© Eriklam |


Breed origin: Unknown
Original purpose: Various uses, including draft dog, shepherd, ratter, hunting dog, and the only coaching dog.

AKC recognized: 1888
AKC group: Non-Sporting

Size: Weight: 35 to 50 lbs
Size: Height: 19 to 23 inches
© Dogist (Olga Lukanenkova) |
Color: Pure white with spots that are either dense black or liver brown.

Life span: 12 to 14 years.

General characteristics/temperament: The Dalmatian is active, alert, stable, outgoing, intelligent and dignified, and possesses great speed and endurance. They are fun-loving and people-oriented, and thrive in a family environment. However, they are a high-energy breed and require daily exercise. The Dalmatian is the original and only coaching dog, and to this day retains his natural affinity for horses and remains a natural follower and guardian of horse-drawn vehicles. They are naturally protective, but are usually sensible, dependable and courteous toward strangers unless a real threat is present. Dalmatians have a unique spotted coat that is not found in any other breed. However, puppies are born with pure white hair with pigment only in the skin, and the color begins to appear in the hair at about two weeks of age. The breed experienced a massive surge in popularity as a result of the 1956 novel "The Hundred and One Dalmatians" by Dodie Smith, and later the movies based on the book. This rise in popularity resulted in many irresponsible breeders and puppy mills wishing to cash in on the demand for these puppies. As a result, high numbers of Dalmatians were bred without regard for the health, quality, and temperament of the dogs used for breeding. That fact, combined with the high number of families who purchase a Dalmatian puppy for their children without first ensuring that they are able to meet these energetic dogs' high exercise requirements, lead to large numbers of Dalmatians being given up by their families.

© Anna63 (Anna Utekhina) |
Good watchdog? Yes

Protective? Yes

OK in apartments? No

© Roughcollie (Karen Arnold) |
Intelligent? Yes

Energy/Activity Level: High

Good jogging partner? Yes

Suitable canine sports/activities: conformation, obedience, agility, coach dog

Exercise requirement: Daily exercise on leash or within a fenced area.

Grooming requirement: Dalmatians shed their short, fine coats year round and shed more than most other year-round shedders. Regular brushing will help reduce the shedding, but owners must still prepare for having loose hair all over the house.

Known health problems: Allergies, iris sphincter dysplasia, deafness, hypothyroidism, kidney disorders, liver disorders, epilepsy, bladder stones.

Additional photos of Dalmatian

Recommended books for further reading:

The Dalmatian (An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet)
By Patti Strand and Rod Strand
Published in 1995
158 pages

The Official Book of the Dalmatian
By Dalmatian Club of America
Published in 1997
450 pages

Dalmatian (A Comprehensive Owner's Guide)
By Frances Camp
Published in 2003
158 pages

All About Dalmatians
By Kathy McCoubrey and Carla Baker
Published in 2004
214 pages

Show more books

Other websites for additional information:

American Kennel Club breed page
Dalmatian Club of America
Wikipedia breed information page
Dalmatian Club of America Rescue

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Page Last Updated: February 1, 2018

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