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Dal Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Dalmatian Club of America

Native Country
Central Mediterranean Basin

Other Names
Dalmatian, English Coach Dog, Dalmatiner, Dali, Carriage Dog, Plum Pudding Dog, Fire House Dog, Spotted Dick, Spotted Coach Dog

Life Expectancy
Approximately 11-13 Years

Litter Size
6-9 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC Non-Sporting

General Description

The Dalmatian is a very popular breed mainly because of their unique coat. Their fur coat is short, dense, hard coat that is spotted of black, brown, lemon, dark blue, tricolor, brindled, solid white, or sable on a pure white coat.

Originating as a hunting dog, it was also used as a carriage dog in its early days. The origins of this breed can be traced back to present-day Croatia and its historical region of Dalmatia. It is thought that early ancestors of the breed were certain breeds of pointers and a spotted Great Dane. Today, it is a popular family pet and many dog enthusiasts enter Dalmatians into kennel club competitions.


Breed Standard

Head: Long. Flat skull. Well-pronounced stop. Muzzle long and powerful, not tapering. Powerful jaws. Tight-lipped.
Ears: Set on high, medium-sized, carried against the head. Rounded tips. Thin, smooth, covered with coin-sized spots.
Eyes: Medium-sized, well-spaced, round. Dark in the variety with medium-brown spots, ranging to amber in the variety with liver spots.
Body: Square build. Neck moderately long, well-arched, without dewlap. High, wide chest. Well-sprung ribs. Well-defined withers. Well-muscled, slightly clean-flanked loin. Powerful, straight back.
Tail: Thick at the base, tapering gradually to the tip. Carried curved loosely upward but never curled.
Hair: Short, hard, dense, smooth.
Coat: Pure white ground. Black variety has dark black coin-sized spots; brown variety has liver brown coin-sized spots. Spots should not blend together but instead be round, well-defined, well-distributed, and 2 to 3 cm in diameter. Spots on the head, tail, and extremities should be smaller.
Size: Dog: 56 to 61 cm. (22-24 in).Bitch: 54 to 59 cm. (21-23 in).
Weight: Dog: approx. 27 kg. (59.5 lb).Bitch: approx. 24 kg. (53 lb).

History

The Dalmatian is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region. He was named after Dalmatia either because it was his birthplace or because he was used in this region during the Balkan war. The Dalmatian is thought to be descended from the now extinct Bengal Pointer crossed with the Bull Terrier and the English Pointer. In the seventeenth century, the Dalmatian was popular at the Vatican. In eighteenth-century England, he was kept by the aristocracy to escort horse-drawn carriages, thus earning the nickname (coach dog). In the United States, the Dalmatian was adopted by firefighters as their mascot. Walt Disney’s movie "101 Dalmatians" (1961) helped popularize the breed.

Behavior

Dalmatians are alert, energetic, and athletic. They are friendly, even-tempered, but wary with strangers. They need a stable environment. They are very active, and a good watch dog. They are affectionate and energetic. They have an affinity for running and for horses and cars. A strong work drive, but can be stubborn. They can be independent, but are eager. They may be too excitable and annoyed by small children, they do best if raised with them. Dalmatians can be unpredictable with other dogs, aggressive with other males.

He can live in an apartment as long as he gets enough exercise. He needs regular brushing. Puppies are born all white; spots appear gradually and are not fully developed until the dog is one year old.

Function

The roles of this breed are as varied as their reputed ancestors. They were used as hunting dogs, dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia.[35] To this day, the breed retains a high guarding instinct; although friendly and loyal to those the dog knows and trusts, it is often aloof with strangers and unknown dogs. Dalmatians have a strong hunting instinct and are an excellent exterminator of rats and vermin. In sporting, they have been used as bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, or in packs for wild boar or stag hunting. Their dramatic markings and intelligence have made them successful circus dogs throughout the years.

Dalmatians are perhaps best known for working for firefighters for their role as firefighting apparatus escorts and firehouse mascots. Since Dalmatians and horses are very compatible, the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the carriages to help clear a path and quickly guide the horses and firefighters to the fires.

Dalmatians are often considered to make good watchdogs, and they may have been useful to fire brigades as guard dogs to protect a firehouse and its equipment. Fire engines used to be drawn by fast and powerful horses, a tempting target for thieves, so Dalmatians were kept in the firehouse as deterrence to theft.

Health

Dalmatians are relatively a healthy and easy to keep breed. Like other breeds, Dalmatians display a propensity towards certain health problems specific to their breed, such as deafness, allergies and urinary stones. Reputable breeders have their puppies BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) tested to ensure the status of the hearing on their pups. Hip dysplasia is not a major issue in this breed. In their late teens, both males and females may suffer bone spurs and arthritic conditions. Autoimmune thyroiditis may be a relatively common condition for the breed.

A genetic predisposition for deafness is a serious health problem for Dalmatians; American Dalmatians exhibit a prevalence for bilateral congenital sensoneural deafness of 8% (for which there is no possible treatment), compared with 5.3% for the UK population. Deafness was not recognized by early breeders, so the breed was thought to be unintelligent. Many breeders, when hearing testing started to become the norm, were amazed to discover that they had unilateral hearing dogs. Even after recognizing the problem as a genetic fault, breeders did not understand the dogs' nature, and deafness in Dalmatians continues to be a frequent problem.

Dalmatians, like humans, can suffer from hyperuricemia. Dalmatians' livers have trouble breaking down uric acid, which can build up in the blood serum (hyperuricemia) causing gout. Uric acid can also be excreted in high concentration into the urine, causing kidney stones and bladder stones. These conditions are most likely to occur in middle-aged males. Males over ten are prone to kidney stones and should have their calcium intake reduced or be given preventive medication. To reduce the risk of gout and stones, owners should carefully limit the intake of purines by avoiding giving their dogs food containing organ meats, animal byproducts, or other high-purine ingredients. Hyperuricemia in Dalmatians responds to treatment with orgotein, the veterinary formulation of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.


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