The Dalmatian is immediately recognisable by its white and black-spotted coat. Some believe that this beautiful, fun-loving dog originated in Croatia where mention of the breed name was made as early as 1374. Later, the Dalmatian was spotted accompanying horse-drawn coaches where they served as both status symbol and guard dog. They quickly became known as the ‘Spotted Coach Dog’, a name we still recognise today.
Although the breed was generally used for guarding, the Dalmatian was an excellent addition to firefighting crews; a practice that began in the United States in the 1870s. Dalmatians work well alongside horses, so they would clear the way for carriages and firefighters who were rushing to the scene of a fire. Today, the Dalmatian is a companion dog that rose in fame when author Dodie Smith wrote One Hunderd and One Dalmatians (1956). The book was picked up by Walt Disney who introduced this breed to the world in an animated film based on the book.
Did you know? When the Dalmatian is born its coat is completely white. Spots develop a few days later.
Don’t let the movies fool you
This dog is amazing, but be sure you can handle the energy before you bring one home. Another thing you should be prepared for is the shedding of hair. The Dalmatian sheds a lot of hair and for most of the year.
Dalmatians needs exercise
As with most energetic breeds, the Dalmatian needs a lot of exercise and attention. If they feel neglected or don’t regularly get all that built-up energy out, they can become depressed and destructive or even aggressive. However, if you are a runner or like to go hiking, you will really enjoy this breed. The Dalmatian is strong and built for distance. But, if you are getting a puppy, build up to longer distances over time. A puppy’s bones and joints are only mature when they’re around two years old.
Taking care of a Dalmatian
This breed does well with a regular brush and occasional bath. They have floppy ears so check the ears and clean them with an approved veterinary cleaning lotion.
The Dalmatian is susceptible to developing urate bladder stones (a kind of bladder stone). In this medium-sized dog, urate bladder stones are more common in males. The most common signs of bladder stones is blood in the urine and difficulty urinating. Your veterinarian will used specialised techniques to diagnose urate bladder stones before deciding on a treatment method, which may be surgical or non-surgical.
The Dalmatian is also genetically predisposed to deafness, hip dysplasia (affecting around 5% of purebred Dalmatians) and hyperuricemia, which happens when the liver struggles to break down uric acid causing gout.
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