The Dalmatian: From Elegant to Goofy in a Heartbeat

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Dalmatian dog sitting in flowersThe Dalmatian breed must be one of the most well-known in the world. Not only are their coats unique and stunning, but they’ve also featured in a lot of movies. You’ll most likely know Dalmatian puppies because of the Disney film 101 Dalmatians. Unlike Cruella de Vil, everyone loves this energetic and goofball of a dog!

Meet the Spotted Lovebug: The Dalmatian

Dalmatian dogs are fascinating. Their spotted coat impresses people today just as much as it did centuries ago. They’re still as playful and energetic as they were when they were first bred. But unlike Disney’s Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmatians, they haven’t always lived in a small apartment. The Dalmatian breed has an interesting past as a carriage dog that explains a lot of their characteristics.

History of This Spotted Dog Breed

No one really knows exactly where Dalmatians came from. There are records showing that this breed used to travel with Romanies (also known as gypsies) several hundreds of years ago. They first got their name during a stay in Dalmatia, a province in today’s Croatia.

In Boka Kotorska (Bay of Kotor, then Croatia, on the Dalmatian coast), these spotted dogs were used as ratters, shepherds, retrievers, circus dogs, guard dogs, and coach dogs. You could say they were the jacks of all trades of the dog world.

But it was only when they were brought to England that these blue-eyed dogs left their mark as regal coaching dogs. Their job was to clear the path ahead for horse-drawn carriages during a trip. They would run beside the horses or under the carriage.

Not only were they used to prevent accidents and make traveling faster, but they also carried prestige. During the early 19th century, the Dalmatian became a symbol of power and wealth. You can see that there are several portraits of nobles posing next to blue-eyed Dalmatian dogs.

This affinity that they developed for horses is noteworthy. While they traveled with horse-drawn carriages in Europe, they became a firehouse dog in America. When the fire alarm was triggered, Dalmatians would run with the horses towards the fire to help put it out. They would keep an eye on the equipment, as well as sometimes save people from burning buildings.

Dalmatians puppy spots

In 1890, the first Dalmatian Club was formed in England. In the same year, the breed standard became official. Nowadays, this breed is recognized and loved by many. Among them are the Dalmatian Club of America and the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Nowadays, the Dalmatian is no longer a coach dog. You can find them in family homes, as companion animals, and sometimes as a guard dog. But you can also find them as a firehouse mascot, as their ties to firefighters haven’t died down.

There’s a reason why you can find dalmatian fire equipment as dalmatians in some firehouses’ insignia.

Dalmatian, Dalmation, or Dalmatia? Here’s What You Need to Know About Their Name!

There is a lot of confusion over which spelling is correct — Dalmatian, Dalmation, or Dalmatia? In reality, the correct name of the breed is Dalmatian.

These dogs got their name after the Croatian province where they were developed, Dalmatia. This is why you might be confused and think that this is the real name. Dalmatian appeared in the Anglophone world. A lot of English native speakers have always spelled it with an ‘o’ even though it’s really with an ‘a’.

The Story Behind the Iconic Movie 101 Dalmatians!

101 Dalmatians is what brought this breed to stardom. It follows a single songwriter named Roger who lives in his London apartment with Pongo, a male Dalmatian dog. Pongo makes it his life mission to find his owner a wife, so he takes Roger out on walks often.

ceiling design of the 101 dalmatians characters

During one of those walks, Roger bumps into Anita, a beautiful young woman who also owns a Dalmatian. Not only does Roger fall in love with her, but Pongo falls in love with Perdita, Anita’s female Dalmatian dog. From here, both couples get married and start a life together.

Pongo and Perdita have a litter of fifteen pups and live happily. That is until Cruella de Vil hires a man to kidnap the puppies as Roger and Anita refuse to sell the litter to her. After an eventful couple of weeks, Pongo and Perdita manage to make their way back home — along with their babies.

But where does the “101” in the title come from?

Well, while in captivity, the two dogs decided to adopt the other puppies who had been kidnapped by Cruella. Anita and Roger had their hands full as they now had a hundred dogs in their London flat!

Appearance and Personality of the Smart Dalmatian Dog

The Dalmatian is a poised and alert medium-sized dog. They have a strong, lean, and muscular body and are very active. A Dalmatian’s tail is pointy and straight and the hind legs are especially strong and muscular, perfect for running long distances.

But what makes them stand out the most is their white coat dotted with black markings. The coat is short, dense, and fine. It looks sleek and has a gloss to them. Another interesting thing is that it’s very common to find Dalmatian dogs with blue eyes.

Is This a Family Dog? Dalmatian Temperament!

Dalmatians are dogs who were born to run around from sun up to sun down. They love going on walks with their family and to play with anyone who’s willing to pay them attention.

They also have an enormous desire to please their owners. All they want is to see their favorite human happy and pleased with something they’ve done. Because of this, Dalmatians make amazing family dogs. They’re easy to train and love obeying.

dalmations playing in field

Those Spots Have Different Colors!

When puppies are born, they don’t have any spots. But about a month afterward, the spots start to come through. The most common color is black or dark brown. However, you can also find blue, brindle, mosaic, orange, dark yellow, or tan spots in some dogs. These colors are much rarer, but you can certainly find them!

