The Dalmatian is an ancient breed, dating back to 2000BC, when spotted dogs appeared on Greek friezes and tablets, showing them working with the chariots of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. Some very early records of the breed are found in Dalmatia, Yugoslavia from whence the name came. Over the years Dalmatians have been used as dogs of war, border patrols, cart pullers, sheep herders, dogs of the hunt, circus performers and, of course, coaching dogs. Whatever the origin, Dalmatians have worked with horses since at least the Middle Ages. With the breed’s introduction to Britain in the 18th century, the Dalmatian became very popular with the aristocracy as an additive to their ornate carriages, especially because of their ability to work horses under the rear or front carriage axles. The dogs were adopted in the 1800’s by fire departments and it was not an unusual sight to see Dals running through the streets of London to clear the way for the horse-drawn water-wagons. The breed remains friendly with horses and modern day field trials still test the abilities of the Dal to perform these duties.
The breed stands out for their unique spotted coats; black or liver spots on a white background. Their outline is square, showing them to be well-balanced, strong, muscular dogs. They have wonderful freedom of movement taking long strides, showing smooth, powerful and rhythmic action.
Personality – Dalmatians are outgoing and friendly dogs, free from nervousness and aggression, although, if not carefully reared or disciplined as puppies can become hyper. Dals are dedicated and loyal and always want to please but because of their determined natures will easily form bad habits. They are mild-mannered, affectionate dogs who enjoy company and clowning about. However, their strength and stamina can sometimes be too much of a challenge for some owners. Dals take at least 2 years to settle down.
Because of their short and hard hairs the breed do not require onerous grooming and clipping. Once a week run a grooming mitt over their coats to remove dead hairs, finishing off with a soft cloth to promote shine.