The Dog Behind the Spots: A Dalmatian Breed Guide

Category_Breeds Category_Breeds_Dalmatian Writer_Carrie_Pallardy

Carrie Pallardy
Dalmatians are a beloved breed of dog easily recognizable by their white coats with black spots. While 101 of these pups would be more than a handful, owners have fallen in love with a Dalmatian or two in their homes. Learn more about this energetic and gregarious type of dog.

A Spotty Past

Dalmatians are considered an ancient breed, but the exact origin of these dogs is unclear. Spotted dogs pop up across the annals of history dating back as far as 3700 BC in Egypt, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Theories of the breed’s origin abound but none have emerged dominant.
While the exact lineage of the Dalmatian is up for debate, the dog’s working origins are well known. Dalmatians served as carriage dogs. In 17th century England, Dalmatians would keep step with horses and the carriages they pulled, putting their endurance and athleticism to use as protectors. This job laid the groundwork for the Dalmatian’s calling as a firehouse dog. Though modern firetrucks have no need of their services, the breed remains a beloved symbol for many firefighters.

A Classic Look




Dalmatians have close, sleek coats of white spotted with black, the very feature that drove Cruella to fashion extremes. These dogs are lithe and athletic, their bodies almost vibrating with the boundless pools of energy available to them. Dalmatians can weigh between 45 to 70 pounds and usually stand 19 to 24 inches tall, according to the AKC. They usually live for 11 to 13 years, according to The Spruce Pets.


With a history as a working dog, Dalmatians retain a great deal of physical and mental energy. These dogs need regular exercise and stimulation, but once you set them to a task, they are quick to learn and eager to please. They can form close bonds with their human companions, but keep in mind they have an independent streak that they will indulge. It is important to keep them leashed on walks and in fenced areas for off-leash running.

Dalmatians at Home

What can you expect if you choose a Dalmatian as a pet? You’ll be spending plenty of time each day on walks and playtime with your dog. If you don’t allow them enough time to get their energy out, they will likely act out at home.
It is also important to be aware that a Dalmatians are more prone to being born deaf in one or both ears than other breeds. While this does not affect how loveable your dog will be, it is an important consideration for your dog’s training needs.
Like many other breeds with short coats, Dalmatians have fairly low grooming requirements. Baths for when they get dirty and a good brushing one a week will keep that black and white coat healthy and shiny.
Save the Dals, based in California, is a rescue organization dedicated to homing Dalmatians through fostering and adoption. You can also look for a reputable breeder if you decide a Dalmatian is right for you.

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