Dalmatian (Dalmatinski pas)
The Dalmatian is a brawny yet graceful breed whose origin still remains the subject of heated discussions. It was utilised in multiple roles including a coach dog, fireman assistant and circus performer. This breeds’ vitality, excellent sense of humour and all-around friendliness makes it a great addition to almost any family.
The unique appearance of the Dalmatian makes it one of the most knowable breeds, but its lineage is still a big mystery. Various ancient artworks serve as evidence to the hypothesis that this dog simultaneously came to existence in Europe, Asia and Africa. It’s well-known that its specimens escorted tribes of nomadic gypsies and it seems to make its ancestry even more obscure. Nonetheless it’s believed that the breed is related in kinship with the Pointer.
The origin of the breed’s name is also the matter of pure speculations rather than solid facts. It was contrived by Thomas Bewick in 1791, yet at that point there were zero Dalmatians inhabiting Dalmatia. This dog first arrived in this region only in 1930 when an English ship-owner brought it there for breeding purpose. This area on the west side of the former Yugoslavia is presently universally recognised as a homeland of the breed.
The Dalmatian has fulfilled lots of various tasks for its human masters. It was charged with guarding duties during wartime and served as a sentinel on the frontiers of Dalmatia and Croatia. It was praised as a draft and herding dog. This dog excelled at exterminating rats and other vermin and earned the honour of becoming the firemen’s mascot in many countries. Sportsmen used it as both hounds and retrievers in hunting small game and packs of these canines effectively hunted boar and stag. Because of its powerful memory the Dalmatian also became famous for its astonishing performances on arenas of circuses. The combination of quick-wittedness and eagerness to please is primarily responsible for such multifunctionality of this breed.
However, the original job of the Dalmatian was to defend horses that pulled the coach. The dog would run in front or behind the horse carriage and keep vigilant watch that nothing would threaten the travellers and their property.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) gave recognition to the Dalmatian in 1888. In the XXI century the breed is mostly kept for companionship although it’s also a successful competitor in various canine sports (especially agility).
The Dalmatian is well-known not only for its unique spotted coat but also for its outgoing personality. This dog thrives on human guidance and leadership and won’t make a good pet for a full-time worker. Because of its immense popularity it attracted interest of commercial breeders who care very little about quality of their dogs. So it’s important to learn as much as possible about the pup’s ancestry before buying it. This breed is always ready to play so it makes a wonderful four-legged companion for kids. Be mindful though that it can accidently knock down a toddler in the heat of the game (always watch over the dog’s interaction with a small child!).
The Dalmatian commonly welcomes any opportunity to make a new friend although it always remains on the lookout in the presence of strangers. As a rule it copes well with guarding tasks but some of its specimens are too affable to make a decent guardian. The breed’s ability to watch over your property also mostly depends on the individual characteristics of each specimen.
The Dalmatian lives in harmony with other dogs and loves frisking with them in a safely enclosed yard. It’s a great choice for families with pre-existing canine pets as this breed easily hits it off with its counterparts of any size. However the sight of a cat can awake its hunting instinct so make sure to properly socialise your pup with other types of domestic animals.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· solar keratosis;
· eye problems;
· hip dysplasia;
· renal dysplasia;
· laryngeal paralysis.
The Dalmatian requires very standard amount of care. Its short sleek coat sheds continuously but regular brushing will make this process almost barely noticeable. The coat of this dog naturally repels grime and therefore needs bathing rather rarely. Moreover it’s totally deprived of a doggy odour and always looks very neat.
The master should regularly examine the ears of his pet for the symptoms of irritation and infections and clean them if they are dirty. Weekly teeth brushing will allow keeping the dog’s teeth healthy to old age. If the Dalmatian doesn’t have enough chances to wear its nails in a natural way it’s necessary to clip them at least every other month.
The training of the Dalmatian is a very pleasant task since this dog is very smart and quick on the draw. Its strongest desire is to please its master makes the breed a very fast learner if motivated by generous praise. The handler should never scream at this dog otherwise it will retreat into itself and will completely ignore his commands.
Once the dog masters basic training program it must be graduated to more advanced agility or obedience course. The Dalmatian is both obedient and quick-witted and usually produces superb results in various canine competitions.
The Dalmatian is a rambunctious and jolly dog with inexhaustible reserves of energy so it must be provided with lots of intense physical activity on a daily basis. An hour of running and playing in a securely enclosed area is a bare minimum that will make this dog well-behaved indoors. It’s fair to say that the breed member will never feel itself comfortable in an apartment.
The Dalmatian will be happy to join you on your bicycle ride or will readily trot beside you during your daily jogging. Remember that without adequate level of physical and mental stimulation this dog will pick up numerous unwelcomed habits (for example, unreasonable barking, nervousness and destructiveness).