A Dalmatian dog has an endless supply of energy, even if they’re older than this Dalmation puppy pictured.

Do You Know This About Dalmatian Dogs?


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Do you feel nostalgic when you remember the childhood classic 101 Dalmatians? Curious about the Dalmatian dog being a frequent firehouse guest? Wanting one of these sleek, adorable canines as a constant companion? This guide will help you and your family get to know more about the breed, including answering the age-old question of whether all Dalmatian dogs are deaf.

On a couch, a dog holds a toy in its mouth.

Dalmatian dogs: Their history

While the Dalmatian dog breed has been around for centuries, there are differing stories about its origins. According to popular belief, this breed originated in Dalmatia, in Croatia, their namesake country. However, Egyptian royal tombs depict spotted dogs with striking similarities to the Dalmatian, adding to their mystery.

Whatever their heritage, Dalmatian dogs gained popularity after coming to Great Britain from India, where the rich used them as “coach dogs”. In addition to their dramatic good looks, Dalmatians made good guard dogs, protecting coaches and travellers’ belongings.

Another dog that’s good at guarding and distantly related to the Dalmatian is the Blue Heeler (AKA Australian cattle dog).

What makes Dalmatians good fire dogs?

In the United States, these pups have served as firehouse dogs for many years because of their natural instinct to guard and protect. When fire-combatting equipment was once transported in horse-drawn carriages, the New York City Fire Department began using them to guard fire carriages. This happened as early as the 1870s.

In fact, many people still consider them to be the unofficial mascot for firefighters in the United States. Some schools even schedule regular appearances of this loyal breed during fire safety education. In New Zealand, Dalmatians as fire dogs didn’t quite take off, but we’re totally open to it if it happens in the future!

White And Black Dalmatian dog sitting on a Red Chair.

Some reasons why a Dalmatian is a fur-ever friend

Despite Dalmatians’ striking appearance, they’re more than just pretty. There’s something graceful, elegant, and charming about these pooches. With their lively and playful nature, they make a great addition to any family.

Dalmatian dogs are very active and need plenty of exercise, making excellent hiking or jogging partners. Adults need at least 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day. Two walks a day is ideal.

In fact, they’re prone to behavioural problems if they don’t get enough physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to join a canine sports agility club and flyball as an activity because their stamina is incredible, and they’re highly competitive.

The Dalmatian dog makes an excellent watchdog. They’re aloof towards strangers, hence their success as fire dogs, yet this is the exact opposite of their personalities when it comes to the people they love.

Dalmatians are loyal, playful, affectionate, loving, and goofy when in their comfort zone. They’re very attached to their humans and enjoy participating in all family activities. This makes these doggos amazing companions for kids. This hilarious video perfectly captures their goofiness:

The best way to train Dalmatians

Make sure your Dalmatian puppy understands rules and appropriate behaviour as early as possible. In the absence of proper training they’ll make their own rules, which can be problematic.

Unlike other breeds of dogs, the Dalmatian dog is extremely sensitive and doesn’t respond well to harsh training methods. It’s critical to be firm without being too harsh with them since they’re headstrong. If they feel hurt, they also tend to hold grudges. Using positive and reward-based training techniques is the right way to train these pooches. Read about the benefits of positive reinforcement dog training.

You can tick both the puppy training and socialisation boxes by taking them to puppy training school. Socialise your Dalmatian puppy as it will make them more likely to get along with other pets in the house, as well as family and friends who visit.

Side note: Use the right lingo when you’re chatting about your pedigree cat or purebred Dalmatian by knowing the difference between Purebred vs Pedigree Dogs and Cats.

Are Dalmatians deaf?

Unfortunately, there’s a high prevalence of deafness in Dalmatians. A polygenic trait transmits the condition to offspring.

According to the Dalmatian Club of America, 8% of Dalmatian puppies are born deaf, while 22-24% are born with hearing in one ear. Check out our article on hereditary and congenital dog conditions like this.

A person training a Dalmatian dog on a wooden floor.

Other Dalmatian dog breed health issues

This breed is also prone to developing kidney stones due to their fairly unique urinary system – they’re not so good at breaking down uric acid. Drinking plenty of fresh water to relieve themselves is important, so their systems can be flushed.

In spite of the fact that they’re not fussy eaters they shouldn’t consume too much protein. Purine – a type of protein found in high concentrations in many foods – can cause problems for them.

Veterinary reports on the health of a Dalmatian’s parents can be obtained from a reputable dog breeder. A hip evaluation and a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test are recommended too.

Tips for grooming your Dalmatian dog

A Dalmatian’s beautiful black and white dotted coat doesn’t require much maintenance.

They shed fur, so regular bathing and brushing with a horsehair mitt or rubber curry comb will keep them healthy. Check their ears regularly for dirt and infection and trim their nails at least once a month.

Black and white Dalmatian dog eating a colourful array of fruits.

Dalmatian dogs: key facts to remember

These are the top five things to remember about Dalmatian dogs:

  • Exercise is essential for your Dalmatian to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.
  • Dalmatians are headstrong, so training a pup is essential to preventing an unruly adult.
  • Family time is important to them, and they don’t like to be left alone.
  • For tip top health, make sure they eat right and drink enough water.
  • It is important to check in on your Dalmatian puppy’s hearing issues before adopting or purchasing one to determine whether they’re deaf or not and whether they could become deaf in the future.

If you’re considering adopting a Dalmatian puppy anytime soon, here’s how to avoid puppy scams.

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Taking up pet insurance can save you unwarranted stress of breaking the bank in unanticipated medical emergencies like injuries, illnesses, infections and allergies. PD Insurance has a range of award-winning dog insurance plans that are simple and low in cost. Nothing to lose by getting a quick quote now, right?

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