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Dalmatian Dogs
They Like To Hang Out With Horses!

Dalmatian dogs have been around such a long time that no one can say, for sure, exactly what they were bred to do. That being the case, here are a few of their purported jobs - you can use your own judgment as to which ones you think are the most likely: Chariot runner, coach follower/protector, traveling companion to the gypsies, sentinel, shepherd, ratter, bird dog, retriever, hunter, circus entertainer and guard dog.

dalmation head and shoulders image against ocean background

The physical stamina of the breed would certainly make any of these activities possible, but based on this resume, he might get labelled as a job hopper!

Joking aside, in the more recent history of the Dalmatian, it was discovered that he had a great way with horses and this explains his known work in Firehouses of the 1800s where he was used to clear the path for horse drawn fire equipment, as well as assist in rescue operations. It also bears out his role in accompanying carriages while providing clear passage for the coach and protection for its passengers.

As to the Dalmatian's actual place of origin, there are no verified findings, but some authorities believe it to be in the region of Croatia. Many experts however do agree that this is an ancient breed of dog. Some evidence to support this belief lies in the discovery of artifacts from as far back as 2000 BC, depicting images of very similar spotted dogs.

In the modern world, hardly anyone would be unfamiliar with the unique black and white (or brown and white) appearance of Dalmatian dogs, if only from having seen many of them in the well-promoted Disney movie - 101 Dalmatians.


dalmatian dog standing image with no background The Dalmatian has a smooth coat that is short, fine yet dense and lies close to the body. Its coat should have a sleek, glossy and healthy appearance.

Although this breed is considered to be very clean and pretty much without odor, it does shed year round and even more so during its seasonal shedding times.

Maintenance includes daily brushing and frequent use of a deshedding tool to handle the ongoing shedding and keep the nice sheen on the coat. Nail clipping, and ear cleaning should be done routinely especially because of their tendency toward deafness.

Bathing is not usually needed very often unless there has been exposure to messy terrain, etc., but freshening up of the coat with these cleaning dog wipes is nice for everyone!

Personality and Traits:

Dalmatian dogs are considered to be highly intelligent, eager to please and very trainable. They are known for their incredible retentive memory which has to be a big plus in training them.

They are extremely people oriented - this means they don't like to be left outside!

They will become sad if you ignore them and must be part of everyday family activities, which includes your loving attention - lots of it. In return owners will enjoy a loyal companion that will give back doubly.

This is another breed that at one time became immensly popular (following the popular Disney movie), which led to a spate of indiscriminate breeding. Those interested in the Dalmatian are advised to avoid inexperienced back yard breeders and seek referrals to responsible breeders who strive to perpetuate desirable traits in the breed.

A very important thing to keep in mind, is that Dalmatian dogs need confident owners to be their pack leaders. Ones who can train them with consistency - firmly, yet fairly. They can spot weaknesses in individuals very quickly, so if you don't maintain your leadership, don't be surprised if they take over as the boss.

Early socialization is beneficial to the breed to expose them to other people, plus a variety of experiences, places and situations, as well as other canines.

When it comes to housetraining, the Dalmatian usually gets the hang of this very quickly because of his intelligence as well as his natural desire to be clean.

dalmatian family of three sitting in snowy landscape


Weight: 50 to 55 pounds
Height: Ranges between 19 to 23 inches

The basic coat color of pure white is adorned with evenly distributed distinct spots of black or liver-brown that vary in size. Only these two colors of spots are recognized by the AKC standard.

A Note About Health

Deafness is a fairly common inherited condition in this breed because they lack a particular enzyme related to hearing, but they still can make marvellous pets and still be trained very well - perhaps with a little help from a specialist at the beginning.

Finding a reliable vet to evaluate their health before you acquire one, is a very good idea.

For more detailed health information visit Dalmatian Club of America Foundation

Activity Level

A very energetic breed with almost unlimited stamina. They need both mental and physical exercise and love to play games.

Daily long walks are a must. They also make great partners for those who enjoy distance running - providing they are gradually conditioned to the duration. Swimming is another excellent activity suited to the breed.

When families are time-challenged or weather inclement, a dog treadmill is a handy exercise alternative.

Space Needs

The ideal situation is house with a fenced yard where they can spend time playing - preferably with you in the game.

They can adapt to other accommodtions providing sufficient exercise is provided.


Best suited to families with young adult children who are more mature in their understanding of pets.

As with any breed, it is always the recommended policy to have an adult supervise interactions between children and pets.

Good Companion For Seniors?

Dalmatian dogs can be good companions for the elderly or more sedentary families, but generally in this case, it would be better if they are acquired at an adult age where they are beyond the more boisterous and highly active puppy years.

They do make good alarm dogs for those living alone.

Dalmatian Books

dog reading book

author Linda Gray Sexton tells of her love of Dals both as family companions and as a breeder of show Dalmations all about dalmatian guide book by Kathy McCoubrey for new owners or breeders dalmatian up-to-date resource book for owners

Share Your Knowledge Of Dalmatian Dogs

  • Do you own a Dalmatian, or have previously owned one?
  • Would you like to share what you know about the breed?
  • Or, are Dalmatian dogs just your favorite breed and you'd like to make some comments about them?

We invite any and all dog lovers to make a post about this breed, or their favorite breed and we'll publish your comments on a webpage along for others to enjoy. We'll even add your name if you'd like the recognition.

Visit this page where you'll find a text box to post your comments. You'll also be able to read stories that others have written about their favorite dogs. Go on, give it a try!

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