Dalmatian: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health


Among the characteristics of the Dalmatian, its mantle stands out, which is made up of black spots on a white background. A familiar, friendly and sociable animal, it is one of the best-known pets in the world. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Dalmatian dog breed.


Character of the Dalmatian breed

The Dalmatian dog breed is very familiar due to its sociable and friendly nature. Because of its behaviour it is never shy or reserved, neither nervous nor aggressive, nor does it ever challenge its master. It is easy to train for very diverse tasks.

Although their original origin was apparently linked to hunting, Dalmatians were bred primarily to run alongside horses. They pulled carts and carriages, a task for which a great physical condition and an athletic and sporty temperament were essential.

Therefore, it is difficult for this dog to be pleased to sit quietly with its master all day without doing little more than watching the days go by. Rather, it is a very playfulenergetic and basically happy animal that poses few coexistence problems .

In spite of everything, the Dalmatian needs to have at its side a person who exercises solid leadership and who becomes its reference. You need permanent contact with the members that are part of your family group. With these basic budgets, it is very easy to end up becoming a happy dog.

What it can’t stand is being relegated to having to be alone for much of the day. Nor do they live confined to a kennel with the little human contact necessary for their food and daily maintenance.

Due to its personality, a bored or abandoned Dalmatian becomes an unbalanced animal. Almost certainly, it will end up developing obsessive behaviours such as the need to permanently dig holes or break everything within its reach.

Therefore, the Dalmatian is a perfect choice as a family dog with which to share moments of play, sports activity or caresses. Its affinity with people is extraordinary and its passion for children makes them an ideal playmate.

But even so, it is not advisable to leave it alone with very young children when it comes to specimens that do little exercise or that show an excessively nervous and moved behavior. They could become a source of unexpected and unwanted problems.

In general, the Dalmatian’s relationship with people is very good. Although it is sometimes suspicious of strangers due to its guardian nature, it never behaves aggressively towards them, except in the case of individuals who are out of control or who have behavioural problems.

In its relationship with other dogs, due to its temperament, it may be the case that it always wants to be the dominant individual. If it is introduced into such social relationships with care and with the presence of a person who maintains the leadership position, the relationship between them should be good and without problems.

  • Energy: High. Itis an athletic, energetic and very active dog that requires a lot of exercise on a daily basis.
  • Temperament: Sporty, fast and docile, it is easy to train because it learns easily. It is not aggressive or reserved, but affectionate and sociable.
  • Adaptability: High. It adapts well to urban life as long as it can exercise and run from time to time in freedom. It does not like to be alone.
  • Sociability: High. She adores her family and loves doing activities with her, especially with children, of whom she becomes a great playmate. She is sociable and gets along well with other animals.
  • Health: Normal. It is quite common for you to be deaf.
  • Longevity: High. Live more than 12 years.
  • Utility: Versatile. Good watchdog and companion dog, it is also used in therapy and in obedience, agility , etc. competitions .
  • Use: guard and company.

Dalmatian characteristics

Among the physical characteristics of the Dalmatian, it stands out that it is a harmoniously proportioned breed of dog that is distinguished by its characteristic and special spotted coat.

Vigorous, with strong muscles and great liveliness, it has a symmetrical silhouette with pure lines in which nothing is rough or heavy.

Thanks to its public notoriety, especially for its prominence in various animated films, the Dalmatian is one of the best-known dog breeds in the world.

This popularity has led to this ancient coachman and groom’s dog today being one of the most widespread pets in the world.

Its image and its aesthetics are not unknown even to the most profane, because its peculiar mottled coat gives it a singularity that makes it unique and that allows it to distinguish the race from any other.

Better known for its beauty than its temperament, this dog hides many virtues. The enormous propaganda that Walt Disney made with his film 101 Dalmatians , also caused an uncontrolled and massive upbringing. This led to the generalization of some health problems inherent to the breed.

Its body is slightly longer than tall, the Dalmatian has a beautiful slim profile and a broad and robust back, with a straight upper line.

The head and skull is flat and elongated, wide between the ears, with the frontal furrow clearly visible. The muzzle is wide and long, and it has a black or brown nose.

Its eyes are medium in size, round in shape, open, bright and with black rimmed eyelids. His expression is intelligent and unassuming.

It has medium-sized ears , they are wide at the base and gradually taper towards the tip, slightly rounded. They are set high, above the eye line.

The feet are of the “cat’s feet” type, round, compact and with arched toes. The pads are round, hard, and elastic, and the long nails are black, white, or brown.

Its tail is medium in size and reaches the hocks. Strong at the start, it becomes more refined as it approaches the tip. It is inserted at mid-height.

As for its hair , it is shiny, straight, thick, hard and short. Mottled in black or brown on a pure white background , it has become one of the hallmarks of the breed.

