This popular breed of dog is a well-muscled, midsized dog with superior endurance. Known for its elegance, the Dalmatian has a body type similar to the Pointer, to which it may be related. The coat is hard, short, and dense, white with randomly arranged spots. The spots can be black, brown (liver), lemon, dark blue, tricolored, brindled, solid white (highly discouraged in show dogs), or sable. The feet are round with well-arched toes and the nails are either white or the same color as the spots. The nose can be black, brown (liver), blue, or a dark gray that looks like black. The eyes are dark brown, amber, or blue, with an intelligent expression. The ears are soft, narrowing toward the point, carried with a slight upward curve. The more defined and well distributed the spots, the more valued the dog. Puppies are born completely white and the spots develop later.
The breed was named in the 18th century after Dalmatia.
However, it is believed to have existed for possibly centuries before it was so named:
4000-year-old Greek art displays dogs that appear similar to the modern Dalmatian
There is some evidence that it originated even before that in India
The breed could have originated from the Norman introduction of the Talbot hunting dog whose image was the crest of the Talbot family, who came to Britain with the original Norman invasion.
Some Dals have a tendency towards deafness, as is the case with many mostly white or all-white dogs. Information from Dalmatian clubs can usually address this issue for new owners. Some male Dalmatians are aggressive towards other male dogs. They can develop urate stones in their urinary systems; the Dalmatian breed is the only dog breed that does so. There is one reported case of a male Dalmatian forming dolomite in his urinary tract, and this unusual case has been cited as a clue as to how large sedimentary deposits of dolomite could be synthesized.
As a result of their history as coach dogs, the breed is very active and needs plenty of exercise. They are quite affectionate and need constant companionship or there is a risk they may become depressed. They are good with children, but because of their playfullness, they may not be well-suited for toddlers. Dalmatians are famed for their loyalty, good memories, and kindly natures.