The Dalmatian breed originates from Croatia, where it was bred to run alongside carriages as a guard dog. A distinguishing feature of the breed is its white coat with black or brown spots, giving it a unique and striking appearance. In addition to its appearance, the breed is known for its cheerfulness, loyalty and affection.
Dogs of the breed have a medium size and muscular build. Their weight ranges from 20.5 to 32 kilograms, while their height is between 48 and 61 centimeters. The life expectancy of this breed is 11 to 13 years. They belong to Group 6 of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), which includes hounds, tracking dogs and similar breeds.
Breed history in brief
The origin of the Dalmatian breed is still uncertain, however, it is believed to come from the region of Dalmatia, a coastal region belonging to Croatia. Dogs of the breed can be recognized in some paintings and ecclesiastical chronicles dating back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Originally, they were bred to accompany carriages and protect the horses and the carriage itself. They also acted as fire dogs, protecting the horses pulling the fire engine and helping to clear the road.
In the 20th century, Dalmatians increased in popularity as family pets, thanks in part to their appearance in the Disney movie "101 Dalmatians". Today, the breed continues to be used as a working dog in certain regions, especially as firefighter pets and in agility competitions. As well as, they are popular as companion animals because of their friendly and loyal nature.
Dalmatians are strong rectangular dogs, with a body slightly longer than tall. The head is in proportion to the rest of the body, and is characterized by its prismatic shape. The eyes are oval and dark in coloration, while the ears are high set, isosceles triangle shaped and pendant. The tail reaches the height of the hock, is saber-shaped and becomes thinner as it reaches the tip.
The coat is short, hard and dense. Its base color is white, with symmetrical black or liver patches that do not blend with the white of the base. All the spots should have a similar size around a diameter of 2-3 centimeters. On the head and limbs, the spotting should be smaller compared to the rest of the body.
The Dalmatian breed is characterized by a pleasant, friendly and outgoing personality, being especially affectionate with their family and showing great loyalty. These dogs are intelligent and trainable, although they can sometimes show some independence. Despite being originally bred as guard dogs, they are not aggressive with people and are usually very sociable. Dalmatians enjoy outdoor activities and water and are easy to train.
Common health problems
The breed is generally healthy, although it can be prone to some genetic diseases, such as deafness, which is one of the most common conditions in the breed, affecting approximately 30% of Dalmatians. Other disorders or diseases that appear with high incidence in the breed are atopy, cataracts, demodicosis, glaucoma, globoid cell leukodystrophy, laryngeal paralysis, microphthalmia, progressive retinal atrophy, peripheral neuropathy and urolithiasis.
In addition to the aforementioned diseases, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends an eye screening exam and a test to assess the following conditions: hip dysplasia and autoimmune thyroidits.
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