Dalmatians are characterized by their white coat littered with black or liver spots. The origin of the Dalmatian is unknown, with many countries claiming the breed. A province of Yugoslavia, Dalmatia, has claimed the origin of Dalmatians. Other countries including France, India, and Greece have likewise claimed their country as one of the Dalmatian's origin.
The Dalmatian has been widely recognized as a firehouse dog, circus performer, a search and rescue canine and for outdoor sports such as hunting and retrieving. To this day, Dalmatians have a great affinity to horses and will often fall into line behind the horse and carriage as an innate response to the environment.
When first born, the purebred Dalmatian puppies are born completely white and usually in a litter of 8. The black or liver round spots will naturally appear within the next few weeks as the puppies begin to mature. Rare and unwanted coloring for Dalmatians include a blue-grayish color, dark to pale yellow, brindle, mosaic, tri-colored, and two-toned. Patches are also recognized as unable to show per the AKC (American Kennel Club).
Eyes should be set deep within the skull and far apart. Eye color can range from brown to black to blue and in any combination of the listed colors. Throughout breeding, a link has been found between blue eyes and deafness in the Dalmatians. Amber color eyes are more prominent in liver spotted Dalmatians. Be sure to keep these characteristics in mind when you are choosing your new puppy.
For a male, the body should stand slightly taller and broader than a female. Ideally, the size of the male should be between 20-24 inches when full grown. Ensure that the sire to your new puppy demonstrates this when meeting with a breeder. Females will stand slightly shorter. Weight is ideal at 45 to 70 pounds.
Dalmatians are also known for their shedding. With a short coat that sits next to the body and sheds year round, the Dalmatian will prove to fill your house with more hair than normal. The barbed ends of the hair also allow it to stick in clothing, furniture, carpets and other fabrics.
By keeping this information in mind when selecting a Dalmatian, you will be able to select a healthy animal to join your family.