Dalmatian adult in black and white


Dalmatians are widely known for accompanying and guarding horse-drawn rigs of nobility, travelling carriages and firefighters.

About the Dalmatian

As well as stars of the silver screen, Dalmatians are versatile sporting dogs that are well suited to many different disciplines. Dalmatians are lively, loyal, independent and easy to train.

They are active dogs who like outdoor exercise and are attracted to water.

Source: key facts and characteristics sourced from Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)

Breed specifics

FCI Group 6, AKC Non-Sporting Group
Size category
Avg life expectancy
10–13 years

Even-tempered / Friendly / Confident / Lively / Loving / Loyal / Independent

Key facts

  • Needs an experienced owner
  • Needs little training
  • Requires moderate grooming
Dalmatian adult lying down in black and white

Origins of the breed

The origins of the breed are debatable as is the name of the breed: there is little evidence that it originated in the Dalmatian coastal region of the Balkans. In the late 18th century, there was a type of white spotted dog known as the Talbot Hound and these dogs were used to accompany horse-drawn carriages and guard the passengers and the cargo.

In 1791, Thomas Bewick named this type of dog as the Dalmatian. In the Regency period the breed became a status symbol, accompanying horse-drawn carriages. Dalmatians would also guard the stables at night and be used to run ahead of horse-drawn fire engines, clearing the route for the vehicles.