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DALMATIAN

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Life span: 10-13 Years

Height: 22 – 23 inches (male), 23 – 24 inches (female)

Weight: 35 – 53 lbs. (male), 33 – 71 lbs. (female)

Easily distinguished by its white hair and black spots, the Dalmatian is one of the most recognizable dogs in the world. Dalmatians are moderately fast dogs with a very high energy level, and this makes them capable of significant endurance. In the past, Dalmatians were used as firehouse dogs, as well as circus performers, however, these days they are primarily bred as family pets.

Physical Characteristics

This large dog has an athletic body, with small ears that bend downwards and a long tail with a slight curve. Their eyes can be brown or blue, sometimes one of each, with a black or brown nose. Their short coats are dense and straight. The coat colors are characteristically white with black spots, although Dalmatians who have light brown or even dark grey (blue) spots are known to exist.

History

This breed’s history is not clear, although Thomas Pennant, who gave the Dalmatian its name in 1771, believed that they originated in Dalmatia, in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dogs of this breed are shown in art from this region from as far back as the 16th century, and descriptions fitting this breed from Croatian church chronicles were found from 1719 and 1737 under the name Canis Dalmaticus (latin). However, others believe their history goes even further back to the Egyptian pharaoh times, in which there are dogs with the Dalmatian’s appearance pictured in ancient coffins following chariots. Through the ages they have been pictured running alongside horses, chariots, caravans, etc., but they also excel as guard dogs and hunters. They were accepted into the American Kennel Club’s stud books in 1888.

Personality

This breed is protective and loyal with its family and extremely playful with kids, although they may be too much for younger kids and may unintentionally harm them. If properly socialized, they get along with other household pets as well, but otherwise might become territorial and even aggressive, especially towards dogs of the same sex. They do get along very well with horses and enjoy spending time with them. They are, however, highly energetic, meaning they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation, or might develop destructive behavior.

Health

Although generally healthy, this breed may suffer from:

Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.

Deafness, complete loss of hearing since birth.

Urolithiasis, the formation of urinary tract stones that stick to the urethra. If not treated it can be fatal. It can be avoided by giving your dog plenty of water and an adequate diet.

Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.

Iris Sphincter Dysplasia, an inherited disorder that causes sensitivity to bright lights, partial or total blindness, cataracts, and poor night vision.

Care

This breed is low maintenance, requiring only weekly grooming and the occasional bath. Their nails should be trimmed monthly, as well as their teeth brushed regularly and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They do need plenty of daily exercise, since they are highly energetic, otherwise they might develop destructive behavior. However, be careful when exercising your dog, since before it is two years old its bones and joints have not matured completely and, therefore, not gained the proper strength. Training should be easy, but it must begin early as well as socialization. Positive reinforcement, especially with treats, works best for this breed.

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