10 Incredible Dalmatian Facts

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: June 23, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/animalinfo
Share this post on:

We’re sure you’ve all seen or at least heard about the movie “101 Dalmatians.” It was, and still is, a favorite animated film among dog owners, and it caused a huge spike in Dalmatians’ popularity. But what if we told you that the movie did more damage than good to the breed? Are you ready to find out some incredible facts about this dog breed?

Whether you already have a Dalmatian or are just looking for some curious facts about this sweet, loyal, and energetic dog breed, you’re in the right place! We’ve done our homework and selected 10 incredible facts. Let’s see what Dalmatians can surprise us with!

1. Dalmatians are born white

Dog Facts for Kids: Dalmatians
Most Dalmatians do not have black spots when they are born.

Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com

Only The Top 1% Can Ace our Animal Quizzes

Think You Can?

Most Dalmatians do not have black spots when they are born. Now that’s surprising, right?! Especially since the iconic Dinsey movie portrays them as being born spotted. 

Tiny black spots start appearing when the puppies are around ten days old and continue to develop until the pup is 17–18 months old. Usually, these spots measure 1.25 to 2.5 inches, and you’ll see them even in your dog’s mouth.

Some Dalmatians may be born with a solid, smoothly-edged patch of color. It usually appears on the ears, head, or tail. 

2. Not all Dalmatians are black-spotted

You probably think of a black-spotted dog when you hear “Dalmatian,” right? So do we! But not all Dalmatians have black spots. The dogs whose parents are liver will surely be liver-spotted too. Generally, only black-spotted and liver-spotted Dalmatians are considered to be within breed standards.

Here are some other color variations:

  • Blue-grayish;
  • Mosaic;
  • Brindle;
  • Orange;
  • Lemon;
  • Tricolored -black, brown, and orange/lemon spots;

3. “101 Dalmatians” consequences

On the one hand, “101 Dalmatians” made the breed extremely popular among dog lovers. Hundreds of thousands of people watched the movie and became immensely fond of Dalmatians. How can it hurt, you’re wondering, right?

After the film was released, the Dalmatians became a favorite for those planning to buy or adopt a dog. But, in the end, many people realized that raising, training, and caring for a Dalmatian is not as easy as the movie made them think. While the film showed Dalmatians as cheerful and fun dogs (which they are, we don’t deny this! ), that’s not all a Dalmatian is. For example, they need a lot of exercise throughout the day – otherwise, they’ll become destructive and won’t be as cheerful and fun anymore. 

Amateur breeders also took advantage of how popular the movie was. They risked bringing unhealthy and aggressive dogs to the market. This hurt both the pups and the family they lived with.   

4. One of the few breeds with an unknown past and heritage

taste of the wild pacific stream
Dalmatians have been spotted worldwide, and establishing their origins has been challenging for historians.

Sergey Fatin/Shutterstock.com

1375 is the year of the first written information mentioning a Dalmatian dog, referring to it by the name Canis Dalmaticus. But do we know when and where this dog breed first appeared? Where do they originate? 

Dalmatians have been spotted worldwide, and establishing their origins has been challenging for historians. There are theories that they were first found in India by the Romanies, and, from there, alongside bands of Romanies, they arrived in Europe and Asia, spreading across the continents. Other historians state that Dalmatians come from Austria, from a place named Dalmatia. 

5. The Dalmatian is the mascot for firefighters

Back in the days when horses pulled fire engines, Dalmatians served as horse guards. That’s because horses usually become uncomfortable when they see fire, but Dalmatians would calm them down because they historically get along well with horses.

The Dalmatians had no other purpose in the field when steam and diesel engines appeared, as firefighters no longer needed horses. However, the Dalmatian breed has remained the fire service mascot; in fact, many firefighters now keep Dalmatians as pets.

6. Budweiser’s Dalmatians

Dalmation (Canis familiaris) - Dalmatian on a walk
Dalmatians became the Budweiser Clydesdale mascots since they are known to get along well with horses.

Beth James/Shutterstock.com

Besides being famous for its beers, the Budweiser is known worldwide thanks to its Clydesdale parades. In the beginning, Budweiser delivered the beers with the help of their beer wagons. These, in turn, were pulled by Clydesdale horses

In 1950, Dalmatians became the Budweiser Clydesdale mascots since they are known to get along well with horses. Even today, Budweiser has three Dalmatians participating in the parades, alongside restored wagons and Clydesdale horses. These Dalmatians are called Brewer, Chip, and Clyde.

7. A Dalmatian set a new world record!

Dalmatians usually give birth to six to nine puppies. In 2019, though, Melody, a Dalmatian from Australia, gave birth to 19 puppies! It’s officially a world record! 

The Dalmatian had ten male and nine female dogs. Guess what?! The owner named them all after characters from “101 Dalmatians”!

8. Dalmatians are prone to deafness

If you’re planning to get a Dalmatian, you must know they’re prone to unilateral hearing loss or bilateral deafness. While these can still make excellent pets, The Dalmatian Club of America states that people shouldn’t use these dogs for breeding.

Scientists affirm that this problem is caused by the absence of melanocytes (melanin-producing cells located throughout the body, including in the inner ear) in the dog’s inner ear. 

9. Hyperuricemia – a serious health condition among Dalmatians

Animals in Movies
Dalmatians can suffer from hyperuricemia – a very high uric acid level in their blood.

iStock.com/animalinfo

Another health condition Dalmatians can suffer from is hyperuricemia, which means they can have a very high uric acid level in their blood. This disease can cause kidney and bladder stones. 

Hyperuricemia is an inheritable gene. The only possible solution to get rid of this disease in purebred Dalmatians is cross-breeding. That’s how the Dalmatian-Pointer Backcross Project appeared. It was established in 1973 by Dr. Robert Shaible. In 1981, after multiple attempts, Dr. Robert Shaible stated that the hybrids resembled Dalmatians so much that they could easily be called purebreds. 

10. The Dalmatian that lived with George Washington

George Washington was America’s first president. But few people know that he was also a huge dog enthusiast! Among other breeds, the president owned two Dalmatians. He first bought a female, whom he named Madame Moose. Afterward, in 1786, he bought a male dog for breeding. 

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
Share this post on:

More from A-Z Animals