About Breeds

Dalmatians Without Spots (Who Knew?)

Since I have never had other than casual exposure to Dalmatians, I had no idea there was such a thing as Dalmatians without spots! The fact is that ALL are born with a pure white coat, with no spots. The spots start showing up in about a week, and most have shown up within a month even though they keep developing throughout their life. If you look closely at the photo to the right, you may be able to see the dark pigmented spots on the skin underneath the white fur of those newborn pups. Those pigmented areas are where the spots show up.

Dalmatians Without Spots

Everyone knows about Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”, a story of two Dalmatians that gave birth to a hundred and one (in a sequel, a hundred and two) little puppies, who go out on mischievous adventures but later on save the day from the evil woman Cruella DeVille and her gang of puppy-nappers. These movies caused a massive surge in the breed’s popularity.

Dalmatians are perhaps the most recognizable breed due to their signature black or liver (brown) colored spots, which give them an elegant appearance. They are frequently associated with horses and jockeys. And of course, they are most frequently thought of as being firehouse dogs, riding on one of the trucks to a fire.

Historians have claimed that Dalmatians have been around since at least 3000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, since they appear in hieroglyphic drawings from that time. Their origin of their name is thought to derive from Dalmatia, a province in Yugoslavia, although this is questionable and very much debated.

In general overview, Dalmatians are hard-working dogs with a wide array of talents. They can and have adapted to many jobs throughout the centuries, as described in this excerpt from an article on the AKC.org website:

He has been a dog of war, a sentinel on the borders of Dalmatia and Croatia. He has been employed as a draft dog and as a shepherd. He is excellent on rats and vermin. He is well-known for his heroic performances as a fire-apparatus follower and as a firehouse mascot. As a sporting dog he has been used as a bird dog, a trail hound, a retriever and in packs for boar and stag hunting. His retentive memory has made him one of the most dependable performers in circuses and on the stage. Down through the years, his intelligence and willingness have qualified him for virtually every role that useful dogs are called upon to perform. But most important among his talents has been his status as the original, one and only coaching dog. There is no end of proof, centuries old, among history that shows the Dalmatian, early ones with ears entirely cropped away and wearing padlocked or brass-studded collars, plying his trade as follower and guardian of the horse-drawn vehicle.

The Dalmatian stands normally at about 19 to 24 inches in height. They have a short coat and are well-muscled canines. Since it was bred as a working dog, its owner should always satisfy the dog’s need for physical activity, whether work or play (anything that can keep him busy). Otherwise the dog may become a destructive pet in the house and be prone to anxiety disorders.

Spots are mostly black or liver and cannot be in any other color for show dogs, although there are a few other rare colors. The spots range in size from about a dime to a half-dollar coin, and they may also overlap. They can have either brown or blue eyes. Dalmatians resemble pointers in their physique, have a deep (but not pointed) muzzle, and also have a strong and smooth gait.

However, one should get their grooming tools ready if they want to keep a Dalmatian, because the breed sheds constantly. Grooming should be done daily to avoid hair getting on and in everything! Also, the breed is prone to diseases like hip dysplasia, skin problems, bladder stones and deafness. Their overall temperament varies from aggressive to shy or awkward. They are also sensitive to sound and smell. Overall, they are an intelligent breed and can be easily trained with lots of patience, love and care, and perseverance.

If you are a Dalmatian lover, I’m sure you already knew about Dalmatians without spots. Probably most of us didn’t.

The Dalmatian owners I have known over the years have been almost fanatical about the breed. How about you? Share what you love about the breed below.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Todd

    Jul 7, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Dalmatians are not prone to hip dysplasia. It is relatively unknown in the breed. About 25% are deaf in one or both ears and they are the only non-primate mammals that lack the gene for uricase which makes them likely to get uric acid stones. However, In 20 years of breeding and showing dals, I have NEVER seen one with hip dysplasia.

  2. Ashley

    Jun 30, 2013 at 1:37 am

    I feel it should be brought to the authors attention that Perdita did NOT give birth to 101 or 102 puppies. She had 15. The others were stolen.

    • Natasha

      Feb 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      THANK YOU lol! I was reading it and thought it was hilarious the author said "everyone knows disney's 102 dalmatians……." clearly, the author didn't!

  3. Kerri Mackenzie

    May 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Three sweet dottie girls lived with me for many years… Bailey was the first. She adopted me to escape an unhappy home, and oh man, I fell madly in love with her the second I laid eyes on her black spotted beautifulness! She was intelligent, bold, energetic, unbelievably athletic, sweet as could be and absolutely gorgeous! There were already lots of other doggies who had made the rules at our ranch, but Bailey changed all that… she would be the Queen. A year or so later I learned of two Dalmatian sisters who had been locked in the shelter for months and desperately needed a home… and so they got one. Pebbles and Piper were the sweetest liver and white angels with the most amazingly beautiful golden brown eyes who were immensely grateful to be free to live again. Bailey took them under her wing and taught them how to be dogs. Throughout their lives never did a day pass when they didn’t make me laugh out loud… Dalmatians are such clowns! Sometimes they would look up at me in such a way that I expected them to begin speaking as humans! Smart, loyal, loving… they brought immeasurable happiness into my life. I was blessed to have them with me well into their senior years, and though it has been a while since each has passed over the Rainbow Bridge, I miss them with all my heart each and every day. Rest in peace my precious little dottie angels.

    P.S. I’m writing a book in honor of them, as well as to tell some tales about the funny things they did and the loving way in which they lived their lives. My intention is that their legacy to lives on.

  4. Julie

    Apr 26, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I have a dalmation that is almost 13 now and he is the one true love of my life. He loves to veg out and watch tv but has never had a weight issue. The intellegence is amazing and the loyalty is awe inspiring. I know that I will never have another dog that loves me as much as my Boo dog. I was lucky to get one of the calm ones and get very protective for the breed when people talk about how aggressive they have heard they are. Again, it is all in the teaching. Mine loves kids, other dogs, of course horses and kittens. He wants to carry the kittens around with him. Very sweet and gentle. If you don’t know Dalmations, meet someone who has one. I guarantee you will want one.

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