Can you SPOT our December 'Breed of the Month'? Dalmatians are some of the most famous and recognizable breeds- but how well do you really know them? Let's find out! (Also, read to the end about our special Holiday Hours for Christmas and New Year's!)
Did you know?
Known of course for their spots, there are lots of other reasons to love this special breed! Famous as a "Firehouse" dog and also for their leading role in Disney's "101 Dalmatians", did you know that Dalmatians (or 'Dals') were actually bred to be carriage dogs? Historians claim to have found writings where spotted dogs are painted alongside chariots in ancient Egyptian tombs. Although sweet and loyal, Dalmatians do require a lot of attention and training- so make sure you really do your homework before rushing out to purchase just because of the Disney films.
Although documented exact origins are unknown, ancient artifacts and writings have been used to support placing the Dalmatians birth in the British Isles, Europe, North Africa and even Asia. In the early 1800's this distinctive breed can be traced to Croatia, in a region called Dalmatia. What is known is the Dalmatian is the only dog breed bred to be a coach dog. Running alongside carriages of the noble , it's been said they would act as guard dogs and protect the horses from stray dogs, other animals or bandits. Finding their way to the US, this breed was recognized by the AKC in 1888.
Looks & Personality:
Known for their distinct spots, did you know that when Dalmatians are born, they have no spots? They don't get their spots until 3-4 weeks old. Their spots are just as unique as our own fingerprints. No two Dal's will have the same spots, number or same pattern of spots. Best known to have a white coat with black spots, some sport some brindle, red, yellow or even brown spots. These spots are everywhere- even on their tongues! Dalmatians stand 19 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh between 48-55 pounds.
Dalmatians have a ton of energy that if not exasperated will cause them to act out. They require a lot of exercise, with firm and consistent training at an early age. This breed is ideal for those who are active. If you like to jog, bike or skate, this is your new buddy! Dalmatians love to be involved with family activities, and playing active games like Frisbee and fetch. They can suffer from separation anxiety and don't like to be alone for very long. Make sure fenced areas are safe- they do have a tendency to roam, and can be territorial around other same-sex dogs.
Many dog lovers flocked to adopt Dalmatians after Disney's release of "101 Dalmatians" because of the craze it generated. Unfortunately some new owners didn't do the proper homework, and they soon realized Dalmatians have lots of energy that is hard to live with. Sadly, this contributed greatly to shelters being filled with Dalmatians within months of the film's releases. Be a cautious and informed owner with a Dal puppy. They are highly intelligent and headstrong. However, the intelligence that gets them into trouble can be a big plus with the right owner! They excel in agility and as working dogs, and thrive in active environments. As with ALL dogs, early socialization with other dogs, cats, small animals, children and adults is a must for a well-adjusted and tolerant pup!
Coat Grooming & Health:
Dalmatians require regular bathing, once a month is recommended but if they're active outdoors a weekly bath may be needed. Their short coat sheds year round, so regular brushing can keep them smooth and sleek. They are fairly low maintenance and trims are not normally needed, but a nice bath at a grooming salon like ours can be a nice treat! Because they are so active, those floppy ears can get dirty easily, so clean them gently as needed, and keep their nails trimmed to avoid snags and painful broken nails.
This breed is notoriously known for suffering from deafness and it's said approximately up to 30% have deafness in at least one ear. Having sensitive tummies, make sure to give a high-quality food that isn't too high in protein, because they tend to suffer from urinary infections and stones.
Another important issue that Dalmatian owners need to be aware of is called DCM- dilated cardiomyopathy. This condition causes the heart to be enlarged and weak. However, if caught early, it can be treated with medication and diet supplements. With regular vet checkups, a proper healthy diet and lifestyle, Dalmatians can live up to 14 years.
The Dalmatian is probably one of the most recognized breeds of all, with his noble and regal coat adorned with contrasting spots. Although many are naturally attracted to Dalmatians, keep in mind they are not for everyone. They require almost non-stop attention, training and exercise and from early on. They're intelligent, alert and active. These fun loving, people oriented, friendly dogs will thrive in an active family environment, and come to be treasured!
If your Dalmatian (or any breed!) needs a grooming, come and see us!