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Dalmatian

Tags: Non-Sporting, Large-sized, High energy level, Kid-friendly, Requires firm, dedicated training

You probably know where we Dalmatians been (running alongside horse-drawn coaches, ready to answer the firehouse bell) and where we prefer not to be (in Cruella de Vil's closet of 101 fur coats). But did you know where else Dalmatians have shown their spots? In the Dalmatia (Balkans) region of the Mediterranean hundreds of years ago, for instance, and the Vatican in the 1600s. Somewhere in our gene pool is the now-extinct Bengal Pointer, crossed with the Bull Terrier and the English Pointer. We've worked as shepherds, bird dogs, trail hounds, retrievers, cart-pulling draft dogs, dogs of war and chasers of rats. After all that, riding in fire engines or the family minivan is a breeze.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Dignified and proud
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Energizer doggie
  • Loves kids and vice versa
  • Outgoing extrovert
  • Pleased to please

Report card

  • Never aggressive
  • Playful pal
  • Spirited
  • Training must be firm, patient, consistent
  • Wary of strangers
  • Willing watchdog

What to expect

I need you to do a couple things in my training (which you will start early of course, even in puppy kindergarten) to head off a notorious (and not always true) blot on the Dalmatian reputation -- namely that we are hyper, hard-to-control dogs with some bad habits. First, try to work with an experienced trainer who knows all about Dalmatians, in an obedience class with all kinds of other dogs. Any signs of dominance over others (dogs or people) should be nipped in the bud. Give lots of praise when I do something right (positive reinforcement, not negative punishment). Don't let me get too crazy. Dalmatians typically don't settle down for at least two years. I'm going to have lots of energy (and aptitude, I promise) for all the things we'll learn together.

Watch for

Possible deafness, vision disorders (including glaucoma), neurologic (epilepsy) or skin (alopecia) conditions, as well as kidney and bladder problems (including stones).

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