Should You get a Dalmatian?
Dalmatian History and Origin
The Dalmatian is one of the oldest breeds known to exist, and historians believe they originated in Croatia as a cross between an indigenous Carpathian breed and English or Flemish Pointer. From there, the dogs spread throughout Europe where they were prized for their ability to run with horses.
The breed was first recognized as such by The Kennel Club (UK) in 1884. Numerous competing theories exist for how the Dalmatian got its spots, but it is generally accepted that they are a product of the mutation gene known as piebald.
Today, the Dalmatian is a popular companion and show dog, and while it may be unsuitable for life in an apartment due to its need for daily exercise, it will get along well with older children and other dogs.
Today Dalmatians excel as family pets and animal actors. Their high energy and lack of fear makes them very trainable dogs, and their loyalty and eagerness to please make them wonderful family pets
Dalmatian Physical Characteristics-Size Color and Intelligence
The Dalmatian is a medium sized, strong, muscular dog with short hair and fine, smooth coat. Their color is pure white with black or liver spots on their coats to give them the appearance of being dappled with black spots over a white background The muzzle is long and fine with a slight stop at the eyes which are almond shaped. The nose will be black unless the dog has liver colored spots in which case it will match that color.
The Dalmatian stands 22-27 inches for males and 20-25 inches for females, weighing 50-70 pounds for males and 40-55 pounds for females. They are a medium sized dog and strong, muscular dogs with short hair and fine, smooth coats.
Their intelligence is often ranked high among breeds of similar size. Their trainability varies from dog to dog; some dogs are easily trained while others seem to be untrainable despite the desire of their owners. They can be a very vocal breed.
Dalmatian Temperament and Personality and Energy Level
The Dalmatian is a medium dog breed, born with long legs and an athletic body. The dog is devoted, affectionate and intelligent with an average life expectancy of 11 to 13 years. They are very energetic and independent, but also require a lot of attention which makes them great pets for people who have the time for them.
The Dalmatian is known to be one of the most energetic dogs in the world, which makes them perfect for families with children. They are high-spirited and have a very playful personality that will develop over time, especially if they grow up in an environment that is full of action. Dalmatians are natural watchdogs because of their size and loud bark, but this does not mean that they are aggressive dogs. In fact, the breed is known to be very friendly and loves to get involved with all sort of activities such as sports.
They require a lot of physical and mental exercises every day in order to stay healthy and happy, so owners who can provide this will enjoy their company for many years. The breed can be shy when it is not socialized enough with other pets and people when they are still puppies, so it is important to give them enough attention in order to build confidence when they are young.
Since they were bred as guard dogs in the past, Dalmatians have a powerful urge to protect people and territory, which can be problematic when they are around strangers or other dogs. They may nip after people in order to display their dominance, but this should not be confused with aggressive behavior. However, it is important for pet parents to train their dogs to behave well in public by teaching them how to act around people or pets that they do not know.
5 Dalmatian Training Tips for Beginners
Dalmatians are naturally very intelligent dogs. They are hardworking, athletic, active and need lots of love and attention from their owners. Training can be a fun way to bond with your dog. Here are some tips on how to train your Dalmatian.
1) Teach “OFF” First
Teach your Dalmatian the word “off” very early in the training process. This is essential so you can get them off of things they shouldn’t be on, such as the couch, the kitchen table, your bed etc.
It is very easy to teach your dog this word. When they are on something they shouldn’t be on, you can kneel down and say “off” in a firm voice while pushing them off with your hands (do NOT use your feet). This tells them that what they did was not acceptable.
Soon, they will learn that “off” means to get off of something. This is a very important command for your Dalmatian to learn. It can save their life! For example, if your Dalmatian is on the couch and there is a fire in the kitchen, get them off of the couch immediately so you can get out!
2) Use a Clicker
A clicker is a small plastic device that makes an audible noise when you press down on the top. You can buy them from many pet stores or request them from your veterinarian. It works just like a tennis ball, except it makes a clicking noise instead of bouncing around.
Start off by saying the word “yes” every time your dog does something right. For example, if he sits down when you ask him to, say “yes!” and give him a treat.
Do the same thing but replace the word “yes” with the clicker noise. He will soon realize that the sound of the clicker means good things are about to happen.
3) Keep Training Sessions Short
You should only train your dog for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day. Dogs, especially young dogs, get tired just like we do and they can start to lose focus after that time period is up. This will diminish the effectiveness of the training session and prolong the time it takes for your dog to learn.
4) Be Consistent
Be very consistent when training, you should always use the same commands and do the same actions every time. For example, if you want your Dalmatian to sit down in front of a door when visitors arrive, make sure all guests follow this command each time they enter the house.
Dalmatians are very smart and will start to understand what you want them to do as long as you stick with it.
5) Give Lots of Praise & Treats
Always be sure to give lots of praise and treats after every training session because this tells your dog he did a good job and all his hard work is paying off. When he hears the “yes” or clicker noise, they know their reward will be coming soon.
5 Dalmatian Health Problems
1) Deafness: Deafness is the most common ear disease in Dalmatians, both dogs and bitches are affected. The problem can be unilateral (only one ear) or bilateral (both ears). Puppies can appear deaf but this is not always true. The problem sometimes corrects itself, but the majority of affected dogs are deaf in at least one ear.
Bilateral deafness is usually noticed within 6 months of birth whereas unilateral deafness may not be noticed until the Dalmatian is older. Severely affected dogs are completely deaf in both ears, these can have difficulty with the usual Dalmatian activities such as herding and guarding.
2) Urinary Stones: A condition caused by a dog’s inability to filter toxins from its system which leads to an excess of crystal-forming substances in the bladder. These crystals often join together to form stones which can lead to severe pain, blood in the urine and the dog refusing to use the litter box. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and can involve medications or surgery.
3) Hip Dysplasia: A common disease amongst large breeds characterised by laxity of the hip joints which can lead to arthritis and lameness. The problem is exacerbated by obesity as the extra weight places increased strain on the hips.
4) Pannus-Glaucoma and Entropion are eye conditions that can occur in Dalmatians. Some Dalmatian puppies are born with pupils that cannot contract normally when the dog is exposed to bright sunlight. These dogs are born with incorrectly developed iris sphincter muscles.
5) Degenerative Myelopathy: This is a nervous system disorder. It generally occurs in older dogs who will become lame and unable to use their back legs.