A short-haired, white dog with black spots and black floppy ears, wears a big, wide smile, playing on the grass


29 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Dalmatians: what are they?

  • Dalmatians are instantly recognisable with their unique coat pattern of black or liver spots on a white background.
  • They have a long history and were originally bred to be carriage dogs, guard dogs, and even firehouse mascots.
  • Dalmatians are born completely white and develop their spots as they grow older!
  • These dogs are of medium size and have a well-muscled body.
  • Male Dalmatians can reach a height of up to 61 cm, while females are slightly smaller, averaging around 56 cm.
  • In terms of weight, Dalmatians typically weigh between 23 and 27 kg.
  • On average, they have a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years.
Dalmatian  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Dalmatians like?

  • Dalmatians are known for their energetic and outgoing nature.
  • They are intelligent, playful, and make great companions for active families.
  • They have a strong hunting instinct, which means they may have a tendency to chase small animals.
  • Socialisation from a young age is important to ensure they get along well with other pets and people.
  • Dalmatians are generally good with children, but supervision is recommended as they can be boisterous at times.
  • Additionally, they are alert and protective, making them excellent watchdogs.
Lenny, the Dalmatian

How much exercise do Dalmatians need?

  • Dalmatians are an active breed that requires a significant amount of exercise.
  • They thrive on physical activity and mental stimulation.
  • On average, Dalmatians should have at least 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise every day to keep them happy and healthy.
  • This can include activities like brisk walks, jogging, playing fetch, or participating in dog sports such as agility or obedience training.
  • Regular exercise helps prevent boredom and can reduce the likelihood of behavioural issues that may arise from pent-up energy.
  • Puppies have different exercise needs compared to adult Dalmatians.
  • While they are growing, it's important to be cautious and avoid excessive high-impact exercise that could potentially harm their developing joints.
  • Puppies should have shorter play sessions and moderate exercise, such as gentle walks or supervised play in a secure area.
  • Full exercise at an adult level can typically be introduced once a Dalmatian is around 12 to 18 months old.
  • However, it's always best to consult with your vet for specific guidance based on your puppy's development.
Millie, the Dalmatian

Do Dalmatians need a lot of grooming?

  • Dalmatians have a short, dense coat that is relatively easy to maintain.
  • They are moderate shedders, with seasonal shedding occurring twice a year.
  • Regular brushing with a firm bristle brush or a grooming mitt can help remove loose hair and keep their coat in good condition.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Penny, the Dalmatian

Are Dalmatians easy to train?

  • Dalmatians are intelligent dogs and are generally eager to please their owners, making them trainable.
  • However, they can also be independent and stubborn at times, so consistent and patient training methods work best.
  • Early socialisation and obedience training are crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and well-behaved dogs.
  • Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, tend to be highly effective with Dalmatians.
  • They respond well to structured training sessions and enjoy activities that challenge their minds, such as puzzle toys or agility training.
Wilf, the Dalmatian

What do Dalmatians eat?

  • Providing a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the health and well-being of Dalmatians.
  • High-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is recommended. Most Dalmatians do well eating twice daily.
  • It's important to follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and monitor your Dalmatian's weight to ensure they maintain a healthy body condition.
  • When it comes to feeding Dalmatian puppies, they have specific dietary needs to support their growth and development.
  • They should be fed a puppy-specific diet until they reach around 12 months of age.
  • Most puppies should be fed 3-4 times daily until they are 6 months old, then it can be reduced to twice daily.
  • Consult with your vet for guidance on the appropriate type and amount of food for your individual Dalmatian.

Are Dalmatians healthy?

Dalmatians are generally a healthy breed, but they may be prone to certain health issues, including:

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Deafness - either very little or no ability to hear


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure


  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.


  • Bladder Stones - Stones form in the bladder which can be uncomfortable and cause a blockage

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Norwich Terrier is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Dalmatians

BorrowMyDoggy has 2166 Dalmatian members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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