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Dalmatian Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

We here at IndulgeYourPet would be willing to bet that if you asked 100 people on the street what a Dalmatian dog looked like, at least 95% of them would tell you…

“They’re the ones with spots… Duh!”

And they would be correct, but how many of those folks would also know where the Dalmatian dog breed originated from? Or what kind of health issues can affect the Dalmatian dog breed? Probably not all that many. This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own one of these incredible dogs. If you consider adopting a Dalmatian, you’ll be much better positioned to find a healthy one.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Dalmatian Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin:  Yugoslavia

Original Purpose:  Carriage Dog

Height:  19 to 23 inches tall

Weight:  40 to 60 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Non-Sporting Group

Lifespan:  10 to 13 years

The Origins of the Dalmatian Dog Breed: A Quick History

Dalmatians are one of “those” dog breeds with a bit of a “controversial” origin story. Most folks seem to believe they came from a region in and around Yugoslavia known as Dalmatia, thus the name Dalmatian. However, according to many researchers, there does appear to be some evidence that the Dalmatian dog breed simultaneously appeared in Asia and North Africa right around the same time that they were present in Central Europe right along the Adriatic Sea.

So, Which is it? Did they originate in Yugoslavia, or did they create somewhere else? Beats us; All we can tell you is that because they “seem” to be named after a region near Yugoslavia that was once called Dalmatia, we here at IndulgeYourPet are going to run with that “theory” (You’re free to believe whatever you want!”)

What’s not in question…

Traditionally, folks throughout Central Europe used these dogs as “carriage dogs.” Now, we’re not suggesting that these dogs were used to “pull” carriages because, let’s face it, if they were, these carriages wouldn’t have been able to carry all that much! No, by the term “carriage dog,” we’re referring to their role in protecting horse-drawn carriages. You see, traditionally, the Dalmatian dog breed was used to trot beside horse-driven coaches to guard the horses and the rig when they were left unattended.

During these times…

Most folks who owned horses tended to be wealthy and wanted to ensure their carriages would be protected. And if they could be protected by a “stylish” and “handsome” dog, well, that was even better! Their looks were also a driving force in why we still have Dalmatians today because their role as a “carriage dog” quickly disappeared with the advent of the automobile. Fortunately, these guys also make fantastic companion animals, which is probably why they remain one of the most popular dogs in the United States and an iconic breed (think Disney’s 101 Dalmatians movie).

Physical Characteristics

Spoiler alert… Dalmatians have spots. That part we already know, so let’s dive a bit deeper so that we can better understand what lies beneath the sites so that you can get a better idea of what “kind” of dog you are dealing with if you decide to adopt a Dalmatian puppy.

First off…

These dogs have a very well-defined and muscular body with the stamina that goes along with it. According to the American Kennel Club, the following are the dog’s standards:

  • A female Dalmation weighs between 40 to 65 pounds and is between 22 to 23 inches in height
  • A male Dalmation weighs between 45-70 pounds and is between 23-24 inches in height

The dog has round feet and well-arched toes, and the nails are usually the same color as the dog’s spots (which we think is pretty cool).

Their eyes…

It can also vary between brown, amber, or blue. Unfortunately, blue eyes, which many folks prefer, are a recessive trait that carries some other hereditary medical issues, which we will discuss later in this article. An interesting fact that you may not be aware of is that all Dalmatians are born with a plain white coat, and the black spots only start appearing when the pup is about 3 or 4 weeks old.

The good news is that the coat of the Dalmatian is short, dense, and fine and only contains a small amount of “oil,” so… Not only will the Dalmatian coat be easy to keep clean and groomed, but it will also lack that “dog smell” as well.

Temperament and Personality

Having learned what the Dalmatian dog breed was initially used for, it really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that these dogs are highly energetic and athletic dogs with the stamina to run for hours on end when given the opportunity. So, if you’re thinking you might like to own one of these incredible creatures, just be prepared to ensure they get plenty of opportunity to run free.

These dogs also…

Make excellent watchdogs as they know everything that’s going on around them. If your dog sees something suspicious or exciting, he’ll tell you how he feels about it. And while this may seem “odd,” these guys can also be quite reserved and quiet dogs when they’re out in public. You can say they let their “spots” do the talking. Because what you’re going to find is that just about everyone “loves” a Dalmatian, so when you do go out in public, you’re likely to get a lot of compliments and questions:

  • Wow, is that a Dalmatian?
  • How long have you had him?
  • Can I pet him?
  • etc… etc…!

This is why it’s essential to socialize Dalmations early on when they’re puppies. This way, they’ll learn to “mix well” with people and other dogs.

The good news is that…

Dalmatians love to be around people and always seek their owner’s approval. Two essential traits will make “training” your Dalmatian much easier and more rewarding! Just be sure to provide plenty of positive reinforcement and always have a few treats ready for them, and you’ll be well on your way to owning a very well-trained animal. Dalmatians are also a dog breed that we here at IndulgeYourPet feel confident recommending to folks with children, provided that both the dog and the child are adequately trained on how to behave with one another and… provided that you, as the owner, be sure always to supervise any playtime between your dog and your child until our child is old enough and large enough to handle a dog the size of a full-grown Dalmatian.

Potential Health Concerns

There are a few diseases and health issues that a dog breed is prone to getting as they grow old. Unfortunately, Dalmatians aren’t an exception to this rule, which is why if you are considering adopting a Dalmatian puppy, you’re going to want to be sure and discuss the following medical conditions with your Dalmatian breeder so that you can get a better idea about the health of your puppy’s parents.

Common health concerns for the Dalmatian dog breed may include:

  • Hereditary deafness: This is an inherited condition in which the dogs are either wholly deaf or born with 22 to 24% hearing in one year.
  • Urolithiasis: The urinary tract system of Dalmatians makes them prone to getting urinary tract stones. Large stones lodge themselves into the urethra, while smaller ones pass naturally.
  • Skin allergies: Dalmatians are prone to developing skin allergies, which may be food-based, contact, or airborne. The medicine depends on the symptoms your dog exhibits.
  • Hip dysplasia: This heritable condition is caused when the femur doesn’t snugly fit the pelvic socket or the hip joint, which causes lameness and pain in one or more legs.
  • Iris Sphincter Dysplasia: This is an inherited disorder in which the dog is sensitive to sunlight, has poor night vision, can develop total or partial blindness, and usually develops cataracts.

While we would love to tell you not to worry about any of these issues, the truth is that the Dalmatian dog breed isn’t the “healthiest” of all dog breeds out there. But that doesn’t seem to keep people from wanting them and owning them, so if you are still committed to purchasing a Dalmatian puppy or, better yet, adopting a Dalmatian rescue dog, we would STRONGLY encourage you also to take a moment and consider purchasing a pet insurance policy as well.

This way…

If your Dalmatian does become sick or injured later on, you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of their medical bills.

For more information about who we “feel” currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we recommend you check out our article:  Top 10 Best Pet Insurance Companies.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • BIanca January 3, 2022, 9:51 am

    How i can help a dalmatian to keep fit and healthy

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