|Other names||Carriage Dog
Spotted Coach Dog
Plum Pudding Dog
|Country of origin||Croatia|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Dalmatian (Croatian: Dalmatinac, Dalmatiner) is a breed of dog whose roots trace back to Dalmatia (a region of Croatia) where the first illustrations of the dog have been found. The Dalmatian is noted for its unique black- or liver-spotted coat and was mainly used as a carriage dog in its early days. Today, this dog remains a well-loved family pet, and many dog enthusiasts enter their pets into the competitions of many kennel clubs.
The Dalmatian is a mid-sized, well-defined, muscular dog with excellent endurance and stamina. When full grown, its weight normally ranges between 35 and 70 pounds (16 and 32 kg) and it stands from 19 to 24 inches (48 to 61 cm) tall, with males usually slightly larger than females. The body is as long from forechest to buttocks as it is tall at the withers, and the shoulders are laid back. The Dalmatian's feet are round with well-arched toes, and the nails are usually white or the same colour as the dog's spots. The thin ears taper towards the tip and are set fairly high and close to the head. Eye colour varies between brown, amber, or blue, with some dogs having one blue eye and one brown eye, or other combinations.
Dalmatian puppies are born with plain white coats and their first spots usually appear within three weeks after birth. After about a month, they have most of their spots, although they continue to develop throughout life at a much slower rate. Spots usually range in size from 30 to 60 mm, and are most commonly black or brown (liver) on a white background. Other more rare colors include blue (a blue-grayish color), brindle, mosaic, tri-colored (with tan spotting on the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and chest), and orange or lemon (dark to pale yellow). Patches of color appear anywhere on the body, mostly on the head or ears, and usually consist of a solid color.
The Dalmatian coat is usually short, fine, and dense, although smooth-coated Dalmatians occasionally produce long-coated offspring, which shed less often. They shed considerably year-round. The short, stiff hairs often weave into carpet, clothing, upholstery and nearly any other kind of fabric and can be difficult to remove. Weekly grooming with a hound mitt or curry can lessen the amount of hair Dalmatians shed, although nothing can completely prevent shedding. Due to the minimal amount of oil in their coats, Dalmatians lack a "dog" smell and stay fairly clean.
The Dalmatian is often used as a rescue dog, guardian, athletic partner, and most often an active family member.
Litter size 
Like other breeds, Dalmatians display a propensity towards certain health problems. Hip dysplasia (which affects only 4.6% of purebred Dalmatians) is not a major issue in this breed. The Dalmatian Club of America lists the average lifespan of a Dalmatian at between 11 and 13 years, although some can live as long as 15 to 16 years. Breed health surveys in the US and UK shows an average lifespan of 9.9 and 11.55 years, respectively. In their late teens, both males and females may suffer bone spurs and arthritic conditions. Autoimmune thyroiditis is a relatively common condition for the breed, affecting 10.4% of dogs.
A genetic predisposition for deafness is a serious health problem for Dalmatians; only about 70% have normal hearing. Deafness was not recognized by early breeders, so the breed was thought to be unintelligent. 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.
Researchers now know deafness in albino and piebald animals is caused by the absence of mature melanocytes in the inner ear. This may affect one or both ears. The condition is also common in other canine breeds that share a genetic propensity for light pigmentation. This includes, but is not limited to Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentinos, Poodles, Boxers, Border Collies and Great Danes.
Only dogs with bilateral hearing should be allowed to breed, although those with unilateral hearing, and even dogs with bilateral deafness, make fine pets with appropriate training. The Dalmatian Club of America states that deaf pups should always be euthanized and never be sold or placed to pet homes. Dalmatians with large patches of color present at birth have a lower rate of deafness, and breeding for this trait, which is currently prohibited in the breed standard, might reduce the frequency of deafness in the breed. One of the leading reasons patches are a disqualifying factor in Dalmatians is to preserve the much-prized spotted coat (the continual breeding of patched dogs would result in heavily patched Dalmatians with few spots).
Blue-eyed Dalmatians have a greater incidence of deafness than brown-eyed Dalmatians, although an absolute link between the two characteristics has yet to be conclusively proven. Though blue-eyed Dalmatians are not necessarily deaf, many kennel clubs consider blue eyes to be a fault or even a disqualification, and some discourage the use of blue-eyed dogs in breeding programs.
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 10 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.
