October’s Breed of the Month: Dalmatian

Shooting to mass popularity after the 1961 Disney animated movie, 101 Dalmatians, and making a roaring resurgence in 1996 following the live action remake, October’s breed of the month is the Dalmatian.

To honour these iconic dogs, the team at Felcana have put together our favourite facts about one of our favourite dog breeds.

A rather recognisable coat

It’s not hard to recognise these gorgeous animals. When most people think spots, they think Dalmatians.

This beautiful dalmatian has a lovely splattering of liver coloured spots, as well as one brown and one blue eye, a condition known as Heterochromia Iridis, which can be common in dalmatians.

This beautiful dalmatian has a lovely splattering of liver coloured spots, as well as one brown and one blue eye, a condition known as Heterochromia Iridis, which can be common in dalmatians.

But did you know this spotty dog’s fur isn’t always black and white? 

You may have seen brown or liver spotted Dalmatians running around in the park, but even rarer is the lemon spotted Dalmatian, sporting a white coat with very light brown spots.

Some of you may remember Cruella de Vil, every Dalmatians worst nightmare, exclaiming :

“Oh, the devil take it, they’re mongrels. No spots! No spots at all! What a horrid little white rat!”. 

What many people don’t realise though is that Dalmatians are actually born pure white. Their spots usually come through when they’re around 3 to 4 weeks old. Until then, there’s no knowing if a pup will be black, liver, lemon or even a combination of different coloured spots!

 

Even Lucky was born all white, but it doesn’t take long before dalmatian pups start to show their true colours.

Even Lucky was born all white, but it doesn’t take long before dalmatian pups start to show their true colours.

No Odd Job Dog

Dalmatians are commonly associated with a few jobs. From the 17th century onward dalmatians were commonly used as carriage dogs. Their large size and muscular build meant they were well suited to keeping pace with the horses pulling their masters along. And in the evenings the dalmatians territorial instinct could be trusted to guard the horses at coach houses along the route.

Obviously, the breeds distinctive appearance and exotic origins helped cement their role as carriage dogs. Often brought back by wealthy owners from trips abroad, having a dalmatian accompanying your carriage instantly gave the owner a status boost. 

“Sparkles, the Fire Safety Dog” by Firefighter Dayna Hilton

“Sparkles, the Fire Safety Dog” by Firefighter Dayna Hilton

Firehouse Dogs

The dalmatians affinity with horses also led them to become firehouse dogs. In the days of horse-drawn fire engines the dalmatian would help clear the way, as well as guard the valuable fire-horses at night. 

This important job is still honoured today, particularly in the US, where many fire stations still keep dalmatians as mascots.

And it’s not just firehouses that still keep dalmatians as carriage dog mascots — Budweiser keep three dalmatians, Chip, Clyde and Brewer,to watch over their Clydesdale horses.

Origins

The name ‘Dalmatian’ comes from the commonly believed fact that these dotty dogs originate from the Dalmatia region of Croatia.

However, some argue that the breed may even have come from as far afield as Egypt. Ancient engravings in Egyptian tombs show a spotted dog that looks remarkably similar to our modern day dalmatian.

Whichever is true, it’s clear that the breed has kept it’s distinctive appearance for centuries!

Dalmatians as pets

Dalmatians make great family pets — so long as you’ve got the time and the energy to keep up with them! Dalmatians can run at a steady pace for hours at a time, and are extremely playful. They also tend to love the water and having a good swim. 

But it isn’t always all fun and games for this popular breed. Their unique coat also causes around 30% of all dalmatian pups to be born deaf. Most reputable breeders will get dalmatian puppies hearing and sight checked before they put them up for adoption. 

If you are thinking of welcoming one of these spotty dogs into the family, it’s a good idea to check for this first. Deaf dogs can be just as great family pets as any other dog, but training your puppy will be more of a challenge.

Breed of the Month

Dalmatians are an amazing breed with an exceptional history. From Egyptian hunting dogs, to carriage dogs. Mascots of firehouses and breweries. Film stars and family pets. 

Dalmatians have been man’s best friend for centuries, and this October, the dalmatian is Felcana’s too.