The Dalmatian is a well-known dog breed, most famous for its white coat spotted with black or brown markings. Historically used as a carriage dog, this breed is very active and was once even bred to run with horses. Because of this, the Dalmatian is most suitable for dog lovers that can give it attention and time for exercise.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Although the origin of the Dalmatian’s coat pattern is not known, it is one of the most interestingly patterned breeds. Paintings of dogs resembling the Dalmatian have been found throughout the centuries. One such painting, a fresco from 1360, is held in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy.
It is thought the ancestors of the Dalmatian may have been pointers and the spotted Great Dane. And while it did not originate in Dalmatia, a southern region in Croatia, the breed did derive its name from the region. Even the Dalmatian's original function is obscure, but the breed probably had more than one role. Throughout the years, it has been a shepherd, a war dog, a sentinel, a retriever, a draft dog, a ratter, a trailer, a bird dog and a circus dog.
In Victorian England, the Dalmatian served as a coach dog, fulfilling both the aesthetic and practical roles -- protecting horses from marauding dogs. The dogs trotted in front, alongside, or below the axle of the coach. There is now evidence that the coaching role may have been a hereditary factor.
The introduction of the automobile dimmed the Dalmatian’s position in high society, but it continued to work as a coach dog for fire engines, which were drawn by horses. It was known as the "fire-dog." The first Dalmatian was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1988 and the breed's U.S. Club, the Dalmatian Club of America, was founded in 1905.