How many black and white spotted animals do you know if cats are not taken into account? Zebra, panda, skunk, lemur, cow, horse. Notice that none of them has a color with small black spots on a white background. Dalmatian is a unique confirmation of the omnipotence of nature. Do you think the exclusive "fur coat" is the work of geneticists? By no means, historical sources prove that the ancestors of the early Dalmatians lived long before the birth of cynology.
Note! Throughout its history, the breed has changed more than ten names, the most popular of them are Dalmatians, Dalmatians and Harlequins. The latter arose at a time when tetrapods actively participated in entertainment programs for the nobility, later in circus performances.
The Dalmatian dog breed cannot claim to be the oldest or oldest, but there is not even the slightest doubt that the ancestors of the "spotted aristocrats" lived before our era. Algorithms exist for determining which species or subspecies of animals bones belong to, even if the find is thousands of years old. The main landmark is the shape of the skull. The ancestors of all hounds and hunting breeds is the Ash Dog (II-III century BC). The conclusion is drawn by the presence of a characteristic tubercle on the back of the head of the animal and the shape of the skull. At the same time, the head of the Dalmatian has a peculiar shape and is as similar as possible to the remains of Ash dogs found in Austria.
In addition to scientific facts, there is still a number of confirmations of the existence of ancient dogs surprisingly similar to the Dalmatians:
- During excavations in the territory of ancient Egypt and Greece, drawings of black-and-white dogs with ears hanging forward were found. Also, figures of the Dalmatians created in the II-IV century BC were discovered. e. It is established that tetrapods were used as hunters.
- The Greek historian Xenophon described the early Dalmatians in his writings (I century BC). The philosopher noted that spotted dogs are carriers of "blue blood", while the "mediocre four-legged" are monophonic and dim color.
- Again, in Greece, a fragment of the drawing (I-II century BC) is preserved, depicting how spotted dogs drive game.
Against the background of numerous confirmations of the existence of the ancient Dalmatians, only one fact is not clear to scientists - why does the history of the breed break off in ancient Greece? Where were these dogs until the 18th century when they appeared in front of the entire civilized world? Fans of the breed and simply interested people usually adhere to one of the following versions.
The breed was bred on the territory of modern Croatia and Montenegro, named after the historical region (at that time of the province of Yugoslavia) of Dalmatia. The version sounds very believable, but the fact that today you cannot find Dalmatians in the birthplace of the breed is alarming. Unless units brought from England dogs. Also, according to one version, Yugoslavia was only a “transit point”, and spotted dogs came to new lands after Julius Caesar and his retinue.
It is interesting! Dalmatian could be named after the decoration of the clergy - the Dalmatian. Of the wool of the sheep living in Dalmatia, special cloaks were made, decorated with dark pieces of sable skins. The original outfit has survived to the present day, but today only bishops have been honored to wear it.
In addition, a ceramic painting of a dog very similar to the Dalmatian was discovered in Dalmatia. In the 14th century, a nursery of the early Dalmatians existed in the province. According to historical data, more than 500 dogs lived in the kennel. Scientists have discovered the archives of the Dutch bishop (dated the 18th century), who wrote that unique hunting dogs, white with black spots, were bred in Dalmatia.
The "second homeland" of the breed is called India. The rationale for the version is very vague and based on the authority of Aristotle. The Thinker described a black and white Tiger dog born of a “union” of a dog and a white spotted tiger. Aristotle did not explain how interspecies love happened, who was the mother, and why the tiger was spotted. Further, the Dalmatian came to the gypsies, with whom he spread throughout Europe. Despite the initial absurdity, the version was actively promoted until the beginning of the 19th century.
It is interesting! According to one version, the Tiger Dog was renamed Dalmatians after appearing in Serbia. Poet Yu. Dalmatin received two Tiger dog puppies as a presentation, and the awakened interest of others prompted the creator to engage in factory activities. Grateful owners of exclusive pets began to call the breed Dalmatian dogs.
Spotted dogs are also found in Italian painting. Images are dated XIV-XVII centuries. It should be noted that the black and white tetrapods depicted in the frescoes are not very similar to modern Dalmatians, but they have a color that interests us. Perhaps the artists embellished the appearance of the animals, fitting them to the colors of the clothes of the Dominican preachers.
It is interesting! For Italians, to the point of frightened by the inquisitors, the Dalmatian became the guise of the order; the people called it the “Dog of the Lord”. Later, dog drawings appeared on campaign leaflets calling for the abdication of the Catholic faith.
The next "imprint" of the Dalmatian was left in the Czech Republic, it was only called the Turkish dog. Appearing on the coat of arms of one of the feudal families, the spotted dog became very popular in the Czech Republic. Dalmatians, spread throughout Europe, were used as watchmen. Dogs that came to England were baptized by an Italian dog and were used as hunting and fighting dogs. Why the breed was called Italian is reliably unknown, but it is established that the Dalmatian came to Great Britain from France.
