Country of Origin The Dalmatian originates in Croatia (modern day Yugoslavia). The name Dalmatian derives from 'Dalmatia', the likely region of origination. The Dalmatian is known to have existed as early as the 1500's, possibly earlier, though the name only dates to the 1800's. The Dalmatian was used as a guard dog, then became a popular retriever. Dalmatians are frequently associated with fire houses, where they are often chosen as pets for their loyalty and affection. The breed grew in popularity after the release of Disney's animated 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Size The Dalmatian is midsize with a shoulder height of 54-61 cm (21.25-24 in) and weighs 20-32 kg (45-70 lbs). The male Dalmatian is slightly taller than the female. The Dalmatian is muscular and lean. It has round feet, small toes, and black or white toenails. The ears are thin and high.
Coat and Color You probably know that the Dalmatian is white with black (or liver colored) spots, but yellow, orange, or blue spots, while rare, do exist! The spotted coat of the Dalmatian is unique among purebreds. The Dalmatian coat must be short. Ideally, spots must not overlap each other, and should have a diameter of 2-3 cm (.75 - 1.75 in). The Dalmatian puppy is born completely white, and spots become slowly visible over the first few weeks, though new ones will grow throughout the dog's life. Dalmatians shed considerably year round.
Character The Dalmatian is sociable, full of stamina, friendly, and affectionate. It is strong and hard working with lots of endurance. The Dalmatian is energetic and playful, and a very fast runner.
Temperament The Dalmatian makes a good playmate for children, although it may be a little too rambunctious for smaller children. Dalmatians get along well with other dogs or household pets, though it is should be socialized as a puppy if possible. The Dalmatian is naturally fond of humans and horses. The Dalmatian can be watchful around strangers.
Care Loose hairs should be removed daily by grooming with a rubber glove when the Dalmatian is shedding. Like some other breeds, the Dalmatian is predisposed to deafness; it should be tested at five to six weeks. Dalmatians crave companionship and should not be habitually left alone in a basement or backyard. The Dalmatian lives 11-13 years, though life spans of up to 16 years are not uncommon. Dalmatians have large litters of up to 15.
Training The Dalmatian requires consistent training. Dalmatians respond positively to praise when they have done something well. Dalmatians are very sensitive with long memories they will remember mistreatment and should not be trained roughly. Harsh methods are unlikely to succeed and consistent, gentle corrections are recommended. The Dalmatian has a strong sense of rank and is highly strong willed, so an experienced trainer is recommended.
Activity Dalmatians will adapt themselves to the activity level of your family, although they are energetic and happiest when they get a chance to run free in the country.