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Dalmatian Facts and Personality Traits According to BCA AKC Dalmatians Standards'



The future of dog breed depends upon many individual decisions by breeders and exhibitors as well as dog show judges. Their benchmark is the standard for Dalmatian Personality Traits. once known as the standard of perfection. The dog fancy established the written standard as the basic description of the ideal dog in a breed.

In the United States each standard is drafted by the parent club of the dalmatian breed and approved by the American Kennel Club. A standard is intended to outline ideal goals for breeders, give judges a guide to select the best quality present in the show ring and assist potential buyers in deciding on the breed and then in selecting a satisfactory dog of their own.

Year 1978 can be considered the centennial year for the Dalmatian standard. What is considered by many to be the “first detailed description of the breed” was published in 1878 in the third edition of Dogs of the British Islands by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). The British standard. made official in 1890. was used in America until after the formation of the Dalmatian Club of America in 1905.

The current standard in the United States was adopted by the Dalmatian Club of America on February 12, 1962 and approved by the American Kennel Club December 1 I. 1962. It became effective January I. 1963. The standard follows this paragraph. Immediately after the standard is a glossary of terms with the accepted definitions as shown in AKC’s The Complete Dog Book. Both am presented with the permission of the American Kennel Club.

Dalmatian Facts

Dalmatian Personality

Dalmatian Personality

The Dalmatian should represent a strong. muscular and active dog poised and alert: free of shyness; intelligent in expression; symmetrical in outline and free from coarseness and lumber. He should be capable of great endurance, combined with a fair amount of speed.

Dalmatian Personality AKC

Dalmatian Head: Should be a fair length, the skull flat. proportionately broad between the ears, and moderately well defined at the temples. and not in one straight line from the nose to the occiput bone as required in a Bull Tether. It should he entirely free from wrinkle.

Dalmatian Muzzle: Should he long and powerful the lips clean. The mouth should have a scissors bite. Never undershot or overshot. It is permissible to trim whiskers.

Dalmatian Eyes: Should be set moderately well apart. and of medium size, round. bright, and sparkling, with an intelligent expression their color greatly depending on the markings of the dog. In the black-spotted variety the eyes should be dark (black or brown or blue). In the liver-spotted variety they should be lighter than in the black-spotted variety (golden or light brown or blue). The rim around the eyes in the black-spotted variety should be black: in the liver-spotted variety. brown. Never flesh-colored in either. Lack of pigment a major fault.

Dalmatian Ears: Should be set rather high. of moderate size. rather wide at the base. and gradually tapering to a rounded point. They should be carried close to the head, be thin and fine in texture, and preferably spotted.

Dalmatian Nose: In the black-spotted variety should always be black: in the liver-spotted variety, always brown. A butterfly or flesh-colored nose is a major fault.

Dalmatian Neck and Shoulders: The neck should be fairly long. nicely arched. light and tapering. and entirely free from throatiness. The shoulders should be oblique, clean, and muscular, denoting speed.

Dalmatian Body, Rack, Chest and Loins: The chest should not be too wide, but very deep and capacious, ribs well sprung but never rounded like barrel hoops (which would indicate want of speed). Back powerful: loin strong. muscular and slightly arched.

Dalmatian Legs and Feet: Of great importance. The forelegs should be straight. strong, and heavy in bone: elbows close to the body; feet compact. well-arched toes, and tough, elastic pads. In the hind legs the muscles should be clean, though well defined; the hocks well let down. Dew-claws may be removed from legs.

Dalmatian Nails: In the black-spotted variety. black or white: or a nail may be both black and white. In the liver-spotted variety. brown or white: or a nail may be both brown and white.

Dalmatian Gait: Length of stride should he in proportion to the size of the dog, steady in rhythm of I, 2, 3, 4 as in the cadence count in military drill. Front legs should not paddle, nor should there be a straddling appearance. Kmd legs should neither cross nor weave; judges should be able to see each leg move with no interference of another leg. Drive and reach are most desirable. Cowhocks are a major fault.

Dalmatian Tail: Should ideally reach the hock joint, strong at the insertion, and tapering toward the end. free from coarseness. It should not be inserted too low down, but earned with a slight curve upwards, and never curled.

Dalmatian Coat: Should he short, hard. dense, and fine. sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly nor silky.

Dalmatian Color and Markings: Arc most important points. The ground color in both varieties should be pure white, very decided, and not intermixed. The color of the spots in the black-spotted variety should he dense black: in the liver-spotted variety they should be liver brown.

The spots should not intermingle, but he as round and well defined as possible, the more distinct the better. In size they should be from that of a dime to a half-dollar. The spots on the face head, ears, legs, and tail to be smaller than those on the body. Patches, tri-colors, and any color markings other than black or liver constitute a disqualification.

A true patch is a solid, sharply defined mass of black or liver that is appreciably larger than any of the markings on the dog. Several spots that am so adjacent that they actually touch one another at their edges do not constitute a patch.

