Dalmatian: Outgoing And Fast Dog Breed

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Dalmatians are highly energetic, sensitive, and playful dogs. They are loyal and love spending every minute with their family. Read on to discover if they are born all-white or with their famous spots.
Dog Breed Group:
Companion Dogs
19 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
48 to 55 pounds
Life Span:
13 to 16 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Dalmatian dog breed is best known as the adorable star of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.

Thanks to modern culture, many believe that Dalmatians are easy-going dogs, like couch potatoes, while they have a history as a coach dog, who served in many capacities, including hunting, circus performing, and even as firehouse dogs.

Dalmatians are smart, outgoing, and dignifies. They have easily recognized thanks to their spotted coat and unique job description. Although these are purebred dogs, you may find them in your local shelter or rescue groups.

Remembers to always think about adoption as an option.

Quick Facts

Real name: Dalmatian
Origin: Croatia
Breed type: Non-sporting group
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Height: 19-24 inches
Lifespan: 11-13 years
Litter Size: 6 to 9 puppies
Color: White background with black or liver spots.Lemon, blue, brindle, or tricolor spots do appear, but they are not accepted colors.
Coat: Short and satiny

Dalmatian History

The Dalmatian’s origins are unknown. There is some information on the history of these spotted dogs, which is why we know that they have traveled with the nomadic bands of Romanies, but it’s still unclear where they first appeared. However, here is their linguistic steppes.

The Dalmatian obtained his name during his stay in Dalmatia, a province on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, the area that is now known as Croatia. So, there is no doubt that this breed is associated with the region once known as Dalmatia.

Dalmatians have a rather unusual job: they had to run next to the horse-drawn coaches, and guard horses and react as soon as they notice something unusual or someone.

The English royalty had a close affinity with the breed, and it such that they gave them nicknames as the English Coach Dog, Spotted Dick, and the Plum Pudding Dog.

Back in the 1800s, when horses pulled fire engines, Dalmatians began their long association with firefighters.

Dalmatians entered the AKC Stud Book in 1888. The Dalmatian Club of America holds road trials to test their dogs’ “coach dog” ability.

Dalmatian Physical Appearane

Dalmatians are often described as spotted dogs. They are strong, muscular, and active. They are capable of great endurance, combined with a fair amount of speed.

The head is in balance with the overall body. Eyes are set apart, color brown or blue, and the eye rims’ incomplete pigmentation is a major fault. The ears are of moderate size and set high.

The nose is completely pigmented, and incomplete nose pigmentation is a major fault.

The neck is nicely arched, while the topline is smooth. The tail is never too low. Legs are straight, sturdy, and strong. Dalmatian’s coat is dense, short, and close-fitting. It’s something between being silky and woolly and always healthy in appearance.

Dalmatian Spots

Color and markings are always important points to be evaluated. In black-spotted dogs, the spots are dense black.

In liver-spotted dogs, the spots are liver brown. Fro dog shows, any color markings other than black or liver are disqualified.

Spots are well-defined and round, although they may vary in size. Spots are always evenly distributed. As a general rule, spots are smaller on the body’s head, legs, and tail.

Ears are as well spotted. Tri-color (which rarely occurs in this breed) is a disqualification. The hindquarters are powerful with well-defined muscles. Both front feet and round and compact, while flat feet are a major fault.

Why Do Dalmatians Have Spots?

This may sound strange, but Dalmatians have spots because humans decided so. Through selective breeding, humans changed the dog’s brain, and not only physical presence.

Someone just decided that white dogs with spots on would look great, and then just decided to create them, and thanks to that some, the world was given first Dalmatian.

Dalmatian puppies are born with plain white coats, and their first spots usually appear within ten days. In some dogs, spots can appear after three to four months. Interestingly, new spots can appear throughout their lives.

Dalmatian Personality

Dalmatian is born to run. This is a high-energy dog with an endless capacity for exercise.

This spotted dog will always have a strong desire to please, making him easy to train through positive reinforcement such as food and treat rewards, play, and praise. This is an intelligent dog with a great sense of humor.

He will do his best to make you laugh. This spotted dog is also highly interested in everything that goes around him, making him an excellent watchdog.

To have a well-behaved dog, early socialization is mandatory and exposure to different people, sounds, experiences, and sights. Early socialization can help your puppy grown up to be a well-rounded dog.

