The Dalmatian is one of the breeds for which “media” and momentary popularity have done more harm than good. Dogs with a difficult temperament and high demands for daily exercise do not get along with every fan of the Disney cartoon. But experienced and responsible owners will find in energetic creation a devoted friend and a wonderful companion.
- Breed name: Dalmatian
- Country of origin: Croatia
- Weight: Males: 27-32 kg. Bitches: 24-29 kg.
- Height (height at withers): Males: 56-62 cm. Bitches: 54-60 cm
- Life span: 10-13 years
- These are rather large and very active animals, therefore, it is preferable to be kept in a private house with the possibility of free-range in a fenced area.
- Dalmatians need early socialization and proper upbringing.
- Without sufficient physical exertion, they turn into uncontrollable destructive dogs.
- Dalmatians are not suitable for families with small children.
- Despite the short coat, they shed intensively and need constant care.
- About 12% of puppies are born deaf.
- The pattern of body spots is unique to each dog.
- Only dogs with black or brown spots on a white background are allowed to participate in exhibitions, but there are other color options.
History of the Dalmatian Breed
It is probably difficult to imagine a person living in a civilized world who would not know a Dalmatian dog. The cartoon, and later the film from Walt Disney “101 Dalmatians”, made these animals famous everywhere. By the way, following the release of this touching story, the popularity of the breed skyrocketed. Which is not surprising.
The exact origin of the Dalmatian is unknown, but the first evidence refers to … the gypsies. Yes, you heard right – it was these wandering people who used dogs in performances and on hunting. Actually, the very name of the Dalmatian breed refers to a territory called Dalmatia, which corresponds to present-day Croatia. Apparently, dogs were very fond of in this area – they were used not only by the Gypsies but also literally by everyone in the most diverse regions (although they got to Dalmatia, apparently, with vagrant Gypsies). Dalmatians acted as shepherds, rat catchers, circus dogs.
But, so to speak, the Dalmatian got its final and most important place in life in England, thanks to the professionalism of the breeders. They developed the dogs into a complete breed by developing certain standards and determining the most effective use. The Dalmatian cleared the way for the horses, ran next to the carriage, guarded the horses and the carriage during rest. Even today, the Dalmatian breed has a natural affinity for horses.
Accordingly, the Dalmatians were also used as service dogs to escort ambulances and fire brigades, and in America, it was even more popular than in England. It is the inner closeness to horses, and the lack of fear of them, that made Dalmatians the most used dogs for escorting various types of transport. In addition, they served as guard dogs at ambulance stations in hospitals and fire stations.
The Dalmatian breed of dogs is a thin, but strong and muscular animal with an aesthetic and proportional physique. The muzzle is elongated, the ears are concave. The limbs are slightly longer than average, the chest is pronounced, as is the abdominal cavity. The coat is short, soft, thick, and shiny. On a basic white background, black or brown (strictly the same color!) Spots with clear contours, which are located symmetrically along the body, on the head, ears, and tail.
To say that the Dalmatian breed has a high energy level is to say nothing. This is a born fidget who is always happy to be the soul of the company and longs for new adventures. Dalmatians are ready to spend all their free time on the street, they will go with you to the ends of the world and this will be the best thing in life for them.
If you do not have enough free time to provide the dog with long and active walks, do not start this breed. Since if the animal does not receive the required level of activity and physical activity, it becomes unhappy, sad, it loses its appetite and there is a tendency to gnaw everything that surrounds it. In this case – pieces of furniture in your apartment, shoes, etc.
Please note that Dalmatians are as smart as they are active. They can be cunning and are stubborn. Therefore, everyone who starts this breed should be aware that he will need to carry out consistent educational work. The goal is to make it clear to the dog that you see through and through its cunning and, so to speak, “do not pay attention”, and secondly, to develop obedience, getting rid of stubbornness. And, at the same time, the Dalmatian is very fond of his masters and his family, these are for him the first living creatures in the universe, of course, if the owner is not an inadequate tyrant.
Therefore, a Dalmatian dog always tries to please its owners and receives inner satisfaction from this. In the circle of his family or family friends whom the dog knows and also loves, there is no living being more affectionate, friendly, and devoted. It is always interesting with these animals – they can entertain with their funny antics, and in general – they are very lively, giving the impression of intelligent creatures who understand everything that is happening around them.
They need early socialization, acquaintance with children, other animals. Then you can be sure that dogs will behave well with a child, although they are naturally endowed with a very kind character and love children. Strangers are perceived without aggression, neither neutral nor positive.
