Dalmatian.jpg
Breed Group Group 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds
Sub-group 7-D: Scenthound Related Breeds
Origin Country Croatia (Formerly Yugoslovia)
Weight Males: 59-71 pounds. Females: 53-64 pounds.
Height Males: 22-24 inches. Females: 19-23 inches.
Other Name(s) Dal, Dalmata, Dalmatinac, Dalmatiner, Dalmatinski Pas
Breed Type Pure
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Dalmatian

Breed Group Group 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds
Sub-group 7-D: Scenthound Related Breeds
Origin Country Croatia (Formerly Yugoslovia)
Weight Males: 59-71 pounds. Females: 53-64 pounds.
Height Males: 22-24 inches. Females: 19-23 inches.
Other Name(s) Dal, Dalmata, Dalmatinac, Dalmatiner, Dalmatinski Pas
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

There is much conjecture regarding the Dalmatian’s origin. Some believe the Dal is named after Jurij Dalmatin, the sixteenth-century Slavic poet, priest and theological translator. Others largely agree and credit the breed’s namesake to Dalmatia, the place where most historical records of the breed have been found. The earliest records of these spotted dogs date back to 1600–1630s. However, the Dalmatian’s curious coat characteristics have been depicted in even older records. Several ancient Egyptian bas reliefs and Hellenic friezes depict dogs of a similar appearance dating back well before the breed was described in Croatia. Similar dogs, perhaps the Dal’s ancestors, were found throughout history in the company of Romani peoples, which were nomadic groups that traveled from place to place across Europe. The first known reference to Dalmatian breed name was in 1719, where the dog was referred to as Canis Dalmaticus by a bishop in church chronicles. A later description of the breed written in 1790 refers to the dogs as a Dalmatian or Coach Dog.

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.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is as broad (from one side to the other measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The topskull is of moderate length, flat when viewed from profile, and exhibits a slight arch when viewed from the front. A slight median furrow is present at the stop and runs upward toward the occiput. The head is somewhat well padded with well-developed cheeks and temporal muscles denoting strength. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: The eyes are moderately sized and in proportion to the rest of the face and head. They are set somewhat well apart, and may range from somewhat rounded or oval to almond in shape. The eye rims are tightly fitted and preferably darkly pigmented. Eye color may vary according to coat color and can include a range from blue, blue-grey, hazel, amber, to dark brown, or any combination thereof. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. There should be no evidence of entropion, ectropion, or trichiasis.
Ears: The ears are moderate in size and proportionate to the head. They are set high and wide apart on the skull. The tips should extend to the inner corner of the eye, but no further than the center of the stop. They are drop, broad at the base, taper to a pointed or rounded tip, and shaped like an isosceles triangle. The inner edge of the ears falls close to the head when alerted. Ears must exhibit some spotting. Patched ears are permissible and preferred, as they ensure uniform color distribution and migration of melanocytes during embryonic development that reduces the chances of deafness. When brought to alert, the break of the ears is level with the plane of the topskull.
Muzzle: The muzzle is well-developed, full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage and good movement, strongly-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows and is equal to 45-50% the height at the withers. The forechest is well-developed but not overly prominent.
Body: Solid, agile, athletic, and of good substance. Capable of great endurance and stamina, but never overly racy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often level with or just above the horizon, but never tucked or curled up over the back. The tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or sabered.
Movement: The Dalmatian’s action is enduring, effortless, efficient, energetic, and tireless. His original purpose required that he be capable of keeping up with horses for miles on end throughout the day. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hind feet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: 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. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 7: Scenthounds and Related Breeds

Proportions: Slightly off-square with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body height to length ratio is between 5:4 and 1:1. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well-put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is as broad (from one side to the other measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The topskull is of moderate length, flat when viewed from profile, and exhibits a slight arch when viewed from the front. A slight median furrow is present at the stop and runs upward toward the occiput. The head is somewhat well padded with well-developed cheeks and temporal muscles denoting strength. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Lively, intelligent, engaged, and stable in temperament.
Stop: The stop is moderately to well-defined.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is between 1:1 to 4:3, with the topskull being equal in length to the muzzle, or just slightly longer.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis may be parallel, or just slightly (almost imperceptibly) divergent.
Muzzle: The muzzle is well-developed, full, deep, and broad. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length, have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit rather tightly over the teeth and jaws. They are never pendulous or hanging.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Cheeks are slightly padded. They should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors.
Eyes: The eyes are moderately sized and in proportion to the rest of the face and head. They are set somewhat well apart, and may range from somewhat rounded or oval to almond in shape. The eye rims are tightly fitted and preferably darkly pigmented. Eye color may vary according to coat color and can include a range from blue, blue-grey, hazel, amber, to dark brown, or any combination thereof. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. There should be no evidence of entropion, ectropion, or trichiasis.
Ears: The ears are moderate in size and proportionate to the head. They are set high and wide apart on the skull. The tips should extend to the inner corner of the eye, but no further than the center of the stop. They are drop, broad at the base, taper to a pointed or rounded tip, and shaped like an isosceles triangle. The inner edge of the ears falls close to the head when alerted. Ears must exhibit some spotting. Patched ears are permissible and preferred, as they ensure uniform color distribution and migration of melanocytes during embryonic development that reduces the chances of deafness. When brought to alert, the break of the ears is level with the plane of the topskull.

Body and Tail

General Description: Solid, agile, athletic, and of good substance. Capable of great endurance and stamina, but never overly racy. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length allows for proud head carriage and good movement, strongly-muscled, with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows and is equal to 45-50% the height at the withers. The forechest is well-developed but not overly prominent.
Topline: Level from slightly prominent withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, and either flat and level, or slightly arched, yet supportive. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped.
Underline: Slight to moderate tuck up is present, never drawn-up or excessive. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, but as a natural extension of the topline. It is thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, often level with or just above the horizon, but never tucked or curled up over the back. The tail is of a medium length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or sabered.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well angulated with well laid back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Dalmatian comes in two coat varieties; the smooth-coat and the long-coat.
Smooth coat variety: Soft, short, smooth, shiny, hard, dense, fine, glossy, sleek, and close to the body throughout.
ever woolly or silky. No fringe or feather permissible.
Long-coat variety: The coat is short on the face, forehead, and front of the forelimbs and hindlimbs. The coat is longer on the neck, ears, rear of the forelimbs and hindlimbs, feet, and tail, forming well developed fringe and furnishings.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Dalmatian breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: White base color with black, liver, or brown spots on every part of the body. Patches preferred to spots on ears and around eyes which decrease chances of deafness or blindness due to lack of melanocyte saturation during embryonic formation.
Non-standard coat color variety: White base with above listed spotting colors accompanied by body splashes or patches. Base color white with spotting pattern in the following varieties: lemon, tan, orange, blue, fawn, sable, Isabella, brindle, tan points, brindle points, creeping tan, saddle, tri-colors, brindle tri-colors, all with or without body splashes or patches.

Movement

The Dalmatian’s action is enduring, effortless, efficient, energetic, and tireless. His original purpose required that he be capable of keeping up with horses for miles on end throughout the day. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hind feet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

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. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.