BREED STANDARD AND EXTENSION
DALMATIAN SHOULD BE A BALANCED, STRONG, MUSCULAR, ACTIVE
DOG OF GOOD DEMEANOUR. SYMMETRICAL IN OUTLINE, FREE FROM
COARSENESS AND LUMBER, CAPABLE OF GREAT ENDURANCE WITH A
FAIR AMOUNT OF SPEED.
Dalmatian is a distinctively spotted dog, however, no dog
is more normal in its make up than the Dalmatian. It is
free from abnormalities and exaggeration. Other than its
spotting, which will be discussed in detail later, no
features are peculiar to this breed. Balanced in all
proportions, it is an active, medium sized dog, displaying
the stamina, strength and musculation needed to keep up
with horses for long periods of time. In addition, the
Dalmatian is elegant and graceful enough to enhance the
appearance of any horse and carriage. BALANCE and
proportions should satisfy the eye and give a sense of
perfect harmony both in repose and action. STRONG,
MUSCULAR, ACTIVE. The Dalmatian conveys the impression of
substance combined with elegance and perfect balance,
never overdone. CAPABLE OF GREAT ENDURANCE. With its
purpose as a carriage dog so important, the Dalmatian
should have the ability to trot long distances alongside a
coach. FAIR AMOUNT OF SPEED. This is interpreted as
meaning an ability to accelerate with a quick burst of
speed when necessary. While it must have the stamina to go
all day, it must also have an action that is economical in
order to conserve energy, Although the Dalmatians purpose,
as a carriage dog is obsolete, the standard is written
with this in mind. Stamina is a must for this breed is
achieved only with a combination of soundness, firm
topline, correct rib cage, correct boning, good feet,
correct angulation and sufficient exercise to produce good
OF GOOD DEMEANOUR
and friendly, not shy or hesitant, free from nervousness
and aggression. The Dalmatian is easy to get along with
and loves people. It is intelligent, alert and always
friendly. An extrovert, and well known for its
HEAD SHOULD BE OF FAIR LENGTH, THE SKULL FLAT, REASONABLY
BROAD BETWEEN THE EARS BUT REFINED, MODERATELY WELL
DEFINED AT THE TEMPLES i.e. EXHIBITING A MODERATE AMOUNT
OF STOP, NOT IN ONE STRAIGHT LINE FROM NOSE TO OCCIPUT
BONE. ENTIRELY FREE FROM WRINKLE. THE MUZZLE SHOULD BE
LONG AND POWERFUL, NEVER SNIPY, THE LIPS CLEAN, FITTING
THE JAW MODERATELY CLOSE. THE NOSE IN THE BLACK SPOTTED
VARIETY SHOULD ALWAYS BE BLACK IN THE LIVER SPOTTED
VARIETY ALWAYS BROWN.
Dalmatian is not a head breed, but the head must be in
proportion to the rest of the dog, clean looking smooth
and free of wrinkle. The topskull and muzzle should be
about the same length. The topskull is nearly as broad as
it is long and it is almost flat with a slight. centre
groove starting at the occiput, coming down the stop
between the eyes and extending onto the muzzle to the nose
leather. The stop is not pronounced but a subtle rise
where the muzzle blends into the upper head. From the
side, toplines of the skull and the muzzle appear
approximately parallel. The muzzle is never weak nor
pointed. The lips are clean and dry. There are no flews or
EYES, SET MODERATELY WELL APART, SHOULD BE OF MEDIUM SIZE,
ROUND, BRIGHT AND SPARKLING, WITH AN INTELLIGENT
EXPRESSION, THEIR COLOUR, DEPENDING ON THE MARKINGS OF THE
DOG, DARK IN THE BLACK SPOTTED, AMBER IN THE LIVER
SPOTTED. THE RIM ROUND THE EYES SHOULD BE COMPLETE, BLACK
IN THE BLACK SPOTTED AND LIVER BROWN IN THE LIVER SPOTTED.
remember that a Dalmatians eyes are "round, bright
and sparkling" A dog with a blue eye should not be
EARS SHOULD BE SET ON RATHER HIGH, OF MODERATE SIZE, WIDE
AT THE BASE, GRADUALLY TAPERING TO A ROUNDED POINT. FINE
IN TEXTURE. CARRIED CLOSE TO HEAD. THE MARKINGS SHOULD BE
WELL BROKEN UP, PREFERABLY SPOTTED.
ears should be set on rather high. When alert the base of
the ear is level with the top of the skull. They should be
of moderate size, rather wide at the base gradually
tapering to a rounded point. The ears should be fine to
touch, carried close to the head. There should be white
breaking up the colour on the ears, sometimes seen as
marbling, though spotted ears are preferred
TEETH SHOULD MEET. THE UPPER SLIGHTLY OVERLAPPING THE
LOWER (SCISSOR BITE).
bite other than scissors bite incorrect.
NECK SHOULD BE FAIRLY LONG, NICELY ARCHED, LIGHT AND
TAPERING. ENTIRELY FREE FROM THROATINESS.
