The Dalmatian is a wonderful companion. A demanding breed that loves to live life to the full with you, not 'just a dog' to take out on high days and holidays. You must be prepared to take your Dalmatian friend out for hard exercise off lead for in excess of 2 hours a day, 365 days a year, come rain, hail, sleet or snow. Feeding is not cheap either, you should be prepared to feed your Dalmatian the very best in order to build the bone, strength and muscle that should be seen in this breed. In return, the Dalmatian will offer endless love and affection and will make you laugh with its sense or humour and charm. The Dalmatian is a friendly, enthusiastic, outgoing breed, and should never be shy or hesitant. Of course, the strong bond between owner and Dalmatian will instil a sense of loyalty but this loyalty should never manifest itself as aggression.
Dalmatian Breed Standard
A distinctively spotted dog, balanced, strong, muscular and active. Symmetrical in outline, elegant, free from coarseness and lumber.
A carriage dog of good demeanour, capable of great endurance and a fair turn of speed.
Outgoing and friendly, not shy or hesitant, free from nervousness and aggression.
Head and Skull
Of fair length, skull flat, reasonably broad between ears, moderately well defined in front of ears. Entirely free from wrinkle. Moderate amount of stop. Muzzle powerful, never snipey. Distance from nose to stop equals that from stop to occiput. Lips clean, fitting jaws moderately closely. Nose in black spotted variety always black, in liver variety always brown.
Set moderately well apart, medium size, oval in shape, bright and sparkling, with intelligent expression. Colour dark brown in black spotted, amber in liver spotted, with uniformly pigmented irises. Fully pigmented eye rims, black in black spotted and liver brown in liver spotted.
Set on rather high, moderate size, rather wide at base, gradually tapering to rounded point. Fine in texture, carried close to head. Marking well broken up, preferably spotted.
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Fairly long, nicely arched, light and tapering. Entirely free from throatiness.
Shoulders well laid back, clean, muscular with length of shoulder and upper arm approximately equal. Elbows set close to body. Forelegs perfectly straight with strong round bone down to feet, with slight spring at pastern joint.
Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock slightly greater than height from withers to ground. Chest not too wide, but deep and capacious with plenty of lung and heart room. Ribs well sprung and carried well back. Well defined withers, powerful level back. Loin strong, clean, muscular and slightly arched.
Rounded, muscles clean with well developed second thigh, good turn of stifle, hocks well defined.
Round, compact, with well arched toes, cat-like, round, tough, elastic pads. Nails black or white in black spotted variety, in liver spotted, brown or white.
Length reaching approximately to hock. Strong at insertion gradually tapering towards end, never inserted too low or too high, free from coarseness and carried with a slight upward curve, never curled. Preferably spotted.
Great freedom of movement. Smooth, powerful, rhythmic action with long stride. Viewed from fore and aft, the legs should appear straight with a degree of convergence towards the centre line at the trot. The feet should move along straight lines with the rear feet tracking the fore. A short stride and paddling action is incorrect.
Short, hard, dense; sleek and glossy in appearance.
Ground colour pure white. Black spotted having dense black spots, liver spotted, liver brown spots; not running together but round and well defined. In size 2cm-3cm in diameter as well distributed as possible. Spots on extremities smaller than those on the body. Tricolours and spotting other than black or liver unacceptable. Bronzing on spots undesirable in adults.
Overall balance of prime importance. Ideal height: dogs: 58-61 cms (23-24 ins); bitches: 56-58 cms (22-23 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) Hearing Testing
ALWAYS ensure your Dalmatian puppy has been BAER hearing tested. The BAER test should take place around 5-6 weeks of age. Do not accept a breeders word that your puppy has clear hearing - demand the BAER hearing certificate relating to your puppy. This proves your Dalmatian's hearing status. Dalmatians can be bi-lateral hearing (hearing in both ears) or uni-lateral (hearing in only one ear). Uni-lateral dogs lead perfectly normal lives and make excellent pets but should never be bred from since they carry the genetic material for deafness. It is not acceptable to be told that your puppy responds to clapping or other such noises - dogs can sense the vibrations from these tests and they do not prove your puppy's hearing status.