Dalmatian-Pointer Backcross Project 
Hyperuricemia in Dalmatians (as in all breeds) is inherited, but unlike other breeds, the "normal" gene for uricase is not present in the breed's gene pool. Therefore, there is no possibility of eliminating hyperuricemia among pure-bred Dalmatians. The only possible solution to this problem must then be crossing Dalmatians with other breeds to reintroduce the "normal" uricase gene. This led to the foundation of the Dalmatian-Pointer Backcross Project, which aims to reintroduce the normal uricase gene into the Dalmatian breed. The backcross used a single English Pointer; subsequent breedings have all been to purebred Dalmatians. This project was started in 1973 by Dr. Robert Schaible. The first cross (F1) hybrids did not resemble Dalmatians very closely. The F1s were then crossed back to purebreds. This breeding produced puppies of closer resemblance to the pure Dalmatian. By the fifth generation in 1981, they resembled purebreds so much, Dr. Schaible convinced the AKC to allow two of the hybrids to be registered as purebreds. Then AKC President William F. Stifel stated, "If there is a logical, scientific way to correct genetic health problems associated with certain breed traits and still preserve the integrity of the breed standard, it is incumbent upon the American Kennel Club to lead the way." The Dalmatian Club of America's (DCA) board of directors supported this decision, however it quickly became highly controversial among the club members. A vote by DCA members opposed the registration of the hybrids, causing the AKC to ban registration to any of the dog's offspring.
At the annual general meeting of the DCA in May 2006, the backcross issue was discussed again by club members. In June of the same year, DCA members were presented with an opportunity to vote on whether to reopen discussion of the Dalmatian Backcross Project. The results of this ballot were nearly 2:1 in favor of re-examining support of the project by the DCA. This has begun with publication of articles presenting more information both in support of and questioning the need for this project. In July 2011, the AKC agreed to allow registration of backcrossed Dalmatians.
In 2010, the UK Kennel Club registered a backcrossed Dalmatian called Ch. Fiacre’s First and Foremost. Several restrictions were imposed on the dog. Although the dog is at least 13 generations removed from the original Pointer cross, its F1 to F3 progeny will be marked on registration certificates with asterisks (which "indicate impure or unverified breeding",) no progeny will be eligible to be exported as pedigrees for the next five years, and all have to be health tested. UK Dalmatian breed clubs have objected to the decision by the Kennel Club.
The Dalmatian Heritage Project 
The Dalmatian Heritage Project began in 2005. The goal of the project is to preserve and improve the Dalmatian breed by breeding parent dogs with the following traits:
- Normal urinary metabolism
- Normal hearing
- Friendly and confident
All puppies in the Heritage Project are descendants of Dr. Robert Schaible's parent line. Today, "Dr. Schaible’s line produces the only Dalmatians in the world today that are free of a metabolic defect that can lead to urinary tract problems."
The Republic of Croatia was recognized by the FCI as the country of origin of the Dalmatian; the breed had been developed and cultivated chiefly in England. When the dog with the distinctive markings was first shown in England in 1862, it was said to have been used as a guard dog and companion to the nomads of Dalmatia. The breed's unique coat became popular and widely distributed over the continent of Europe beginning in 1920. Its unusual markings were often mentioned by the old writers on cynology.
The roles of this ancient breed are as varied as their reputed ancestors. They were used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia. 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 boar or stag hunting. Their dramatic markings and intelligence have made them successful circus dogs throughout the years. Dalmatians are perhaps best known for their role as fire-fighting 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.
In popular culture 
"Firehouse dog" 
Particularly in the United States, the use of Dalmatians as carriage dogs was transferred to horse-drawn fire engines, although it is unclear why this link was not made in other countries. Today, the Dalmatian serves as a firehouse mascot and is sometimes used to educate the public in fire safety, but in the days of horse-drawn fire carts, they provided a valuable service, having a natural affinity to horses. They would run alongside the horses, or beneath the cart axles. The horses have long since gone, but the Dalmatians, by tradition, have stayed. As a result, in the United States, Dalmatians are commonly known as firehouse dogs. Dalmatians are still chosen by many firefighters as pets, in honor of their heroism in the past. The Dalmatian is also the mascot of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity. In the past, Pi Kappa Alpha has been known as the firefighters fraternity, and this is why they both share the dalmatian as a mascot.
"Anheuser-Busch dog" 
The Dalmatian is also associated, particularly in the United States, with Budweiser beer and the Busch Gardens theme parks, since the Anheuser-Busch company's iconic beer wagon, drawn by a team of Clydesdale horses, is always accompanied by a Dalmatian carriage dog. The company maintains several teams at various locations, which tour extensively. According to Anheuser-Busch's website, Dalmatians were historically used by brewers to guard the wagon while the driver was making deliveries.
101 Dalmatians 
The Dalmatian breed experienced a massive surge in popularity as a result of the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians written by British author Dodie Smith, and later due to the two Walt Disney films based on the book. The Disney animated classic released in 1961, later spawned a 1996 live-action remake, 101 Dalmatians. In the years following the release of the second movie, the Dalmatian breed suffered greatly at the hands of irresponsible breeders and inexperienced owners. Many well-meaning enthusiasts purchased Dalmatians—often for their children—without educating themselves on the breed and the responsibilities that come with owning such a high-energy dog breed. Dalmatians were abandoned in large numbers by their original owners and left with animal shelters. As a result, Dalmatian rescue organizations sprang up to care for the unwanted dogs and find them new homes. AKC registrations of Dalmatians decreased 90% during the 2000–2010 period.
