Breed Spotlight: the Dalmatian

Over the centuries, the Dalmatian’s ancestors have held many jobs, including being used as a high spirited circus dog, a bird dog, a trail hound, a guard dog, a retriever, and, of course, a firehouse dog. Dalmatians are renowned for their tolerance of horses, so it was fitting that they were the perfect dog for horse-drawn coaches. The Dalmatinski Pas, as the dogs became known throughout Croatia, was eventually introduced to England in the 1700s. It was there that their brilliantly contrasting spotted coats caught the attention of English aristocracy. They accompanied the fanciful coaches, acting as living adornments to the wealthy. Their flashy coats were a great compliment to the showy horses and well-dressed coachmen. Eventually, the dogs became a fixture in horse and carriage society in England, especially that of the water-wagon used by fire brigades. The dogs would accompany the water wagons, barking to sound the alarm and clear the way. It was in England that the dogs were refined and developed into the Dalmatian breed that we see today. Eventually, the tradition of having Dals accompany water wagons made its way to the United States, where the dogs became a mascot of fire stations everywhere. Today, they are still a symbol of loyalty and heroism for American firefighters.

Dalmatians weigh between 53 and 71 pounds. They stand 19 to 24 inches tall. Dalmatians are wonderful companion dogs that are capable and up for almost anything their people want to do. They are intelligent, lively, energetic, and generally pleasant to be around. Well-bred Dalmatians are known to be confident, courageous, loyal, sociable, and discerning. They thrive on outdoor activities, but are just as happy to lie quietly by their person’s side after a hard day’s work. They are approachable and tolerant to most, but can be indifferent toward strangers. Their temperament is also similar to that of hounds and curs, having a marked sense of independence and strong instinct. For this reason, early socialization and obedience training is necessary to ensure that they learn boundaries and manners, ensuring that they become goodwill ambassadors for their breeds.

Want to learn more about the Dalmatian? Click here to see the full breed standard.

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