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Dalmatian breed Information


Dalmatian: The Ultimate Breed Guide 2020


Are you interested in buying or adopting a Dalmatian? What is it about Dalmatians that seems to capture your imaginations? Is it the movie or simply the playful nature of the breed? What are the right circumstances for a Dalmatian? Worry no more because we have come up with a comprehensive guide that details everything you need to know before you get one of these amazing dogs. This guide explains the characteristics, vital stats, fun facts, history, average size, personality, and general health of a Dalmatian.


Before you start doing anything, it’s important that you get more familiar with the Dalmatian dog breed. So let’s dive right in.


Characteristics Of Dalmatian Dog Breed

The Dalmatian is an intelligent and alert dog with a short and shiny coat. The ground color of a Dalmatian is pure white with dense, black, or liver-brown distinctive spots. They are energetic and intelligent and must be kept busy both mentally and physically to stay happy and healthy. Dals are affectionate and gentle when given proper care. Dalmatians are an active breed that enjoys attention and love to get in a good workout.  


If you have an active lifestyle, then this might be the dog for you. With regular exercise and physical activity, the Dalmatian can make a wonderful companion. This breed can also get along well with children as long as the dog is properly trained and socialized.


We have listed below Dalmatian dog breed characteristics. This list is meant to be a general guideline for Dal’s characteristics. Let’s have a look at them:

1. Adaptability

Dalmatians are not that good at adapting to some environments. They are better suited to people who have large, secure back gardens a dog can roam around whenever possible and would not be happy living in an apartment. They have an average of 3 out of 5 stars adaptability level. Nevertheless, this should not scare you since they can adapt to any situation if trained early.


This factors contributing to moderate adaptability score are:


  • Dalmatians are not good apartment dwellers. They need regular exercise and a fenced yard to run and play. They are very active when indoors and so for apartment living, they score 2 out of 5 stars. 
  • Dalmatians are moderately suitable for first-time parents because they are amenable to learning new things and have a strong desire to please. When it comes to novice owners, a Dalmatian scores 3 out of 5 stars. This shows they are moderately suitable for first-time parents.
  • This breed is a little more sensitive than other breeds. They do not like irregular daily routines and a chaotic household. Punishments and negative reinforcements affect them emotionally. This breed has a high sensitivity level of 4 out of 5 stars.  
  • Dalmatians are at their best when the owners are around. They share a bond very closely with their family and have a moderate tolerance for being alone. They score 3 out of 5 stars for being suited to be alone.
  • Breeds with short coats are vulnerable to the cold. This breed has a 3 out of 5 stars tolerance to cold weather
  • They have a high tolerance for hot weather and are not that vulnerable to overheating. This breed has a 4 out of 5 stars tolerance to hot weather.

2. All-Around Friendliness

Dalmatians are friendly and affectionate dogs. They are playful and have the ability to form solid-bonds and prove to be excellent companions. They have 4 out of 5 stars all around friendliness


The reasons for their good all-around friendliness are:


  • Dalmatians are loving and affectionate dogs and shower the whole family with love and loyalty. Hence they hold 5 stars out of 5 for being affectionate with family.
  • Dalmatian is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them. They are gentle and friendly with children and possess 4 out of 5 stars for being kid-friendly
  • Dalmatians get along well with other dogs or household pets, though they require socialization as a puppy. Hence, it is a dog-friendly breed and holds 4 out of 5 stars rating. If you already have another pet dog, Dals can be a great choice.
  • They are moderately friendly towards strangers and possess 3 out of 5 stars for being friendly towards strangers. A well-socialized Dal who is exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.

3. Health And Grooming Needs

Dalmatians are known to be generally healthy dogs and are easy to groom. They are rated at 4 stars out 5 for health and grooming needs. 

The reasons that contribute to this score are:

  • One reason Dalmatians are turned over to rescue groups is their shedding. Dalmatians shed constantly throughout the year and hold 5 out of 5 stars for the amount of shedding. Brushing will reduce shedding as well as make the coat softer and cleaner. If you are intolerant of dog hair in your house, then this breed is not for you.  
  • Dalmatians have very low drooling potential and hold a rating of 1 out of 5 stars. 
  • The Dalmatian’s short, fine, velvety-smooth coat is easy to groom. They hold 5 out of 5 stars for ease of grooming. If you don’t have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, Dals can be a great choice.
  • It is a healthy breed and possesses 4 out of 5 stars when it comes to its general health. If you're adopting a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the Dalmation.
  • They have a high potential to gain weight with 4 out of 5 stars. If your Dal is packing on pounds, you will need to limit treats and make sure they get enough exercise.
  • Dalmatian is a medium-sized dog and holds 3 out of 5 stars.