Dalmatian Children And Other Pets

There is no child that won’t recognize Dalmatian on sight. His love of activity makes the Dalmatian a great playmate for older children.

His fast moves and swishing tail may be too much for toddlers and young children. However, with early socialization, Dalmatians can get along fine with other dogs and cats.

As with every breed, you should educate your children on how to behave around dogs and to supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any accident.

Teach your children never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping. No matter how friendly the dog might be, these are not situations that can be easily tolerated.

Dalmatian Training

It’s essential to expose your dog to as many new and unusual situations as possible. Dogs learn by exploring, so exposing them to new situations, new people, and new smells is a mandatory part of growing up.

It’s important for dogs to understand that unknown and new is nothing to be afraid of and that it will only make his life happier. Exposing your dog to new things will make your life as a dog-owner much easier as well.

Dalmatians are sensitive dogs, and you should only use reward-based training. Therefore, early socialization and puppy training classes will help ensure that your Dalmatian grew into a well-behaved and well-adjusted companion.

Dalmatian Exercise

Dalmatians are high-energy dog breeds, who need regular exercise to stay fit and happy. Exercise style may vary, but it’s important to be fresh and interactive.

It can be chasing a ball tossed across the backyard, running next to a jogging owner, running alongside a biking owner, or take a nice but long hike through the woods.

Be very careful if you have a puppy – a puppy’s bones and joints aren’t mature enough until two years of age, so be wary of strenuously exercising the dog before then. Dalmatians can become destructive if they don’t get enough opportunity for physical and mental exercise.

Dalmatian Grooming

How hard can it be to maintain a Dalmatian coat? The Dalmatian coat is beautiful with its colored spots on a white background, and it doesn’t take much work to keep them in good condition.

Weekly brushing is mandatory. It would help if you had proper grooming tools, and brushing your Dalmatiabn with a horsehair mitt or rubber curry comb should be enough to pull away dead hairs and help you keep your Dalmatian at his best. Nails should be trimmed at least monthly.

Since ears are floppy, they should be checked regularly. Talk to your veterinarian to recommend you a good routine and cleaning materials. Also, learn how to clean the dog’s ears.

The rest is regular maintenance, checking ears, gums, and bathing only when needed.

Dalmatian Health

If your Dalmatian came from a responsible breeder, you would have a record of genetic health testing done on the parents.

A responsible breeder will always screen parents and puppies for the most common health issues in the breed.

In Dalmatians, deafness is frequently present so having proof that your puppy is screened for these conditions is welcome.

A unilaterally hearing dog (deaf in one ear) can usually lead a reasonably normal life; a bilaterally (both sides) deaf dog often cannot and will require special considerations. Kidney stones or bladder stones can develop in Dalmatians.

Your veterinarian will tell you how to avoid this problem. Dalmatians aren’t picky eaters, and they don’t require many supplements to keep them looking fit.

Recommended Health Tests for Dalmatians:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • BAER Testing

Dalmatian Nutrition

Your Dalmatian should do fine on a high-quality food appropriate for the dog’s age. A senior dog cannot thrive on puppy food, and vice versa. It’s important to have the right food to provide the right nutrients.

Obesity in pets is a problem on the rise, and you shouldn’t feed your dog more than you should.

To avoid tipping the scales, watch your dog’s calories, add vegetables to the daily food menu, and maintain the recommended weight level.

This way, your dog will remain fit and active. Avoid giving table scraps, and especially avoid cooked bones and foods with high-fat content. Learn which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. If you have concerns about your dog’s diet, talk to your veterinarian.

Also, if you want to change your dog’s diet, like switching to raw food, consult your veterinarian first.

The Bottom Line

Dalmatians will demand your time and dedication. If you don’t provide your dog with enough exercise, he will become destructive. Although this breed comes with one a kind coat, you won’t be able to avoid shedding.

Dalmatians shed! Brushign them daily can help keep shedding under control. They can be headstrong, so training will help them become well-mannered members.

Early socialization with other dogs, cats, and other small pets, children, and adults is a must. They tend to develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. They love to be included in every family activity and be surrounded by their family members all the time.

The animated and live-action movies “101 Dalmatians,” both by Disney, lead to an extreme rise in the breed’s popularity. With huge popularity comes many unresponsible breeders who don’t pay attention to dogs’ health or temperament.

So, always double-check everything and be cautious when looking for your Dalmatian.

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