The Dalmatian dog is generally agreed to have been imported to the UK from Dalmatia. (A region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea situated mostly in Croatia, although Bosnia also has a few kilometers of coastline in Southern Dalmatia.)
Dalmatian dogs were originally known as the Coach Dog. This arose from it's love of running with the coach and spending it's time around the stables and horses. They were known for the ability to run for long distances, keeping pace with the swiftest horses, without showing any signs of fatigue.
It is believed that the breed was introduced to the UK originally because of their hunting abilities, but after the breed first appeared in the show ring during the 1870's they became regarded publicly as companion or exhibition dogs. It has to be said that, apart from some circus proprietors, people did not credit the Dalmatian with the considerable intelligence that they most certainly do possess.
Apart from the head and markings, the Dalmatian should be similar in appearance to the pointer. The eyelids (sears) should be edged around with black or brown. If they are flesh coloured here, then they will never be accepted for showing however good they may be in any or all other qualities. Even distribution of black or brown spots with no mingling is very important, as is, albeit to a lesser degree the density and purity of color of the spots.
In a cross between the two colors the darker usually prevails. Liver colored spots in the offspring being rather rare.
When born Dalmatians are, or should be, pure white. No marks or hints of spots are visible on the most promising puppies. The purer and whiter the better. It will take about a fortnight before they start to show a dark ridge about the belly, then come the spots. The neck and ears are usually first, and then spreading along the back and rest of the body. The tail may take a week or two longer.
General attributes of the Dalmatian:
Strong muscular and active. Fair turn of speed with great endurance.
Flat skull, broad between the ears, free from wrinkles. Long and powerful muzzle.
Set fairly well apart the eyes should be bright and sparkling giving an impression of energy and intelligence. NEVER flesh colored around the rims.
Ears always be spotted and should be moderate size and wide at the base, narrowing to a rounded point at the tips.
In a black spotted variety the nose MUST be black, and in the liver spotted it MUST be brown.
should be fairly long and free from throatiness.
The chest needs to be deep, not too wide and certainly not barrel chested.
Legs and feet are very important areas. The forelegs being heavy with bone, perfectly straight and with the elbows being close to the body.
Nails need to be the correct color, black and white in the black spotted variety and brown and white in the liver spotted variety.
should not be too long, must be spotted and never curled.
Coat should be short, dense and glossy without being woolly or silky.
Colour and marking are the most important points. The background colour should be pure white in both varieties. The colour of the spots should be rich and deeply saturated. Well defined they should be as round as possible and vary in size from about that of a 5p coin to that of a 50p coin.
Weight should be in the region of fifty to fifty-five pounds.