Dalmatian is a large breed of dog noted for its unique black or liver spotted coat and was mainly used as a carriage dog in its early days. Its roots trace back to Croatia and its historical region of Dalmatia. At present, this dog is a well-loved family pet and many dog enthusiasts enter their pets into kennel club competitions.
It is large, well-defined, muscular dog with excellent endurance and stamina. When full grown, it stands from 19 to 23 inches (48 to 58 cm) tall, with males usually slightly larger than females.
Dalmatian puppies are born with plain white coats and their first spots usually appear within three weeks after birth. After about a month, they have most of their spots, although they continue to develop throughout life at a much slower rate. Spots usually range in size from 30 to 60 mm, and are most commonly black or brown (liver) on a white background. Other, more rare colors, include blue (a blue-grayish color), brindle, mosaic, tricolored (with tan spotting on the eyebrows, cheeks, legs, and chest), and orange or lemon (dark to pale yellow). Patches of color appear anywhere on the body, mostly on the head or ears, and usually consist of a solid color.
The Dalmatian is often used as a rescue dog, guardian, athletic partner, most often an active family member, and can be used as a fire dog. Dalmatians usually have litters of 9 to 13 pups.
Dalmatians are a relatively healthy and easy to keep breed. Like other breeds, Dalmatians display a propensity towards certain health problems specific to their breed, such as deafness, allergies and urinary stones.
A genetic predisposition for deafness is a serious health problem for Dalmatians, only about 70% have normal hearing.
The Dalmatian breed experienced a massive surge in popularity as a result of the 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians written by British author Dodie Smith and later due to the two Walt Disney films based on the book. The Disney animated classic released in 1961, later spawned a 1996 live-action remake, 101 Dalmatians. In the years following the release of the sequel 102 Dalmatians.