4. Trainability

Dalmatian require consistent training and praise when they have done something well. They should not be trained roughly as they are sensitive with long memories and will remember mistreatment. This is a strong-willed breed, so an experienced trainer is recommended to train them gently, but with determination. They have moderate training experience of 3 out of 5 stars.


Let's have a look at the factors for moderate trainability score:


  • Dalmatians have good memory retention, are eager to please, and respond well to praise. This combination makes them easy to train and for ease of training, they hold 4 out of 5 stars. They sometimes tend to be stubborn and independent that makes training difficult.
  • They are smart dogs and have high intelligence and concentration level. They score 4 out of 5 stars in intelligence level.
  • Dalmatians have a low tendency to nip, chew, or play-bite people. They have a 2 out of 5 stars potential for mouthiness
  • Although originally bred to hunt, the modern Dalmatian does not have a high prey drive. They have a low inborn desire to chase something and hold a 2 out of 5 stars rating for prey drive. 
  • Dalmatians are not known to be a breed that barks excessively. However, an unhappy dog might start barking just to get attention, especially they are left on their own for too long. They have 2 out of 5 stars barking potential
  • They have a strong desire for escaping the house and exploring the world.  They have 4 out of 5 stars for wanderlust potential.

5. Physical Needs

Dalmation is a playful and high energy dog with enormous stamina. Dal has high physical needs of 5 out of 5 stars. They need regular exercise and physical activities. If these dogs are allowed to get bored and are not walked or jogged regularly, they can become destructive and start to display behavioral problems. 


The reasons for high physical needs are discussed below: 


  • Dalmatians have a high energy level rated at 5 out of 5 stars. They become bored and mischievous without physical activities.
  • They are vigorous dogs and possess 4 out of 5 stars intensity levels. 
  • Dalmatians need regular exercise and physical activities. They are rated at 5 out of 5 stars for exercise needs. They need to be taken on daily, long, brisk walks or jogs. In addition, it needs plenty of opportunities to run, preferably off the leash in a safe area.
  • They are highly playful and have a playfulness potential of 4 out of 5 stars.


After having a look at the breed characteristics, Dalmatians sound like a great choice to buy or adopt. 

Vital Stats About Dalmatian Dogs



Dog Breed Group/Purpose

Non-sporting (ANKC) 

Companion dogs (AKC)

Grooming Needs


Coat Length


Average Height

Males: 58 – 61 cm

Females: 56 - 58 cm

Average Weight 

25 kg

Energy Level

Very energetic

Exercise requirements

More than 40 minutes per day

Tendency to Bark


Tendency to Dig


Tendency to Drool


Life Expectancy

12 to 14 years 

Litter Size

Often large, not uncommon to have up to 15 pups in one litter






















Other Fun Facts About Dalmatians


 If you are considering getting a Dalmatian yourself, here are some fun facts that can help you better understand this unique breed of dog.


  • Dalmation puppies are born snow white and without spots. They develop their signature spots as they mature.
  • All Dalmatians are unique and no two dalmatians have the same number and pattern of spots. 
  • Dalmatians gained much popularity after the release of “101 Dalmatians” blockbuster movie.
  • President George Washington was a Dalmatian enthusiast and breeder.
  • No one knows exactly where the Dalmatian originated. The reason can be that Dalmatians have often traveled with Romani people, who are historically nomadic. 
  • Australia seems to be the ideal place for breeding large dalmatian litters. An Australian dalmatian has broken a world record after giving birth to 19 adorable, spotty puppies in a single litter.
  • This breed has taken on a lot of names over the years, including the English Coach Dog, the Carriage Dog, the Plum Pudding Dog, the Fire House Dog, and the Spotted Dick. 
  • All Dalmatians have black or liver-brown spots all over their body. If you open up a Dal's mouth, you can even find spots in their mouth. 
  • A large percentage of this breed have full or partial deafness. Around 15-30 percent of all Dalmatians are inflicted with deafness as a result of their spotted markings. 
  • Usually good with other family pets, the Dalmatian is especially fond of horses.
  • Dalmatians are very intelligent and, as a result, very independent dogs. Without proper exercise and training, they can be willful and stubborn.
  • Dalmatian needs plenty of exercise and companionship. Too much confinement and too little mental stimulation lead to boredom and destructive behaviors.


