DALMATIAN STANDARD - EXTENSION
SHOULD BE A BALANCED, STRONG, MUSCULAR, ACTIVE DOG OF GOOD
DEMEANOUR. SYMMETRICAL IN OUTLINE, FREE FROM COARSENESS AND
LUMBER, CAPABLE OF GREAT ENDURANCE WITH A FAIR AMOUNT OF SPEED.
The Dalmatian is a distinctively spotted dog, however,
no dog is more normal in its make up than the Dalmatian.
It is free from abnormalities and exaggeration. Other than
its spotting, which will be discussed in detail later, no
features are peculiar to this breed. Balanced in all proportions,
it is an active, medium sized dog, displaying the stamina,
strength and musculation needed to keep up with horses for
long periods of time. In addition, the Dalmatian is elegant
and graceful enough to enhance the appearance of any horse
and carriage. BALANCE and proportions should satisfy the
eye and give a sense of perfect harmony both in repose and
action. STRONG, MUSCULAR, ACTIVE. The Dalmatian conveys
the impression of substance combined with elegance and perfect
balance, never overdone. CAPABLE OF GREAT ENDURANCE. With
its purpose as a carriage dog so important, the Dalmatian
should have the ability to trot long distances alongside
a coach. FAIR AMOUNT OF SPEED. This is interpreted as meaning
an ability to accelerate with a quick burst of speed when
necessary. While it must have the stamina to go all day,
it must also have an action that is economical in order
to conserve energy, Although the Dalmatians purpose as a
carriage dog is obsolete, the standard is written with this
in mind. Stamina is a must for this breed is achieved only
with a combination of soundness, firm topline, correct rib
cage, correct boning, good feet, correct angulation and
sufficient exercise to produce good hard muscles
Outgoing and friendly, not shy
or hesitant, free from nervousness and aggression. The Dalmatian
is easy to get along with and loves people. It is intelligent,
alert and always friendly. An extrovert, and well known
for its characteristic grin.
SHOULD BE OF FAIR LENGTH, THE SKULL FLAT, REASONABLY BROAD
BETWEEN THE EARS BUT REFINED, MODERATELY WELL DEFINED AT THE
TEMPLES i.e. EXHIBITING A MODERATE AMOUNT OF STOP, NOT IN
ONE STRAIGHT LINE FROM NOSE TO OCCIPUT BONE. ENTIRELY FREE
FROM WRINKLE. THE MUZZLE SHOULD BE LONG AND POWERFUL, NEVER
SNIPY, THE LIPS CLEAN, FITTING THE JAW MODERATELY CLOSE. THE
NOSE IN THE BLACK SPOTTED VARIETY SHOULD ALWAYS BE BLACK IN
THE LIVER SPOTTED VARIETY ALWAYS BROWN.
The Dalmatian is not a head breed, but the head must
be in proportion to the rest of the dog, clean looking smooth
and free of wrinkle. The topskull and muzzle should be about
the same length. The topskull is nearly as broad as it is
long and it is almost flat with a slight. centre groove
starting at the occiput, coming down the stop between the
eyes and extending onto the muzzle to the nose leather.
The stop is not pronounced but a subtle rise where the muzzle
blends into the upper head. From the side, toplines of the
skull and the muzzle appear approximately parallel. The
muzzle is never weak nor pointed. The lips are clean and
dry. There are no flews or dewlaps.
SET MODERATELY WELL APART, SHOULD BE OF MEDIUM SIZE, ROUND,
BRIGHT AND SPARKLING, WITH AN INTELLIGENT EXPRESSION, THEIR
COLOUR, DEPENDING ON THE MARKINGS OF THE DOG, DARK IN THE
BLACK SPOTTED, AMBER IN THE LIVER SPOTTED. THE RIM ROUND THE
EYES SHOULD BE COMPLETE, BLACK IN THE BLACK SPOTTED AND LIVER
BROWN IN THE LIVER SPOTTED.
Please remember that a Dalmatians eyes are "round,
bright and sparkling" A dog with a blue eye should
not be shown.
SHOULD BE SET ON RATHER HIGH, OF MODERATE SIZE, WIDE AT THE
BASE, GRADUALLY TAPERING TO A ROUNDED POINT. FINE IN TEXTURE.
CARRIED CLOSE TO HEAD. THE MARKINGS SHOULD BE WELL BROKEN
UP, PREFERABLY SPOTTED.
The ears should be set on rather high. When alert the
base of the ear is level with the top of the skull. They
should be of moderate size, rather wide at the base gradually
tapering to a rounded point. The ears should be fine to
touch, carried close to the head. There should be white
breaking up the colour on the ears, sometimes seen as marbling,
though spotted ears are preferred.
SHOULD MEET. THE UPPER SLIGHTLY OVERLAPPING THE LOWER (SCISSOR
SHOULD BE FAIRLY LONG, NICELY ARCHED, LIGHT AND TAPERING.
ENTIRELY FREE FROM THROATINESS.
