Personality: The Dalmatian is elegant, yet playful. It is also a highly intelligent and active breed with a very sociable personality and a craving for love and attention.
Attitude to strangers: Can be wary and will alert their owners to any unusual happenings.
Backyard Requirements: This breed is highly active and needs to have daily exercise including long walks or runs. A large backyard is good to allow your Dally to chase the ball and play between walks. However as long as they are correctly exercised outside the home, your Dally will live happily in an average sized backyard.
Activity level: Extremely active. This breed thrives on a good walk, run or game of fetch. They also enjoy the water, and their intelligence and activity levels ensure they excel at activities, such as obedience and agility.
Watchdog qualities: Very good.
One of the most distinctive breeds of dog, the Dalmatian is unmistakable, and its endearing nature makes it even harder to forget. Elegant, humorous, active and intelligent, the Dalmatian is a highly sociable breed with a clown-like personality and a craving for companionship.
The Dalmatian is believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean, spreading to India and then across Europe. A purpose for which the breed became known was to accompany carriages and clear the road of stray animals, a job that required great strength, stamina and endurance. Boasting protective qualities, Dalmatians also served as guard dogs, war dogs, faithful companions, coach dogs and mascots for horse-drawn fire engines.
As its history suggests, the Dalmatian will run with horses for long distances. This is something it has a natural affinity for, not to mention the apparent calming effect the dogs have on horses. The Dalmatian is considered somewhat of a guardian angel.
With distinctive black or liver spots, the Dalmatian is a unique breed and an active one at that. They will therefore need a daily walk, run or game of ball, and a big backyard to run around in. Leaving this breed alone in a backyard for extended periods of time will result in boredom, leading to destructive behaviour, such as barking or digging.
This is not to say they cannot be left alone while owners are at work, but they need to be stimulated with regular exercise, toys and, most importantly, social interaction with people and other dogs. They thrive on love and attention, and simply enjoy being part of the family.
A highly intelligent breed, the Dalmatian can have a mind of its own at times. The breed is well suited to older children, but remember, if you are looking for a dog for smaller children, Dalmatian puppies can be rather boisterous and grow quite quickly, so they can be intimidating to little people.
In line with the uniqueness of this breed, the Dalmatian is known for its smile. A curl of the lip and baring of teeth can be confused for a snarl, but it is just their way of smiling and is usually a sign of affection or submission if they happen to be in trouble – after all, how can you be angry at a grinning dog?
This breed requires minimal maintenance in terms of grooming and bathing. A quick brush once a day will keep its short, dense coat in good condition, and will also keep shedding to a minimum. However, if the presence of small white hairs around the house or on dark clothing would slowly send you mad, then perhaps the Dalmatian is not for you.
Another reason the Dalmatian may not be suitable for everyone is the breeds endless amount of energy. If they are not given the chance to expend this energy they can become destructive, but if you have the time to share with this breed and its a companion you’re after, the Dalmatian is the dog for you and you truly will have a friend for life.
Dalmatian breeder Deborah Harbin of NSW has been involved with the breed for 22 years, and was initially attracted to it because she had horses and wanted a dog that would run with them.
Harbin tells Dogs Life that Dalmatians are very affectionate and people-orientated. They are an active, playful dog and simply love the water and open spaces. They do well on properties, but are equally at home with city-dwelling families who will include them in their activities. She stresses that this breed does not cope well being put in a backyard and ignored.
They are very easy to train and respond well to positive food training. They can be excellent at obedience and agility, Harbin explains.
Dalmatians are very sociable dogs and aggression just isn’t in their nature, Harbin says. Their tails are quite strong and wag a lot, so sometimes this can be off-putting for small children who are not used to dogs. Harbin says she has found the breed to be excellent with children and they usually develop a close bond, although they can be rather boisterous at times.
The Dalmatian is a unique, spotted dog that turns heads when out and about, Harbin says, summing up her favourite breed.
The breeds unique appearance is what attracted Sandra Blomeley of Chatswood, NSW, to the Dalmatian. She also believes the breed has good guarding instincts and makes a faithful companion 12-year-old Max does just that!
He is a very loyal dog and well trained, Blomeley says. He likes to know where you are at all times, so will always be watching you and seems to have this knowledge if anything is wrong. He loves playing, as long as he is in charge, and he is very protective.
Blomeley says Max loves swimming and going for walks, but with age he has slowed down a bit and now prefers to take it easy, while still keeping an eye on everyone. She says food is his number-one priority in life.
Max has always been a city dog and has adapted very well to city living, but he has always had a pretty big yard to run around in, Blomeley says.
Nine-year-old Bella loves the country air and is very much at home on an acreage surrounded by horses. Gael Simonson of Galston in NSW says Bella is a very kind dog and a good guard dog.
Because shes a reasonable size, people think she could be aggressive, but there’s just no way. Shes very much a people dog and just craves attention, Simonson tells Dogs Life.
Simonson says Bella is a loveable dog and just wants to be near you. Bella is always dying to come in when she gets home, and says that if she had it her way, she would be indoors all the time. Simonson says Bella is very much at home on their five-acre property – she loves her walks and is terrific with the horses.
She is also very obedient. She is sociable, totally trustworthy and very tolerant, and we couldnt have picked a nicer-natured dog if we had gone searching, Simonson says
If it is an energetic, yet elegant, humorous and truly unique breed of dog that you’re after, then perhaps the Dalmatian is the breed for you.
Daily: Daily grooming will keep the Dalmatians coat in excellent condition and minimise any shedding. Fresh water and a well-balanced diet are also essential.
Weekly: A bath once a fortnight should suffice for this breed.
Monthly: Like any other breed, the Dalmatian should be treated for heartworm, ticks and fleas, and their nails should be trimmed regularly.
Regular: Gastrointestinal worming, annual vaccinations and nail clipping.
Dalmatian Breed Contacts
For more information on the Dalmatian or to find a breeder, contact your state canine council via the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) website at www.ankc.org.au or state breed club.
In New Zealand, please contact the New Zealand Kennel Club via its website at Read More
Dalmatian Club of Victoria: Read More
The Dalmatian Club of New South Wales Inc.: Read More
Dalmatian Club of South Australia: Read More
Dalmatian Association of Queensland: email email@example.com