You certainly can't mistake the Dalmatian with its black or liver spotted coat. The precise origin of this breed is unclear but in the late 18th Century, a white spotted dog known as the Talbot Dog used to accompany horse-drawn carriages and guard the passengers. This is most likely how they got their second name, the Carriage Dog. They would also guard the stables at night and run ahead of horse-drawn fire engines to clear the route. The name Dalmatian was first noted in 1791 by English engraver and natural history author Thomas Berwick.
Standing 23–24 inches high, they have a short, smooth coat and an average lifespan of 12–14 years. They are friendly and loyal to those they know and trust, but can be a bit aloof with strangers and other dogs to start with.
Like all breeds there are certain health issues each Dalmatian owner should be aware of.
Dalmatians are predisposed to this genetic condition where too much uric acid is produced. Uric acid is a substance produced from the normal breakdown of food. However, some are unable to break it down correctly, resulting in large amounts being present in the urine. These high levels produce dangerous and painful urine stones.
If your Dalmatian is affected with hyperuricosuria, it is important to feed a low purine diet. A lot of meats are high in purines so an almost vegetarian diet will be ideal. But a low purine diet doesn't have to be a low protein diet. Eggs and other dairy products are great sources of protein. VetChef has plenty of home-cooked recipes that are not only safe for this condition but will also cater to the high energy levels of this breed. Click here to get started.
Dalmatians are known to have an increased risk of deafness when compared to other breeds. This is an inherited condition with around 30% being affected by deafness, or hearing impairment to some extent. Living with, and training a deaf dog may have to be approached differently than a hearing dog but there are many ways to get your dog's attention. For dogs, smelling is their most active sense, followed by sight and hearing. When training your deaf Dalmatian, clear hand signals and facial expressions can become as obvious to him as your voice would be to a hearing dog. Careful training around children may be necessary so your Dalmatian doesn't see a child's erratic actions as a threat. When running free, teach him to look back every few minutes as you won't be able to call him.
Dalmatians are known to have sensitive skin and can suffer from severe allergies. Fleas, ticks, and mites can aggravate their skin, so ensure they have appropriate treatment for these pests and give your Dalmatian regular and thorough grooming.
Sebaceous adenitis is a condition where your dog has dry, scaly skin with patches of hair loss along the top of his head and neck. It usually develops between the ages of one and five years.
Bronzing skin syndrome is a bacterial infection which can cause itchy and scaling skin, inflamed hair follicles, scabs, and a bronze hue to the skin. Its exact cause remains unknown, but treatment may include antibiotics and a balanced nutritious diet. VetChef can recommend specific diets for your individual dog to help with the maintenance of this condition.
The FREE My VetChef app can help you with this, creating bespoke recipes tailored to meet your Dalmatian's individual nutritional requirements. f you'd like a range of bespoke recipes specifically tailored to meet your Dalmatian's nutritional requirements, sign up for a FREE account at My VetChef.