Size: The desirable height of dogs and bitches is between 19 and 23 inches at the withers, and any dog or bitch over 24 inches at the withers is to be disqualified.

Major Faults

Butterfly or flesh-colored nose Cowhocks. Flat feet Lack of pigment in eye rims, Shyness, Trichiasis (abnormal position or direction of the eyelashes).

Ring or low-set tail. Undersize or oversize.

Good Quality Dalmatian Scale Points

  1. Body, back, chest and loins                                                                                  10
  2. Coat                                                                                                                             5
  3. Color and markings                                                                                               25
  4. Ears                                                                                                                             5
  5. Gait                                                                                                                            10
  6. Head and eyes                                                                                                         10
  7. Legs and feet                                                                                                            10
  8. Neck and shoulders                                                                                                10
  9. Size, symmetry, etc.                                                                                                10
  10. Tail                                                                                                                                5

Total                                                                                                                         100


Any color markings are other than black or liver. Any site over 24 inches at the withers, Tricolor is not allowed.

Facts About Dalmatians

  • Dalmatian Barrel: Rounded rib section.
  • Dalmatian Bite: The relative position of the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed. See level bite, Scissors bite, Overshot, Undershot.
  • Dalmatian Butterfly nose: A parti-colored nose; i.e., dark, spotted with flesh color.
  • Dalmatian Coat: The dog’s hairy covering. Cow-hocked: When the hocks turn toward each other.
  • Dalmatian Dewclaw: An extra claw or functionless digit on the inside of the leg; a rudimentary fifth toe.
  • Dalmatian Disqualification: A decision made by a judge or by a bench show committee following a determination that a dog has a condition that makes it ineligible for any further competition under the dog show rules or under the standard for its breed.
  • Dalmatian Dog: A male dog; also used collectively to designate both male and female.
  • Dalmatian Expression: The general appearance of all features of the head as viewed from the front and as typical of the breed.
  • Dalmatian Gait: The pattern of footsteps at various rates of speed, each pattern distinguished by a particular rhythm and footfall. The two gaits accept-able in the show ring are walk and trot.
  • Dalmatian Height: Vertical measurement from the withers to the ground; referred to usually as shoulder height. See Withers.
  • Dalmatian Hock: The tarsus or collection of bones of the hind leg forming the joint between the second thigh and the metatarsus; the dog’s true heel.
  • Dalmatian Level Bite: When the front teeth (incisors) of the upper and lower jaws meet exactly edge to edge. Pincer bite.
  • Dalmatian Liver: A color; i.e., deep, reddish-brown.
  • Dalmatian Loin: Region of the body on either side of the vertebral column between the last ribs and the hindquarters.
  • Dalmatian Lumber: Superfluous flesh.
  • Muzzle: The head in front of the eyes, nasal bone, nostrils, and jaws. Foreface. Also, a strap or wire cage attached to the foreface to prevent the dog from biting or from picking up food.
  • Nose: Organ of smell; also, the ability to detect by means of scent.
  • Occiput: Upper, back point of the skull.
  • Overshot: The front teeth (incisors) of the upper jaw overlap and do not touch the front teeth of the lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
  • Dalmatian Paddling: A compensating action, so named for its similarity to the swing and dip of a canoeist’s paddle. Pinching in at the elbows and shoulder joints causes the front legs to swing forward on a stiff outward arc. Also referred to as “tied at the elbows.”
  • Dalmatian Pads: Tough, shock-absorbing projections on the underside of the feet. Soles.
  • Dalmatian Ringtail: Carried up and around almost in a circle.
  • Dalmatian Scissors Bite: A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner sidc of the upper incisors.
  • Dalmatian Standard: A description of the ideal dog of each recognized breed, to serve as a word pattern by which dogs are judged at shows.
  • Dalmatian Throatiness: An excess of loose skin under the throat.
  • Dalmatian Tri-color: Three-color; white, black, and tan.
  • Dalmatian Undershot: The front teeth (incisors) of the lower jaw overlapping or projecting beyond the front teeth of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed.
  • Dalmatian Weaving: Unsound gaiting action which starts with twisting elbows and ends with crisscrossing and toeing out.
  • Dalmatian Whisker: Longer hairs on muzzle sides and underjaw.
  • Withers: The highest point of the shoulders, immediately behind the neck.
  • Dalmatian Wrinkle: Loose, folding skin on forehead and foreface.

In July of 1978 the British Dalmatian Club suggested the possibility of a World Congress on the welfare and future progress of Dalmatians with speakers from all parts of the globe. The plan is to hold it in England in April of 1980 with the club’s championship show as one of the features.

Meanwhile, since size, acceptance of blue eyes and the disposition of undesirable features lack uniformity in the standards used in various parts of the world, one might hope these subjects will be high on the agenda of the Dalmatian World Congress. A comparison of differences in size and identification and treatment of undesirable features listed by governing bodies in various countries.


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