The "literary debut" of the breed took place under the name Bengal marriage. French - naturalist, biologist and naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707-1788) placed the image and description of the breed in his book "Natural History". The writer did not tell about the origin of the dogs, but noted that in the XVII year, Dalmatian was actively used as a hunting breed in Europe.
By the 18th century, the Dalmatian breed dog was once again renamed the "Carriage Dog". Travelers taking the four-legged with them often did not find a place for them in the carriage. The way out was very simple, the dog ran after the horses. This practice lasted over 300 years. Dalmatians entertained and guarded the owners in trains. The fight with a wild animal could end tragically, so the ears of the dogs were stopped. The next danger is a moving vehicle (the same carriages), for the sake of saving life, the Dalmatian fled under the carriage, that is, literally after the hooves of horses.
It is interesting! Perhaps the carriage escort instilled in Dalmatian a love of horses. Dogs instinctively get along with horses, never climb on the rampage and can evade hooves while running.
The unusual appearance of the Dalmatian attracted people at all times, perhaps this served to the fact that the breed was used in literally all kinds of “works”. By the end of the 18th century, spotted dogs became fashionable in high society. A sharp jump in popularity led to the disruption of the usual breeding cycle. Getting the Dalmatians in England became like a conveyor belt. In the kennels, 50-200 dogs lived right away, whose mating was impossible to keep track of. Uncontrolled reproduction led to partial degeneration of the breed.
Note! Already in the XVIII century there was a strict practice of selection "by spots". Dalmatian puppies with large or uneven spots were destroyed. Slow, indecisive, timid and / or horse-fearing individuals were also discarded from the breeding.
Trying to restore all Dalmatian ancestors is as futile as proving an unambiguous version of the origin of the breed. According to different versions, the White Setters (extinct today), Poynters, Marble and Dalmatian Great Dane, French Hounds, and Braque (presumably ancient Celtic and Dalmatian) could be among the ancestors. The breed was introduced to the world at an exhibition in Great Britain (1860). The British surrounded Dalmatin with attention and care, "honing" his appearance and working qualities to perfection.
Note! Work on improving the breed was carried out by German breeders. The champions brought to exhibitions from Germany were in no way inferior to the English reference representatives of the breed.
At the end of the 1800s, the first Dalmatian club was founded in Great Britain, whose employees worked actively to create a breed standard. By the way, before the adoption of the latest version of the standard, Dalmatians with cropped ears are found in exhibitions. Since 1926, only hanging ears are indicated in the official description of the dog’s head.
It is interesting! In the USA, Dalmatians were used in the service of fire brigades. The rescuers, raised by alarm, had to get to the place of ignition literally in minutes (the houses were mostly made of wood). Before the cavalry of the firefighters, the Dalmatian fled, dispersing everyone with an angry bark. In fact, the dog was a fire siren!
During the Second World War, the Dalmatians defended their honor by working in search groups, delivering medicines, guarding military and industrial facilities. Dotted dogs even obeyed the heavens, the companion of a military English pilot made 38 sorties, became the hero of Great Britain and the founder of the pedigree line. Today, Dalmatian is recognized all over the world, but is practically not used in work.
The breed characterization describes the Dalmatians as large, hardy, intelligent and loyal athletic dogs. Naturally, the early representatives are somewhat different from the modern description of the breed. In Dalmatia, the traits of Setter, Poynter and the noble Dog are guessed. The standard fixed ideal criteria for the growth and weight of dogs, but body proportions are much more important than generally accepted indicators:
- Males: 56-61 cm; 27-32 kg.
- Bitches: 54-59 cm; 24-26 kg.
- Growth at the withers refers to the length of the body in a proportion of 9:10.
- The lengths of the muzzle and frontal region of the skull are equal, that is, they are correlated in a ratio of 1: 1.
Note! In addition to the difference in size, males and females differ visually, but regardless of gender, the dog’s behavior must be confident, without a “shade” of aggression. In addition, the ability to quickly and for a long time should be predicted by behavior, gait and activity.
- Head - in the form of a regular, wide wedge with a U-shaped ending. The forehead is wide, slightly rounded, divided by a furrow. Cheekbones are well defined. The skin is tightened, without free folds (puppies have arched "folds-eyebrows"). The transition to the face is unsharp. The muzzle is wide, the nose is straight. The lips are quite tight, should not sag or look "raw." It is desirable that the pigmentation of the extreme line of the lips was complete, saturated, in tone with the spots.
- Teeth - strong, perfectly even, white in a complete set, close in a tight lock without a gap. The fangs are large. Scissor bite.
- Nose - wide, with open nostrils, pigmentation in tone of spots.
