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With mysterious origins, the Dalmatian is known as a status symbol in the Regency period. It is highly prized because of its decorative spots. It was bred to work as coaching dogs, mostly seen beside horse-drawn carriages of nobles. Standing proud, it is 56 to 61 centimetres tall at the withers and weighs 48 to 55 pounds. Dalmatians are active breeds and highly intelligent.
Is the Dalmatian one of your options? Here is a brief background of this confident dog with picturesque spots.
The origin of the Dalmatian is a mystery. Its name is said to be derived from the now-extinct hound dog named Dama-chien. While other stories suggest that the name was obtained from a province on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea called Dalmatia (now Croatia), presumably its place of origin. One thing is sure about Dalmatians is that they were bred to work. They were utilised as guard dogs, shepherds, retrievers, ratters, circus dogs, and coaching dogs.
In the 19th century, Dalmatians were widely known as "the Spotted Dog Coach" as they are seen to run alongside horse-drawn carriages of the English nobility thanks to their excellent stamina. They also guarded the horses and the coach when they were at rest.
Today, Dalmatians are favourite family companions. Because of their high affinity with horses, they are also used as firehouse dogs, running with the horses to the fire and sometimes helping rescue people from burning buildings.
The Dalmatian is a fine-looking, muscular and medium-sized dog. It has incredible endurance and stamina. It weighs 48 to 55 pounds and stands 56 to 61 centimetres at the withers. This active and robust dog has a relatively long and flat head that is well-defined with a moderate stop and no loose skin. Dalmatians’ eyes are medium-sized that are either dark in black spotted dogs or amber in liver spotted dogs. Ears are also modest in size and set high with broken markings or preferably spotted. Their jaws are strong, necks fairly long, and backs level with well-defined withers and well-sprung ribs.
The highly-prized Dalmatian coat is smooth to touch with a texture of fine satin. The base colours should be white with either black- or liver-coloured round spots. The spots being its distinct feature should be well distributed as much as possible. It sheds considerably year-round, so weekly grooming is recommended. The Dalmatian produces a minimal amount of oil in their coats and lacks the "doggie smell" so it stays clean compared to other dog breeds.
Other than coat grooming, don't forget to brush the Dalmatian's teeth at least twice a week to avoid bad breath and gum disease. Clean its ears as well to save your dog from the discomfort of a potential infection and save you the cost of treatment. Make sure to use a veterinarian-approved solution in cleaning your Dal's ears. You should also regularly trim its nails to avoid painful overgrowth.
Dalmatians are dogs born with an almost unlimited energy. They are friendly, outgoing and are rarely aggressive. They are also very dedicated, loyal and have a strong desire to please. This makes them easy to train through positive reinforcement through food, praise and play as rewards. The downside of their attention-seeking and people-pleasing attitude is their tendency to develop separation anxiety.
In spite of being a hyperactive dog, Dals are ideal for first-time owners provided that they are given the right amount of mental stimulation and physical exercise. Dalmatians are excellent watchdogs as they are naturally alert, curious and interested in everything that goes around them. They are generally good around children since they are gentle dogs by nature. Being energetic dogs, interaction or play may become a bit rough, so supervision is a must.
As for other pets, Dals rarely show dominance and aggression toward other dogs if they have been well socialised at a young age. Care must be taken especially for small unknown pets. Dalmatians are bred to be hunters so they will want to chase the neighbours' cats and other small furry pets if given a chance.
A typical food serving for an adult Dalmatian is 1.5 to 2 cups of quality dry dog food per day, which must be divided into two meals. Like other dogs, Dals have a tendency to bloat, make sure to measure its food and avoid free-feeding. When you're not sure, don't hesitate to ask for advice from your trusted veterinarian.
Typical calorie needs of an adult Dalmatian, weighing 50 pounds, per day:
It is important to note that Dals have sensitive stomachs, so it is best to prepare home-cooked food for you to know know exactly what your dog is eating. However, if for some instance this is not possible just pay close attention to dog food labels on store brands. Find quality food with the right nutrition. Also, since Dalmatians lack a specific enzyme used to digest proteins, they are unable to digest heavy proteins. Undigested proteins can lead to formation of kidney stones so make sure to limit their intake of organ meat and water to drink should never be a shortage.
The Dalmatian is a generally healthy dog but may develop conditions that are inherent to its breed. It can suffer from bloat, hereditary deafness, Urolithiasis, Hip Dysplasia, Iris Sphincter Dysplasia and food-based skin allergies and contact allergies. If you notice any abnormalities, especially signs of allergies and infection, contact your veterinarian immediately.
The Dalmatian is a working dog that can handle multiple different jobs so naturally, it has high exercise needs. It needs at least two hours' worth of activities that are mentally and physically stimulating.
When you raise a dog, it usually comes with a vision of fun and happy days but that won't last long if the road ahead is paved with financial difficulties. The first lesson to responsible dog ownership is to make sure you are capable of raising a dog, financially. For one, if you plan to buy a Dalmatian puppy, prepare to pay around £500 to £650 for a well-bred one. Getting a pet insurance is another matter, which will cost you somewhere in between £23 and £48, depending on the level of coverage.
Dalmatians need health care as much as they need your tender loving care. This means not to neglect veterinary visits for reasons such as lack of money or time. Health issues that are left unattended may cost you more time and money than it should have. So yes, veterinary consultations including initial vaccinations, boosters and spaying (when the time is right) is important and will cost you around £1,000 annually.
Other expenses are the bare necessities, which most people consider first when they decide to get a dog. These include dog supplies such as leash, bed, collar, bowl, and toys which you may have to shell out £200 depending on the quality and brand. Don't forget about the food. Food for Dals cost around £40 to £60 a month.
Are you sure the Dalmatian is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Is a Dalmatian for you to care for and raise properly? If you don't have a definite answer, we can help you find out if there are other breeds suitable for you through our Pet Finder.
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