• Overview

    Dalmatians are known for their one-of-a-kind spotted coats as well as for their acting skills. Made famous with Disney's 101 Dalmatians, these gregarious dogs always appear poised, alert and ready to play. Dalmatians stand tall, between 19 and 23 inches tall, and lean, weighing about 50 pounds on average. Before deciding to make a Dalmatian your family pet, make sure you have the time and energy to devote to consistent training, socializing and exercising that your Dalmatian will need. With lots of activity and plenty of love and attention, Dalmatians make enthusiastic, entertaining companions who make popular show dogs and family pets.

  • Personality

    Dalmatians are bundles of energy. They love to run around and have an endless appetite for walks and romps with their owners. Dalmatians will quickly assimilate into their owners' lives. They are active goofballs who will expect to be made part of all family activities. Training these polka dot pups is essential to developing a well-socialized, polite family pet. Training efforts will also need to be consistent, firm and positive. These dogs are smart, and as a result, they can be willful. They will respond to commands with which they agree, but they won't be as tempted to obey without positive rewards. Dalmatians will need quite a bit of socialization to make sure that they do not become aggressive or stressed around new dogs and people. Training and socialization will help Dalmatians become the friendly, sociable family companions made famous in Hollywood.

    Because Dalmatians have become movie stars, with a famous Disney franchise and some free publicity from the fire department under their belt, they have unfortunately been unscrupulously over-bred. Shyness and aggression are huge personality flaws and serve as a clear sign of bad breeding. Deafnesss runs in some Dalmatian lines. These dogs present a particular challenge in training, and they are also incredibly easily startled. As a result, they have a tendency to bite when threatened, so they do not make good pets for families with children.

    Dalmatians have sensitive bladders. They become uncomfortable if they are kept inside for a long time, so they will need to go outdoors to the bathroom more frequently than other large dogs.

  • Coat Care

    The Dalmatian's most distinct feature is his spotted black and white coat. The coat is also seen with liver spots, but this color combination is less common. The spots should be round and well-defined — they should not bleed into the coat. The patterned coat looks stylish, and it also feels velvety and soft. The fine, close-fitting hairs are sleek and glossy. Don't be alarmed if your new puppy doesn't have his spots yet. Dalmatians are born white and develop their dots as they mature.

Brushing

Dalmatians do not get very dirty, but they do shed consistently. Run a rubber brush over their coat frequently to reduce shedding and remove dead hairs.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

Smooth coated breeds adhere to the general rule of dog bathing: about once every three months. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with smooth coats generally only require trims and tidying up in areas of excessive hair growth using a trimmer or blunt scissors. It's always wise to take a dog for a short walk or exercise to calm them down before trimming. Remember to brush the coat first to remove any tangles and mats. Don't forget to trim around the paws, pads, tail, chest and sanitary areas, as needed. The coat should lay flat and smooth against the body when finished.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Some smooth-coated dogs, like Basenjis and Boxers, and dogs with large ears, like Weimaraners and Great Danes, have sensitive ears that should be checked  weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If you have a small dog, like an Italian Greyhound, take special care to  clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes to make sure they are comfortable. Dogs with facial wrinkles, like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, should have their faces wiped down at least weekly to prevent infection.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.