History/Origin Of Dalmatian Dogs


The origin of the Dalmatian dog breed is unknown. It is an ancient breed, dated back to 2000BC when spotted dogs appeared on Greek tablets and walls, showing them working with the chariots of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Some records show that Dalmatians originated in Dalmatia, Croatia from where they have obtained their name. 


Dalmatians have been used for a variety of jobs during their long history. Throughout the years, these dogs have been used as war dogs, cart pullers, sheepherders, hunting dogs, circus performers, and coaching dogs. 


Dalmatians were born to run and they have also worked with horses since the Middle Ages. Trained as coaching dogs, they ran alongside carriages or horseback riders. They kept the horses and carriages safe from stray dogs and guarded the carriage at roadhouse stops. 


In the United States, Dals became a firehouse dog when horse-drawn fire engines came into use. Dalmatians watched over the equipment during a fire, cleared the path for the engines as they raced to a fire, and sometimes even rescued people from burning buildings. The development of modern Dalmatian took place mainly in England, mainly as a coaching dog. He has also been used as a hunting dog and is thought to be descendants of English Pointer. Today most Dalmatians are companions and family members but many firehouses across the country still have Dalmatians as mascots.

The Dalmatian is a very popular breed all around the world. The American Kennel Club recognized the Dalmatian in 1888, and the Dalmatian Club of America was formed in 1905. The breed currently ranks 69th among the breeds registered by the AKC. 


The breed regularly hovers around the top twenty most popular breeds in Australia. Today, there are many amazing Australian Dalmations bloodlines and are very well known for their versatility. Dals find a special place in firehouses throughout Australia and has been featured in many public fire safety programs. Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) has classified them as non-sporting breeds.


What Is The Average Size Of A Dalmatian


Dalmatians have a muscular and athletic build with strong bones and a square-proportioned body that gives it great endurance. They are medium-sized dogs and symmetrical in outline. The coat is short and dense, with liver-brown or black spots on white. Let’s have a look at Dalmatian’s average height and weight.

  • Average Height
    • Males: 58 – 61 cm
    • Females: 56 - 58 cm


  • Average Weight:
    • 25 kgs


If you are planning to buy or adopt a Dalmatian, keep it in mind that this breed is not suitable for apartment living. This dog is highly energetic and needs a fenced yard for running and playing. 

Personality Of Dalmatian Dog


The usual Dalmation are playful, highly energetic, and athletic dogs. These are dogs bred to run and can run for hours if given a chance. They are charming and intelligent but sometimes, they can also be mischievous with a sly sense of humor and will do his best to make you laugh. They thrive on human companionship but need firm and gentle training right from puppyhood. Dals like to be involved in everything that’s going on in their family. With strangers, the Dalmatian tends to be quiet and reserved. The Dalmatian is highly trainable and can be trained for defense and are good watchdogs.


A daily walk or run of forty minutes to an hour is a minimum requirement to meet his exercise needs. When bored or not given adequate exercise or left alone, they can be destructive and mischievous. Dalmatian puppies need socialization and early exposure to many different people, sights, and sounds. This will ensure that your puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.


Major Health Concerns Of Dalmatian Dog Breed


The Dalmatian is an overall healthy dog and has an average rating of 4 stars out 5 for being a healthy dog. There are some conditions that may affect this breed. These health concerns include inherited deafness, epilepsy, thyroid disease, hip dysplasia, and urinary disease. Dalmations are also prone to allergies and skin conditions.


If you own or are planning to buy a Dalmatian, you need to be aware of his health concerns. Let’s have a look into these health problems:

Inherited Deafness

Dalmatians are genetically prone to deafness. The deafness in Dals is life-long and there is no treatment. All Dalmatian bloodlines can pass along deafness to their offspring and this condition is reported in up to 30% of the breed. About 10 percent are born totally deaf, and another 20 percent are deaf in one ear. Breeders say this figure is not representative of Australian lines. Deafness will usually show up in puppies by about four weeks of age. With care, patience, and proper effort, deaf dogs can make good pets and can lead an active dog’s life. He does not know he is missing anything; his nose and eyes interpret the world for him. The only reliable scientific test to measure hearing ability is the BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) but this test is not available everywhere.


