It is impossible not to know about the Dalmatian dog, one of the best-known dogs in the world, either by its long participation in the history of many countries or by the famous Disney movie 101 Dalmatians, since this movie came out its fame increased and was desired by many people. But at the same time, it brought a negative side to this breed. Despite being a famous dog, the qualities of this pet make it a unique dog with a great personality, for being a hardworking dog. It is perfect for families, and for giving a lot of love. I invite you to keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this breed, its history, care, health, among others.
Nowadays, everybody when seeing a Dalmatian is automatically related to the famous Disney movie or related as fire dogs. Despite all, this the breed has an older role in history. Its exact origin is unknown, the presence of this dog has been recognized in many countries of the world like Egypt, Turkey, Croatia, England, among others. Many names have been found that resemble it like the Turkish dog, the Dalmatian dog, the Danish dog, the tiger dog as they were known in many places. It is believed that they were in Egypt a thousand years ago since in the coffins they found images of a spotted dog with an appearance very similar to this breed, but it cannot be assured. Also, this breed is beginning to be recognized as such when some specimens were found in the coastal area of the city of Dalmatia in Croatia. Near to the years 1720 approximately, and so the name of this breed is part of the name of this city. Over the years, this breed is known throughout the world, performing work as a guard dog, for shepherding, or dedicated to hunting until in England. This dog caught the attention of the Aristocrats, and began to be symbols of nobility, accompanied the carriages together with the horses, further marking the status of their owners.
In America, these dogs had a different role, they were companions of fire trucks, at that time when trucks were pulled by horses, and the dogs were responsible for running ahead barking like a siren so that the road could be free. Today, you can get some Dalmatians as companions in some American fire units, the “firehouse dog”. When the cars began to appear, the Dalmatians were moving away from their functions, and were no longer requested by the nobility and became domesticated dogs. So, they began to appreciate the beauty of this dogs wanting to participate in competitions, and dog shows until in 1890. Moreover, the first breed standard was established by The Kennel Club. As years went by, like many other dog breeds after the First and Second World War, Dalmatians were very affected dogs, so the lovers of this pet’s breed dedicated themselves to breeding. As years went by, the demand for these dogs increased, until they managed to register 900 dogs per year in the clubs.
The dalmatian dog is recognized by all clubs increasing its popularity. After this breed was exposed in the media thanks to movies, it started a boom of breeders of this breed that only gave an interest to the economic side, and didn’t care about the health and growth of the puppies. So, the new Dalmatians were specimens in bad condition creating diseases and weak dogs. At present, the Dalmatian breeders are down and normal.
This breed draws attention for its elegance and beauty, for its coat style, and its personality. They have an approximate life expectancy of about 12 to 14 years. They are large in size and their measurements can vary according to their sex. The female measures between 19 and 22 inches in height, and weighs approximately 45-60 lbs. While, the male measures between 21 and 23 inches in height and weigh 45-60 lbs. It is a slender and muscular dog, with a firm back, its neck is long and a little wide. Its head is proportionate to the size of its body, it has an outstanding but not pointed muzzle. Also, its nose is of the same color of its spots, the base of separation of its ears is wide and the size of them is with great, and wide of triangular form fallen to the sides of the head and mottled. Their eyes are oval and of dark or amber color, depending on the color of their spots. Its legs are somewhat long and its tail is long and straight with a slightly curved tip. Its coat is unique and is due to a genetic mutation. At birth the puppies are completely white, if they are born with spots are not accepted by the standards, from 10 or 14 days start to appear slightly spots and become completely defined to the first year of life. Furtheremore, their spots can be black or dark brown and its coat consists of a single layer short, hard and shiny.
The Dalmatian dogs have a very beloved personality, they are very affectionate and intelligent, they like to spend a lot of time with their family and get along with children. But you must take into consideration to teach the little ones at home not to pull the ear and tail of your pet as it could react in a not very favorable way, so teach them to treat them with love and respect. They have a patient attitude but at the same time they like to stay active, exercise, and play a lot, they have a lot of energy to spend and this is something very fundamental for the lifestyle this dog deserves. The education from puppies is what determines how your Dalmatian will be, so if he has received a positive, and firm education, you don’t have to worry about anything. Although just in case this dog is known for being nothing aggressive or scary, on the contrary, he is a patient and kind breed that only seeks to have a lot of love. They do not tolerate loneliness well, so if you live alone avoid leaving him for long periods, it is more advisable that he lives in a family environment. They are also somewhat sensitive, and prefer to get away in moments of family tension. They get along well with other animals, even cats, so keep in mind that a companion is not out of place. They don’t tend to bark and even less to bite, they are not drooling dogs, so you can relax on that side. As for strangers, or strange dogs, they can be a bit reserved but there is no rejection either, they are not as sociable as golden retrievers or Labradors Retrievers.
