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Dalmatians have been in existence for centuries. Some even claim that dalmatian figures were depicted on pyramid walls during the Egyptian Period. The first ever documented sign of the dalmatian came from within the gypsy community that traveled Europe. Dalmatians were used to calm horses and provide companionship to weary travelers in those days, and were eventually sold for goods to the British.

The British were the first to breed the dalmatian. It was in England, during the latter half of the eighteenth century, where the dalmatian first worked as a carriage dog, riding under the axle or alongside the carriage with the sole intent of providing added flair to noblemen. It was not uncommon for the dogs to run or trot more than one hundred miles in a single day. As the carriage riders stopped for an evening to rest, the dalmatian was placed in the horse kennel to guard their owners' possessions and calm the horses.

When Dalmatians came to America in 1870, they arrived as the mascot to the fire truck. Such units in those days consisted of horse drawn fire engines and water tanks. Due to their natural ability to interact and calm horses, the dalmatian became a working class dog and a symbol for all America. A handsome addition to the shiny red carriers, the dalmatian earned the reputation of hero. During those days, the dalmatian often ran along side the carriage. In later years, he would sit in the passenger seat of motorized fire engines, an image that has never escaped the breed.

Dalmatian Characteristics

Coat
It is the dalmatian's spots, of course, which has made him a most unusual breed of dog. Dalmatians are either bi-colored or tri-colored. Bi-colored dogs are black and white and tri-colored dogs have brown, liver and black spotted coats.

The dalmatian has unusually short hair. Despite this fact, they are big shedders, depositing balls of fur wherever they travel. Even a well brushed dalmatian loses hair on a daily basis. Because of this, dalmatians are often cold. When you find it necessary to reach for a sweater, dalmatians are usually feeling the same. Attentive owners often have light t-shirts and winter apparel on hand for their chilly friends.

Size
Dalmatians are a medium sized dog. Most dogs are 21-27 inches and weigh between 38-70 pounds.

Mannerisms
Dalmatians are extremely intelligent, though not always obedient. Quick to learn, dalmatians are well known for picking up on their owner's or other pet's bad habits. Once a dalmatian sees another pet on the furniture, you're likely to find him there soon, too. Most experts recommend obedience school or puppy kindegarten for dalmatians, which can help to guide this inquisitive natured dog down the right path.

The dalmatian loves to run and play and is considered one of the most athletic dog breeds in existence. This breed of dog needs to stretch their legs daily. Running and jumping should be a normal daily activity for dalmatian owners, who find that off-leash parks work well for this active animal. Since dalmatians are also very social, interacting with other people and animals at parks is a plus!

Noted as "the best all around dog" in the AKC Dog Book, the dalmatian can adapt to almost any environment. Social in nature, the dalmatian loves the attention and activity of families and children. This breed also makes for an excellent watchdog.

Because they are predominantly social animals, dalmatians suffer stress when left alone or outside for long periods of time. Leaving a dalmatian out in the elements is never recommended, as their coat provides little protection to them.


Breed Illness
The dalmatian has a long history of kidney trouble. Shaped much like a human kidney, the dalmatian's is prone to kidney and bladder stones. A good quality, low protein diet and constant availability of fresh drinking water can help to alleviate this problem.

Breeding
Dalmatians have large litters, typically producing anywhere from seven to fifteen puppies.

The dalmation makes a great addition to any home. This all purpose dog is as beautiful as he looks in pictures.