The Dalmatian breed tends to have high uric acid levels. Dalmatians carry a genetic mutation that alters the way in which they metabolize and excrete substances called purines. This can cause kidney stones and other urinary tract problems. Dalmatians account for 80 percent of dog uric acid bladder stones. Though your dog may never develop stones, be aware that males are more likely to have the problem than females, perhaps due to the male’s more complicated urinary system. 


If your dog does show indications of urinary problems, your vet can give you the latest information on treatment and proper diet to manage this disease. If the urinary tract becomes completely blocked and the condition is not treated promptly it can be fatal. Dalmatians must have adequate fresh water at all times and dietary management with food that is not high in purines can be helpful.

Skin Allergies

Dalmatians are prone to a variety of skin problems and allergies. They may be allergic to pollens, molds, certain foods, and flea saliva. There are three main types of allergies: 

  • Food-based allergies: These allergies are treated by an elimination process of certain foods from the dog's diet 
  • Contact allergies: These allergies are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals. They are treated by removing the cause of the allergy.
  • Inhalant allergies: These allergies are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. The medication for inhalant allergies depends on the severity of the allergy.

Hip Dysplasia

The Dalmatians are at risk of hip dysplasia, an inherited cause of hindlimb lameness. Some Dalmatians show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as rapid growth from a high-calorie diet. It can range from mild to severe and a veterinarian can diagnose it using radiography. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred.

How To Take Care Of Dalmatians

Dalmatians are strong and active dogs and they need to be kept under control. Obedience training is recommended for your Dal. They require a good walk or run every day to meet their exercise needs. Being a friendly and affectionate dog, Dalmatian can happily live with the family but needs access to a fenced yard that will let him to run and play around.


As Dalmatians are high endurance, energetic, and working dogs, you should expect to participate in daily exercise sessions with your Dals. They need physical activities to stay healthy and happy. By exercising your dog, you will prevent health risks and reduce behavioral problems through fun activities.


Exercising your Dalmatian should not be a burden for you or your dog. You can meet their exercise requirements by:


  • Fetch
  • Frisbee Toss
  • Backyard agility
  • Walking, running, cycling or skating with your Dalmatian
  • Playing with puzzle toys
  • Playing tug of war
  • Self Playing Dog Toys
  • Obedience training
  • Hiking


Dalmatians are sensitive and do not respond well to harsh training methods. This is an intelligent breed and can fairly understand your commands. You need a positive approach to training with lots of rewards and praises for proper behavior if you want a well-trained dog. Dalmatians are said to not forget mistreatment or harsh behavior.

Ideal Diet For Dalmatians

Diet is a very important point that contributes to the overall health of your Dalmatians. If you want your dog to be in a good physical condition and full of energy, it is essential to feed him properly. 


Dalmatian puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. A Dalmatian puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 times a day. Once fully mature, an adult Dalmatian must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. Once fully mature, an adult Dalmatian must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, gender, build, metabolism, and activity level.

Feeding guide for Dalmatians: 


Dalmatian Age

Recommended cups per day

1 - 3 months

2 - 3 ¾ cups

3 - 5 months

3 ½ - 4 ½ cups

5 - 7 months

4 - 5 cups


7 - 12 months

4 - 5 cups











If your dog is on commercial dog food, it must be safe, affordable, and made with high-quality ingredients. The Dalmatian should perform well on high-quality dog food, either manufactured or prepared at home under supervision. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for this active breed. Most commercial dog food products also provide detailed feeding guides on the food's packaging. 





Best Dog Food For Dalmatians


To keep your Dalmatians healthy and active, you should give them only dog foods tailored to meet their needs. Consider foods rich in proteins as it will help to maintain lean muscle mass. Never feed your Dal any dog food that does not meet international standards. You must know the best dry dog food for your Dalmatian should be elaborated on the recommendations of veterinary dieticians. 


Consider feeding your dog with the following dog food:


Coat Color And Grooming Needs For Dalmatians


Cleanliness and the need for minimal grooming are the much-appreciated characteristics of the breed. The Dalmatian coat is usually short, fine, and dense. The Dalmatian coat color is white with either black or liver (brown) spots. This breed sheds constantly throughout the year and holds 5 out of 5 stars for the amount of shedding.