Thanks to the coat type that the Dalmatian has, its cares are very simple, it can brush from time to time to remove its dead coat, but when they are in molting season it must be frequent. I recommend you to give them a daily brushing because the hair loss can be a lot and this way you avoid having hair pulled everywhere. You can bathe him from time to time, it’s not necessary to do it very often, only when he is dirty and uses special cleaning products for dogs. To keep a shiny coat a good and healthy feeding is fundamental.
You should always check his ears and keep them clean using special things for dog ear cleaning as Dalmatians can have frequent ear infections, they can also have ear mites. If you see him scratching his ears a lot you can take him to a veterinarian to treat him. You also have to check and maintain good oral hygiene, cleaning twice a week with a good dog toothpaste. Also having an special toothbrush to your pet, and this should be taken into account because your dog’s teeth are prone to have a dental disease. If they don’t have good care, they can start with tartar build-up on the teeth, and progresses to having infection of the gums and roots of the teeth. Therefore, it is important to know that putting the risk that they can lose the tooth completely and suffer teeth abnormalities. At the same time damaging their kidneys, liver, heart, and joints, so much so that it can reduce their lifetime.
The exercise is something very fundamental in the life of your Dalmatian, they are dogs that have too much energy. The reason why they must stay active in some way constantly, you can plan to make 2 to 3 daily long walks, to make constant games and I recommend you also that you make intelligent games to develop more its intelligence and to stimulate more its capacities. If this dog doesn’t have how to drain its energies and equally doesn’t have an active lifestyle, it can become very destructive inside the house and can develop stress. So, it is not good at all for the health of your pet, as a result of this, it can also develop obesity and it is something common in this breed since they are a bit gluttonous and if they don’t exercise it is more likely to happen. Likewise, if your dog will spend many hours alone, it will not be anything healthy as it can develop separation anxiety. You must take into consideration that it is recommended that these dogs live in houses with access to a yard, or garden to have more freedom of movement and space. It is not ideal inside apartments, because of its size it would be limited, and you would be forced to take it out for longer walks, or look for more ways to distract it. If you are going to be a pet owner of this breed you must be clear about all the responsibilities of the lifestyle your Dalmatian deserves.
You must be careful with temperature changes, due to its coat in the summer can be a little sensitive to be exposed directly to the sun and heat. Better make the walk early in the morning and late afternoon, and in cold seasons avoid letting him sleep outside as it only has a layer of the coat. So it will not tolerate low temperatures well, you can keep it inside with a blanket or doggie pillow.
Unfortunately, being a dog that became trendy brought with it the loss of true care for the breeding of Dalmatians, making the breed produce many diseases and delicate health. As I mentioned before, the breeding of this breed has returned to normal but they were affected, so Dalmatians have a genetic predisposition to many diseases.
One of the most common that can be found in Dalmatians is Deafness, it is estimated that 10% of puppies are affected by heritable deafness and although they seek how to control it is very difficult due to the genetic diversity they have. A deaf parent can have completely healthy puppies without hearing problems and healthy parents can have puppies with deafness. Once you detect that your dog doesn’t hear you, take him to the vet to have all his check-ups done, as there might also be an ear infection. You can also make sure your puppy is not deaf by asking the breeder for the results of the hearing test before you get your puppy.
Older Dalmatians can develop Laryngeal Paralysis, this is when the vocal cords become paralyzed and hang from the airways. If you see your dog is breathing strangely and more when he is exercising you should take him immediately to the vet as if it becomes a serious case, and is not treated, he can collapse and will require surgery if not. It can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. This dog breed is prone to suffer reactive seizures is an inherited condition that they usually suffer, if your pet starts suffering from seizures usually appear starting from the sixth month and three years of age. This can happen when the brain’s response to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. If you see your dog having seizures, avoid that he hurts himself and also don’t try to control his mouth or grab his tongue since it could be a danger for you and it won’t be of much help for him either, from the first moment you see this happen you should take him immediately to the vet to make all the pertinent tests to get the cause if it is treated early, he can be given medicines for a lifetime to control it and you should take him to constant blood checks to avoid any negative effect.
