I bet when we talk about Dalmatians, the first thing many people think of is the wonderful movie 101 Dalmatians.
This is where we may have seen our first pics of those adorable spotty dogs and their even cuter pups.
Dalmatians are strong dogs. They are classed as a large breed dog and are normally very muscular.
On looking you will find that the skull of the dog is almost as wide as it is long. They can have noses which are either black or brown with some even having a blue or dark grey nose.
The eyes of Dalmatians are either blue, brown or a mix of the two colours and their ears hang down with a rounded tip at the bottom.
Dalmatians have deep chests and spots which can be black or brown coloured. The coats are short with fine hair. Puppies are born completely white and the spots develop later as they grow.
Dalmatians shed their old and damaged hair in the same way as most other breeds.
It is a normal process although the amount of hair they shed largely depends on the health of the dog and the season of the year.
Dogs who live indoors tend to shed more evenly through the year, instead of having a huge shed in the Spring and Autumn.
Short History of the Dalmatian
Originally the Dalmatian was bred as a guard dog to horses and coaches, so it is natural that some of this guarding and protection instinct is still seen today in the breed.
Dalmatians can be traced back to Croatia and they have been featured in paintings and sketches well before the 1790’s.
You may often see them portrayed beside chariots and carriages. In fact, originally, they were called Carriage Dogs for this reason. They were also used as guard dogs to guard the borders of Croatia.
Dalmatians are a breed which is somewhat aloof with people outside the family. It is friendly but stays slightly apart from strangers and other dogs.
The breed has a strong hunting instinct, they are often used as rat and vermin exterminators. They have often been used as tail hounds and bird dogs.
Unfortunately, the beautiful markings have also made them useful as circus dogs. This is partly due to their intelligence and the fact that they are easy to train.
Perhaps one of the most popular images of Dalmatians comes from fire-house mascots. You will find them in many pictures running in front to clear the way for fire-fighters.
In times past after the horses had left the fire station with the fire fighters, the dogs were often left behind to guard the area and protect equipment.
Dalmatians have huge amounts of stamina and make great partners for people who enjoy hiking and running.
A Dalmatian will reach a height of between 19 – 23 inches at the shoulders, they are elegantly proportioned and graceful creatures even though they are very muscular.
What is a Dalmatians Coat Like?
Dalmatian pups are born completely white. The spots appear within the first 3 – 4 weeks of their lives and continue to develop slowly throughout life until they are fully formed.
On average the spots will be between 30 – 60 mm. Most are brown or black. Very rarely you may find a Dalmatian with mosaic, blue, brindle or tri-coloured spots.
A Dalmatian’s coat is almost always short. It is dense and fine and smooth to the touch.
Occasionally the parents will produce a long-haired pup which is not acceptable as the breed standard although long-haired Dalmatians shed far less than short-haired ones.
Normally, the hair which Dalmatians shed will find its way into carpets and upholstery. In fact, this hair will stick to almost any fabric. Because it is so stiff it is hard to remove from furniture.
Because of the small amount of oil in the Dalmatian coat there is not that ‘dog smell’ which many other breeds have. Dalmatians also stay cleaner than many other breeds.
Do Dalmatians Shed?
Every dog owner will find that their dog sheds to some degree or other. Even hairless dogs shed at times. So, the answer to the question is yes, Dalmatians shed. Not only this, but they shed profusely.
Do not be mistaken in thinking that because the hair is short, it will shed less as this is not the case.
There is a natural shedding which takes place so that the dead hair is removed, and new hair can grow. Even though Dalmatians are short-haired they shed a huge amount.
Black and brown spotted Dalmatians are notorious for shedding throughout the entire year instead of just seasonally.
The reason for the excessive shedding in this breed is due to the short lifespan of the hair shafts.
The hair is constantly shedding for the soft, new hair to grow. This process simply gets more profuse in the spring and autumn as the temperatures change.
As the seasons change the dogs get rid of the old, thick hair and keep the thinner coats during higher temperatures.
As the temps fall, they start to grow thicker and denser hair to keep them warm in the cold times.
When do Dalmatians Shed the Most?
