With its fine white coat, and distinctive black spots, the dalmation is a fine looking, handsome dog. The breed has strong aristrocratic connections – during the 19th century is was a favorite with the toffs, both in the US and Britain. There was even once a craxe for having a pair of Dalmations trotting regally behind your horse-drawn carriage – which must have made an impressive sight.
But the breed was to enjoy an even bigger claim to fame. In 1956, the author Dodie Smith published The Great Dog Robbery, a book with an exciting plot. An evil woman has machinations to make a fabulous fur coat from Dalmation skins. To realize her ambition, she steals lots of Dalmation puppies. Will they be rescued before they are skinned? At first only a few knew of the novel, but when in 1961 Disney’s film of the book, 101 Dalmations hit blockbuster success, the story rapidly became a childrens’ classic.
History The origins of the breed are in some doubt. It seems likely similar looking dogs lived in Northern India, and that in the Middle Ages some traveled to Europe via trading routes. In parts of Dalmatia, (a region bordering the Mediterranean sea), packs of the dog were used for boar and deer hunting. The breed acquired its name from the territory, and continued its rise in popularity.
Temperament Being an intelligent dog, a Dalmation is quick to learn and relatively easy to train. With great stamina and boundless energy, the dog makes for a lively and active companion. Dalmations have a friendly, outgoing disposition, and get along well with adults, children, and other pets.
Care and Exercise Grooming is straightforward - regular brushing will keep shedding under control. Lots of exercise is needed, as the dog benefits hugely from long runs and the freedom to roam.
Puppies Dalmation litters number around the 8 or 10 mark. The puppies are born white, and spots slowly appear after about 2 weeks.
HealthThe breed has a proclivity to deafness. Over 1 in 10 lose their hearing in later life.