Let’s now see in more detail what the Dalmatian looks like and the breed standard:

Dalmatian breed standard

  • General appearance: It is a strong, muscular, balanced, agile and elegant dog.
  • Size and size: Large.
  • Height at the withers: Between 56 and 61 cm for males and between 54 and 59 cm for females.
  • Weight: Between 27 and 32 kg for males and between 24 and 29 kg for females.
  • Origin: Croatia.
  • Other names: Dalmatian / Dalmatien / Dalmatiner / Dalmatinac.
  • Body: Slightly elongated structure.
  • Head: It is quite long and wide.
  • Skull: Flat, quite wide between the ears, has a marked temporal area and an underdeveloped frontal furrow, although visible. The skin is smooth, without wrinkles.
  • Muzzle: It is long and strong. The muzzle is straight and parallel to the upper line of the skull. His lips are thin and well adjusted to the jaws, that is, they do not hang down, and are completely pigmented.
  • Nose: It is black in the variety mottled with black and brown in the specimens mottled with liver color.
  • Eyes: Medium in size, round, limpid and bright, with an alert expression. Its color is dark in dogs with a black-stained coat, and light brown in specimens with liver-colored spots. The eyelids adapt perfectly to the eyeball. They are pigmented black or dark gray in dogs with black spots, and brown in those with liver-colored patches on their coat.
  • Ears: They are medium-sized, set rather high and quite wide at the base. They are attached to the head and decrease in width towards a blunt point. Of fine texture, they present numerous round and well distributed spots.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): Moderately defined.
  • Jaws: Strong jaws, presents a perfect and regular scissor bite. The complete denture has 42 proportioned teeth, 7 white recular.
  • Neck: Quite long, arches gracefully and tapers towards the head. It lacks a double chin.
  • Chest: It is not too wide, but it is deep, so it has a large capacity and reaches the elbows. Seen in profile, the sill is clearly visible. The ribs are well proportioned and long and arched.
  • Back: It is powerful and straight, with a slightly arched loin, provided with powerful and lean muscles; the withers are well marked and the croup is slightly sloping.
  • Forelimbs: Rounded, perfectly straight and with solid bones. Shoulders: They are moderately oblique and muscular. Elbows: They are well attached to the body.
  • Hind limbs: Rounded and muscular, seen from behind they are straight and parallel. Legs: They are strong and muscular. Knees: Well angulated. Hocks: They are powerful and well angulated.
  • Feet: It has ” climbing shoes”: round and firm, with well arched toes and round, resistant and elastic pads. The nails are black or white in dogs with black spots, and brown or white in those with liver-colored spots.
  • Tail: Reaches the hocks and is strong at the start, but tapers towards the tip. Its insertion is neither high nor low, but medium. At rest, the dog carries it hanging in the last third, slightly curved upwards; when in motion, it raises it a little above the back line, but never fully raises it, or curls it over the back.
  • Color: This is one of the most striking characteristics of the Dalmatian. perhaps what has made him an easy-to-identify dog ​​for the general public, even if he is not well versed in the canine universe. The background color is pure white . In the variety with black spots, the spots are of this color; in the liver-spotted variety, they are liver (brown) or lemon- colored . The spots do not mix with each other, they are always round, clearly defined and regularly distributed, with a diameter of between 2-3 cm. On the head, the tail and the extremities, the spots are smaller than on the rest of the body.
  • Hair: The coat is made up of short, hard and dense hair, very shiny, white with black or liver-brown mottling, 2 or 3 cm in diameter.
  • Movement: Free, regular, powerful and harmonious, with long strides in which a good extension of the forelimbs and a great impulse of the hindquarters stand out. The members move in parallel planes, with the later ones following the same plane as the previous ones.
  • FCI Classification: FCI No. 153 Group 6 – Bloodhounds, Trace Dogs and Similar Breeds. Section 3 – Similar breeds.

Dalmatian puppies

If you are looking for information on the Dalmatian, it may be because you are thinking about adopting or buying a Dalmatian puppy. Before taking the big step, there are a number of aspects that you should take into account.

When they are born, Dalmatian puppies are practically white and during their first year of life their skin is covered with the typical mottling so characteristic of the breed. Over time, these rounded spots can grow in diameter or new ones can be created.

It is very important that the owners of a Dalmatian should make an effort to make it easier for their puppy to go out to the field or outdoors ,

It is a breed that needs a good dose of free exercise from time to time so as not to get bored and to release all the accumulated energy.

According to popular belief, all Dalmatians are white with black spots, but the truth is that there are also specimens with liver-brown mottling, a much rarer and less well-known variety.

Precisely the athletic and working capacity of this dog, and its need to be always busy, make it so charged with energy that it can sometimes be an unstable animal. Even shy if one does not have the precaution of channelling that energy power well since it is a puppy and if it is not subjected to an intense and extensive socialization program.

For this reason, it is very important to start a puppy socialization program from a very young age, and with the consent of the veterinarian. That is, leaving the house so that he knows other places, that he hears different noises so that he does not panic in the future.

In the same way, it is good that he has contact with other animals and pets so that he gets used to them and can play. In this way, it will not be a fearful canine pet, on the contrary, it will be happy and balanced.


