All About Dalmatians
by Julia Soukup, JLS Dalmatians
According to AKC no other breed has such an interesting background or more disputed beginnings than that of the Dalmatian. The historical past of the Dalmatian is buried deep, but researchers do agree that the Dalmatian has come through many centuries.
What we do know is that there are pictures of spotted dogs resembling a Dalmatian in the tombs of ancient Egypt, that George Washington owned a couple “coaching dogs, and that Dalmatians were found to travel with Gypsies. There are claims that the first spotted dogs appeared in Europe, Asia, and Africa per pictures, engravings and writings. The first known location by authoritative writers places the Dalmatian in Dalmatia, a province of Austria on the Eastern shore of the coast of Venice, and thus this is where they got their name.
The Dalmatian is nicknamed by the English, the “English Coach Dog”, the “Carriage Dog”, “The Plum Pudding Dog”, the “Fire House Dog” and the “Spotted Dick”. Researchers find him referred to as the Dalmatian in the middle eighteenth century and there is no question that the Dalmatian is an ancient breed.
The Dalmatian has many talents and was used in many roles throughout history but his #1 claim to fame is as the original, one-and-only coaching dog. He is known to guard the horses in the barn, to coach 12-25 miles per day following the horse drawn carriage, coaching under the axel (thus the over 24” height disqualification in the US), or running out ahead to scare off and warn of thieves and muggers along the trail. This affinity for horses is what led him to later be known as the Fire House Dog as the early fire trucks were horse drawn.
The Dalmatian is very versatile and can do just about anything he/she desires to do. He has been a dog of war (a sentinel on the borders of Dalmatia and Croatia), a draft dog, a shepherd, a rat/vermin dog, a fire house mascot, a hunting/trail/retriever or pack hunting dog. His retentive memory and clown-like personality has made him a great entertainer in circuses and on stage.
His build and stamina are that of a dog who can coach with his entourage for 12-25 miles, and the Dalmatian Club of America reintroduced the Road Trial event in 1989, I believe. This inherent coaching enthusiasm and desire is specific to the Dalmatian breed, and I can attest this is in great part of the Dalmatian's willingness to be by his masters side no matter what he/she may be doing. For efficient movement he should cover ground effortlessly without much wasted movement and with the head dropped almost level with his top-line, a true coaching and ground-covering working-dog trotting position.
The first known location by authoritative writers places the Dalmatian in Dalmatia, a province of Austria on the Eastern shore of the coast of Venice, and thus this is where they got their name.
When purchased from a good reputable breeder, Dalmatians are generally healthy dogs and easy keepers. They are self-grooming like a cat and stay pretty clean compared to other dogs. They do not generally have a strong doggy odor, however they do shed 365 days a year. Regular brushing, a good diet, and an omega 3 fish oil capsule daily can help with the shedding. A covered or leather couch and a good vacuum for the dust bunnies is highly recommended.
Dalmatians are one of the breeds prone to deafness because of the white-based coat. 1 out of 8 Dalmatians will be born with the defect that causes the cochlea to die off-inside the ear canal. It is a lack of pigment inside the ear on the cochlear region that allows for the hair-like transmitters to “die-off”. Hearing testing (BAER) is to be done after the pups are 5 weeks of age because a pup could be hearing up to this point and then the cochlea dies and thus the ability to transmit sound waves to the brain is then gone.
Dalmatians can become urinary stone formers if not fed the correct diet & more importantly ingredients, ample good quality water and plenty of exercise. Note: A “higher-end” quality diet for other breeds of dogs most likely is NOT good for a Dalmatian. Most of those food are too high in purine yielding ingredients. Other breeds of dogs also form stones, but not the urate-type stones that are specific to the Dalmatian. This does not mean that Dalmatians cannot get the other types of stones, any dog can if not hydrated and exercised regularly. Current trends through 2011, show calcium oxalate stones are on the rise in all-breeds of dogs at 42% vs. Purine (urate salts, uric acid) stones at only 4.2%.1
Some Dalmatians can be prone to skin allergies. This seems to run in lines and specific geographic regions and with proper management in most cases can be avoided. Dogs who spend time in un-mowed fields, ponds and swimming pools tend to have a higher incidence of topical allergy reaction. Please wash your dog off immediately if you partake in these activities.
Temperament & Personality
Dalmatians are very loyal to their person or their family.
They are fun, goofy, loveable, “velcro” dogs that just want to do whatever you are doing. They love to be the center of attention and get lots of laughs.
Dalmatians are very loyal to their person or their family. They may or may not be aloof to strangers at first, some are extremely friendly, others warm up after they get to know you, and some just prefer their person over anyone else in the entire world. They are a good guard dog in that they will alert but usually are fine once the owner acknowledges all is okay.
They are fun, goofy, loveable, “velcro” dogs that just want to do whatever you are doing. They love to be the center of attention and get lots of laughs. They are smart and want to please themselves but also want to please their owners with proper motivation. #1 motivation being LOVE and food. They will do almost anything for the person they love IF that person spends the time and proves that they love them. Did I say these dogs are smart and sensitive?