Dalmatians are versatile, athletic and energetic dogs with ancient beginnings. While their origins are very much a mystery, today it remains one of the most distinct looking and recognizable breed in the world. Some historians believe that this amazing coach dog may have Egyptian origins. Others believe that it might have originated in Yugoslavia. Whatever the truth may be, one thing is clear: no other dog breed in the world has the protective nature and ornamental appearance that the Dalmatian has. Let us study facts and characteristic features of the ‘coach dog’.
Cool Dalmatian facts
- It is generally believed that the Dalmatian may have been developed in the Dalmatia region of Austria. The breed’s history becomes easier to trace once it reached England. Here the dogs were kept for one purpose: to run alongside and guard their master’s coach, its contents and horses and to scare thieves away.
- Many breeds including the Harlequin Dane, the Istrian pointer, English hounds and Bengal Harriers seem to have been the Dalmatian’s predecessors.
- English author Dodie Smith made the breed very popular thanks to the book 101 Dalmatians which was later made into a Disney movie.
- Although not typically thought of as a retrieving breed, the Dalmatian is prized for its ability as a water retriever.
- This is the only spotted dog recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- In the United States, these dogs are famous as Firehouse Dogs.
- Dalmatians have a distinct white coat with black or liver colored spots. Lemon spots are also known to exist, though they are rare.
- Dalmatians are well muscled dogs with athletic bodies. They have a body type similar to many Pointer breeds.
- Their eyes may be brown or blue and they have a serious, intelligent expression.
- Ideal Dalmatian weight for females is about 35 to 50lbs and for males it is up to 55 lb. Accepted height is between 19-23 inches.
Where to find a Dalmatian
Dalmatians make wonderful family pets provided they get enough attention and activity. They want nothing more than to be a part of the family. If you have your heart set on a Dalmatian puppy, please visit the DCA or Dalmatian Club of America Website. This can help you find a puppy and a breeder, latest updates on Dalmatian health advances, and also get you in touch with breed clubs and rescue organizations in your area. The site also informs you about ‘Dal’ events near you. Visit these events and talk to handlers and Dalmatian parents to understand this breed in depth.
Whether you want a Dal for being a loyal household companion or as a show dog; you need a pup with a good temperament. Ask to observe the puppies in their litter. You would not want your potential pet to display signs of shyness. The puppy should be curious, alert, and playful and should appear well fed. Dalmatians are active, intelligent, friendly dogs. They love to be active indoors and outdoors. Most Dalmatians show consistency in behavior. They usually get along well with other dogs and household pets but you must socialize them from an early age. These dogs are emotionally quite stable and usually get along well with kids. However, they could be wary around strangers. This intelligent breed learns rather quickly and is quite easy to train. As long as you teach your puppy the house rules early on, he will learn obedience quickly. They have great watchdog and guard dog abilities.
Training your Dal
Start crate training your puppy the moment he comes home. The sooner he gets adjusted to crate training, the better he would accept it when he is left alone. Always use a crate of the right size-too big a crate will only hinder your training efforts. Crate training is based on the principle that dogs do not soil their sleeping quarters. So avoid bringing too large a crate otherwise your pet will soil it at one end and still get to sleep away from the mess.
Have training sessions with your Dal every day in short segments: 3-5 times a day in segments of 5-10 minutes are ideal. Your dog will get bored with longer sessions. Training dogs when they are puppies results in the highest rate of success in developing a well mannered and obedient dog.
Healthy treats and reward based training works best for your Dal, so stock up on plenty of treats. You must also invest in training equipment like lead and collar; just make sure it is not too heavy and is safe for your pet. You can also consider working with a professional trainer or enroll your pet in obedience classes. As with any breed, training your Dal also includes training yourself. So you must actively participate in your pet’s training and upbringing.
Your Dalmatian needs plenty of exercise; this is an energetic and athletic breed that needs to be kept active. Failure to exercise your dog will lead to boredom and unwanted behaviors. The exercise of climbing and walking is great for dog and man alike. You can take your pet on hikes and treks and he will develop a priceless bond with you. You can also find organized competitions and activities for pets nearby. Exercise is not just essential for your Dal’s physical well being; it will also keep him mentally alert. That is why this breed does well in homes with big fenced yards.
Dalmatians shed quite a lot; so daily brushing is necessary to remove dead hair. Train your pet from an early age to enjoy short grooming sessions. Regular brushing will also remove ticks, fleas and other parasites apart from removing loose hair. Bathe your pet once every 15 days to keep their coat clean and fresh. Check your Dalmatian’s ears from time to time to ensure they are healthy. If you notice any foul odor, it may be a fungal or bacterial infection that could warrant a trip to the vet.
Health issues in Dalmatians
Dalmatians are prone to several health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also prone deafness. Dalmatians hate being left alone for long periods and can even get depressed. Average lifespan of Dalmatians is 14 years.