Two Dalmatian puppies, sitting next to each other, isolated on white


Breed Characteristics

The Dalmatian makes an excellent watchdog. Athletic, extremely active, tireless. Dalmatians love attention and have strong desire to please.

Is the Dalmatian approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



There is much disagreement about the origin of the Dalmatian. The spotted dogs are known to have travelled with the nomadic bands of Romanies. The breed got its name during its stay in Dalmatia (its in what used to be Yugoslavia), a province on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, known today as Croatia.

Original Purpose

Dalmatians have been utilised for almost everything, but they have never specialised in any area. They were used as hunting dog, vermin exterminator, carriage dog, fire engine dog, guard dog, draft dog, shepherd dog, war dog, and, of course, circus dog. In England, the Dalmatian was developed as a coaching dog, clearing paths before the horses, running alongside or underneath the coaches. At rest, he guards the horses and coaches. The breed has somewhat a different ‘career’ path in the United States, where he became a fire engine dog. Today, Dalmatians are mostly companions and family members.

Behaviour and Temperament

Dalmatians are lively, eager, loyal, outgoing and versatile.

What are some Physical Features of the Dalmatian?

48 to 61 cm; 20 to 27 kg. Colour is a white base coat, spotted, with round, well-defined black or liver spots (other colours not permitted) distributed evenly over his body. Spots can range from 18mm to 30mm in diameter. Patches (as opposed to spots) are not permitted, although the spots may overlap. Dalmatian puppies are born pure white and get their spots in two or three weeks.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

Short, sleek. Low maintenance; brushing three times a week. Dalmatians are clean dogs with little doggy odour, and their coats are dirt repellent. It is usual for these dogs to play in mud and still dry out to a gleaming shine. High shedding, if you own a Dalmatian you will agree that they shed only 2 different times: during the day and during the night. Dalmatians shed all year round. Bathe only when necessary.

Life Expectancy of the Dalmatian

12 to 15 years.

Dalmatian Puppies in the Community

Have a Dalmatian?

Health Concerns

Epilepsy, hip dysplasia, inhalant and food allergies, bladder stones (urolithiasis), and most common, deafness and partial deafness. Being prone to bladder stones, the Dalmatian’s diet must never be extremely high in protein, and they must be allowed access to plenty of fresh water at all times. Dalmatians must be encouraged to relieve themselves frequently to keep the urinary system flushed. One-third of all Dalmatians are deaf (~8% completely deaf, and ~24% hearing in one ear only); these dogs should not be placed in homes with children.

Exercise Needs

Extremely high; the Dalmatian has an endless capacity for exercise, which makes him a good jogging partner. If not given sufficient exercise, they become restless, destructive, and neurotic.


Not suitable for urban areas or apartment life.


Very loving to his family but not suited to families with young children unless carefully socialised. Okay with introduced strangers but is protective if he senses danger to his owner. May be aggressive to strange dogs but all right with family pets; traditionally likes horses.


Average to high; this excitable breed needs early firm but kind training. Dalmatians do not respond well to harsh training methods. If you want a well-trained Dalmatian, you need a positive approach to training with lots of praises and rewards for proper behaviour.

Recommended Activities

Guarding, jogging companion.