13 Crazy Facts About Dalmatians

Dalmatians are one of the most iconic dog breeds. Whether you see them on TV or movies, or a fire truck, we’ve all seen them up close. What do you know about this exciting breed?

1. Their Origins Are Murky

Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

Like many older breeds of dogs, it’s hard to pinpoint precisely where Dalmatians come originated. The most common thought is that they can be traced back to Croatia’s Dalmatia region from pointers and Great Dane’s. Some others believe that they date back to the ancient Egyptians. There are paintings of spotted dogs that can be found in Egypt’s tombs, though this could have been a different breed.  

2. They’ve had many names

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Over the years, Dalmatians have been called the Carriage Dog, the Plum Pudding Dog, the Fire House Dog, the Spotted Dick, and the English Coach Dog.  

3. Dalmatians are often deaf

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Deafness is a common issue for Dalmatians. 15 – 30% of dalmatians are partially deaf, and 5% are completely deaf in both ears. They were considered “dumb” by breeders for a long time, never realizing it was a hearing issue. Today, researchers discovered that piebald and animals are frequently deaf due to the absence of mature melanocytes in their inner ear. Because of this, breeders only breed Dalmatians with bilateral hearing. 

4. Dalmatians are typically known as firedogs

Photo by Rafael Forseck on Unsplash

Dalmatians are most famous as fire dogs, particularly in the United States. This originated from when firefighters used horse-drawn carriages. They needed a dog that wasn’t afraid of fire or horses to guard the carriage while battling the fire, and they fit the bill perfectly.  

With the introduction of firetrucks, they were no longer needed. Today, they often serve as the mascot for the fire service and are the dog of choice for many firefighters. As a bonus, they’re very good rat-catchers and keep many firehouses clear of rats. 

5. Dalmatians are all-purpose

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Despite being pigeonholed as fire dogs, Dalmatians are a jack-of-all-trades. They’re boar hunters, trail hounds, birding dogs, sporting dogs, guide dogs, guard dogs, and coaching dogs. Beyond that, they are well known as performers on the circus stage due to their intelligence and exciting coats.  

6. Budweiser dogs

 Photo by Bill Alkofer

Originating from beer couriers needing to guard their coaches while making deliveries, Budweiser keeps a Dalmatian with each of their famous Clydesdale teams. Several teams tour extensively around the US.  

7. Spotted everywhere…..

Photo by Daniel Xala on Unsplash

Dalmatians are known for their piebald pattern. Most of the time, the spots are black or brown, but they’re lemon, blue, and brindle in some cases. Every Dalmatians coat is unique, but they usually have marks all over their body. Even if you open op their mouth, you can find the spots.  

8. ….except when they’re born


It may come as a surprise after watching movies like  101 Dalmatians, but puppies have snow-white coats when they’re born. After four weeks, puppies will begin growing into their spots.  

9. The Founding Father’s Loved Them

The Happy Puppy Site

George Washington, the United States’ first president, was a major fan and breeder of Dalmatians. He owned a coach dog named Madame Moose. Benjamin Franklin, who funnily enough, was a volunteer fireman, also owned one. 

10. 101 Dalmatians hurt the breed

On top of portraying the puppies inaccurately, the movie resulted in a Dalmatian buying boom. After seeing the puppies on screen, many people went out and bought one for their kids. As a result, many ended up in shelters after families realized they shed a lot and did not always like kids. They need a ton of attention and training that the parents were unprepared for and ended up without a home. This demand also led to a boom in breeding from irreparable trainers and mills. As a result, many suffered from even worse health problems.  

11. Celebrities love them

Pablo Picasso and his dog

Many celebrities love Dalmatians! Pablo Picasso, Walt Disney, Rhonda Fleming, Leslie Caron, Naomi Campbell, Audrey Hepburn, Paul McCartney, Dick Clark, and Ariana Grande have all owned them.  

12. They’re independent and strong-headed


Dalmatians are smart. Because of that, they’re going to want some independence. If you don’t train them, you’ll have a stubborn and poorly behaved dogs on your time. They’ll also need a ton of exercise, so don’t commit unless you can go on long walks.

13. Allergies can be a problem


Dalmatians are very heavy shedders and will trigger allergies if you’re very sensitive. The good news? Despite shedding more than most dogs, most people are not allergic to Dalmatians.  

Alan Behrens

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