You’ve probably spotted this dog on the back of fire trucks, or hiding from Cruella de Vil in Disney’s 101 Dalmatians… But how much do you know about this striking breed? Here are 7 facts to learn about dalmatians!
1. We’re not sure where they come from
Like with many older breeds, it’s not certain where dalmatians originated from. Because of their name, many people believe they come from Dalmatia — a region in modern day Croatia — where they were used as sentinels during the war. However, they may be as old as the ancient Eygptians, as spotted dogs have been discovered on paintings in the tombs!
2. They weren’t always called the Dalmatian
Dalmatians have been called many different names over the years, including: the English Coach Dog, the Carriage Dog, the Plum Pudding Dog, the Fire House Dog, and the Spotted Dick!
3. They love horses
Dalmatians were originally bred to run alongside carriages, and so get along famously well with horses. They were used to guard coaches at stops, ward off stray dogs and keep the horses calm and focused. This evolved into them running behind fire trucks, as they were perfect for calming the horses around fires and warding off pests from the firehouses. Because of their unique appearance, they quickly became a memorable mascot for firefighters and are still found on firetrucks across America today!
4. No two dalmations are the same
No two dalmatians have the same number of spots or markings — making each dog completely unique! While most dalmatians are white with black or brown spots, their spots can sometimes be light yellow, blue or a mixture of colours. You can even find spots inside their mouth!
5. They are born spotless
Dalmatians are known for their distinct piebald markings. However, they’re born snowy white — without their spots! Puppies usually don’t grow their spots until they’re around 10-14 days old, but they can continue to appear on their fur as they grow into old age.
6. They have bad hearing
Many dalmatians can only hear in one ear, and up to 12% are completely deaf, according to the Dalmatian Club of America.
7. The 101 Dalmations effect
One of Disney’s most successful animated films, 101 Dalmatians, resulted in a boom of demand for this beautiful breed. However, many people failed to do their research, and were surprised to learn that this breed demands a lot of training and attention, tends to shed a lot of fur and doesn’t always get along well with children. Because of this, many dalmatians ended up in shelters as their owners found they couldn’t handle the responsibility.
This increased demand also led to breeders mass-producing poorly-bred puppies, which sadly meant a lot of dogs were born with excessive health problems and aggressive behaviour.
Dalmatians are a regal, elegant and beautiful breed. Do you have one in your family? We’d love to see your pics!