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Dalmatian dog breed profile

Can you guys when Dalmatians develop their spots?

Whether your dog is a purebred Dalmatian or a Dalmatian mix, learning about their breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Dalmatian and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Thanks to their history as firehouse mascots and as the stars of the famous Disney movie "101 Dalmatians," you're probably familiar with the Dalmatian breed. But how much do you really know about these iconic dogs?

"The Dalmatian breeds' origins aren't well known, but they originally helped to accompany horse-drawn carriages and hunting," Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch by The Dodo's on-staff veterinarian, says.

And if you didn't know about Dalmatians' origin, then you might find that there's a lot more to learn about these spotted pups.

What do Dalmatians look like?

Dalmatians' arguably most striking and memorable feature is their short, dense, spotted coat. (In rare cases, their fur is long.) The spots are either black or dark brown on an otherwise white-haired body. And did you know that those spots appear as early as 10 days after a Dalmatian is born?

As far as grooming goes, Dalmatian coats tend to stay relatively clean without a lot of upkeep. However, you'll probably find a trail of fur wherever your dog hangs out, as the breed is known for their heavy shedding — weekly brushing and a good vacuum for cleanup should help.

And behind that fur is lots of muscle mass, Dr. McCullough says, as these pups stand between 19 to 24 inches tall and weigh 45 to 70 pounds.

Dalmatians’ temperament

Families that enjoy regularly exercise and being playful are best suited for Dalmatians. Because of their size and exercise needs, these dogs feel most comfortable in larger living spaces where they have ample room to run, explore and burn off energy.

Dalmatians are naturally intelligent and sensitive. But like most dogs, they thrive best when properly socialized and trained.

“Some Dalmatians can be hesitant and aggressive around strangers,” Dr. McCullough says. “Proper socialization involves introducing your dog to new and different situations and training them to respond to people, places and dogs.”

With monitored socialization, Dalmatians can gain confidence and learn to trust other pets and people outside of their family. These dogs respond well to training, which is important for a breed that needs daily mental and physical exercise. 

RELATED: Alaskan Malamute dog breed profile

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What health issues do Dalmatians face?

Some health conditions, like deafness and kidney and bladder stones, are specific to Dalmatians, Dr. McCullough explains. Knowing about these conditions will help you to have informed conversations about prevention with your vet. 

As always, it’s important to schedule regular checkups with your vet if you are concerned your pup may be struggling with an illness or disease.

Adopting a Dalmatian

Are you interested in adopting a Dalmatian, Dalmatian mix or any pet at all? Check out our shelter partners to find your new best friend. 

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.

Photo by Balmer Rosario on Unsplash

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