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What do you need to know before you adopt a Dalmatian? We asked the experts!
The Dalmatian breed needs exercise, training and attention; they are great companions, are clownish and also protective of their home and family. They do shed year round and need to be kept warm in the winter. Since Dalmatians are high uric acid and thus can possibly develop urinary stones, it is most important that they be fed low purine foods with water added and allowed to urinate frequently. Otherwise they’re long-lived and generally healthy.
Dalmatians were bred to run beside or under horse-drawn carriages, so they have an incredible amount of energy and stamina. They can run 25-35 miles per hour, so if they get loose they can be miles away (in any direction!) by the time you find your shoes and car keys! On the other hand, they have to get enough exercise to use up all that energy or they will drive you crazy.
The genetic weakness in the Dalmatian breed is deafness. The Dalmatian Club of America calls for all deaf puppies to be euthanized, but we know that deaf Dals can be trained in American Sign Language and make wonderful pets in an appropriate household. The only difference is that deaf dogs don't come back when you call them (and they can't hear traffic), so they need to be kept in a secure environment.
More about Dalmatians:
Those who share their home with Dalmatians and Dalmatian mixes often describe them as loyal and dedicated, intelligent but willful, energetic and even excitable. The Dalmatian is quite an energetic breed that requires socialization with both animals and people at a young age. This breed also requires human companionship and leadership to be happy and well adjusted. Dalmatians are not recommended for apartment dwelling unless they can be taken outside for exercise and activity at least twice per day and they do not do well being outside too long in cold climates.
Dalmatians have a very short, close coat that sheds year round. Shedding can be minimized with regular brushing but may become excessive twice yearly with seasonal changes. This breed is known to lack what is often referred to as a ‘doggie odor’ and prefers to keep themselves quite clean. They are an energetic breed and require daily walks and jogs as well as regular opportunities to run off leash in a safe area. They love to run! If adequate activity is not provided they can become quite destructive and develop a variety of behavioral problems.
All breeds of dogs are inclined to certain health problems. This does not mean that your Dalmatian of Dalmatian mix will have these problems. It is well known that this breed is inclined to deafness. Approximately 70% of Dalmatians have normal hearing. The remainder suffers from partial, unilateral, or total deafness. This is a condition that is common to breeds that are genetically predisposed to light pigmentation and/or piebald coloring. But it is important to mention that deaf dogs can lead perfectly normal, active and happy lives. Dalmatians may also be prone to urinary stones, urinary blockage and skin allergies.