Famous Dalmatians 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
- Pongo, Mrs. Pongo/Missis, Patch, Lucky, Perdita, Prince (Perdita's mate), and their puppies in The Hundred and One Dalmatians and its derivative works (The Starlight Barking, etc.).
- Sparky the Fire Dog—mascot of the American National Fire Protection Association.
- Major League Soccer (US) Chicago Fire team mascot of Tugger/Humo.
- Louie (Lou Dog), the mascot of the band Sublime, owned by singer Bradley Nowell
- Pongo, the pet of Nicholas I of Bolivia
- Spottie Dottie, a Sanrio character
- Friar Boy, a series of Dalmatian mascots for the Providence College Friars (the Dalmatian is also the mascot of the Dominican Order)
- Smokey and Blaze from Krypto the Superdog
- Pudgey from Betty Boop
- Radar from Fireman Sam
- Silverdene Emblem O'Neill (Blemie), owned by American playwright Eugene O'Neill, well known for his last will and testament
- Bottomley Potts from the Hairy Maclary series
- Daisy the Dalmatian from Emmerdale - Marlon Dingle's dog.
See also 
- "Croatian Kennel Club". Hks.hr. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
- "American Kennel Club - Dalmatian". Akc.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Thornton, Kim Campbell. "THE DALMATIAN." Dog World 89.11 (2004): 24.
- "American Kennel Club - Dalmatian". Akc.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "The Dalmatian Club of America Health Survey Results: General Dog Information". The Dalmatian Club of America. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Bates, Daniel (7 January 2009). "The dalmatian who gave birth to a bumper litter of EIGHTEEN pups". Daily Mail (London).
- OFA: Hip Dysplasia Statistics[dead link]
- "The Red Book: The Dalmatian Club Of America’s Informational brochure regarding Dalmatians". The Dalmatian Club Of America. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- "The Dalmatian Club of America Health Survey Results: Health Related Conditions". The Dalmatian Club of America. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- OFA: Thyroid Statistics[dead link]
- "Breed-Specific Deafness Incidence In Dogs (percent)". Lsu.edu. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Proctor PH (1988). "Free Radicals and Human Disease". In Weber HH, Miquel J, Quintanilha AT. Handbook of free radicals and antioxidants in biomedicine 1. Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 209–21. ISBN 978-0-8493-3268-5.
- "Position on Dalmatian Deafness From the Board of Governors of the Dalmatian Club of America". Dalmatian Club of America. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "DALMATIAN DILEMMA - PART 1". Steynmere.com. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Reference Materials Concerning Deafness In The Dalmatian". Thedca.org. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Julia Soukup, JLS Canine Services Web Design. "Dalmatian Club of America Position Statement Regarding Reducing Dalmatian Deafness". Thedca.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Friedamman, M; S.O Byers (1 September 1948). "Observations concerning the causes of the excess excretion of uric acid in the dalmatian dog". Journal of Biological Chemistry 175 (2): 727–35. PMID 18880769.
- Simkin PA (August 2005). "The Dalmatian defect: a hepatic endocrinopathy of urate transport". Arthritis Rheum. 52 (8): 2257–62. doi:10.1002/art.21241. PMID 16052594.
- Lowrey JC (March 1976). "An unusual diet-derived inflammatory dermatosis in a Dalmatian dog responds to orgotein". Vet Med Small Anim Clin 71 (3): 289–95. PMID 1045695.
- Schaible, Robert H. (April 1981). "A Dalmatian Study: The Genetic Correction of Health Problems". The AKC Gazette. Retrieved 13 January 2010.
- "AKC agrees to register low uric acid Dalmatians". Dog World. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- "Registration Rules and Regulations (B Regs)". The Kennel Club. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- "Registration of a Low Uric Acid Dalmatian Import from the USA". The Kennel Club. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- "Backcross Dalmatians - The UK Dalmatian Clubs Respond". British Dalmatian Club. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
- "About the Project". The Dalmatian Heritage Project. Retrieved 11 March 20102.
- "''Fédération Cynologique Internationale Standard of Dalmatian'', No. 153, dated 14 April 1999". Fci.be. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Schneider-Leyer, Erich ; Fitch Daglish, Eric. Dogs of the World, Popular Dogs, 1964.
- "Fire buffs traditions". Windsor Fire. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Fire Dogs and Fire Horses". Publicsafety.net. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)". Web.archive.org. 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2005-11-01. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- "American Kennel Club - Facts and Stats". Akc.org. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
- Team Mascot - Chicago Fire
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Dalmatiner|
- Dalmatian breed standard at the official American Kennel Club website
- Dalmatian-Pointer Backcross Project
- British Carriage Dog Society
- Dalmatian Club of America
- Dalmatian Color Variations
- Deafness in Dogs: LSU & Dr. Strain