LIVING WITH DALMATIANS
Dalmatians are beautiful, alert, muscular, intelligent dogs with a white short, dense coat with distinctively black or liver spots that can live up to 12-15 years. Their distinctive character and appearance is an instant appeal but they are a strong powerful dog in both mind and body. Dalmatians are natural extroverts, with a well known characteristic grin. They are also known as the clowns of the dog world! Ideal heights of males - 58-31cm (23-24ins) or females - 56-58cm (22-23ins) at their shoulders, with typical weights of 18-27kg plus, can make them a large dog to handle.
The Dalmatian is an active, energetic, loyal and creative dog that needs a lot of exercise and loves to play. They make excellent watchdogs and will alert their owner if something is amiss with a deep bark or two. They can also be very boisterous, but respond well to discipline. They were bred to run for hours alongside a horse or carriage, and have almost endless stamina. Their strength and drive means they tend to pull on the lead without consistent training.
Dalmatians are friendly, very people-orientated, they thrive on human companionship and should not be left alone for long periods of time. They are a loving and loyal companion that want to live indoors with their “pack”. As such, without proper training, they may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too long and may become depressed and destructive. Young Dalmatians will tend to dig holes in the yard and chew up your plants too, at least until they have matured and learned some obedience. Dalmatians are a wonderful family dog, great with children, however young children may find them too boisterous in their play and should always be supervised. They are great in multi-pet households and can get along well with cats if introduced appropriately. Dalmatians have a stable, outgoing nature which suits an active family.
This cunning creature who demands (and gets) your love is also an accomplished thief who steals food at every opportunity, whether it be at home or at the park. Their main hobby is kitchen counter surfing and will take great pleasure in sampling your recently cooked meat left cooling on the side. They have even been known to polish off meat left to defrost on the counter!
This elegant dog, who often turns heads in the street, is not house proud! It is a good idea to move precious ornaments out of tail wagging reach as one lash from their strong constantly wagging tail and your family heirlooms will be destroyed, or your cup of coffee or tea flung to the floor. Their short coat is constantly shedding hairs, with no respect for what you are wearing. They are so keen to spend as much time with you that they are always willing to sleep on the couch, or even in your bed. Therefore, you can find their white hairs almost everywhere, but especially on black trousers! A good quality, powerful vacuum is a must, and a certain brand (D _ _ _ N) is a favourite amongst many Dalmatian owners.
Dalmatians are not suited to be outside in extreme weather as they are single coated and the short hairs provide little protection from the cold or sun. Their white coat and pale pigmentation will contribute to the likelihood of sunburn. Other common health issues include “stone-formation” and deafness. Both are due to inheritable traits of the Dalmatian breed. A metabolic defect unique to Dalmatians can lead to bladder stones. A low-purine diet, and encouraging the dog to drink plenty of water will minimise the risk of forming bladder stones. Though sometimes surgery to remove stones and life-long medication is required. Deafness will usually show up in puppies by about four weeks of age. A reputable breeder will always have the dog’s hearing checked. Purchasing your Dalmatian from a reputable breeder will minimise the risk of your Dalmatian having bladder stones or deafness.
Finally, Dalmatians are much happier being indoors for the comfort and companionship of their family. They like nothing better than a good, brisk walk and then to relax with their family for the rest of the day!