Dalmatians – The Breed with Affinity to Horses

Mother Dalmatian sitting behind her puppies

The Dalmatian is a large, muscular, strong animal. Dalmatians are best known from the Disney animated film, “101 Dalmatians”, and as a firefighters’ best friend.

Dalmatian History

This canine originated in Dalmatia, which is now part of Croatia. Traces of this breed have been found in ancient Egyptian bas-reliefs. In the 1800s, Dalmatians were popular in England as “coach dogs”, which comes from their eagerness to run alongside the horse drawn carriages. These spotted dogs have been dogs of war, shepherds, ratters, firehouse mascots, bird dogs, and retrievers. A Dalmatian is the only and original coaching dog. Their affinity to horses has made this breed a natural guardian and follower of the horse-drawn carriage.

Dalmatian Appearance

Dalmatians can be found in white with black or liver spots. They have round eyes, which are usually brown, blue or a combination of both colors. Their coat is sleek and glossy and, of course, displays spots. A Dalmatian can also be found in solid white, or with lemon, sable, tricolored or dark blue spots. Their feet are round with arched toes, and at times their toenails can have spots. Puppies are born completely white; the spots develop later.

Dalmatian Temperament and Personality

Lifespan for Dalmatians is from 12 – 14 years. Their temperament can be active, playful, intelligent, outgoing, energetic, sensitive, or any combination of these traits. A Dalmatian’s expression is alert and intelligent. This indicates a stable and outgoing temperament. Their eyes are set well apart, and are round and medium in size. Darker eyes are a more desirable trait in this breed, and black spots are preferable to liver spots. The nose is usually black in black-spotted dogs and brown in liver-spotted dogs. Their coat is dense, short, and fine. It should be sleek, healthy, and glossy in appearance. Frequent brushing will help control its constant shedding. One genetic defect common in this breed is deafness. Only about 70% of Dalmatians have normal hearing. Pups should be tested at an early age. Blue-eyed Dalmatians have a greater frequency of deafness.

The Dalmatian has a vast amount of stamina and energy. They require a lot of leadership and companionship. If left alone too long, they can get into mischief and possibly be destructive. They do well with small children if they receive enough physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. If this is not the case, they can become high strung and difficult to manage. Dalmatians are not well-suited for apartment living, unless they can be taken outside several times a day for a brisk walk or run. They are also not suited to living outside in colder climates. It is ideal for families with this breed to have at least an average sized yard.

Dalmatians are beautiful dogs and, if given plenty of exercise, can be a wonderful addition to most households.

Do you love dalmatians?

Image: Istock

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