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Dalmatian - Appearance & Grooming

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015


Disney put the Dalmatian on the popularity map thanks to both their animated and live action versions of 101 Dalmatians. This spotted dog has extremely soft fur, with ears and a head that feel like velvet to the touch. The tail is relatively long and tapers toward the end. The spots of the Damlatian should be well defined and should not blend together in blobs or patches. The coat is shiny and dirt-repellant, keeping their white coats bright at all times.

Size and Weight

Dalmatians should stand between 19 and 23 inches at the withers, and per breed standard dogs who are taller or shorter than this are disqualified. The length from chest to buttocks should match the height. Male Dalmatians typically weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, while females average 40 to 55.

Coat and Color

The Dalmatian's coat is short, fine and velvety to the touch. Whit is the base color and the body is marked with dense liver colored or black spots. As puppies they are born white and spots appear on the dog as he ages. Some puppies are born with no white hair, but instead sport solid masses of black or liver hair called patches. Patched Dalmatians are not showable, but this coloring does not disqualify them from being wonderful companion dogs. Sometimes, there are tricolored Dalmatians who have tan markings on the head, chest, legs or tail in addition to their black spots. These tricolor dogs are also not suited for the show ring.

Grooming Needs

Dalmatians, despite their white coloring are incredibly clean dogs with dirt repellent coats. Owners report dogs who roll around in only to emerge as shiny and white as before. They also do not emit a dog smell, which means baths are only required once every few months – in fact bathing too much more than this will strip the coat of it's dirt-repelling oils and will alter the feel of the fur. This breed sheds heavily, year-round, however, and daily brushing to remove loose hair is a must for those who are picky about a clean home.

Check a Dalmatian's ears on a weekly basis for signs of was buildup or infection. Only clean ears with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and a cotton ball. Brushing the dog's teeth on a weekly basis will help keep teeth and gums healthy and will stave off bad breath.

If the dog does not wear down his nails naturally outdoors, monthly clippings will be in order. Start touching a puppy's feet as early and often as possible, so he gets used to the touch and won't resist nail trims.

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