Dalmatian general features, temperament, health

FCI # 153, Origin: Croatia, Group 6.3 Scenthounds. Related breeds.

Height: 20-24 in, Weight: 50-55 pounds

Grooming & Shedding: MEDIUM/HIGH, Coat: Short, hard, dense, sleek & glossy.

Color: Pure white with black or liver spots.

Ease of training: MEDIUM, Energy level: HIGH, Span of life: 10-12 years

Breed: Where did the Dalmatian came from? Who are his ancestors? There are many theories. By one of them - the most common - the birthplace of Dalmatian is the region called Dalmatia, that is situated in the Republic of Croatia, and his ancestors are - Istrian pointer and, probably, a Great Dane.

Frescoes, picturing the first images of Dalmatians ancestors are painted in 1360 in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. "Dogs of the Lord" as they were called in Britain at the time of Cromwell, were the symbols of the Roman Church. The British Museum stores flyers, murals, prints with the images of Dalmatians.

England can rightly be considered a second home of a Dalmatian. Along with luxury items and works of art, these dogs were imported from the continent 400 years ago by the English travelers. Dogs with unusual color became a decoration of houses and lush trips of aristocrats and the rich. Three centuries ago, Dalmatians were accompanying coaches and carriages and were called "carriage dogs." At that time this beautiful dogs could be seen very often, running under the drawbar between the horses.

British specially selected and trained 4-6 months old Dalmatian puppies for carriage escorting, for that they were tied to the front axle of the carriage next to the elder dogs. Such a test was helping to reveal the most strong puppies, helping them to settle among the older and more experienced relatives. Dalmatians - this beautiful, elegant dogs - were not only a symbol of luxury and wealth, but also a reliable protection on the long journeys. They were successfully defending the coaches from robber's attacks and wild beasts. That is why on the paintings of that time we can see Dalmatians with the short cropped ears, as the long ears were too vulnerable in fights. Another Dalmatian's "profession" - Fireman. On the streets of English cities one could see an interesting spectacle - racing Dalmatians with the loud barking were calling the passers-by and the carriages to make the way for the coming fire vehicles. During fires Dalmatians saved many human lives. In the U.S. people still remember and honor the heroic dog named Sparky, who became a symbol of courage and selflessness. Sparky ,wearing the fire helmet, is depicted on the emblems of many departments and in the Museum of Fire affairs at the place of honor stands his figure.



Thanks to a bright appearance and lively temperament, Dalmatian became the circus performers as well. Very often they were acting together with the clowns. In this case, in addition to the Harlequin costume they were wearing the red cockscomb, which gave Dalmatian more cheerful look.

But, sadly, the times of a magnificent aristocratic carriages were gone, and the Dalmatian seemed to be out of work. The number of Dalmatians was dramatically reduced. 
Eventually, thanks to his good character and ability to get along easily with people, the Dalmatian got a new job - a companion dog. In the list of most popular breeds for a family, he took one of the first positions.  In Europe and America the first Dalmatian Fancier's Clubs were founded - in Britain in 1890, in the U.S. in 1905. The history of these dogs in the United States goes to the first U.S. President George Washington, who loved and bred Dalmatians. He believed, they were the embodiment of beauty, grace, intelligence and generosity.

The popularity of this breed has grown incredibly after the book "101 Dalmatian", written by Dodie Smith in 1956. Three years later, the master of animation Walt Disney created a cartoon by this book, which had a great success across the globe. Millions of adults and children felt inlove with the main characters of the cartoon - Dalmatians Pongo, Perdita and their lovely kids. Throughout the world there was an unprecedented interest in the spotted dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, the number of Dalmatian puppies sold increased from 700 to 5000 in one year.

During the Second World War Dalmatians were on the patrol guard duty, guarding the civil and military facilities. There was known even a "pilot", Dalmatian, who - together with his owner - made 38 flights over the territory of Germany, was wounded and awarded by the British Government.

Later this heroic Dalmatian became the ancestor of the population of these dogs in Japan.

General Features: 

Dalmatian is a medium sized dog, white with the black or brown spots, by size most reminding 10-cent coins. Dalmatians males exceed the size of females. Since the breeding of dogs of this breed drew attention to the development of endurance, which allows to cover large distances, modern Dalmatians are showing a very well-developed muscles.
Dalmatian's head is long. The skull is flat. Muzzle is long, powerful, not narrow. Jaws powerful. Lips tightly compressed.
Tail is thick at the base, gradually thinning towards the tip.


Throughout his history the Dalmatian was seen in many occupations, and this breed can confidently be called "the universal": Dalmatian helped firefighters, was a guard, a shepherd, a circus dog, a hunter...  Nowadays Dalmatians are primarily a family companion dogs. 
Dalmatians are known as "coach-dog" who had to run alongside the horse-drawn carriages of their owners, which was surely requiring energy and stamina. Dalmatian can not sit still all day long, he needs some exercises and a long walks. 
This is a sensitive and very loving dog, who needs a friendly relationship with the owner and his entire family. Dalmatians need attention and a human company. 
Dalmatians are very much enjoying playing with children, but may be too irritated if the kids are too small. He gets along well with the other pets, but some individuals may be aggressive with unfamiliar dogs. Males often are quarrelsome with the other male dogs. 
Dalmatian is sensitive and sentimental, he can grow timid when he is not properly socialized. Provide for him a proper communication with the other dogs to prevent any attempts to fight or any kind of aggression. 
Dalmatians can be easily trained, they capture everything very quickly. But they require a steady hand to develop a stable and consistent behavior. Never punish your Dalmatian unnecessarily or severely: the firmness and persistence, but not rudeness are the right steps towards the successful training. 
Dalmatian is an extremely active dog, who just needs daily walks without a leash in a safe place for dogs. Engage with your Dalmatian jogging or morning cycling. 
In a cold weather, make sure that your Dalmatian will not freeze outside. For the winter you can buy him a warm sweater or suit. Wearing the warm clothes he can stay outside longer - and it is very important for your Dalmatian!



Health problems:

Dalmatian puppies should be checked for deafness (about 20-25% are born deaf). Some Dalmatians are prone to urinary tract problems. Also Dalmatians my develop different kinds of skin allergies.

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