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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Dalmatian Facts

  • Group
  • Non Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 19" - 23"
  • Weight
  • 45-60 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • White / Black
    • White / Liver
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Rescue heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

firehouse dog, English coach dog, carriage dog, plum pudding dog


Greek friezes over 4,000 years old show hunting dogs that are similar to the dalmatian. Although Dalmatia, on the coast of the Adriatic, is described as this breeds home, there is convincing evidence that it originated in India and was transported to ancient Greece by Indian merchant traders.

Date Of Origin

The AKC recognizes this dog when it was first brought to Great Britain in the 1700's however it is believed that they have been in existence for thousands of years.


The complete history of the dalmatian is unknown, but it takes its name from the place where it was first recorded as existing, the Eastern European coastal area of Dalmatia, along the Adriatic sea. The modern dalmatian was most likely brought to Great Britain during the eighteenth century. There it was developed as a coach dog. The dalmatian's job was to guard passengers and property. Later, its affinity for horses made it well suited for leading house-drawn fire carriages. This lead to the perception of dalmatians being firehouse dogs. They are still used at fire houses as mascots and for fire awareness education. The dalmatian has been in the U.S. since the country's beginning; George Washington was a breeder.


The dalmatian is a large, muscular, and square dog. Its head is pear shaped from above, with the skull and muzzle parallel to one another. The skull is almost flat with a slight center grove. The nose is large, broad and black. The eyes are medium sized and brown or blue or a combination. The ears are a medium size drop. It has a deep chest and compact, well arched feet. The tail is naturally long and tapered and carried in a slight upward curve. The coat is short, glossy and close-fitting with a ground color of white and spots of black or liver.


The dalmatian is an active, lively dog that has an affinity for horses and running, especially with vehicles. It is wary with strangers, but friendly and affectionate with family and friends. It makes an excellent watch dog. It has a strong work drive but can be stubborn.


In the middle ages, it was used as a hound. In the nineteenth century it became a carriage dog and its popularity shot up. It followed its master with exceptional reliability and hardiness whether its master was on foot, on horseback or in a carriage. Later it found wide acceptance as a companion dog that could also be used as a watch dog. It is generally clean and neat, avoids puddles and loves soap ans water.

Health Concerns

Deafness, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, kidney and bladder stones, skin allergies.

Additional Information

Sparky the Fire Dog Mascot of the American National Fire Protection Association.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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