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Group: Non Sporting (Group 7)
Club: Dalmatian Club Of Victoria Inc
Contact: Mrs Norma Kimber
Phone: 0409 952 505

Brief History

The origin of the breed is not exact, but sources believe it originated in the Mediterranean, where it spread to India and Europe, possibly with gypsies. The name suggests the breed came from Dalmatia, but researchers believe this may not the case. The name Dalmatian emerged around the late 1790’s, but spotted dogs were recorded well before this time. During the centuries they have been used as guard dogs, war dogs, companions, coach dogs and mascots of horse drawn fire engines.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 11 to 12 years.  


The Dalmatian is predisposed to be active and territorial. It is extremely important for prospective owners to understand their activity level. They require daily exercise, or they can become destructive or vocal. They are very social and need to be part of the family. Socialization and obedience training when young are very important in raising a well-adjusted dog. They have a tendency to be independent thinkers and a touch of the “class clown”. They make good pets for older children, but their size and activity level may be intimidating for youngsters.

General Breed Description

The coat of the Dalmatian is white with either black or liver spots. They have streamlined muscles, are energetic and present as elegant. They are born pure white and the spots start to develop at around 7 days. Occasionally a pup may be born with a patch of colour, usually on the head. This is classed as a show fault but does not affect the dog in any way. Some Dalmatians develop a “smile” which presents as a curled lip and bared teeth. It can look like a snarl but is usually a sign of affection, submission, or thinking they are in trouble.

Coat and Care requirements

Having a short, dense coat they need only occasional brushing to be well groomed. This short hair however does have its drawbacks. Dalmatians shed hair all year round and the hair has barbed ends and sticks to everything. Regular brushing helps to minimise this, but there is no way to stop it altogether. An occasional bath may be necessary when they have become very dirty but on the whole, Dalmatians are good at keeping themselves clean and their coat sheds mud and dirt quite quickly. 


Height:  Males 58 to 61cms (23 to 24ins), Females 56 to 58cms (22 to 23ins).  


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders in is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does. The Dalmatian is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include allergies which can manifest as skin problems or ear infections. These can often be food related. Dalmatians have a uric acid anomaly that can lead to urate crystal or stone formation in the bladder. This can cause obstructions, mainly in male dogs. Blockages are not only painful but life threatening. A low purine diet is recommended to help avoid this. Dalmatians can also be born deaf (bilateral). There are others who have normal hearing in one ear (unilateral). Responsible breeders have their pups BAER tested for hearing at 6 weeks. They will not sell a deaf puppy.  


Dalmatians are perfect as a companion, a watchdog for family and a marvellous pet, but as they are strong and very active, they need to be kept under control. As with all dogs, young children and pets should always be supervised when together.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders