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Updated on May 13, 2011
Liver Spotted Dalmatian
Liver Spotted Dalmatian

History of the Dalmatian

The Dalmatian's history and hertiage is a slightly disputed, as researchers cannot agree as to where the dog originated.

Little is truly known about the history of the Dalmatian. Although, it is a breed with a long past, as paintings of Dalmatians running along chariots have been found in Egyptian tombs. The breed seems to have gone through history with little physical changes.

Dalmatians have, also, been mentioned in letters from Juij Dalmatin, dating back to the mid- 16th century.

The Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, has a fresco that was painted in 1360 depictoing a spotted dog that resembles a modern-day Dalmatian.

Many people believe that the breed first appeared in Europe, Asia,and Africa.

Looking at various paintings and reading letters and notes about the dog breed, it is seen the the dog has compiled a nice resume. They have been used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia and Croatia. They are a Sporting Dog, so it is true that they have been used as bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, stag hunters, and vermin exterminators. Sometimes, you can even find the breed in circuses and fire stations.

But, the most important job, that Dalmatians have carried has been the role of a coach or carriage dog, running next to the horses.

Appearance of the Dalmatian

Dalmatians are a well muscled, mid-sized dog, with a great endurance record. The average Dalmatian measures between 19 and 24 inches at the the shoulder blades and weighs on average about 45 to 70 pounds.

They have a short coat, that is both dense and fine.

The base color to any Dalmatian's coat is white. It will have either black or different shades of brown spots that will vary in both size and number.

Rarely you will find the spots being lemon, orange, blue, tricolor, or brindle, but again, this is very rare.

Puppies are born without spots, but gain their color as they grow and age.

Liver Spotted Dalmatian
Liver Spotted Dalmatian

Temperament of Dalmatians

Dalmatians are very active and need plenty of exercise. They are very fast runners with a lot of stamina and self-reliance, so they make great partners for any runner.

These dogs are playful and rambunctuous, so plenty of exercise will keep a Dalmatian happy and content, as a tired dog is a well behaved one. ;-)

When they're given freedom to roam, Dalmatians may take multi-day trips on their own across the countryside. But, in an urban environment, they probably won't survive these trips, which is why they must be kept in a fenced in area.

Because of their energetic and playful nature, Dalmatians make them good companions for children. They are very forgiving to the roughness of children. However, it is still necessary that the dogs be socialized with children when they are puppies, and that the children are taught how to play with a puppy (or dog) because Dalmatians are powerful dogs that are easily capable of injuring a child in the process of innocent play. Always, supervise playtimes between dog and child.

Dalmatians are extremely people-oriented dogs, so you must train a Dalmatian to accept your absence. Using a crate for indoor dogs, works best. You can, also, provide your Dalmatian with a companion. These dogs crave human companionship and do poorly if left alone in a backyard or basement.

Dalmatians are famed for their intelligence, independence, and survival instincts. They can become territorial if not trained properly.

Training Dalmatians

One misconception about Dalmatians is that they are un-trainable. They often end up in shelters and rescue because their previous owner had training concerns. But, the main problem is usually owner's inexperience of the breed. If you know the breed positive and negative qualities, you can easily train any dog, no matter what breed it may be.

But with Dalmatians, who are very sensitive dog that never forget ill-treatment and abuse, they need a softer hand when training. But, don't give into the dog's every whim, but instead, find more positive methods of training.

You may want to consider clicker training as a training method for a Dalmatian. It is a highly effective means of training for any dog or animal.

Reinforcement training is another method that you may want to consider. You can use positive reinforcements with any dog to ensure that a behavior will occur again.

Disney Dalmatians

The rise of the Dalmatian breed occured when the One Hundred and One Dalmatians novel was published in 1956 by Dodie Smith. Later, the breed hit an acme point when Walt Disney released the book on film in its animated form in 1961, and again in 1996 with the live-action remake.

101 Dalmatians progressed even further 102 and 103 Dalmatians.

But, because of the popularity of the breed that was associated with the movies, it started a sudden demand increase of Dalmatian puppies. This causes an increase in puppy mill Dalmatians and irresponsible breeders who just wanted to make a buck.

In many cases, parents would run out and purchased a puppy for their child without doing any research about the high energy breed. So, once all the parents realized what they'd gotten into, there was a sudden increase in Dalmatians found in animal shelters. This is how their reputation of being "difficult," "stupid," and high strung" came about.

Dalmatian Puppies


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have seen 101 Dalmations.Loved it.Great hub Whitney.This breed is making news.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Tony T 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Another beautiful breed of dog and i love all the cartoon films and cartoons.:)


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