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Contrary to the popular media, the Dalmatian is far from the best choice for every family (and truthfully no breed is).  This is NOT the breed for everyone!  While its outter wrapper may be distinctive and appealing, choosing a dog is not a test in fashion.  Definitely a breed to research closely and thoroughly prior to selecting it as your family pet.  Absolutely, Dalmatians are smart, and fast and loving with family, they can also be demanding, destructive, manipulative and snappish.  Many dogs can, part of it is in the handling and care, and if you are not prepared to help your dog become the pet you need it to be, a Dalmatian will not get there on its own!

While it has been many generations since the Dalmatian was recognized as a working dog, think of the ubiquitous firehouse mascot, they are built for activity and a lot of it. So while the intense border collie or athletic Bull Terrier may come to mind as dogs demanding exercise, the Dalmatian is no slouch either. Many folks are familiar with photos of those incredible runners, the Whippet, lounging on a couch, do not confuse this with your Dalmatian! The Dalmatian is not overlooked when sign ups come for search and rescue dogs because they are laid-back and lazy but because their coat doesn't provide them the protection that the Border Collie or Golden or Labrador Retriever offers. They are certainly more than smart enough and perhaps at least as much as any of those breeds (save, perhaps the Border Collie) they are as intense. The average Dalmatian puppy, with reasonable handling will also be quite confident. That is something that can rarely be said. That confidence is a boon or a curse depending exactly on how it is channeled and woe to the poor Dal puppy that is so mishandled that this confidence is driven from them.

So if the Dalmatian is for you. It cannot be a fashion statement, as dramatic as they may appear because in finding time to keep them exercised and well-balanced you will have limited time in developing this season's wardrobe! But then, how many fantastic dog people even worry about that?
By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Non-Sporting Height: 19-23 inches
Weight: 40-60 pounds Longevity: early teens
Colors: black/white or liver/white Coat type: smooth, short hair, spotted
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: A dog of clean lines and classic appearance with distinctive spotted coat.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: HIGH
General Nature: rather variable but generally friendly and gregarious, strong prey drives,
  with Children: varies greatly; without heavy socialization generally questionable at best
  with other pets: varies greatly; without heavy socialization generally questionnable at best
  with dogs: varies; even with those they are raised with they may or may not take a liking
Socialization requirements: extensive for a well mannered, confident and reliable companion
Ideal home characteristics: active lifestyle (these are great jogging partners) with time to devote to a proper rearing and regular activity and interaction
Temperament Notes: Well bred and carefully reared they are confident, exuberant and well mannered; without that they can be sharp shy, aggressive to the point of vicious, nervous, excitable and unreliable
Training requirement: consistent reinforcement, harsh methods will destroy trust and develop resentment and eventually anxieties and other issues
Trainer notes: While this breed is quite intelligent, they are prone to developing anxieties and neurotic behaviors when put under pressure (harsh training methods, excessive repitition, etc.).  This is for those who are without issues to begin with.  Irresponsible breeding since the release of the FIRST 101 Dalmatians has essentially destroyed the character of this breed since most examples will come from a less than ideal background.  Research your breeder carefully, at its best, this breed ranks among the most versatile and interesting dogs in history, at its worse, or with an owner that is not dedicated, it ends up in shelters by the thousands!
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: ancient times, perhaps Egypt
Country of Origin: recognized as Croatia but likely far before that
Original Function: bird dog, hound, circus dog, court dog, draft dog, shepherd,
History: Likely developed in Egypt as a war dog from the Great Dane and Pointers, eventually the companion of Romany Gypsies who transported it and a colorful reputation all over Europe.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: spots can blur, ears solidly patched with color, deafness, eyes mismatched, excessive white with ticking, snipey muzzle,
Health Notes: deafness, skin problems. canine hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and some neurotic issues like acral lick dermatomas
Health Testing: CERF and OFA or Penn Hip
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Dalmatians?
  • How did you choose the stud for this litter?
  • Do you have health clearances on your breeding stock?
  • How old will the puppies be when they can go home?
  • What do you consider a proper temperament for a Dalmatian?
  • Why did you breed this litter?
  • How do you recommend socializing a puppy?
Web Sites: - Abby, a liver/white Dal female seeks a wonderful home, currently she is loved, housetrained and more by PACC, a dog rescue/adoption group in Virginia - A Wonderful Dalmatian Rescue 

 -Dalmatian Club of America Rescue Information


Other Resources
Breed standard: - Standard of the Dalmatian

Breeder Ethics: - Code of Ethics for owners and breeders

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