(AKC Non-Sporting Group)

The spotted Dalmatian is a square-proportioned, moderately built dog with good substance and an athletic build. He has rounded high-set ears, and rounded eyes that are brown, gold, or blue. The tapering tail is carried with a slight upward curve. The short coat is sleek and shiny. The signature black or liver spots should be round, well defined, and preferably separated. Patches, which are large areas of color with sharply defined borders, are not allowed by the standard. Unlike spots, which appear two to three weeks after birth, patches are present at birth.


Though his origins are far from clear, the Dalmatian was first historically placed in Dalmatia, part of the former Yugoslavia. The breed became popular as a carriage dog in the 1800s, trotting beside (and even among) the horses and then guarding the carriage and horses while the master was occupied elsewhere. The versatile Dalmatian has seen many uses, including a mascot for firemen, war sentinel, circus performer, vermin hunter, retriever, shepherd, and guard dog. Today, this beautiful breed is primarily a companion dog. It has had a couple of surges in popularity, linked in part to the Disney movies.

Key Facts:



Playful and happy-go-lucky, Dalmatians need human companionship, so they don’t make good yard dogs. The very energetic Dalmatian loves to play with children, but might be too rambunctious for toddlers. Dalmatians tend to get along well with other pets, though they might be aggressive with strange dogs. Males often dislike other males. This breed can be somewhat high-strung and can be timid without enough socialization. Though they are quite intelligent, Dalmatians can be willful. They generally do well with firm, consistent training.