Dalmatian requires fairly long cervical vertebrae to give
it that graceful arched neck which is desirable. It should
have a good flow of neck into the shoulder to assist in
forming the symmetrical outline. While many Dalmatians
have been trained to hold the head high in the ring, when
trotting freely the head is thrust forward to achieve
kinetic balance and is only slightly higher than the
SHOULDERS SHOULD BE MODERATELY OBLIQUE CLEAN AND MUSCULAR.
ELBOWS CLOSE TO THE BODY. THE FORELEGS PERFECTLY STRAIGHT
WITH STRONG ROUND BONE DOWN TO THE FEET, WITH A SLIGHT
SPRING AT THE PASTERN JOINT.
standard requires a moderately oblique shoulder. The angle
between the scapula and humerus is slightly more than 90
degrees. shoulders should be well laid back and also of
good length for muscles and tendons to function properly.
With correct angulation the scapula, together with the
humerus act as shock absorbers. the two combined lift the
leg, giving the rhythmic stride called for in the
standard. Length of scapula and humerus should be equal.
Front legs should be perfectly straight right down to the
foot, with a slight spring of pastern. They should be
about the width of two legs apart and should be evenly
boned the entire length.
CHEST SHOULD NOT BE T00 WIDE BUT DEEP AND CAPACIOUS WITH
PLENTY OF LUNG AND HEART ROOM. THE RIBS WELL SPRUNG, WELL
DEFINED WITHER, POWERFUL LEVEL BACK, LOINS STRONG, CLEAN
AND MUSCULAR, AND SLIGHTLY ARCHED.
chest should be viewed from three angles. From the front,
it is deeper than it is wide and it is well filled. From
above, it is wider at the shoulder than at the loin. From
the side the pro-sternum is only slightly visible in front
of the forelegs, but the lower portion of the chest
extends to the dog’s elbow. A chest with a long rib cage
is described as "well ribbed back" which give
plenty of room for the lungs to expand, which is necessary
for endurance. The underline of the chest gradually slopes
upward from midway along the rib cage to the end of the
ribs. The Dalmatian has only a moderate tuck up. The back
should be level in motion and in natural stance. In a
properly constructed dog with good muscle development the
topline from the withers to the onset of tail remains
level whether the dog is standing or moving. There should
be well defined withers, but with no interruption to the
flow of neck into the shoulders and back. The loin should
neither be excessively long nor short. If anything, the
Dalmatian is slightly longer than high from point of
shoulder to point of buttock, withers to ground. The extra
length of rib cage, not loin. The arching of the loins
should not be exaggerated and comes from strong
MUSCLES CLEAN WITH WELL DEVELOPED SECOND THIGH, GOOD TURN
OF STIFLE AND HOCKS WELL DEFINED.
hindquarters on a Dalmatian are also important as it is a
dog who must be able to gait for many kilometres up and
down hills. It is a "moderate" dog with a normal
front angulation, and therefore requires a stifle which is
moderately well bent. The Dalmatian should convey
endurance and a fair turn of speed. If it had excessive
angulation it would tire itself and without angulation,
would not cover the ground. The hindquarters should be
strong. The outline of well-developed muscles should be
clearly seen on the buttocks, legs and second thigh. The
pelvic slope should be approximately 30 degrees. The thigh
and second thigh should be long and the hock to the ground
short. Muscles should be well developed in inner and outer
thighs as well as the second thigh (calf muscle). The hock
should be vertical to the ground when standing. Hocks
should be well let down to give good endurance.
LENGTH REACHING APPROXIMATELY TO THE HOCKS. STRONG AT THE
INSERTION GRADUALLY TAPERING TOWARDS THE END, IT SHOULD
NOT BE INSERTED T00 LOW OR T00 HIGH, FREE FROM COARSENESS
AND CARRIED WITH A SLIGHT UPWARD CURVE, NEVER CURLED.
is a moderate tail set. The tail is an extension of the
topline, flowing with the back line after taking into
consideration the slightly arched loin. At rest the
Dalmatian may carry the tail low, but on the move or when
alert it is carried with a slight upward curve. A
traditional sabre carriage.
COMPACT, WITH WELL ARCHED TOES (CAT FEET) AND ROUND TOUGH
ELASTIC PADS. NAILS BLACK OR WHITE IN THE BLACK SPOTTED
VARIETY, IN THE LIVER SPOTTED, BROWN OR WHITE.
legs and "cat feet" are very important. Strong
feet and thick tough pads are a must for an endurance dog.
Feet should turn neither in nor out.
DALMATIAN SHOULD HAVE GREAT FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT. A SMOOTH,
POWERFUL RHYTHMIC ACTION WITH A LONG STRIDE. VIEWED FROM
BEHIND, THE LEGS SHOULD MOVE IN PARALLEL, THE HIND LEGS
TRACKING THE FORE. A SHORT STRIDE AND PADDLING ACTION IS
tells us much about the Dalmatians structure, which is not
always revealed when it is standing still, for it reflects
its physical co-ordination, balance for the body and
soundness. The dog seeming to exert a minimum of effort to
cover the ground. When judging the Dalmatian in the ring,
the length of stride should be in proportion to the dog,
steady in rhythm of 1,2,3,4. Front legs should not paddle,
nor should there be a straddling appearance. Hind legs
should neither cross nor weave. Judges should be able to
see each leg move with no interference from another leg.
