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Physical Traits Of A Standard Dalmatian

Physical Traits Of A Standard Dalmatian

The Dalmatian's spotted coat makes him instantly recognizable. He has a global reputation as a fun loving fashion statement. But more than a movie star, the Dalmatian is a tireless dog who has the energy to jog for miles, as his carriage escorting ancestors did for years.

The information provided in this article is not intended for show dogs and does not deal with the conformation of champions and how to select one. The description given here provides basic information about the stature of a Dalmatian and qualities of a physical nature. Since standards come and standards go, measuring your Dalmatian against some imaginary yardstick does little for you or your dog. Just because your dog is not a show champion, it does not mean that he is any less of a family member. And just because a dog is a champion does not mean that he is not a genetic time bomb waiting to go off.

When breeders and those interested in showing Dalmatians are selecting dogs, they are looking for those qualities that match the breed "standard." This standard changes from time to time and from country to country. Thus, the conformation and physical characteristics that pet owners should concentrate on are somewhat different and much more practical.

Dalmatians were originally bred to be medium-sized dogs. However, as they were used for more and more guard work, they were bred to become much larger. Most adult males are between 22 and 24 inches at the withers and female Dalmatians are about 1-2 inches smaller. The normal weight range for the breed is between 40 and 70 pounds.

It is not unusual to see dogs considerably larger than the breed standard allows and some males may be 27 inches at the withers and 90 pounds. Dalmatians in Britain tend to be larger than American varieties. Larger dogs are not necessarily better dogs. Dalmatians were never intended to be considered "giants" and the increased size might promote some medical problems which tend to be more common in larger dogs. Evidence shows that the larger members of the breed might be more susceptible to orthopedic disorders such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.

There are two "approved" colors for Dalmatian: white with black spots and white with liver/brown spots. The "spots" tend to be focal and less than 5 cm (2
inches). Larger areas of color are referred to as patches and will disqualify a Dalmatian from the conformation show ring, though these patches have no health impact.



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