Another disease that usually affects Dalmatians is the alteration of the uric acid transport system due to a genetic metabolic defect. This breed is more likely to develop urinary stones quickly than other dogs. Even though, these purebred dogs have a high uric acid level, it does not mean that all Dalmatians will suffer from stones. Likewise, if you see your dog start bleeding in his urine or he can’t urinate, you should take him to a check-up right away, as he may have stones affecting his urinary tract, and it may be dangerous. Your doctor will determine if it is serious or not; if your dog starts suffering from this, you should check him constantly with tests to control it.
Dalmatians are especially prone to suffer also from a heart disease known as Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM, where the heart gets longer, thinner, and weaker, which will affect the pumping of blood in the body. The first signs can be detected in the first year of life when an electrocardiogram (ECG) detects an abnormality in the heart’s rhythm. If it isn’t treated under preventive medication and supplements with a good diet, the dog will eventually begin to feel tired, faint, have shortness of breath, and can be life-threatening.
They can also suffer from skin problems such as sebaceous adenitis and Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome, which affects hair loss and can have inflammation of the hair follicles, which can be treated with antibiotics and special shampoos under medical order. A disease that usually happens in large dogs like Dalmatians is Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is an inflammatory condition that occurs when weak cartilage is detached from the bone, commonly affecting the shoulder, elbow, hip, or knee joint. Unfortunately, this breed is known for suffering from many eye conditions, which can be hereditary, some of them can be like Glaucoma, Cataracts, Entropion, Dermoid; some of these can cause blindness if it is not treated in time, and can be painful if you get to see that something starts to appear in his eyes or he has some secretions that are not normal, take him to the veterinarian immediately.
The best way to prevent all these diseases from developing is with a constant checkup from puppies, also at the time you get to observe any abnormal symptom, you should take it immediately to check with the doctor. You should always be up to date with his vaccination schedule and do his continuous deworming.
As this breed is prone to many diseases, many pet owners decide to buy Pet health insurance, which helps them with future expenses, and avoids large payments on possible surgeries. You can investigate which insurance is the most useful for you and covers all your needs.
For Dalmatians to enjoy good health and growth, their diet must be of high quality and controlled. Their diet varies according to their lifestyle, sex, age, a physical activity they have, also as this dog breed is prone to develop some diseases, you should always control what type of food they should eat, your vet can recommend what specific type of dog food they should take, such as low purines that are found in beef, viscera, fish, and yeast, which helps decrease uric acid in the urine thus preventing them from forming more stones, or have a specific diet. Normally, as they are very active avoid giving him many amounts of food, you can begin in the mornings with a light meal and in the afternoons, or evenings a more abundant meal. Take into consideration that an hour before and after eating has been calm, without making a physical activity since it can develop a gastric torsion. Additionally, take into account that you should start applying a puppy diet from a young age so that they can grow used to a good diet.
Water is something fundamental that the Dalmatian must have within his reach, always keep his plate with full, clean, and freshwater. So that he can always drink or be supplied with water, as this forces him to urinate several times, and helps him avoid forming kidney stones.
If you decide to have a Dalmatian puppy as a new member of your family, I advise you to have it by a Dalmatian breeder that is subscribed to the clubs of this breed and follows all the rules established to be an official breeder. Once you have contacted a reputable breeder, you have to make sure that he gives you all the necessary information about your puppy, how he was raised. His genetic history to confirm if his parents suffered from any disease. Make sure that he is a purebred, that he has all his vaccines and that it’s dewormed, the kind of food was used in the puppy. Moreover, check how the parents, and the puppies react to the breeder to identify if they are in a healthy environment, and are not being exploited just to have benefits. An honest breeder makes sure that all parents were cared for and treated correctly by their owner, and vet. Also respecting the time frame to have pups and that he is dedicated to this breed.
You can also choose to adopt and give a second chance to live in a family to a Dalmatian that is in a shelter, or with protectionists. Many Dalmatian dogs were abandoned by their previous owners as they did not know how to assume the responsibility that it takes to have this dog breed, and for the exposure of movies they think they act in the same way in movies, and eventually, they are abandoned and unwanted puppies.
Although the Dalmatian is predisposed to suffer some disease, do not get carried away by this. Nowadays the breeding of this dog has been controlled, and you can get honest breeders who can provide you all the necessary information about your puppy. Further, it is a worthwhile dog breed, and more to be in families, loves children and is a good companion. Also it is very intelligent and agile, if you are an active person can be your best partner for exercises, with giving him a good life, and good care you avoid many conditions. If you have any questions or if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.