With their iconic spots and loyal personalities, Dalmatians have been beloved by dog-lovers for a long time. Disney’s classic animated 1961 film, “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” and its subsequent 1996 live-action remake only added to the breed’s popularity.
Today’s Dalmatians were named for their original region of Dalmatia, which is located on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe. As the breed evolved, it filled a variety of needed roles, including shepherding dogs, hunting dogs and coach dogs, who ran beside horse-drawn fire wagons. Dalmatians have also been regarded as excellent circus performers!
Shapes and Sizes
Typically ranging from 50-60 lbs, Dalmatians are considered medium-sized dogs. Although Disney movies only depict the dogs as black and white, the breed can also have liver-colored spots. Their coats are short and dense, requiring little grooming, but it is recommended that they be brushed often.
Dalmatians are normally described as intelligent, playful and sensitive. However, they can be a little standoffish when first meeting new strangers and other dogs, so it is important that the dogs are often socialized with other dogs and people, especially at a young age. With their lovable nature, it is easy to give these dogs the high amount of interaction they require!
Exercise is essential to a Dalmatian’s happiness and health. Filled with energy, this breed requires long walks or runs on a daily basis. In general, they are healthy dogs who typically live for 12-14 years.
The breed does tend to experience several medical conditions, with deafness being one of the most notable. According to the Dalmatian Club of America, about 8% of Dalmatians are completely deaf, and about 22% of the breed hear in only one ear. Other medical conditions the breed is prone to experiencing include hip dysplasia, which causes the hip joint to be loose in its socket, and hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone controlling metabolism.
- Dalmatian puppies are born without spots. Spots tend to appear around 10-14 days after birth.
- In the 19th century, Dalmatians were considered ‘sophisticated pets’ for those belonging to the upper class.
- Dalmatians are famous for being “Firehouse mascots.”
- As featured in the pictures above, client Madi Snow owns her own charming Dalmatian. She even started a Facebook page dedicated to Mr. Charles Higbee’s daily escapades – be sure to check it out!
Photos courtesy of Madi Snow.