If a person shows a negative attitude, the dog looks at the owner’s reaction, although the Dalmatian does not like to come into conflict with the person. But, at the same time, he is a good watchdog, since he has high alertness and can bark loudly and profusely. However, keep in mind – he loves people and is not strong enough to attack and pose a serious danger to an adult, large man.
Dalmatians are among the breeds for which proper training and early socialization are incredibly important. A freedom-loving character, unbridled energy, and hunter’s instincts without control and containment mechanisms formed in childhood lead to the emergence of an uncontrollable, destructive adult animal.
Teaching basic commands and interacting with the outside world cannot be delayed. From the first days of the appearance of a puppy in your home, a parenting program should start. A little Dalmatian must clearly understand the boundaries of what is permitted and know that disobedience will have consequences. Of course, showing aggression and using physical force is unacceptable, but the owner’s firm and stern voice, in which discontent is clearly expressed, is in itself a sufficient punishment.
Do not forget that visits to the walking grounds and participate in group exercises with a dog handler can only begin when the puppy has received the prescribed doses of the mandatory vaccines and enough time has passed for the formation of immunity to diseases dangerous for the pet. It is better to clarify this with your veterinarian.
Well-trained dogs already in half a year know and easily execute more than a dozen commands, including both standard and “artistic” like successive coups, “High five!” or bows. In general, it must be said that spotted circus performers adore attention and are ready to make a lot of efforts to make their owners smile.
Conditions of Detention
An ideal option for keeping a Dalmatian would be a spacious private house with a securely fenced area where he can walk freely during the day. However, it must be remembered that representatives of this breed cannot live permanently in an aviary in our climatic conditions – short hair does not protect against low temperatures.
If you are the owner of a city apartment, long walks are a prerequisite for a peaceful existence. Moreover, not only the duration (at least an hour a day) is important, but also the saturation with loads. It is best if the dog on a leash accompanies you on a run or bike ride – moving at a fast pace, he will burn enough energy so that he does not seek adventure when he returns. Exercising on an equipped obstacle course can be an alternative, just correctly measure the physical condition of the dog and the height of the barriers.
Dalmatians do not need complicated and tedious care. Their “fur coat” does not need a haircut and frequent bathing, however, molting occurs abundantly and almost continuously, becoming especially strong at the border of the warm and cold seasons. To keep the hair in the house minimal, it is recommended to clean the pet with a brush or a special mitten as often as possible (at least 2-3 times a week).
Otherwise, standard procedures are enough: monitor the condition of the ears and eyes, the length of the claws, regularly brush your teeth with the veterinary paste.
Nutrition should be balanced and healthy. The easiest way to do this is to use premium and super-premium ready-made feeds. Remember that overeating combined with low physical activity leads to obesity.
The biggest problem of the breed is deafness. Hearing problems of varying severity occur in almost a third of dogs. 12% of Dalmatians are born completely deaf. An effective solution has not yet been found. Although only healthy animals are allowed for breeding, they also have sick puppies. The latter, however, lead a full life as pets. It is possible to identify this shortcoming in the first weeks using modern tests.
Due to their metabolic characteristics, bladder stones are common in Dalmatians. They are also prone to skin allergies and hip dysplasia. Less commonly recorded are epilepsy, autoimmune liver disease, osteochondrosis of the shoulder joint, osteomyelitis, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, laryngeal paralysis, and other nonspecific diseases.
Since many diseases are hereditary or congenital, their occurrence can be predicted taking into account the pedigree. Responsible breeders always provide comprehensive information about the health status of parents, as well as “grandmothers” and “grandfathers”.
How to Choose a Puppy
The key to a successful purchase is choosing your breeder carefully. Only nurseries with an impeccable reputation can guarantee that the new member of your family will be physically healthy and psychologically stable. Since Dalmatian puppies are given to permanent owners no earlier than 10-12 weeks, they manage to undergo the necessary medical examinations and show their character traits.
A good breeder will ask you no fewer questions than you will ask him because for him every four-legged baby is not a living commodity, but a person, so it is important to understand in what family he will live, in what conditions.
And you, in turn, have the full right to get to know the parents and study their documents, the veterinarian’s conclusions about the puppy’s health, and the results of the BAER test (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) – an electrodiagnostic hearing test.
It is important to see the conditions in which the mother and the babies are kept, to learn about nutrition and personally communicate with the puppy that she likes, in order to assess his ability to make contact with a person and adequately respond to the outside world.