Dalmatian, the facts every owner of this dog breed should know

Instantly recognizable as the unofficial mascot of firehouses, the Dalmatian is a medium sized breed with the familiar white with black spotted coat. Dalmatians are not born with a spotted coat; they are born completely white and the spots develop later. Experts disagree on the origins of the Dalmatian, but they have always been associated with horses.

Bred for the purpose of running alongside horse drawn carriages, Dalmatians were later used to clear paths for horse drawn fire engines to travel and to help calm the horses while at the fire. Though firehouses today no longer need Dalmatians for this purpose, the affection remains. Dalmatian males will grow to an average height of 22 to 24 inches and females an average height of 20 to 22 inches. Both will reach an average weight of 55 pounds and live approximately 10 to 12 years.

Most Dalmatians have blue eyes, though some have a blue-brown combination. The spots on a Dalmatian can be black, brown lemon, dark blue, tri colored, brindled, or sable. Though they require little bathing, Dalmatians shed profusely, especially during their twice a year shedding season, and require daily brushing to keep up with it.

Since Dalmatians were originally bred to be a working dog, they have abundant stamina and energy. They are not suited to apartment life for this reason as they require frequent exercise periods to be happy (but not in the cold as Dalmatians cannot tolerate it for long periods). Additionally, they enjoy human company and will become unhappy if left alone for long periods. Their enjoyment of human company make Dalmatians an excellent family pet. Their medium size makes them able to withstand the roughhousing children like. Dalmatians can also be trained to be watchdogs. Their desire to be with humans and their intelligence also makes Dalmatians easier to train than some breeds. Dalmatians like to please their master but can be willful, so firm and consistent training is necessary.

Dalmatians do have some unique medical issues. They have an unusual uric acid metabolism, with high levels of uric acid excretion, which makes them more likely to form kidney and bladder stone. Because of this, they should not have an excessive amount of protein in their diet. Some Dalmatians are also prone to skin allergies. Approximately 10 to 12 percent of all Dalmatians are born deaf. Testing at 6 weeks of age will confirm the diagnosis. Deaf Dalmatians can be difficult to raise, becoming snappish and irritable though some people have had success teaching Dalmatians sign language and use that to train their Dalmatians. There is a website that has great information on Dalmatians and most other breeds of dogs. It has details that pertain to a dog breeds health, grooming, living conditions, best food choices and more, the website is called: Dog And Cat Facts, and can be found at this url:


By Robert W. Benjamin

Copyright © 2007

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