The Dalmatian’s origin is a mystery, but we do know that the breed served as war dogs, sentinels, shepherds, ratters, retrievers, and even circus dogs. The Dalmatian found its true calling as a coach dog in Victorian England, protecting horses and adding a touch of style. When the auto arrived, the Dalmatian continued as a coach dog for horse-drawn fire engines. Movies with Dalmatians have spurred their popularity, but most people are unprepared for the training involved.


Medium to large; 19 to 23 inches, 45 to 60 pounds.


White with black or liver spots.


Outgoing, energetic; daily exercise ensures better manners. Good with children when raised with them. Reserved with strangers; can be aggressive with dogs.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Active owner in a suburban or rural home.


Daily strenuous exercise, leash, fenced yard, consistent training, lots of attention and companionship, soft bedding, regular brushing.

Life expectancy:

12 to 14 years.