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Black spotted dalmatian bitch
Alternative names
Country of origin
FCI:Group 6 Section 3
ANKC:Group 7 (Non-Sporting)
CKC:Group 6 - Non-Sporting Dogs
Breed standards (external links)

A dalmatian is a breed of dog, noted for its white coat with (usually) black spots. "Liver" (brown) and "lemon" (yellow) types also exist, though they are much rarer.

In the US dalmatians are often known (and portrayed, for example in children's books), as firehouse dogs. This appears to be rooted in the origins of the dalmatian as a carriage dog, that is, a dog whose role was to run along, beside, and sometimes even under horse-drawn carriages (therefore also known as Spotted Coach-dog). This may have transferred to horse-drawn fire engines although it is unclear why this link is made in the US and not other countries.

Dalmatians are famed for their loyalty and good memories and their kindly natures. They also have a reputation for greed, and some have a tendency towards deafness -- information from dalmatian clubs will usually address this issue for new owners.

The breed experienced a massive surge in popularity caused by the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, and especially the Disney films based on the book. At the time of the 1996 live action film 101 Dalmatians concern was expressed that people, having seen the film, would buy the dogs without thinking through the responsibilities of ownership: for example dalmatians, having been bred to run with horses, need plenty of exercise. It is not clear whether these concerns turned out to be correct, although there is evidence that problems occurred in 1961 when the first animated film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, was released.

The breed was named in the 18th century after Dalmatia, a region of modern Croatia that was once part of Austria, although it is believed to have existed for some time before it was so named. It is also sometimes, believed to erroneously, named Smaller Danish Dog.

External links

Dalmatian is also an extinct language. See Dalmatian language.