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Dalmatian Facts 
General Facts about Dalmatians


Dalmatian factsThis dog is known as a Fireman Dog since it is the mascot of firefighters in both the U.S. and the UK.

The most widely accepted theory is that this breed originated in the Balkans, although friezes that were discovered in Greece and in the Middle East depict a very similar looking dog.

They are used as work dogs in a variety of different settings, however they are also very popular as family pets.

This is the only spotted dog breed.

The Dalmatian was a status symbol in 18th century England when they were used extensively as carriage or coach dogs.

This midsized breed was recognized by the AKC in 1888 and were classified into the Non-Sporting group.

Weight will range from 45 to 60 lbs. (20 -27 kg).

Height will be between 19 to 24 inches (48 - 60 cm) from floor to shoulder.

Life span is 12 years on average, however many live well into their mid teens.

Average litter size for the Dalmatian is 8 with 5-9 being within normal, expected range.

Back in the 1700’s, horse drawn carriages were the method of transportation for firefighters. They needed a dog to run by the sides of the carriages to help lead the way, keep the horses on track and to scare off stray dogs that were infamous for scaring the horses and causing trouble…The Dalmatian proved to be perfect for the job.  They have been associated with firefighting ever since this time.

Behavior and Temperament

This breed is very alert and has a high level of energy.

Many have very amusing personalities and will clown around for fun and to make their owners laugh.

They have great speed and high endurance.   How fast can a Dalmatian run? Well exercised and healthy adult dogs can reach 30 mph.

They love people and are very caring and affectionate.

They do very well in a family environment, for the Dalmatian the more humans in the house, the better!  However in many cases they will choose 1 person to be singled out as special and will give that person the most attention.

They often follow an owner around like a shadow and most will do their best to work themselves into an owner’s bed at night to sleep.

Many have an instinct to chase after small creatures such as mice or rats. Because of this, many do not do well in household with small animals such as hamsters or rabbits.

They are very good watchdogs, as they will alert you to any strangers that approach the property.

Most get along well with other dogs and even cats in the home, but may show aggression to unfamiliar dogs.   They may also show aggression to smaller dogs in the household if they are not exercised enough to release pent up energy.

They get along just fine with children, however their tail whipping is very strong and they are a strong breed in general….For this reason, they may not mix well with very young children.

They are known to make very cute noises, such as cooing, mumbles and even yawns that have a whistle to them.

They are good swimmers and most love to play in the water.

Dalmatian Facts Regarding Color and Appearance

Most think that the 1 unwavering Dalmatian fact is that the dog is always white with black spots. However, a purebred can also be white with liver (brown) spots.

With purebreds, spots should not run together...they should be round and well distributed over the entire body.

There are blues (a diluted black) and lemons (a yellow to brown color) but they are not recognized by the AKC.

All pups are born pure white and only begin to develop their spots around 2-3 weeks old.  By the age of 4 weeks all spots will be present, however they will slowly grow in size as the dog grows.

The coat is short and lies close to the body.

Toenails are black, white or a mixture of both in black- spotted dogs and are brown , white or a mixture of both in liver spotted Dalmatians.

Eye color varies from amber to brown to blue. Some are bi-eyes (each eye is a different color). 

Exercise Needs

With a high level of energy, daily exercise is a must. If this breed is not walked each day they will become very frustrated with pent up energy.  A good walk of 30-60 minutes each day is best.

They are very active and will be eager to exercise, however they will usually not just run around on their own….Most need their owner to be involved…i.e. biking while the dog runs alongside, playing catch, etc.


This is 1 breed that must have a special diet. They do not have the ability to properly process purine and for this reason they must be fed a low protein diet at all times….If not, dangerous bladder stones can develop.

Some foods that should never be given to a Dalmatian are beef, duck, kidney meat, liver, sardines or scallops.

Foods that they can eat will no issues are: chicken, cheese, eggs and pasta.

They are known to have a very hearty appetite and many will seem to be able to eat endlessly. For this reason, owners are encouraged to offer 3-4 smaller meals throughout the day along with occasionally snacks…however one must keep an eye on any potential weight gain and be sure to allow offer daily walks in order for the dog to burn off calories.


These are inside dogs and should not be tied outside or left in an enclosed yard to spend their day….They are people oriented and need daily human interaction to be happy and well behaved.

The short coat of this breed will shed a bit all year round.  When hairs do fall to the ground, they are usually the white ones.

Routinely brushing, 1 time every 3 days, will keep shedding under control and will aid to keep the coat healthy.


Baths do not need to be given frequently….Most owners find that 1 bath every 2 months is sufficient to keep the dog clean and to aid in keeping the coat healthy.


One issue that this breed is prone to is deafness that is there from birth.  For this reason, all breeders should have their litters tested.

When picking out a puppy, it is recommended to drop a set of keys behind the pup to see if he or she can be a quick way to determine if there are hearing issues.

It is a fact about Dalmatians that only about 70% have full hearing capabilities.   Many that suffer from hearing loss do very well in understanding hand gestures in regard to commands and to communicate.

Males over the age of 10 are very prone to kidney and bladder stones,  it is recommended to decrease foods that contain calcium at this time.


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