The Spotted Dalmatian

Perhaps one of the most recognizable of all dogs is the spotted Dalmatian. They were made famous in Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” where an evil woman stole Dalmatian puppies intending to make a fur coat out of them. A better use for the bright and loyal Dalmatian is an affectionate family dog for today’s active family. Dalmatians are noble, clever and outgoing and make wonderful family pets.


Dalmatians are predominantly white with spots of black or liver. These are good sized dogs, standing 19-24 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 45-70 pounds, depending on the sex. Females are smaller than males. These dogs have an average lifespan between eleven and thirteen years.

Dalmatian puppies are born without spots. They grow into their spots. Be sure to introduce your new pup to new and unusual, but pleasant situations early to prepare them for all that life has to offer. Acclimating your dog to various situations and happenings at a young age makes for a more well-rounded adult dog.

Dalmatian History

The origin story of the Dalmatian is largely unknown. By the early 1800s, they were associated with a part of Central Europe near the Adriatic Sea once known as Dalmatia. They trotted alongside the caravans of the nomadic Romani people and protected their coaches.

Later British nobles used the Dalmatian in their liveries and gave it the nickname the “English Coach Dog”. Dals were used by firefighters in the 1800s in both Europe and America alike when horses pulled fire engines. They entered the AKC Stud Book in 1888.

The loving Dalmatian needs early training and socialization. They don’t like to be alone for long periods of time and want to be included in all family activities. They desire to be a true part of your family.  

Dalmatians have a unique urinary system with special requirements to prevent medical complications. They need a low protein diet and constant availability to fresh water. They should be able to urinate frequently as they need to flush out their system and maintain health.

These “horse dogs” are intelligent and easy to train. Dalmatians are muscular and have great stamina that allows them to keep up with a coach on long journeys. They have a powerful, effortless stride and make good watchdogs. They are not known to be barkers.

The Dalmatian would not be considered high maintenance in terms of grooming. Only an occasional bath and weekly brushing is required. This breed does tend to shed a lot. More frequent brushings may help keep the hair off the floor. Their ears hang low and will need regular checking and cleaning to maintain proper health.

The Dalmatian is high maintenance in terms of their exercise needs. They were built to run alongside coaches and carriages over long distances. All of that energy needs to be expended in today’s world, with or without horse-drawn carriages. Dalmatians must have adequate daily exercise to prevent behavior problems.

They make great dogs for an active family; perhaps with runners, hikers or bikers. The Dalmatian would also be excellent in a sport like agility or flyball. They do well with a rewards-based training system. They are very sensitive animals and do not respond well to punishments and harsh tones. While known as a coach dog, they have also been used for hunting, in firehouses and been seen as circus performers, as well as the household pet.

The Dalmatian would require a large PlexiDor Dog Door in either the standard or electronic model. Our doors provide easy access through a door, wall, sliding glass door, glass house door, French door or window. Contact our Customer Service Department or call 888-PETDOOR with questions.

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