Dalmatian: Characteristics, Temperament & Facts

Country of origin: Croatia
Shoulder height: 54 – 61 cm
Weight: 24 – 32 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Color: white with black or brown spots
Use: sports dog, companion dog, the family dog

Dalmatians are friendly, gentle, and lovable dogs, but they place high demands on the owner when it comes to exercise and activity. They need a lot of exercises and should ideally be challenged in dog sports. The temperamental and hard-working Dalmatian is not suitable for comfortable couch potatoes.

Origin and history

The exact origin of this uniquely marked dog breed has not been clarified to this day. It is believed to have originated in India and came to England via Dalmatia. In England, the Dalmatian was very popular as a carriage companion dog. They had to run alongside carriages and protect them from robbers, strange dogs, or wild animals. The urge to move off this breed is correspondingly pronounced.

The first breed standard for the Dalmatian was established in 1890. At that time he belonged to a group of company and companion dogs, which did not do justice to the Dalmatian. Since 1997 he belongs to the group of running and scent hounds.


With its unique, spotted coat pattern, the Dalmatian is a very eye-catching dog. It is medium to large in stature, roughly rectangular in build, well-proportioned, and muscular. The ears are triangular with a rounded tip, set high and hanging. The tail is of medium length, thicker at the base, and carried like a saber.

The Dalmatian’s coat is short, shiny, hard, and dense. The most striking external feature is the spotted pattern. The basic color is white, the spots are black or brown. They are demarcated, ideally distributed evenly over the whole body, and about 2 – 3 cm in size. The nose and mucous membranes are also pigmented, and the color corresponds to that of the spots. Although the color “lemon” or “orange” does not correspond to the standard, it is rare.

By the way, Dalmatian puppies are completely white at birth. The typical spots only appear in the first few weeks after birth. Rarely, do so-called plates occur, i.e. larger, thoroughly pigmented areas, mostly in the area of ​​the ear and eye, which are already present at birth.


The Dalmatian has a very friendly, pleasant personality. It is open-minded, curious, and free from aggression or nervousness. It is very intelligent, spirited, eager to learn, and a persistent runner. Its passion for hunting is also often quite pronounced.

Due to its gentle and loving nature, the Dalmatian is an ideal family companion dog. However, its urge to move and its willingness to run should not be underestimated. An adult Dalmatian needs at least two hours of exercise a day and is therefore only suitable for sporty people. It is a good companion when riding, jogging, or cycling.

The intellectual activity must not be neglected with the Dalmatian either. It is fast, skillful, and eager to learn and therefore an ideal partner for many dog ​​sports activities such as agility, dog dancing, or flyball. The intelligent Dalmatian can also be enthusiastic about all kinds of search games or dog tricks.

The Dalmatian is very willing to work and smart, but also sensitive. You can’t get anywhere with him with rigor and excessive authority. He must be brought up with a lot of empathy, patience, and loving consistency.

Health problems

Like many white dog breeds, Dalmatians are relatively often affected by hereditary deafness. The cause of the deafness is a degeneration of parts of the inner ear, which is related to the lack of pigmentation. For example, animals with consistently pigmented plaques are rarely affected by deafness.

Dalmatians are also more prone to kidney or bladder stones and skin conditions. It is therefore particularly important to ensure that these dogs are adequately hydrated and have a balanced diet.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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