Overall, Dalmatian grooming is a relatively easy task and grooming shouldn’t be a big problem for any owner. Let’s have a look at Dal’s grooming needs:


  • Dalmatians require brushing a bit more often, and it needs to be regular. This will help to remove dead hair and prevent mats or tangles. It will also save you from loose hair flying around your house. Thoroughly brush your Dal’s whole coat at least once or twice per week. Their coats will look shinier and cleaner just from brushing. 
  • You should only bathe these dogs when they really dirty or smelly. Other than that, they are good at keeping themselves clean and have little doggy odor. They just need a few baths in a year. When giving them a bath, use a good quality shampoo and conditioner. 
  • Brush your Dal's teeth a couple of times a week to maintain good oral health. This will help to remove bacteria and tartar buildup. Use toothpaste specifically designed for dogs, as human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs.
  • If you let your Dalmatian run over rocks or concrete, his nails will be filed down naturally. However, you should check upon them from time to time to make sure their nails don’t grow too long and trim them regularly. Keeping nails short and trimmed will avoid splitting and discomfort and keep the dog's feet in good condition.
  • Eyes should be clear with no redness or discharge.
  • Ears should smell good with no exceptional amount of wax.
  • When you groom your Dal, look inside his mouth and ears. Check for allergies, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin. 


Your regular grooming and careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards.

Tools used to groom Dalmatians

When it comes to finding tools that can be used for grooming your Dals, here is a list that can help:

  • Medium-size pin brush 
  • Wire slicker brush for use on puppies
  • Grooming rake for removing shedding hair
  • Grooming scissors for tidying up the coat
  • Mat comb for removing the occasional mat that forms behind the ears or in the areas where the legs join the body
  • Dog Nail clippers
  • Dog toothbrush


How Do Dalmatians Relate With Children And Other Pets

Dalmatians have a loving nature and can comfortably live with other dogs and pets. They will get along with other pets and children if socialized as a puppy with all types of pets and people. 

Dalmatians can make a wonderful active playmate for children and are incredibly affectionate when they are around kids. Kids younger than 6 years of age may be easily knocked down by this muscular, active, and strong dog. Teach your kids how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and kids.


If you are considering buying or adopting a dog for your family, you may find that nothing can light up your kids’ eyes quite like mentioning a Dalmatian.

Australian Based Breed Organizations For Dalmatian

Choosing a breeder should be as important as the puppy. If you are in Australia and would want to adopt a Dalmatian dog breed, get in touch with any of the following breed organizations.


  • DALYSIUM Dalmatians - Dalmatian Breeder - Nowra, NSW

DALYSIUM Dalmatians - Dalmatian Breeder - Nowra, NSW

  • Adstaff Kennels - Dalmatians, Whippets, & Miniature Longhaired Dachshunds - Campbell Town, TAS 

Adstaff Kennels - Dalmatians, Whippets, & Miniature Longhaired Dachshunds - Campbell Town, TAS

  • Wonderdal Dalmatians - Dalmatian Breeder - Wandong, Victoria

Wonderdal Dalmatians - Dalmatian Breeder - Wandong, Victoria

  • Dalillu Kennels - Dalmatian Breeder - Brisbane QLD 

Dalillu Kennels - Dalmatian Breeder - Brisbane QLD

Rescue Groups For Dalmatians In Australia

Below are some of the rescue groups around Australia that you can contact.


  • Dalmatian Rescue Association of Western Australia

Dalmatian Rescue Association of Western Australia

  • Australia Dalmatian Rescue - Rescue Me

Australia Dalmatian Rescue - Rescue Me

  • RSPCA Australia

RSPCA Australia

  • BARRC - Pet Rescue, Animal Shelters in Bunbury, South Bunbury, WA

BARRC - Pet Rescue, Animal Shelters in Bunbury, South Bunbury, WA

  • Dindi Dog Rescue Inc., VIC 

Dindi Dog Rescue Inc. 


Dalmatians are perfect as a companion, a watchdog, and a marvelous pet for the family, but as they are strong and active they do need regular physical activity and mental stimulation. If you are looking for a dog that can offer you love and kindness but also has a mind of his own, a Dalmatian would definitely suit you! 


Before you adopt a Dalmatian, it is important to take a look at your lifestyle and how accomodating it would be for a Dalmatian’s needs. It is important to understand that as a dog owner you are responsible for the care and wellbeing of your pet. We have given you a complete Dalmatian guide that covers everything a dog owner should know. Give a loving home to your Dalmation; they just need your love and affection!


Dalmatian Photo Gallery

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