Dalmatians are a medium-sized dog with a short coat of hair. They've long been popular family dogs since the success of the movie, "101 Dalmatians". Although, originally, the Dalmatians were 19-24 inches tall with weights averaging 40-70 pounds, today many are much larger. Many of them are as tall as 27 inches and weigh up to 90 pounds. For some reason, Dalmatians are larger in Great Britain than in the United States. Males are also usually larger than the females.
The Dalmatian is known for its endurance and stamina, especially for long distances. This may be because of their muscular body and deep chest.
The Dalmatian is an active dog and not one for someone that enjoys a quiet sedentary lifestyle. Most people find the color of their eyes, which is blue, bright brown or amber, very attractive.
Their coat is short and has a white background with brown or black spots. The spots can range from the size of a dime to the size of a half dollar. When Dalmatians are born, they have the spots but they appear as skin spots, giving them the appearance of being all white. Some Dalmatians have patches instead of spots. Although "patched" Dalmatians are disqualified from the show ring, they still make very attractive dogs and wonderful pets.
The origin of the Dalmatian is said to have started in Dalmatia, Yugoslavia even before the 18th century. They were known for coaching, as you can see many old paintings and drawings of the dalmatian alongside Egyptian chariots. They were very popular with the English aristocrats for accompanying carriages because of their large size, watchdog traits and stamina. They were able to easily keep up with the horse-drawn carriages as well as guard them when the owners left the carriage.
The most famous occupation for the Dalmatian was of a firehouse dog in London, where they were used to kill rats and vermin in the stables and firehouses in London. Eventually, they began running along side of the fire engine. Even today, many firehouses in Great Britain have a dalmation riding in the truck.
The first time a dalmatian was in a dog show was in 1860 in Great Britain and in 1926 in America.
The Dalmatian is a very intelligent dog with a very friendly disposition. They love being by your side and are the happiest when they're doing things with you. They can be very sensitive, however, and aren't above pouting when they're scolded or disciplined. When they're in one of their good moods and want your attention, they'll "talk" to you in doggie language. A Dalmatian is a dog that wants to be an active part of your life. If you want a dog that will be kept outside to be used as a watchdog, this is not the dog for you. This dog requires being indoors with their family. It takes a lot to make them tired so be prepared to keep up with them.
The Dalmatian gets along great with children and other pets. They should be socialized with children and other animals at a very young age. This is one breed of dog that actually will get along great with cats. When they first meet strangers, they're sometimes aloof until they get to know them. Once they get to know the people well, they'll give them their sign of approval, which is a "smarl", a cross between smiles and snarl. They make excellent watchdogs and family pets.
The dalmatian is a hardy breed of dog, but does have a few hereditary health issues including deafness, urinary system infections, skin allergies and hip Dysplasia. All dalmatian bloodlines suffer from deafness and it cannot be bred out of the dog. Around 8% of all dalmatians are born deaf and up to 24% have hearing in only one ear. Puppies should be tested for deafness at a few weeks of age by making loud noises to see if they can hear. A test called BAER can be performed to test the dog's hearing.
Dalmatians are very prone to developing kidney stones and should not have a diet rich in protein purines such as organ meats, liver and beef. These should be avoided.
Many of the dalmatians develop skin irritations and infections, which result in red or pink skin. Many times, these skin conditions are a result of the dog food. Stay away from dog foods that list corn, wheat as soy as the main ingredients, especially corn which tends to cause skin and ear infections.
Hip Dysplasia is another problem that affects many dalmatians causing severe arthritis and crippling lameness. Make sure their dog food contains ingredients to help their joints. An x-ray of their hips can indicate if the dog has hip Dysplasia.
The dalmation doesn't need a lot of grooming because of their short hair, but still need to be brushed once a week. They are not heavy shedders and regular brushing keeps it that way. It also keeps their coat glossy.
Their nails should be trimmed once a week to avoid them getting torn and broken. If this is started from the time they are puppies, they will be quite used to the procedure. If your dog spends a large amount of time outside, they stand a greater chance of breaking their nails.
The dalmatian's ears are also something that needs to be cleaned regularly. Because they have sensitive skin, they're sometimes prone to ear infections. The inner ears should be cleaned with a moist cotton ball, making sure to not go too deep in the ear. The ears should be dried thoroughly. Some owners use a homemade remedy of apple cider vinegar and water to wash the ears. If you see any dark wax or small a foul odor, this could be an ear infection and should be seen by a veterinarian.
Dalmatians are very active playful dogs and will need exercise on a regular basis. They enjoy going for walks or runs. They'll also enjoy playing ball with any members of the family.
If the dalmatian is allowed to become bored, they will get destructive. If they are left alone, someone should check on them. They tend to become angry and will chew up things and almost destroy the house out of their boredom. This is another reason why they need exercise on a regular basis. Although they're an indoor dog, they should spend a few hours outside each day.
Dalmatians love the water so swimming is a great way to spend time with them and give them plenty of exercise. The more exercise this dog gets, the better behaved they will seem.
The dalmatian is very intelligent and easy to train provided you are firm and consistent. This dog can be very stubborn. Their training needs to begin at a very young age and must be consistent. They are highly intelligent and clever and if there's something they can get away with, they will. If they don't receive consistency as a puppy, you may have an uncooperative adult dog down the road. Males seem to be more independent than females, which makes them slightly more difficult to train. They do respond better to positive training and reinforcement.
Another type of training the dalmatian should get is socializing with other people and dogs from a young age. They are a lovable friendly dog, but need socialization early in life.
Crate training is the best method to housebreak your dalmatian. It is not only the most effective method, but requires the least wiping up of messes and negative scolding. In addition, the dalmatian begins to associate the crate as being their home.