Dalmatians are very friendly and playful dogs, which need a lot of exercise and occupation. They are suitable for active people who are out in nature every day and are looking for a loyal, cuddly companion.
In ancient tombs of pharaohs in Egypt are depicted dogs that look similar to the Dalmatian. These illustrations come from the period of the 16. to 18. Century. However, nothing is known exactly about the origin of this breed. It is amed that the name derives from the coastal region of Dalmatia in Croatia. This is also pointed out by chronicles of the church of the 14th century. Century. Of the year 1719 towards. A fresco on Dalmatia from 1710 shows images of dogs that look like Dalmatians.
The inventor of the wood engraving and English graphic artist Thomas Bewick, who lived from 1753 to 1828, published a work in 1792, in which a drawing as well as a description of the Dalmatian can be found. This dog was called Dalmatian Dog or Coach Dog by Bewick.
The first breed standard was written by the Englishman Vero Shaw in 1882, which became the official standard in 1890.
Dalmatians used to be used as guard dogs for carriages. The dogs ran alongside carriages and protected their humans from thieves, wild animals and strange dogs. Later, many aristocrats kept Dalmatians because of their noble appearance. The dogs still accompanied coachmen and riders, but now more as a status symbol. Dalmatians were also used in the USA: They ran next to the fire engines and ensured with their barking for a free ride.
Not quite sure whether the Dalmatian also served as a hunting dog. In this regard, there are several views, but all of them are not certain.
Dalmatian is a breed recognized by the FCI, which is assigned to the group 6 (running dogs, bloodhounds and related breeds) and the section 3 (related breeds).
The medium to large Dalmatian has a well-proportioned and strong, but slender build. Bitches grow between 56 and 58 centimeters high and reach a weight between 16 and 24 kilograms. The height at withers in males is 58 to 61 centimeters. The weight is from 15 to 32 kilograms. The back line is evenly straight.
His physique as well as the spotted coat makes the Dalmatian look elegant. It carries its moderately large hanging ears close to the head and high set. The round eyes are dark brown in black spotted Dalmatians. Amber in brown spotted dogs. The sickle-shaped tail, which reaches to the hocks, becomes narrower towards the tip.
Dalmatians are conspicuous dogs because of their coat: they have a white, short and smooth coat, which is covered with black or brown spots. This coat coloration is caused by the pinto gene. The coat is dense, hard and appears shiny. The spots should show a clear border and not run into each other. In addition, the spots should have a roundish shape.
When Dalmatians are born, they have a completely white coat. The first spots appear between the tenth and fourteenth day of life. Spotting changes by the first year of life. Dalmatians are excluded from breeding if they have black spots or plates from the very first day (plates are larger spots that mostly appear in the head area).
Dalmatians do not have an undercoat and are therefore rather fair-weather dogs: they freeze quickly in cold weather and heat is usually a problem for them as well.
Dalmatians are considered to be energetic, intelligent, friendly, active and playful. They are sensitive dogs that are very sociable. They have a lively nature, but are quite adaptable. Dalmatians are often extremely cuddly and usually only develop behavior problems if they do not get enough exercise. As active the Dalmatian is outside, as quiet he behaves in the house.
Common diseases and life expectancy
Dalmatians are at increased risk of various diseases:
In general, dogs with a high percentage of white coat have a higher risk of deafness. This risk exists especially in the dogs that have mostly white fur in the head area. Therefore, many breeders now advocate the Dalmatian for breeding, which from the first day in the head area black plates present. This could possibly reduce the risk of deafness.
In Germany, a study was conducted in 2000 in which about 1.900 Dalmatians have been screened for deafness. The percentage of deaf dogs was 19.7 percent. In a 1992 study from America, 1.031 dogs examined and 29.7 percent suffered from deafness.
Deafness is less common in Dalmatians with black plates, while blue-eyed Dalmatians are more often deaf.
