Breed Type: Dalmatian
Country of Origin: Dalmatia, Croatia
Size: Medium
Also known as: Carriage Dog
Males: Height: 50-60 cm Weight: 25-30 kg
Females: Height: 50-55 cm Weight: 25-30 kg
Exercise Requirements: Vigorous
Care Requirements: Moderate
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Best Suited as: Family Companion, Guard/Security/Working Dog

Dalmatians are a breed of dogs known for their spotted coat. They have a strong and muscular body with dark or liver colored spots on their thick white skin. They are a very old breed with an unknown exact origin but are thought to have originated in a remote area of Croatia known as Dalmatia. Their origin is a matter of debate with plenty of disagreement between the experts. The Dalmatian breed makes an excellent housedog as well as a great children’s companion. This high-spirited and exuberant dog just loves to run and play hence they require a big spacious home to live in with plenty of room to move around. Their first few years of training are quite difficult as young Dalmatians are mischievous and over-excited demanding plenty of attention and time from their owners. However, if trained properly, a Dalmatian will be a perfect household pet for your family.

Dalmatians are medium in size with a well-muscled body and a spotted coat. They usually have dense black or brown colored spots on a white background that are very distinctive to the breed. Occasionally, Dalmatian spots can also show colors like blue-grayish, orange or lemon but this is not commonly found. The colored patches of Dalmatians can appear anywhere on the dog’s body, but mostly are on the head or ears, and usually are a solid color. Their feet are round with arched toes and they will have white or spot-colored toenails.

The Dalmatian is a very active and high-spirited breed. They are very fun-loving, friendly, easygoing dogs but are also loyal, affectionate, and protective of their owners. They are also known as “carriage dogs” because they used to run right alongside horse carriages which tell us just how high their energy and stamina levels really are. They don’t like to be left alone in yard with nothing to do because of their active and intelligent temperament. They need a lot of leadership along with some good human companionship at the same time. They are great with kids and respond excitedly to every desire of their owners. Dalmatians relate well and socialize quickly to other pets in the home and usually even outside the home. Dalmatians require a high level of training but will become very obedient dogs and can learn just about any type of work including guard and security tasks. As puppies, Dalmatians are really active and exuberant at times but being busy with intensive activity or any sort of regular exercise will keep them in suitably well behaved. If not given ample opportunity for exercise and entertainment though, they tend to become destructive at times. The first few years of raising a Dalmatian can be challenging, but once trained they become excellent companions.

The exact origin of the Dalmatian breed is not certain as there are next to no documentation of their existence early on but plenty of expert opinions as to their origins. They are known to be a very old breed but nothing can be said about their origins with any kind of certainty or assurance. Dalmatians are mentioned throughout history in Africa, Europe, and Asian arts such as Egyptian bas-reliefs and Hellenic friezes which have contained traces of the spotted dog breed. Sometime in the 18th century, a dog breed known as the Bengal pointer existed in Britain which is pertinent because their appearance is similar to that of the Dalmatian. This again raised ambiguity about the exact origins of the Dalmatians. Most people eventually agreed that Dalmatians were probably a Croatian breed of dogs even though not officially recognized as such. Many efforts to have them recognized as a Croatian breed were largely rejected until 1993 when they were officially identified as a Croatian breed of dogs.

During the middle ages, people used Dalmatians as a hunting hound, but in the early 19th century, they were known as the carriage dog. They used to sprint alongside horse-drawn carriages all the way to the destination and then guarding the carriage while their owners were busy elsewhere. Because of their very high stamina and energy levels, Dalmatians used to travel with and guard their owners even for journeys of very long distances. This talented and versatile breed has been used in many ways throughout history including firefighter mascots, war sentinels, draft dogs, vermin hunters, circus performers, bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, shepherds, and guard dogs.

Care and Grooming:
When compared with other breeds of dogs, Dalmatians are a remarkably clean and generally lack the familiar but undesirable dog odor. They don’t particularly enjoy getting dirty or going through puddles so should be bathed quickly if they do become dirty. They typically need a bath about every 1-2 months. Dalmatians shed hair throughout the entire year but shed a large amount of hair just a couple of times a year. They do need to be brushed regularly to keep their coats well maintained and minimize the shedding.


Dalmatians are generally a very healthy breed of dogs, but they do tend to experience hearing problems more often than most other breeds of dogs. Almost 12-15% of Dalmatians are actually born deaf, and they should be BAER-tested for deafness around 6 weeks of age. It is recommended that completely deaf puppies should be spayed or neutered. Dalmatians are also prone to kidney stones later in life causing urinary problems. This is a result of their naturally high uric acid levels. They also tend to develop arthritic problems in their joints as they age, and may suffer from skin allergies to such things as synthetic fibers in carpets etc.

Suitability as a Pet:
Dalmatians make excellent family pets and are friendly, obedient, and fun-loving animals. They work great with children and socialize easily with other people in and out of the home. In general, they also work well with other pets and enjoy time for socializing. They are not shy dogs and can easily interact with most people whether strangers or not. Apartment living environment do not do well for Dalmatians because they are very active dogs and at the very least they need a yard big enough to run and play in. They do not adapt well to in cold weather environments and mostly prefer to live indoors.

Since Dalmatians are such an active and boisterous breed, they need to have opportunities for vigorous exercise around the same time each day if possible. If not trained properly, they might show some harsh behavioral problems that are unacceptable and they tend to become more exuberant and boisterous if proper training techniques are not used consistently. Training as well as daily care should include long and regular walks at a brisk pace while the owner leads the way. Dalmatians prefer to follow their owners when walking in order to guard them. The Dalmatian breed of dogs requires high levels of training which when done properly, results in high levels of obedience. Their intelligence level is also high and they can be trained to perform many tasks as proven throughout the history of the breed.

Dalmatian Organisations in Australia
Dalmatian Club of New South Wales Inc
Secretary : Mrs Marilyn Miller
33 White Cedar Drive,
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
Phone (AH): 02 9634 6458 or 0425 285 205 (8am-7pm EST)
Email: [email protected]

Dalmatian Organisations in the UK
British Dalmatian Club – Welcome

Dalmatian Organisations in the US
Dalmatian Club Of America
Dalmatian Club of Victoria

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