Breed review: Dalmatian puppies and dogs

Posted by Argos, 26 November 2015, last updated 16 February 2023.

The Dalmatian is one of the most recognisable dog breeds, largely thanks to Disney’s enduring family favourite 101 Dalmatians.

The animated film was released in 1961 but Dalmatians have been capturing people’s hearts for centuries. So, to celebrate the popular breed, we have put together our guide on everything you need to know, from their history, character and common health conditions.

Dalmatian puppies are full of energy and love to play

History of Dalmatian dogs

Throughout history, the breed has served as hunting dogs in circuses and helped firefighters. Back in the days when fire trucks were horse-drawn, Dalmatians would run alongside the carriage, protecting the horses from other dogs or animals.

Nowadays, Dalmatians are fire station mascots, particularly in the US – or in episodes of the popular cartoon Fireman Sam.

What do Dalmatians look like?

Sleek and athletic, Dalmatians are recognisable because of their black spots on white coats.

Puppies are born all-white and spots tend to appear after the first month. The coat is usually short, fine but thick.

How big are Dalmatians?

Dalmatians are considered a medium-sized breed and often vary between 48cm to 58cm tall and can weigh around 45 to 70 pounds.

Dalmatian temperament

The breed is both intelligent and sensitive, which means they need training in early life but it’s important to keep it relaxed as they don’t respond well to harsh methods.

What are Dalmatians like as pets? Dalmatians make good pets for active families. They will get along with older children and other animals in the house, especially if socialised as a puppy. However, they are known to have low tolerance levels and might not be great with younger children. They are also exuberant animals and should be supervised closely when near small children to ensure they are not pushed over.

Dalmatian dogs don't like to be alone for a long time and can be prone to deafness

Caring for Dalmatians

Dalmatians have plenty of energy and love to play. Their breeding means they can run for miles, so need regular and extensive exercise to prevent behavioural problems from developing. Like most active dogs, they do not enjoy spending long periods of time alone.

Their coats shed all year round, so regular grooming (and vacuuming) will be needed.

Dalmatians have a few special dietary requirements because of their unusual urinary system. They need plenty of water, high-protein food and will regularly need to urinate.

How long do Dalmatians live?

The typical lifespan for a Dalmatian is 10 to 13 years, which is the average expectancy for a breed of its size.

Dalmatian health issues

Deafness in Dalmatians is very common, a genetic trait that runs through the breed’s bloodlines means that only about 70% of Dalmatians have normal hearing. Known for being overbred, genetic health problems can be quite common across the breed.

Recently added a Dalmatian to the family? It’s important to protect yourself from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our pet insurance policies covering Dalmatians today.

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