Dalmatian Breed Information

Dalmatians are a member of the ‘Utility’ breed group. Dogs in the Utility group were essentially bred for a specific purpose and so contain a variety of breeds. The function they have been bred for is not included in the sporting and working categories.

Dalmatians are very energetic, eager, playful dogs. They can be quite stubborn on occasion, which can make training more of a challenge; take a look at our dog behaviour page for some top tips on how to train your Dalmatian using reward-based techniques. They’ll generally get on well with other household pets and fit in well to family life given the right socialisation as a puppy, helping them to develop into confident, sociable dogs.

Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Dalmatians are prone to include:

  • Deafness
  • Hypopigmentation – low pigmentation of the skin (loss of skin colour)
  • Bladder stones – a collection of minerals that form in the bladder
  • Allergies
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) – often known as ‘bloat’, this is a condition where the stomach twists, trapping the contents and gases. This is an emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. It’s often seen in large, deep-chested breeds
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma
  • Epilepsy – a brain disorder which can lead to seizures.
  • Panosteitis – a painful, inflammatory bone disease.
  • Hypothyroidism – a condition in which there’s a decrease in thyroid hormone production
  • Copper toxicosis – a build-up of copper in the liver, which can result in chronic hepatitis

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Dalmatians need over 2 hours of exercise daily to keep them physically and mentally stimulated, and so need an owner who can give them this time. Grooming is fairly minimal, just once a week is usually enough to keep the coat in good condition.

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for a Dalmatian are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Dalmatian with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Dalmatians that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.

By insuring your Dalmatian with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

Energy levels
Easy to train
Exercise needed
Barking/likely to be vocal
Size Large
Average height 56-61 cm
Average weight 18kg-27kg
Average lifespan Over 12 years
Minimum exercise (per day) 2 hours
Coat length Short
Minimum cost (per month) £105

Not sure if the Dalmatian is the right pet for you?