A Dalmatian requires fairly long cervical vertebrae
to give it that graceful arched neck which is desirable.
It should have a good flow of neck into the shoulder to
assist in forming the symmetrical outline. While many Dalmatians
have been trained to hold the head high in the ring, when
trotting freely the head is thrust forward to achieve kinetic
balance and is only slightly higher than the topline.
SHOULD BE MODERATELY OBLIQUE CLEAN AND MUSCULAR. ELBOWS CLOSE
TO THE BODY. THE FORELEGS PERFECTLY STRAIGHT WITH STRONG ROUND
BONE DOWN TO THE FEET, WITH A SLIGHT SPRING AT THE PASTERN
The standard requires a moderately oblique shoulder.
The angle between the scapula and humerus is slightly more
than 90 degrees. shoulders should be well laid back and
also of good length for muscles and tendons to function
properly. With correct angulation the scapula, together
with the humerus act as shock absorbers. the two combined
lift the leg, giving the rhythmic stride called for in the
standard. Length of scapula and humerus should be equal.
Front legs should be perfectly straight right down to the
foot, with a slight spring of pastern. They should be about
the width of two legs apart and should be evenly boned the
SHOULD NOT BE T00 WIDE BUT DEEP AND CAPACIOUS WITH PLENTY
OF LUNG AND HEART ROOM. THE RIBS WELL SPRUNG, WELL DEFINED
WITHER, POWERFUL LEVEL BACK, LOINS STRONG, CLEAN AND MUSCULAR,
AND SLIGHTLY ARCHED.
The chest should be viewed from three angles. From the
front, it is deeper than it is wide and it is well filled.
From above, it is wider at the shoulder than at the loin.
From the side the pro-sternum is only slightly visible in
front of the forelegs, but the lower portion of the chest
extends to the dog’s elbow. A chest with a long rib cage
is described as "well ribbed back" which give
plenty of room for the lungs to expand, which is necessary
for endurance. The underline of the chest gradually slopes
upward from midway along the rib cage to the end of the
ribs. The Dalmatian has only a moderate tuck up. The back
should be level in motion and in natural stance. In a properly
constructed dog with good muscle development the topline
from the withers to the onset of tail remains level whether
the dog is standing or moving. There should be well defined
withers, but with no interruption to the flow of neck into
the shoulders and back. The loin should neither be excessively
long nor short. If anything, the Dalmatian is slightly longer
than high from point of shoulder to point of buttock, withers
to ground. The extra length of rib cage, not loin. The arching
of the loins should not be exaggerated and comes from strong
MUSCLES CLEAN WITH WELL DEVELOPED SECOND THIGH, GOOD TURN
OF STIFLE AND HOCKS WELL DEFINED.
Correct hindquarters on a Dalmatian are also important
as it is a dog who must be able to gait for many kilometres
up and down hills. It is a "moderate" dog with
a normal front angulation, and therefore requires a stifle
which is moderately well bent. The Dalmatian should convey
endurance and a fair turn of speed. If it had excessive
angulation it would tire itself and without angulation,
would not cover the ground. The hindquarters should be strong.
The outline of well developed muscles should be clearly
seen on the buttocks, legs and second thigh. The pelvic
slope should be approximately 30 degrees. The thigh and
second thigh should be long and the hock to the ground short.
Muscles should be well developed in inner and outer thighs
as well as the second thigh (calf muscle). The hock should
be vertical to the ground when standing. Hocks should be
well let down to give good endurance.
REACHING APPROXIMATELY TO THE HOCKS. STRONG AT THE INSERTION
GRADUALLY TAPERING TOWARDS THE END, IT SHOULD NOT BE INSERTED
T00 LOW OR T00 HIGH, FREE FROM COARSENESS AND CARRIED WITH
A SLIGHT UPWARD CURVE, NEVER CURLED. PREFERABLY SPOTTED.
It is a moderate tail set. The tail is an extension
of the topline, flowing with the back line after taking
into consideration the slightly arched loin. At rest the
Dalmatian may carry the tail low, but on the move or when
alert it is carried with a slight upward curve. A traditional
COMPACT, WITH WELL ARCHED TOES (CAT FEET) AND ROUND TOUGH
ELASTIC PADS. NAILS BLACK OR WHITE IN THE BLACK SPOTTED VARIETY,
IN THE LIVER SPOTTED, BROWN OR WHITE.
Good legs and "cat feet" are very important.
Strong feet and thick tough pads are a must for an endurance
dog. Feet should turn neither in nor out.
SHOULD HAVE GREAT FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT. A SMOOTH, POWERFUL
RHYTHMIC ACTION WITH A LONG STRIDE. VIEWED FROM BEHIND, THE
LEGS SHOULD MOVE IN PARALLEL, THE HIND LEGS TRACKING THE FORE.
A SHORT STRIDE AND PADDLING ACTION IS INCORRECT.
