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The picturesque spotting of the Dalmatian makes this breed among the most distinctive of dogs. Pups are born white and begin to acquire their black or liver spots at about two weeks old. Although a breed of ancient lineage, in Victorian times the Dalmatian gained a reputation as a carriage dog and ran with the horses, either out in front, beside or behind the carriages of the nobility.

The Dalmatian had a natural affinity with horses, a trait that is still very strong today. Put most Dalmatians anywhere near a horse and they will immediately go and greet it. Any dog that has been a drover of cattle, a trekker in two World Wars and the Vietnam War, earned a place on the racing fire engine, been the darling of the Victorian dandy, a show dog, a trick dog, a gundog, and a hunter, need only be given half a chance to win a place in your heart and your life.


Average lifespan

Dalmatians can live up to 12 years of age, but with the proper care and attention and fed the right nutrition they will often live up to 14 years.

Average size and weight

This is another fairly large dog where healthy females should weigh about 32kg and be 56cm in height and the males should be about 42kg and 61cm tall.

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament

Dalmatians are fun loving, natural clowns with both elegance and humour being hallmarks of the breed. Their ‘smile’ is often taken for a snarl, until one spots the madly wagging tail.

Care requirements

The breed's fairly sensitive nature also craves human company and affection.

Compatibility with other pets

Dalmatians can share their home quite comfortably with other pets.

Care requirements

Cleanliness and the need for minimal grooming are other much-appreciated characteristics of the breed. Having a short dense coat, Dalmatians only need an occasional brushing to present a well-groomed appearance. Being strong active dogs, they need to be kept under control and obedience training is recommended. As they are active dogs, they require a good walk every day and need a well-fenced yard.

Please take note

Dalmatians may be predisposed to bladder stones. Some dogs are prone to skin trouble, while some are born deaf.

Decision time

Ideal owners

Dalmatians are perfect as a companion, a watchdog, and a marvellous pet for the family, but as they are strong and active they do need to be kept under control.

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.

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