The Dalmatian is one of the most popular dog breeds, known for its peculiar black (or brown) spots on its white fur. It is a very loyal dog, with a stable and calm character, as long as it can get enough exercise to release the accumulated tension.

Whether you are thinking of adopting a Dalmatian puppy or an adult, in this breed file we explain everything you need to know about its character, the main characteristics of the breed, its education and some of the most common health problems and important.

Dalmatian story

Despite being a well-known breed for a long time, the ancient history and origins of the Dalmatian are really unknown. The earliest images of Dalmatians are from Croatian paintings and frescoes dating from the 17th century.

The Dalmatian spread throughout the world. Throughout their existence, they performed many functions. They were used as a hunting dog, companion dog, guard dog, etc. However, its consecration occurred at the end of the 17th century. At that time the English nobles and wealthy had a herd of Dalmatians accompany their carriages to demonstrate their power. This was supposed to do double duty: protect the horses from stray dogs and provide a more aesthetically pleasing view of the carriage.

The popularity of the breed grew in the 1960s thanks to the Disney movie “101 Dalmatians” and was later given a new boost with the second version of the film. Unfortunately, this ended up hurting the breed as it became a popular and sought after dog, so they began to breed it indiscriminately. The result was the overpopulation of the breed and the rise of many hereditary diseases due to high inbreeding. Today, the Dalmatian is a very popular companion and family dog.

Physical traits of the Dalmatian

This is a handsome, elegant and distinguished breed with a particularly spotted white coat. The head is proportionate and harmonious with the rest of the body, without wrinkles and prismatic in shape. His naso-frontal depression is moderately defined. The nose should be the same color as the spots on the body. The eyes are oval and their color also corresponds to that of the spots. The ears are set high, triangular, with rounded edges, hanging and mottled.

The body is rectangular, being slightly longer than the height at the withers. The back is powerful and straight, while the back is short and the croup slightly sloping. The chest is deep and not too wide. The belly is moderately tucked up, but not sunken. The tail is long and mottled. The coat is short, shiny, hard and dense. It is white mottled with black spots or brown spots.

The character of the Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is an affectionate, self-confident and very active dog. They generally love to swim, run, and exercise by following tracks and their own curiosity. They usually get along with other dogs and other animals. They are also generally friendly with strangers, although they are not as social as the Labrador Retriever or the Golden Retriever.

They are perfect for active families who exercise with their dogs and want a faithful and energetic companion by their side. However, inside the house, the Dalmatian is a calm and serene dog, who is able to relax without any problem.

These dogs are perfectly tolerant of children who know how to respect and care for them as they deserve, but they do not always react well to tail or ear pulling. That is why it will also be important to teach our children to play with the Dalmatian properly: always with respect and affection. Obviously, the education of the dog will be very important to achieve a more affable, relaxed and tolerant character. We will inform you about this later.

Specific care for Dalmatians

Dalmatian coat care is really simple: you will have to brush it from time to time to remove dead hair and you should only bathe it when its coat is really dirty.

What we really need to pay attention to is the exercise this dog needs. It is essential to be clear about this point if we want to adopt a Dalmatian dog because if it is not fulfilled, it can become something destructive within the home. His energy needs are really high, so we must take a minimum of three daily walks of average duration and provide him with at least one hour of active exercise. You can also help them release their accumulated stress by playing intelligence games that, in addition to entertaining our dog, will stimulate him mentally so that he develops his excellent skills even more.

Finally, we will comment that the Dalmatian, despite being a bit independent on some occasions, is a dog that loves to feel part of a social group and deeply hates loneliness. Spending too much time alone can cause behavior problems like separation anxiety, as can a lack of exercise.

Dalmatian health

The Dalmatian is a dog prone to some diseases due to the inbreeding to which this breed has been subjected for so many years. The most common diseases in the Dalmatian are:

  • Allergic dermatitis.
  • Atopic dermatitis.
  • Fungal infections.
  • Food allergies.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Demodicosis.
  • Skin tumors
  • Kidney stones.
  • Urethral stones.
  • Cardiomyopathies.
  • Deafness.

Deafness has a very high incidence in the breed, affecting more than 10% of Dalmatian dogs. Kidney and urethral stones are very common in the breed because the Dalmatian is the only mammal that cannot metabolize uric acid into allantoin. This directly affects the formation of stones in the urinary tract.

To maintain optimum health in a Dalmatian, it will be useful to visit the vet at least every 6 months to make sure that everything is going well and strictly follow their vaccination schedule. Good nutrition, exercise and good care will be the key to enjoying a happy, healthy and long-lived Dalmatian!