Dalmatian Info & Dalmatian Breeders
The Dalmatian (Croatian: Dalmatinski pas, Dalmatiner) is a breed of dog whose roots trace back to Croatia (and its historical region of Dalmatia), where the first illustrations of the dog have been found. The Dalmatian is noted for its unique black or liver spotted coat and was mainly used as a carriage dog in its early days. Today, this dog remains a well-loved family pet, and many dog enthusiasts enter their pets into the competitions of many kennel clubs.
Dalmatian puppies are born with plain white coats and their first spots usually appear within three weeks after birth. After about a month, they have most of their spots, although they continue to develop throughout life at a much slower rate. Spots usually range in size from 30 to 60 mm, and are most commonly black or brown (liver) on a white background. Other, more rare colors, include blue (a blue-grayish color), brindle, mosaic, tricolored (with tan spotting on the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and chest), and orange or lemon (dark to pale yellow). Patches of color appear anywhere on the body, mostly on the head or ears, and usually consist of a solid color.
The roles of this ancient breed are as varied as their reputed ancestors. They were used as dogs of war, guarding the borders of Dalmatia. To this day, the breed retains a high guarding instinct; although friendly and loyal to those the dog knows and trusts, it is often aloof with strangers and unknown dogs. Dalmatians have a strong hunting instinct and are an excellent exterminator of rats and vermin. In sporting, they have been used as bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, or in packs for boar or stag hunting. Their dramatic markings and intelligence have made them successful circus dogs throughout the years. Dalmatians are perhaps best known for their role as fire-fighting apparatus escorts and firehouse mascots. Since Dalmatians and horses are very compatible, the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the carriages to help clear a path and quickly guide the horses and firefighters to the fires. Fire engines used to be drawn by fast and powerful horses, a tempting target for thieves, so Dalmatians were kept in the firehouse as deterrence to theft.