For centuries Dalmatians were superb working dogs.
The Dalmatian’s origin is a mystery. Greek friezes over 4,000 year old show hunting dogs that are similar to the Dalmatian. Although Dalmatia, on the coast of the Adriatic, is described as this distinctive breed’s home, there is evidence that is originated in India, and was taken to ancient Greece by traders.
For centuries it was a superb working dog. In its time it has been a pack hunter, a retriever and a bird dog. It has been used to herd sheep and catch vermin. More recently, it has been used as a circus performer. The Dalmatian found its true calling as a coach dog in Victorian England, protecting horses and adding a touch of style. In the 1800s, American fire departments used it to control the horses that pulled fire appliances.
Movies with Dalmatians have spurred their popularity, but most people are unprepared for the training involved.
Today, this cheerful dog serves as a companion. Almost invariably friendly, some males can be aggressive to other male dogs.
The Dalmatian is the only breed of dog that can suffer from urate stones in its urinary system.
Medium to large size: 19 to 23 inches, 45 to 60 pounds.
Color: White with black or liver spots.
Energetic temperament. Daily exercise ensures better manners.
Good with children when raised with them.
Reserved with strangers; can be aggressive with dogs.
High energy level.
Best owner: Active owner in a suburban or rural home.
Needs: Daily strenuous exercise, leash, fenced yard, consistent training, lots of attention and companionship, soft bedding, regular brushing.
Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.