Dalmatian syndrome – or also known as hyperuricosuria – is related to a genetic metabolic defect. This leads to the formation of urinary stones in Dalmatians more often than in other breeds. In Dalmatians, the conversion process of the enzyme uricase into allantoin is disturbed. This enzyme is found in the liver. Converts uric acid. In Dalmatians this transport system of uric acid is defective. Thus the majority of the uric acid does not come into contact with uricase at all. The uric acid level in the Dalmatian is elevated. Thus, dermatitis as well as urinary stones often occur as a consequence. The increased uric acid level is genetically determined. Occurs in all Dalmatians. However, not all Dalmatians develop urinary stones. It has been found that bitches suffer less often from urinary stones than males. So far, however, it is not possible to say for sure which individuals of this breed carry an increased risk of urinary stone formation (as of 2018).
Because of this genetic defect, Dalmatians should be fed a low-purine diet. In addition, the dogs should get enough opportunities to urinate, because this also reduces the risk of urinary stones. Likewise, it is now known that urinary stones occur less frequently in dogs that are fed only once a day.
Dalmatians have a life expectancy of 10 to 13 years.
Attitude and care
When breeding Dalmatians, emphasis was placed on good stamina. These dogs therefore need enough exercise. They used to run as protection against thieves. Wild animals next to the carriages. This shows how great the urge to move was and still is. Dalmatians are very adaptable but should not be forced to spend most of their lives on the couch. Lack of exercise and lack of utilization sooner or later become noticeable through behavioral problems.
If you want to enjoy a Dalmatian as a companion dog, you should be active yourself and like to be out in nature for at least two hours a day. Dalmatians love to run next to the bike. They are also often enthusiastic swimmers. But they also enjoy daily long walks through the nature. Most Dalmatians like to spend time in the garden, but this is no substitute for a walk.
The Dalmatian is not a dog for kenneling. He wants to be with his family and suffers if he is separated from them too often. That is why a Dalmatian is not recommended to working people, at least not in a full-time job. These dogs react very sensitively to tensions within the family. They are, so to speak, harmony-loving dogs. This must also be taken into account in the education of Dalmatians.
A Dalmatian must be educated consistently, but only with positive reinforcement methods. Too hard and too strict education leads to the Dalmatian refusing to cooperate. Dalmatians are called stubborn because of this fact. But they are this only in case of wrong education as well as in case of lack of exercise.
This breed was particularly popular in the past because of its protective instinct. The Dalmatian shows thereby no malignancy. Nevertheless, this protection motivation should be directed into the right channels, so that the will to protect is not directed against all people and animals.
The high sensitivity to tensions within the family makes itself felt among other things in disagreements on the subject of education. Dalmatians have a very good antenna for this and take advantage of it when his people disagree about what should be forbidden and allowed to the dog. The Dalmatian creates its own rules in the case.
As former carriage companions dogs with low hunting instinct were in demand. A dog that goes poaching could not fulfill the task as a companion dog of carriages. The hunting motivation of Dalmatians is thus generally low. Since each dog, no matter what breed, brings its own personal characteristic, you should not rely on the fact that Dalmatians do not hunt at all. Most Dalmatians show no hunting motivation, but in some the hunting instinct is weak or moderate. Strong hunting motivation rarely occurs in this breed.
As described above, Dalmatians need two hours of exercise daily. At a young age, it is even better to give them three or four hours of exercise per day.
Dalmatians are very good companions, for example, when riding on horseback, cycling and jogging. The activity urge can also be satisfied with obedience or agility. Likewise, it is a good idea to let the dog retrieve something in between during the walk. This breed needs besides physical exercise. Activity just as the mental promotion. Dalmatians are very eager to learn and usually enthusiastic about learning tricks and tricks. Search games also promote their high intelligence.
The short coat does not require much care. However, one should know that Dalmatians shed all year round and not only in spring and autumn. Therefore, the dog should be brushed daily.