How to spot a Dalmatian

By Valdette Muller| September 18, 2013 | Blog

101 DalmatiansDalmatians boast two qualities the world desires most; beauty and intelligence. No other dog breed can say that it has inspired countless designers or have a movie featuring 101 of them. Yet, even though they are one of the worlds most recognised and loved breeds, they are often misunderstood and a well informed decision is essential before committing to one (or 101).

Where do they come from?

The romantic history of the Dalmatian can be traced back to the early 18th century. It is said that they travelled with Romanian gypsies. The Dalmatian got its name after a stay in Dalmatia, a province in what is now called Croatia.

Dalmatians were bred to be coach dogs. Running alongside the carriages, they provided protection against stray dogs and alerted the coachmen of approaching travellers. They also watched over the horse and carriage at rest stops and added some much needed flair to their fashionable owners.

Firemen observed their intelligence and soon started to use them alongside their horse drawn fire engines. Till today they serve as a firehouse mascot.

Running DalmatianHighlights

• All Dalmatian puppies are born white and develop their black or liver coloured spots at about two weeks after birth.

• Their claim to fame is running; that is what they were bred to do. Needless to say that they have an endless capacity for exercise and are likely to excel in canine sports like agility and flyball.

• Dalmatians need training from an early age because of their high activity and intelligence levels. Their strong desire to please makes this task easy and it is no surprise that they were once preferred performing artists in the circus.

• This breed makes excellent watch dogs because of their inquisitive and attentive nature.

• Caution is needed with small children who can accidentally be knocked over by the Dalmatians exuberant play antics. They make wonderful companions for older children.

• Early socialisation through exposure to different people, animals and experiences is essential.

• Dalmatians are clean dogs because of their dirt repelling coats and they have little or no ‘doggy’ smell.

• Dalmatians are not called ‘velcro dogs’ for nothing, they love and stick to their owners at all times and are therefore not ‘outside’ dogs.

What’s the downside?

• Dalmatians shed. It is a common joke among breeders and owners that they only shed 2 times: during the day and during the night! Frequent brushing helps but doesn’t cure.

• They are the only breed with an inability to process protein properly. A low protein diet and plenty of fresh water is a must.

• Hereditary deafness affects 8 percent of Dalmatians and 22-24 percent is born with hearing in only one ear. It is advisable to test your puppy after 5 weeks of age.

• High activity and intelligence levels, as well as their tendency for destructive behaviour when they’re bored, may tire some people out.

If intelligence and high energy levels appeal to you, and self-discipline and patience are your strong points, then you will find a friend for life in a Dalmatian, or shall we say a Pal-matian!

Featured image via Sherrie Dutridge on Pinterest

Images in post via Lara Bunch and Karen Hall on Pinterest

 

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