Lifestyle Needs



The Dalmatian was a popular carriage dog in Regency times – he ran for sometimes long distances alongside carriages.  So he is a dog which is strong and active and needs plenty of opportunity to run free.  He should live in a house , preferably with a large garden and enjoy a country lifestyle.  His coat is short and needs grooming once a week to keep it in good condition. Average lifespan 11 years.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.3% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat/Torsion) (stomach fills with air and twists causing extreme pain – needs urgent vet treatment) common in deep chested breeds.

BVA/KC Health Schemes: www.bva.co.uk/chs

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disabilty):  breed mean score 10.5 (parents should be lower)
  • Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing for deafness

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

Hyperuricosuria (HUU) (urate stones)

Many and perhaps all Dalmatians carry a mutation in a metabolic gene, causing high uric acid which in turn creates painful urate stones, risk of kidney failure, and death (especially for males).  A recent cross with a Pointer has introduced the normal form of the gene, but this is not yet widespread. The DNA test is particularly relevant to Dalmatian outcrosses and subsequent generations of their progeny.

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

  • Bitches under 2 years not to produce a litter
  • Bitches not to produce more than one litter in a 12 month period
  • No more than 4 litters in a lifetime

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollens and other protein particles – causes intense itching)
  • Hepatitis – copper associated chronic hepatitis (autoimmune liver disease)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Epilepsy
  • Shoulder osteochondrosis (abnormal cartilege and bone)
  • Panosteitis (bone inflammation in young males)
  • Cancer (various)
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (heart chambers enlarge, heart muscle weakens and gradually fails)
  • Hypothyroidism (lethargy, tendency to obesity)
  • Copper toxicosis (accumulation of copper in the liver)
  • Laryngeal paralysis- polyneuropathy (dysfunction of the larynx and aesophagus – death by one year)
  • Hypertonic myopathies (exercise induced muscle rigidity)
  • Myelopathy (hind limb weakness affecting at a very young age)
  • Galactocerebrosidosis (severe neurological disease leading to death at around one year)
  • Ceroid lipofuscinosis (progressive loss of night vision followed by neurological deficits and blindness)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):  www.puppycontract.org.uk

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds