AKC Dog Breeds: Dalmatian

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Non-Sporting Group
Height:19-27 inches   Weight: 45-70 pounds  Color: Black Or Liver Spots On White Background

The only spotted breed, the Dalmatian is alert and active, possessing great endurance, speed and intelligence. Their working and sporting heritage makes them suitable as both a family pet or performance animal. An ancient breed, it is believed the Dalmatian originated in a section of Yugoslavia called Dalmatia. Their stamina, size, and guard dog capabilities made them a favored breed by English aristocracy. During both World Wars, this breed was used to protect the camps of U.S. soldiers. He is the original and only coaching dog. His affinity for horses remains a basic instinct to this day and the breed is a natural follower and guardian of the horse-drawn vehicle. The Dalmatian is most often associated with being a firehouse dog. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1888.

General Appearance
Most people know a Dalmatian right away because of his distinctive spotty coat. The Dalmatian has a muscular build, a keen and alert expression, and a handsome face. His coat is close fitting, dense, and short, and the coloring is white with black or liver spotting all over the coat. The familiar dapper black & white spotted dog of Disney fame, the Dalmatian is a symmetrical, muscular medium-sized dog with superior endurance. A picture of elegance, the Dalmatian has the lean, clean lines of the pointer, to which it may be related. It has a short, hard, dense coat of pure white with black or liver colored spots randomly splashed over it.  The feet are round with well-arched toes and the nails are either white or the same color as the spots. The nose can be either black, brown (liver), or blue or a dark gray that looks like black. The eyes are dark brown, amber, or blue, with an intelligent expression. The ears are soft, narrowing toward the point, carried with a slight upward curve. The more defined and well distributed the marking, the more valued the dog. Puppies are born completely white and the spots develop later.


The Dalmatian is exceedingly social and thrives on human companionship and attention. They are extremely sensitive and do not do well if left alone for extended periods of time. If they become lonely or bored they will become depressed and destructive. The Dalmatian is not recommended for homes with small children due to their exuberant and rambunctious nature. They will typically get along with household pets they have been raised with, but display aggression to dogs they do not know. This breed is aloof with strangers and makes an excellent watchdog; only barking when absolutely necessary.


The Dalmatian requires frequent brushing with a firm bristle brush to minimize loose hair. Extra attention should be given to the coat during the heavy shedding periods.  n addition to brushing your Dalmatian's coat, you should also trim their nails once a week to prevent overgrowth. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary using a mild shampoo to protect the integrity of the coat and skin. This breed does not do well in extreme weather conditions and are prone to fungi from moist grass and soil as well as ticks and fleas.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Dalmatian is around 11-14 years, and this breed has a range of health issues and disorders linked to it. Two major health issues that are associated with Dalmatians are deafness and kidney stones. While most litters will not contain any deaf puppies, up to 12% of all adult Dalmatians will become deaf at some point in their lifetime. This is due to genetics, poor breeding, and in most cases, age.

Activity Level
Dalmatians love to play. They enjoy going for walks, running, and fetching. If you lead an active lifestyle and want a dog to take with you when participating in outdoor activities, then a Dalmatian is one of the best breeds to own. The Dalmatian must have daily frequent exercise. Quality time spent with their family is extremely important to this breed. With their high degree of endurance, the Dalmatian makes an excellent walking, jogging, and hiking companion. This breed does best with a securely fenced yard they can romp and run in. Dalmatians are not recommended for apartment dwelling unless it is possible for them to receive a walk or run several times a day.


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Dalmatian profile on dog encyclopedia
Dalmatian dog on dog encyclopedia