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Dalmations are one of the oldest purebreed dogs in the world.
Dalmation dogs are sometimes just called the "black and white spotted dog." The distinctive black and white spots of the dalmation are unique to this breed: no other purebreed dog has the distinctive Dalmation spots. It is believed that the Dalmation dog gets its name from Dalmatia, a province in Croatia, where the breed is thought to have originated. Dalmations are one of the oldest purebreds in the world.
Dalmation dogs have quite a regal history. They used to accompany coaches in the olden days. Their spots made them really stand out and they truly made a great royal coach dog. They have a very durable and flexible physique, so were perfect to accompany the coaches.
Dalmation puppies are born with completely white fur. They begin developing their spots when they're about a week old, and the spots develop rapidly during the first few weeks of life. Dalmations continue developing spots throughout their life, although the rate of development slows down as they age. Most dalmations have black spots on a white coat, although liver-colored spots are also fairly common.
Adult dalmations reach about 45 to 70 lbs. in weight when full grown, and stand about 19 to 24 inches tall. They have coats of short, fine fur, which they shed year-round. If you're considering acquiring a Dalmation dog as a pet, you should be aware that Dalmations shed more than most short-haired dogs; cleaning up Dalmation fur is a continuing chore when you have Dalmations.
Dalmations Need Exercise and Supervision — and Plenty of Both
While the Dalmation makes a great pet, the breed is not for everyone. First-time dog owners, who may buy a Dalmation after seeing Disney's famous movie 101 Dalmations, often do not have the experience and knowledge of canine behavior needed to raise a Dalmation properly. People who are busy with work and other responsibilities may not have the time required by Dalmations for proper socialization and training.
Dalmations love to roam freely, and will be happiest if you have a large yard or wide open space where they can romp. Dalmations need plenty of exercise. The Dalmation dog will generally not be suitable for the city-dweller in a small apartment who goes to an office every day. The combination of energy and intelligence possessed by Dalmations means that they need lots of exercise and firm supervision.
Dalmations can be mischievous and willful, making them more of a challenge to train than many other breeds. They need lots of socialization and consistent but gentle training.
Dalmations crave human companionship, but they can be mischievous and willful.
Dalmations also crave human companionship. Most Dalmations thrive on lots of attention from their humans, and if neglected will become lonely — possibly turning their energy and loneliness into troublesome behavior. Dalmations can develop neurotic behaviors and anxieties if left alone too much of the time, or if they're trained using harsh training methods.
But for the humans who have the experience and time to spend raising, training, and exercising Dalmations, they are wonderful pets: fiercely loyal, highly intelligent, and excellent watchdogs. Properly socialized and trained Dalmations are confident, obedient, and well-mannered — but they will always be high-maintenance dogs needing lots of exercise and supervision.
As far as health goes, Dalmations are naturally energetic, and they don't suffer from certain conditions such as heart conditions or limb conditions. They like to enjoy a healthy diet of protein and enjoy as much excercise as you can possibly give them. Purebred Dalmations are almost entirely free of hip dysplasia, a condition that's fairly common among many midsize and large dogs.
Deafness is an exception to the general health of Dalmations. Dalmations have a genetic tendency toward deafness, which is also common in other breeds with light coats. Dalmations with blue eyes tend to develop deafness more often than those with brown eyes, while Dalmations born with large patches of color tend to have less deafness.
Dalmation dogs also have a tendency to develop kidney and bladder stones. To help reduce this risk, it is best to feed Dalmations premium, all natural dog foods.
Dalmation dogs make great companions as well as family pets. They are highly intelligent and can be trained very easily. They are obedient and very rarely aggressive, so are great if you happen to have children. But whatever you do, just don't call your dog spot!