Before being named the Dalmatian, this dog breed was called the Coach Dog. These animals often lived around horses, followed the carriages and lived in and around the horses” stable.

These dogs kept pace with the best trotting horses and seemed like a good companion to mares and stallions, just as the Collie is a friend to sheep.

The Dalmatian breed first came to Europe because of its sporting abilities. However in the recent past, they are only used as companions or exhibition dogs.

Dalmatians and the Circus

These dogs have a friendly disposition. They also have the capability to be trained to do clever stunts and feats. Circus owners learned that early on.

The first Dalmatian appeared in the circus show ring in 1873. At the time, they were viewed as novelties. No one thought of breeding them to be show winners till many decades later. Their popularity grew throughout England. Many of the top prize dogs with the best liver spots attained great publicity and sired generations of award-winning Dalmatians.

Similarities to a Pointer

Except for the head and markings, a Dalmatian looks very similar to a Pointer dog. The Pointers have longer muzzles and loose-hanging lips. A Dalmatian”s eyes should have black or brown around the edges.

Dog breeds such as a Dalmatian should have a density and pureness of color in both the black and brown hues. That color, though, should not overtake the distribution of spots on the dog. The spots should not mingle and no black patches should be seen.

When the Spots Appear

Dalmatian puppies are born pure white. The whiter and more clear they are the better they might be. No marks or spots will develop until the puppy is two weeks old. That”s when a dark ridge on its belly will appear. Only then will the spots begin to show.

The dark markings first become visual on the neck and ears, then the back. By the 16th day, the markings have popped out all over the dog”s body. Many times, the tail will stay all white for a few weeks longer.

Characteristics in Dalmatians

Dog breeds like Dalmatians should look strong, active, graceful and muscular. These animals have great endurance and some speed in their legs.

The muzzle on a good specimen will be long and powerful. The eyes are set far apart and should be dark in the black-spotted Dalmatian.

The nose in the black-spotted variety will always be black. Sometimes it can appear brown in the liver-spotted selection.

Legs and feet on this dog have great importance to allow the dog to run, jump and have well-arched toes. The dog”s tail shouldn”t be too long. Tails must be not be too long and taper down to the end. Its tail should never curve.

The coat should appear short, thick and hard. The spots on the dog”s head, face, ears, legs, tail and extremities will be much smaller than on the rest of the body.

Dalmatian dogs weigh in about 55 pounds for males and 50 pounds for bitches.


Leighton, R. (2004). Dogs and all About Them. Retrieved March 24, 2008, from The Project Gutenberg EBook of Dogs and All About Them Web site: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/10991/10991.txt.