalmatian can live to a ripe old age and even live up to 14 or even 16 years.

Unfortunately, there are a number of hereditary diseases in Dalmatians that affect the health of the animals. Most of these diseases stem from the white base color of the Dalmatian coat. Color is determined by a color gene that can cause deafness and other diseases. In addition, some Dalmatians suffer from Dalmatian syndrome, which causes hyperuricosuria. Problems with uric acid breakdown and the resulting bladder problems and kidney stones can put a strain on the dog. The risk of allergies and skin diseases is also very high in Dalmatians. A breeder can rule out most of these gene defects by choosing the parent animals, and an early hearing test can provide clarity in the case of deafness.

Many of the problems arose during the Dalmatian’s great fad when more and more dogs were being bred to look good. However, not enough attention was paid to the health of the animals. Now it is all the more important to only get a puppy from a reputable breeder who has a heart for his animals and pays close attention to the health of the parents and the puppies.
Neither cold nor heat harm the active dog. Since his fur is very short and he has a little undercoat, care should be taken that he does not jump into the water in winter. Otherwise, he likes to be out and about, even in wind and rain and enjoys spending time outdoors.

How Old Do Dalmatians Get?

If it is a healthy Dalmatian from a good breed, it can live to a great age. The animals are between 14 and 16 years old on average. There are isolated cases where a Dalmatian even lived to be 19 years old.

Care of the Dalmatian

Caring for a healthy Dalmatian is very easy. Due to the short fur, it is enough to brush the dog every few days. Ears should be checked regularly and cleaned with damp dog ear wipes if necessary. The claws must not be too long, whereby the agile dog usually runs off the claws itself. Otherwise, only the worm control and the vaccinations at the vet remain. In order for the dog to survive the care and visits to the veterinarian, this should be trained at an early stage.

The Dalmatian’s short coat can be very stubborn when it comes to molting, getting stuck in upholstered furniture and any type of fabric. Therefore, during the change of fur, the apartment should be regularly freed from the hair.

Dalmatian – Activities, and Training

The Dalmatian is a very active dog. He needs long walks and preferably a dog sport to be able to let off steam. The great urge to move must be utilized with the daily walks. This means that its owner must always plan the necessary time. For people who prefer to spend their weekends on the couch, the Dalmatian is the wrong dog.

Since the Dalmatian is a slender and agile dog, it is suitable for almost any canine sport. Especially agility, trick dogging, and lunging are perfect for the clever dog. Retrieving and searching is also a lot of fun for Dalmatians and can be used for employment. Cycling, jogging, and horseback riding are in the dog’s blood.

Good to Know: Peculiarities of the Dalmatian

The Dalmatian has always been a very popular dog, appearing in various roles on television, the most famous being in the Disney family film 101 Dalmatians. But his work with the fire brigade also made him a mascot for the rescue unit. Especially in France, he is still a status symbol among the upper class and is kept mainly because of his beautiful fur.

But the Dalmatian is much more than just a beautiful piece of jewelry. He is a real companion and likes to do all sorts of things with his owner.

What is the Name of the Bad Woman in 101 Dalmatians?

The name of the evil main character in the film 101 Dalmatians is the rich fashion designer Cruella de Vil. The lady has it in her head to make a coat out of polka dot Dalmatian fur and wants to steal the main characters’ little puppies.

Cons of the Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is a very friendly active dog breed that doesn’t pose any disadvantages. The great drive for movement should always be considered with these dogs, and unfortunately, many Dalmatians are ill because insufficient attention was paid to the health of the animals during breeding.

Another disadvantage of the Dalmatian can be its sensitive nature. It can happen to people who are inexperienced with dogs in particular that they treat their four-legged friends too roughly and quickly scare them away. Parenting, therefore, requires patience and lots of positive confirmation.

Are Dalmatians Dangerous?

No, the Dalmatian doesn’t show any aggression, he tends to be reserved when he’s being pressured. He is friendly and open to people, as well as to most of his peers. This also makes him a good second dog.

Is the Dalmatian Right for Me?

The Dalmatian makes a good family pet and can adapt to many situations and lifestyles. As long as he gets exercise and has good relationships with his family, he’ll be happy in both the city and the country. He likes to cuddle with his people, but he is by no means a couch potato and the purchase should therefore always be carefully considered.

The Dalmatian is a good companion for families and sporty singles. Seniors are rather unsuitable for keeping a Dalmatian, as they often cannot do justice to the dog’s urge to move. Very athletic seniors who will be fit for a long time can still take on the challenge and give a home to a Dalmatian with the support of family and friends.

Is a Dalmatian a Family Dog?

The Dalmatian is a very good family dog. Children should only be well prepared for the dog and not be too rough when playing, as the Dalmatian is sensitive.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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