3 Fun Facts You Need to Know About This Breed

Here are three fun facts you might not already know about this goofball breed:

  1. Dalmatians hate being alone and would always much rather spend time with their family.
  2. They can be good with other dogs and cats as long as you socialize them early on.
  3. Dalmatians are very active dogs. They love running around and acting like clowns.

Don’t Want a Pure-Bred? Try a Dalmatian Mix!

If you love their spots but aren’t looking for a purebred, you can choose to get a Dalmatian mix. Some Dalmatian breeders cross the breed with other equally as loving breeds. The results are absolutely adorable.

The Dalcorgi is a mix between a Corgi and a Dalmatian. This mix has the body of the corgi, meaning that they’re small and have short, stocky legs. But their coat is that of the Dalmatian.

Bassamatians are also famous for their distinct look. They’re a cross between a Basset Hound dog and a Dalmatian. The Basset Hound‘s signature droopy eyes and ears are also present in the Bassamatian. Once again, this mix has black spots on a white background, just like the Dalmatian.

101 Dalmatian Puppies! Trainability and Exercise Needs

Because they love pleasing their owners so much, Dalmatians are easy to train. They respond really well to positive encouragement in the form of praise or treats. Add that to the fact that they’re incredibly intelligent and you’ll see why Dalmatians are a breeze to train!

As far as exercise goes, Dalmatians need a lot of it. Ideally, they should have a fenced backyard where they can run to their heart’s content. But if you live in an apartment, you’ll need to go on long, strenuous walks with your pup. If you don’t, they’ll become frustrated and misbehave.

dalmatian puppy not dalmation puppy taking a nap

Are These Doggos a Healthy Breed?

These dogs are generally healthy. But like what happens with all breeds, Dalmatians are more likely to develop certain conditions than other dogs.

The first condition that worries Dalmatian owners is hip dysplasia. This happens when the hip socket and the thigh bone don’t fit snuggly. Because of this, walking becomes very hard and painful.

Hereditary deafness is also common in Dalmatians. There are abnormal mineral deposits in the stria vascularis, the vascular supply to the ear. 8% of Dalmatians are born completely deaf, while 22% are deaf from one of their ears. Suspect deaf Dalmatians can be subject to the BAER test to know whether or not they suffer from congenital sensorineural deafness.

They also have urinary tract diseases. Because their urine has high uric acid levels instead of urea, urinary stones (such as bladder stones) are common. Unfortunately, these pups also develop kidney stones rather easily… Plenty of water, as well as an adequate diet, helps greatly with passing the stones.

Lastly, they’re also at risk of developing chronic hepatitis. Because they tend to have a surplus of copper in their bloodstream, the liver cells start to deteriorate and die. It leads to inflammation and, potentially, to liver failure.

Longevity of the Dalmatians

If you get a Dalmatian, you can rest assured that they’ll be with you for many years. The average life expectancy of this breed is between 11 and 13 years.

5 Tips for Pet Lovers Who Need a Pooch Like This!

If you want to get a Dalmatian, you’ll need to know how to care for them. Luckily, we’ve come up with the top five tips for new Dalmatian owners.

  1. Only get a Dalmatian if you love to exercise. If you do, the Dalmatian will happily follow you on your runs and hikes.
  2. If you’re buying a Dalmatian puppy, only do business with a reputable breeder. Avoid puppy mills and backyard breeders. Reputable breeders have the health of the puppies in mind, not only profit, unlike puppy mill owners.
  3. If you would rather adopt a Dalmatian, you should contact a Dalmatian rescue group. They have Dals waiting there to be given to a new, loving owner.
  4. Don’t forget to brush your pooch a couple of times every week.
  5. Train and socialize this playful breed from a very young age to ensure they grow up healthy and well-balanced.
  6. If you have small children at home, don’t leave them alone with your dog. They’re not dangerous or mean — quite the contrary! Because they love playing and goofing around so much, they may accidentally knock down small children.

dalmatian puppies for sale

Dalmatian Puppies for Sale!

Are you convinced that this spotted breed is the perfect match for you? In that case, it’s time to find your puppy! As tempting as it may be to search online for the nearest “puppy for sale”, there are a few things to be conscious of in finding a healthy and happy pup to add to the family.

How Much Does a Dalmatian Puppy Cost?

The sad truth when it comes to buying any puppy is that the higher the standards of the breeder, the more expensive the puppy should be. Yes, you may find a puppy at a “bargain” price, but how sure can you be that this pup wasn’t bred in horrible conditions.

Puppy mills and irresponsible backyard breeders are purely in it for profit, not for the wellbeing of any of the little furbaby souls under their “care”.

Depending on the lineage of the parents, as well as the moral and ethical standards of the breeder, you can expect to pay up to $1,600 for your purebred Dalmatian!

What to Look for in a Reputable Breeder!

It is so easy for swindlers and frauds to set up a kind looking front when it comes to showing you the dogs they are selling. A reputable breeder will not simply try to sell you a pup. They will speak to you about the breed as well as your lifestyle and home situation to assess whether the breed will be a good match for you.

They will also have medical records of both parents to prove that they have not allowed for the continuation of genetically inheritable medical conditions! When you go to look at the puppies, make a mental note of whether the pups have any access to grass, and whether at least one of the doggo parents is around!

Dalmatians are loving and playful puppies. But they’re not a perfect fit for every owner out there. They need an owner who lives in a large house with outdoor space and who is willing to exercise with them.

Apart from that, Dalmatians are perfect family dogs. They love their family and will always try to make them laugh!

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

    >