Dalmatians are a mid-sized, well defined, muscular dog with excellent endurance and stamina. When full grown, these dogs' weight normally ranges between 35 to 70 pounds (16 to 32 kg) and they stand anywhere from 19 to 24 inches (48 to 61 cm), with males usually slightly larger than females.
The body is as long from forechest to buttocks as it is tall at the withers, and shoulders are laid back. The Dalmatians' feet are round with well arched toes and nails are usually white or the same color as the dog's spots. Their thin ears taper towards the tip and set fairly high and close to the head. Eye color varies between brown, amber, or blue with some dogs having one blue eye and one brown eye, or other combinations.
Dalmatian puppies are born with a plain white coat, and their first spots usually appear within a week after birth. After about a month the Dalmatian has most of its spots although they continue to develop throughout life at a much slower rate. Spots usually range in size of a quarter to a half-dollar and are most commonly black or brown (called liver-spots) on a white background. Other more rare colors include blue (a blue-grayish color), brindle, mosaic, tri-colored (with tan spotting on the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and chest), and orange or lemon (dark to pale yellow). Patches of color appear anywhere on the body, mostly on the head or ears, and usually consist of a solid color.
The Dalmatian coat is usually short, fine, and dense although smooth-coated
Dalmatians occasionally produce long-coated offspring which shed
less often. They shed considerably as well as year-round. The short,
stiff hairs often weave into clothing, upholstery and nearly any
other kind of fabric and can be difficult to remove. Weekly grooming
with a hound mitt or curry can lessen the amount of hair that Dalmatians
shed although nothing can completely prevent shedding. Due to the
minimal amount of oil in their coat, Dalmatians lack a "dog"
smell and stay fairly clean.
Dalmatians are intelligent, playful, loyal and active dogs. They
usually get along well with other animals, notably horses, and are
great companions. Dalmatians are high energy dogs and love to play
and romp outdoors, although they also enjoy lounging with their
owners. Some dogs, if cooped up, can become aggressive and some
have been known to attack smaller breeds of dog when attempting
to 'play' with them. In most cases this only shows up in a tendency
to bark, often just for play. If shown love and companionship from
a young age Dalmatians will be loyal and affectionate.
The Dalmatian is often used as a rescue dog, guardian, athletic partner, and most often an active family member. Dalmatians are a very active, high maintenance breed. Pet owners should be willing to put extra time and effort into the care of this dog versus others. Dalmatians normally have a big appetite and will eat whatever is put in front of them so pet owners should carefully control food intake. This fun loving breed is very easily trained and rarely aggressive, and owners should find it relatively simple to train their dogs to participate in activities such as jogging, horse back riding, agility, flyball, and common dog tricks. Dalmatians need plenty of exercise otherwise they may develop anxieties, but if given ample room to run and romp 30 to 40 minutes daily this should be sufficient.
Dalmatians usually have litters of less than 10 pups, but they have been known to have larger litters on occasion. In January 2009 a Dalmatian gave birth to the massive brood, 18 puppies and all were healthy