Drive and reach are most desirable. When a dog moves away
from the judge in a straight line, the hind legs conceal
the fore, the hind foot covering the spot the fore foot
has just left, not overreaching.
COAT SHOULD BE SHORT, HARD AND DENSE, SLEEK AND GLOSSY IN
coat should be of uniform texture with hair on the ears
and head shorter and softer. It is a single coated dog.
GROUND COLOUR SHOULD BE PURE WHITE. BLACK SPOTTED DOGS
HAVE DENSE BLACK SPOTS AND LIVER SPOTTED DOGS LIVER-BROWN
SPOTS. THEY SHOULD NOT RUN TOGETHER BUT BE ROUND AND WELL
DEFINED, THE SIZE OF A FIVE TO A TWENTY CENT COIN, AS WELL
DISTRIBUTED AS POSSIBLE. SPOTS ON THE EXTREMITIES SHOULD
BE SMALLER THAN THOSE ON THE BODY.
both varieties the colour of the spots should be dense and
have a sheen. The black should be a shiny jet black. There
is no definite description laid down as far as the liver
colour is concerned, but it should be a rich liver brown.
The ideal is a colour which cannot be mistaken for black
in average light at a reasonable distance (e.g. across a
show ring.) Variations of liver colour on the one dog or
greyish markings on a black spotted specimen are
undesirable. Spots should not run together but be round
and well defined. Balance
of markings is a feature. Most dogs have groups of spots
close together. A few spots that join are acceptable,
provided they can be seen to be spots. They should not
form a conglomeration of ugly proportions. Clear
definition of spots is important. The edges should not
blend into the ground colour so as to appear grey or have
a dark halo. Spots in size FIVE to a TWENTY cent coin.
Spots on the body are larger than those on the head, legs
and tail. The ears should be spotted, but this is not
essential just as spots on the tail are not essential. For
some reason many liver dogs have smaller spots than
blacks. Tick marks, or flecks are not spots and are
undesirable. Tick marks are smaller than a one cent piece
and are rather more like flecks appearing on the coat.
Optical illusion can be created by uneven spotting
regarding conformation and gaiting. Spotting is the one
unique feature of the Dalmatian and is an essential part
of the breed type, although confirmation should not be
sacrificed to spotting alone. However the significance of
good spotting must not be denigrated or this unique and
identifying feature of the breed could be lost. Perfect
markings have never been achieved and it is safe to say
they never will be.
BALANCE OF PRIME IMPORTANCE, BUT THE IDEAL HEIGHT TO BE
AIMED AT IS:
58.4-6l.0cm (23-24ins) BITCHES 56.0-58.4cm (22-23ins)
is of prime importance and should not be sacrificed to
size alone. Dogs slightly larger or smaller than the ideal
standard should not be excluded from placings if they
present a balanced picture. The belief that the dogs only
ran under the axle is incorrect. The Dalmatian was equally
at home alongside, in front of, or behind the coach.
Remember, overall balance.
EYES, PATCHES, BLACK AND LIVER SPOTS ON THE SAME DOG (TRICOLOURS),
LEMON SPOTS, BRONZING AND OTHER FAULTS OF PIGMENTATION.
eyes, patches, tricolors and lemon spots highly
Dalmatian pups are born pure white, although shadows of
spots may be seen on the skin at birth. A patch is clearly
visible at birth and usually found on the ear or face. A
patch is an area of solid colour, a rich deep black or
liver, usually with a velvety texture. It is sharply
defined with an absence of white hairs. To determine
between a solidly marked ear and a patch, turn the ear
over to see if there are any white hairs. The presence of
white hair, no matter how small an amount, would indicate
a solidly marked ear. Tricolors, a black spotted
tri-colour is a dog with black spots and tan/brown spots.
A liver spotted tri-colour has liver brown spots and light
orange or lemon spots. The tri-colour spots generally
appear on the front of the neck, chest, inside legs or
around the vent.
spotting. Lemons have black nose and eyerim pigment, where
oranges have brown nose and eyerim pigment. Black and
liver spotting are the only acceptable colours. Dalmatians
with Patches, Blue eyes, Tri-colours or having lemon or
orange spotting, should not be exhibited. Bronzing can
occur during a "coating out" period. On the
black spotted variety it is seen as a bronze tinge around
the edges of the spots and/or on the surface of spots.
Livers are affected similarly, the spots tending to
develop a halo of gingery colour. Bronzing must be
assessed in relation to the rest of the dog and should be
considered similar to a coated breed being out of coat or
having dropped coat temporarily.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.
JUDGING THE DALMATIAN.
good Dalmatian must be of good breed type, balanced, sound
in movement, well spotted and of good temperament. One of
these things on its own is not enough.
the Standard describes a dog free of exaggerations and
abnormalities. Please judge the breed to leave it that