Spotted dogs have been known throughout the centuries in varied forms and long before any could be labelled as a breed by name.
It's believed that the first time the name Dalmatian was used was towards the end of the eighteenth century. (Eleanor Frankling, The Dalmatian).
Their origins are thought to most likely be of spotted hound type dogs used for hunting stag. The Old English Talbot is thought to be a fore bearer of the breed, as he was to the Fox Hound and Pointer. The first standards for Dalmatians (1882 - 1886) always made comparisons to Pointers.
The first official standard of the Dalmatian club, published in 1890 starts with 'the Dalmatian in many respects resembles the Pointer, more especially in build and outline.' This is not too surprising when you realise that prominent dog people of that era, Mr Lloyed Price being one, bred both Pointer and Dalmatians!
However the Dalmatian will forever be best remembered as The Coach dog, either a fashionable appendage to the wealthy, or a guard to the mail coach. He would have been expected to do around 30 miles in a day’s work. This carriage and road dog work is still strong in the breed’s instincts and so a society was formed. This Society was established in July 2006 and exists: ‘To preserve the working heritage of the Dalmatian as a coaching dog, to run National Trials, the purpose of which is to demonstrate and test the Dalmatian's traditional role as a companion to man as road and carriage dog.’ Indeed there still remains a great affinity between horses and Dalmatians present to this day!
The Dalmatian is a medium to large size dog, energetic and boisterous, especially in his adolescent years. He should never be considered mature or grown up until he is in his 3rd year.
Dalmatians are very intelligent and manipulative and for this reason are NOT for the faint hearted or people who are too busy to train, exercise and spend time with their dog. A bored Dalmatian is a very unhappy and possibly destructive dog. That said, the Dalmatian is a great family dog who loves people and all kinds of activities, he loves to be with you, no matter what you are doing. This breed is not for people who leave an empty house all day for him to amuse himself in! An active, intelligent mind is not suited to spending long days alone in the house. With correct, interesting and compassionate training your Dalmatian will enjoy many disciplines such as, obedience, agility, fly ball, carriage and road dog trials.
Dalmatians shed their coat all year! Dark clothes and furniture do not bode well with the white coat of the Dalmatian!
The Dalmatian is a relatively healthy breed. However, all prospective owners should be well aware of that the breed has two genetic problems: Deafness should not be a problem for the pet owner who buys a puppy from a reputable breeder, all good breeders will have had the parents and litter hearing (BAER) tested and be able to give you a certificate of proof. The certificate will state that either the pup is bilaterally hearing (can hear in both ears) or unilateral hearing (deaf in one ear). Do not be put off a puppy who is unilateral, he can still hear better than you! This should however, exclude him from breeding, so as not to pass on the complicated genetics of deafness. It will not make any outward difference to your puppy, in fact without hearing testing these pups would not be detectable.
The breeds double copy of the mutated gene that causes High Uric Acid (Hyperuricosuria). predisposing the Dalmatian to forming urate stones. ALL Dalmatian owners need to be aware of this genetic problem for the welfare of their Dalmatian.