- Eyes - oval, medium size, not set too wide. The iris pigmentation palette ranges from light to dark brown. The eyelids are completely pigmented to match the spots.
- The ears - lowered, wide at the base, the tips are rounded. The ear cartilage is soft and thin. In a calm state, the ears are pressed to the head, and in a wary state they are turned forward.
- Body - Tight, muscular and streamlined. The neck expands to the shoulder girdle, there is a well-defined bend. The withers are raised, the back is strong, not too wide, the joints of the croup are hidden by the muscles, moderately sloping. The chest is up to the elbows, the keel is well arched, the ribs are moderately rounded. The groin line is tightened.
- Limbs - perfectly flat, elbows pressed to the chest. The structure is muscular, the skin is "dry." Fingers are gathered in a tight lump. The claws are either naturally white or match the color of the spots.
- Tail - standard length (to the hocks), tapers towards the end. Planted at an average level relative to the back, straight, slightly curved in the lower third. In the natural position it is carried low, but in the excited above the spinal line, but not vertically. Ponytails from Dalmatian puppies are “indicators of breed quality”, if a baby does not have spots on its tail, it immediately gets into culling.
Type of coat and color
Dalmatian dog is short-haired with a tight-fitting, semi-rigid, shiny outer hair. No undercoat. The main color is perfect white, no shades. Spots are black or deep brown in color, as sharp as possible, evenly spaced up to 3 cm in diameter. On the legs and head, the marks are less than on the body.
Important! Blue eye color is considered a marriage. Defects also include a large spot (more than 3 cm), light brown or gray color marks, tricolor color, dark stripes over the spots, incomplete pigmentation of the nose or eyelids.
Character and training
Raising a Dalmatian is a pleasure for experienced dog breeders and a feasible task for beginners. Dogs are very contact, they literally absorb knowledge. It is noteworthy that the pet does not need to be retrained as it grows up, the memory of the four-legged allows you to remember commands the first time and for a lifetime. Spotted intellectuals learn to imitate, so Dalmatian training is recommended in groups. Four-legged can handle any training course and the most difficult tricks.
The nature of the dogs is almost perfect, but Dalmatian is not recommended as a pet for a family with young children. "Spotted" will never touch the child, but may not intentionally push the baby or pull the leash. Dalmatians are very social by nature, they are cheerful and cheerful while they communicate with the owner and get adequate physical activity. The best reward for a four-legged is to let the master serve and receive praise.
Maintenance and care
The breed has an impressive size, but it is very compact and clean, so the Dalmatian in the apartment is a reality. Of course, the white coat left everywhere causes a lot of inconvenience and one should not entertain oneself with illusions - from a short-haired dog there are no less “fluffy tracks” than from a long-haired one. It is worthwhile to comb the hair of the Dalmatian regularly with a soft brush or a massage glove. If you comb your pet every 3 days, even molting will go unnoticed. White coat quickly gets dirty and dirty weather needs daily care for the Dalmatian. You will also have to invest in protective suits and quality bathing equipment.
Due to the tendency to allergies, it is worth consulting with the breeder about the diet of the parents, brothers and sisters of your "tail". When buying a baby in a kennel, you will receive a recommendation to feed a Dalmatian puppy with dry hypoallergenic food, which is very logical, especially at an early age. When the baby is strong, you can gradually transfer it to a natural diet. If you decide not to transfer the dog to "natural", dry food for Dalmatian is selected in accordance with age-related needs.
The life expectancy of Dalmatians ranges from 10 to 13 years. In an age-old dog, activity decreases, but the general tone of the body remains. With good care and nutrition, the dog does not suffer from severe pathologies. Common diseases include:
- Kidney problems - Since 1916, it became known that urolithiasis in the Dalmatians is a genetic disease, and not a consequence of a poor-quality diet. Not every representative of the breed will find a pathology, but the chance is high. The reason is that in Dalmatians, instead of urea, uric acid is formed.Males are more prone to pathology, the development of a large number of proteins and salts in the diet, lack of physical activity, too long containment of the emptying of the bladder.
- Atopic dermatitis - A genetic defect expressed by skin irritation against a background of excited immunity, simply put, due to an allergic reaction to the environment.
- Allergies to food or care products - It can be manifested by dermatitis, hair loss, swelling of the mucous membranes, salivation and lacrimation, copious production of earwax or sebum.
- Flea dermatitis - An allergic reaction to bites of bloodsucking parasites.
- Pyoderma - inflammation of the skin, leading to the formation of ulcers and hair loss at the site of damage. The reason lies in an allergic reaction, weakened immunity or stress.
- Demodecosis - a skin disease that occurs suddenly. Accompanied by profuse loss of hair, thickening of the skin, itching (optional). Called by a microscopic tick, completely stopped with proper and timely treatment.