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10 Fun Facts About Dalmatians

10 Fun Facts About Dalmatians

When most people think of Dalmations, they think of firetrucks, spotted coats, or the movie 101 Dalmatians. But there’s a lot more to know about this breed. Check out these 10 fun facts you didn’t know about Dalmatians!

1. They have no spots at birth. That’s right! Dalmatian puppies don’t have any spots when they’re born. Instead, they are born all white and get spots as they get older. Their spots start to develop around 2 to 3 weeks old. By the time Dalmation puppies are 4 weeks old, most of their spots will be present, but they will continue to slowly develop spots as they grow and throughout the rest of their lives.

2. Their spots are unique. Similar to your fingerprints or a snowflake, a Dal’s spots are one of a kind. No two Dalmatians have the same pattern or number of spots. This breed is well-known for its piebald pattern (spotted color on white). Dalmatians commonly have black or liver-colored spots on a white coat, but sometimes these spots can be brindle, blue, orange, or lemon. Their spots cover their entire body, even in their mouth!

3. They’ve had many different nicknames. Throughout the years, the Dal has had quite a few different nicknames, including the Firehouse Dog, the English Coach Dog, the Spotted Coach Dog, the Carriage Dog, and others. They’ve even been referred to as the Plum Pudding Dog because their distinctive spots reminded people of the traditional spotted dessert.

4. Their origins are unknown. The origins of Dalmatians are somewhat mysterious. Some people believe that Dals traveled with Romani people, who are historically nomadic. Others think Dalmatians are named after a place called Dalmatia, which is a region in Croatia. It’s assumed that Dalmatians have been around for a long time, since spotted dogs running alongside chariots have been found painted on the walls of Egyptian tombs.

5. They have served many different roles. Because of their versatility, Dals have served many different purposes throughout the years. During times of war, they served as sentinels at the Dalmatia and Croatia borders. They’ve also been used for performing in circuses, herding, hunting, coaching, and ratting.

6. They were bred to be a coach dog. The Dalmatian is the only dog breed that was bred to be a coach dog. They would run alongside carriages, protecting the horses from stray dogs and keeping the horses calm. They also acted as a guard dog, providing security at stops and alerting the driver of any approaching dangers.

7. They are often known as a firehouse dog. Dalmatians used to serve as coaching dogs for horse-drawn fire coaches. When the fire engine became motorized, the Dalmatian became a mascot for firemen, which is why many people think of Dalmatians as firehouse dogs.

8. They have a genetic predisposition to deafness. Unfortunately, about 30% of Dalmatians are deaf or have a hearing impairment. It’s believed the genes that provide Dalmatians with their coat are to blame for the deafness. The genes that cause their spots can lead to a lack of mature melanocytes, which are melanin-producing cells, in the inner ear.

9. They became more popular because of a movie. Many people were introduced to the Dal because of the movie 101 Dalmatians. Unfortunately, there was a downside to these popular films. After the movie, many people went out and bought a Dalmatian without doing proper research, which resulted in many Dals in shelters after their owners realized the responsibility of having an energetic dog that needed a lot of attention and training.

10. They are a mascot for the Budweiser Clydesdales. Since 1950, the Dalmatians have served as a mascot and companion to the Budweiser Clydesdale team. Historically, the dogs would guard the wagon and protect the team while the driver went inside to make deliveries. When the team performs today, the Dals sit on the wagon next to the driver.

Bonus fact: Dalmatians are predisposed to developing kidney or bladder stones. One common type of bladder or kidney stone in dogs is known as calcium oxalate, which are painful stones that make up about 43% of upper urinary tract stones in dogs. Understanding the risk factors and causes of calcium oxalate stones in dogs is essential when trying to prevent stone formation. Learn more about preventing stone formation in dogs, and discover how Thomas Vet’s Cal Ox can help!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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