Movement tells us much about the Dalmatians structure,
which is not always revealed when it is standing still,
for it reflects its physical co-ordination, balance for
the body and soundness. The dog seeming to exert a minimum
of effort to cover the ground. When judging the Dalmatian
in the ring, the length of stride should be in proportion
to the dog, steady in rhythm of 1,2,3,4. Front legs should
not paddle, nor should there be a straddling appearance.
Hind legs should neither cross nor weave. Judges should
be able to see each leg move with no interference from another
leg. Drive and reach are most desirable. When a dog moves
away from the judge in a straight line, the hind legs conceal
the fore, the hind foot covering the spot the fore foot
has just left, not overreaching.
SHOULD BE SHORT, HARD AND DENSE, SLEEK AND GLOSSY IN APPEARANCE.
The coat should be of uniform texture with hair on the
ears and head shorter and softer. It is a single coated
COLOUR SHOULD BE PURE WHITE. BLACK SPOTTED DOGS HAVE DENSE
BLACK SPOTS AND LIVER SPOTTED DOGS LIVER-BROWN SPOTS. THEY
SHOULD NOT RUN TOGETHER BUT BE ROUND AND WELL DEFINED, THE
SIZE OF A FIVE TO A TWENTY CENT COIN, AS WELL DISTRIBUTED
AS POSSIBLE. SPOTS ON THE EXTREMITIES SHOULD BE SMALLER THAN
THOSE ON THE BODY.
In both varieties the colour of the spots should be
dense and have a sheen. The black should be a shiny jet
black. There is no definite description laid down as far
as the liver colour is concerned, but it should be a rich
liver brown. The ideal is a colour which cannot be mistaken
for black in average light at a reasonable distance (e.g.
across a show ring.) Variations of liver colour on the one
dog or greyish markings on a black spotted specimen are
undesirable. Spots should not run together but be round
and well defined. Balance of markings is a feature. Most
dogs have groups of spots close together. A few spots that
join are acceptable, provided they can be seen to be spots.
They should not form a conglomeration of ugly proportions.
Clear definition of spots is important. The edges should
not blend into the ground colour so as to appear grey or
have a dark halo. Spots in size FIVE to a TWENTY cent coin.
Spots on the body are larger than those on the head, legs
and tail. The ears should be spotted, but this is not essential
just as spots on the tail are not essential. For some reason
many liver dogs have smaller spots than blacks. Tick marks,
or flecks are not spots and are undesirable. Tick marks
are smaller than a one cent piece and are rather more like
flecks appearing on the coat. Optical illusion can be created
by uneven spotting regarding conformation and gaiting. Spotting
is the one unique feature of the Dalmatian and is an essential
part of the breed type, although confirmation should not
be sacrificed to spotting alone. However the significance
of good spotting must not be denigrated or this unique and
identifying feature of the breed could be lost. Perfect
markings have never been achieved and it is safe to say
they never will be.
Balance is of prime importance and should not be sacrificed
to size alone. Dogs slightly larger or smaller than the
ideal standard should not be excluded from placings if they
present a balanced picture. The belief that the dogs only
ran under the axle is incorrect. The Dalmatian was equally
at home alongside, in front of, or behind the coach. Remember,
EYES, PATCHES, BLACK AND LIVER SPOTS ON THE SAME DOG (TRICOLOURS),
LEMON SPOTS, BRONZING AND OTHER FAULTS OF PIGMENTATION.
Blue eyes, patches, tri-colours
and lemon spots highly undesirable.
Patches, Dalmatian pups are born pure white, although shadows
of spots may be seen on the skin at birth. A patch is clearly
visible at birth and usually found on the ear or face. A
patch is an area of solid colour, a rich deep black or liver,
usually with a velvety texture. It is sharply defined with
an absence of white hairs. To determine between a solidly
marked ear and a patch, turn the ear over to see if there
are any white hairs. The presence of white hair, no matter
how small an amount, would indicate a solidly marked ear.
Tri-colours, a black spotted tri-colour is a dog with black
spots and tan/brown spots. A liver spotted tri-colour has
liver brown spots and light orange or lemon spots. The tri-colour
spots generally appear on the front of the neck, chest,
inside legs or around the vent.
Lemon/orange spotting. Lemons have black nose and eyerim
pigment, where oranges have brown nose and eyerim pigment.
Black and liver spotting are the only acceptable colours.
Dalmatians with Patches, Blue eyes, Tri-colours or having
lemon or orange spotting, should not be exhibited. Bronzing
can occur during a "coating out" period. On the
black spotted variety it is seen as a bronze tinge around
the edges of the spots and/or on the surface of spots. Livers
are affected similarly, the spots tending to develop a halo
of gingery colour. Bronzing must be assessed in relation
to the rest of the dog and should be considered similar
to a coated breed being out of coat or having dropped coat
NOTE Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
fully descended into the scrotum.
A good Dalmatian must be of good
breed type, balanced, sound in movement, well spotted and
of good temperament. One of these things on its own is not
Remember the Standard describes a dog free of exaggerations
and abnormalities. Please judge the breed to leave it that
15 June, 2014
. © The Dalmatian Club of NSW Inc 2004