Dalmatian education and training

As for how to raise a Dalmatian, due to its great intelligence, the Dalmatian learns quickly and is capable of processing a wide variety of commands.

In return, they also show a great tendency to develop their own behaviors or to become somewhat stubborn.

Behavior that becomes much more evident when you notice a lack of leadership or inconsistent attitudes on the part of its owners when exercising their command or authority.

In spite of everything, this breed is not a bad choice for people who lack experience or who are not used to training dogs, although in these cases it is recommended to take the precaution of going to a specialist or a work group where to obtain the Proper advice along the way of educating your pet, which can end up being an exciting endeavour.

In this sense, the fundamental period to establish a good foundation on which to build a solid, stable, lasting and happy relationship with the Dalmatian, are the first months of life, those elapsed since the puppy arrives home and until it fulfills the first year.

With good training, this dog can be trained to carry out a large number of jobs. Obviously, its original hunting and protection function has already been restricted to certain dog shows.

In the same way that the fire brigades keep it as a pet only in a testimonial way, but, apart from this, the Dalmatian can be used to the highest level in obedience work. It is also a dog capable of obtaining very good results in agility or flyball competitions .

Likewise, although it is not very common to see it performing this type of work, it can even be trained to enhance its guarding instincts, and in the United States it is often used as a guide dog for blind people and also in work teams with dogs. therapy, as it is especially suitable for working with sick children.

On the other hand, dog shows are also a natural habitat for many Dalmatians, as it is quite common to see specimens of this breed taking positions of honor in their group, and even the best dog of the entire exhibition.

Also, as the breed was originally selected to trot alongside horses, it has also become one of the favorite breeds of dog racing enthusiasts. Sports modality that has more and more followers.

In this sense, it is necessary to take it out for a daily walk, as it is an energetic animal that needs to do a lot of exercise, and the usual walks are not enough, but it is important to find a limited and safe place where you can let it go so that it can run freely. , especially during the puppy stage, in which its energy seems inexhaustible.


Dalmatian breed diet

Regarding how to feed a Dalmatian dog, as is currently the case with most dog breeds, obesity also affects Dalmatians, especially in the case of specimens that live exclusively as family dogs and do not perform all the exercise they need or are on a poor diet.

It is essential, as far as possible, to prevent the animal from falling into obesity, especially in the puppy, fully developed and old age stages.

They are periods in which a state of overweight can trigger more serious diseases, more painful and more difficult to cure.

Therefore, it is essential to give the animal a diet appropriate to its type of life, rich in nutrients that keep its muscles in good shape and that provide the level of fat necessary for the correct condition of its skin, hair, eyes, etc. etc.

It is also important to divide the daily ration into two or three intakes to avoid gastric complications, such as stomach torsion, as it is a fairly common complication in this breed.

And in the case of working dogs, one must be careful not to feed them immediately before or after going out to the field , and not to leave water at their free disposal after working, especially during the hottest months of the year. .


Health and diseases of the Dalmatian breed

If it is kept in good physical condition, with strong and well developed musculature, and given the basic care necessary to make it a relaxed and happy dog, the Dalmatian is a fairly healthy breed .

It enjoys a high longevity that stands at an average lifespan of about 12 or 13 years, although there are more and more cases of specimens that reach longer ages in very good health.

In general, it is a basically healthy animal, but there are some diseases that affect it to a greater extent than other breeds.

Thus, as with other dogs in which the white color is predominant, the Dalmatian is predisposed to suffer from congenital deafness and, in fact, it can be said that this is the most important disease of the breed, with a number of individuals affected which is between 10 and 15 percent of puppies.

This deafness can become very limiting, especially in the case of specimens with which it is intended to work, since it is very difficult to interact with them, and possibly this is the primary cause of some altered behaviors and of certain character problems developed by individuals who have an incomplete relationship with the environment.

Therefore, it is very important to control this condition when the animal is still a puppy and to remove affected animals from reproduction.

There are also other diseases that are directly related to the size and structure of this dog, such as hip and elbow dysplasia , or stomach torsion .

Likewise, skin problems are also frequent, which in most cases derive from faulty pigmentation. On the other hand, the Dalmatian shows a great tendency to suffer from kidney stones and have a high level of uric acid , which means that urine infections can occur quite frequently.


Specific care of the Dalmatian breed

Regarding how to care for a Dalmatianaesthetic care is very simple, since it is a very clean dog that, despite its beautiful white color, rarely gets dirty, except in the case of specimens that hunt with regularity.

So, just brush it once a week with a natural bristle brush or chamois. And, bathe it only when it is really dirty, being careful to dry it very well and not leave it wet in the open.

With these few cares, the dog will look splendid and its coat will continue to show its main letter of introduction to all the fans of the world, who have always admired the spectacular mottling of its fur.


Dog BehaviorDog Food and Nutrition
Dog TrainingDog Grooming
Dog HealthTips for Dog Owners
PuppiesDog Breeds
Dog AdoptionTravel with Dogs

Leave a Comment