There are two main shedding seasons for Dalmatians, namely January to May, and then again from July to December although this can vary by a month or so depending where you live.
The breed sheds the most in the Spring and then in the Autumn (Fall).
They also shed on every day between these seasons, in fact there is not a day that passes without a Dalmatian shedding!
Many Dalmatian owners will tell you that their pooch sheds at two different times. These are during the day, and during the night.
Expect to find hair on almost any clothing you wear. This is because both the white and the black hairs are shed so most of the clothing you wear will show some dog hairs.
How to Combat Dalmatian Shedding/ Can I Reduce the Amount They Shed?
As a Dalmatian owner you should expect to brush your pooch weekly at the very least. In fact, most owners end up brushing their dogs daily simply to keep the hair under control.
If you use a medium soft brush daily, you can just about prevent your furniture from become a carpet of hair.
Bathing is also a good idea and if you brush your pooch every day you should only need to bath him three or four times a year.
Any more than this and his skin will become dry and flaky because the natural oils have been removed.
Bathing also removes any dead hair which you have not managed to brush away.
So, can you reduce the amount they shed? Possibly not by that much, but regular brushing and then vacuuming will at least keep your home relatively free from hair.
What is nice to know is that Dalmatians are not the worst breed for shedding.
Equipment Help to Combat Dalmatian Shedding
Equipment for keeping your Dalmatians shedding under control is quite simple, consisting mostly of brushes in various shapes.
Naturally a decent vacuum cleaner is also part of the equipment for keeping shedding under control.
Furminator deshedding brushes are great for getting rid of the short hairs which your dog can’t shake off by himself as it gets right down to the skin and gets rid of all excess hairs.
Ideally you should brush your pooch outside so the hair does not fly off the dog and onto your furniture.
Dalmatian hair has tiny barbs at the end which hook into carpets and furniture and can be difficult to remove.
So, there are two types of brush to buy to keep the hair problem under control.
Both brushes work very well although the slicker brush may give you better results.
The teeth will get right down to the base of the hair and remove all the broken pieces. Because it is quite a sharp brush you should only use it once or twice a week as it can scratch the skin.
The bristle brush can be used daily to groom the dog.
Although your Dalmatian only needs three or four baths a year, frequent bathing can help to reduce the hair that gets spread over the furniture and your clothing.
If you do intend to bath your pooch often you should make sure that you invest in a good quality shampoo.
Never use your own shampoo on your dog. A decent doggie shampoo will keep the skin soft and moisturised.
Foods can Make a Difference
The quality of the food you give your pooch can make a difference to the amount of shedding that goes on as what your dog eats will affect not only the health but also the coat.
Avoid animal by-products or the addition of extra corn and grains. You may also want to stay clear of protein-rich foods.
There are certain foods that you can add to the diet.
- Brewers Yeast: just a sprinkle of this over your dog’s food will give you a decrease in shedding.
- Flaxseed oil: you can drizzle this directly onto dry kibble once a day. In a very short time, you will see a shinier coat with reduced shedding.
- Eggs: feeding your dog a beaten egg every other day will give a reduction in shedding.
Are Dalmatians Considered to be Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, this breed is not even remotely thought to be hypoallergenic. They are one of the most profuse shedders.
This is important if you or your family suffer from allergies related to dog dander. Your house will be full of shed hair unless you are running the vacuum around every day.
Do Some Dog Breeds Shed More Than Others?
All dogs shed at some point or another. Even the totally hairless dog the American Hairless Terrier will shed some skin cells to which you may have an allergenic reaction.
Considering that Dalmatians are a short hair breed they shed a huge amount.
There are some of the newer breeds such as the ‘Doodles’ which shed less than other breeds.
Clumberdoodles, Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are some that shed less because one of the parents is a Poodle, which does not shed heavily.
Health Reasons for Increased Shedding in Dalmatians
Although you will find that your Dalmatian sheds throughout the year, excessive shedding is not normal and should be checked out by your vet.
There are some diseases which will make your pooch shed more than you think is ‘normal.’
- Added to shedding you may notice bald spots or scaly skin. Time for a visit to the vet as this can be a sign of something serious like cancer.
- Even dogs can be allergic to certain things. Dalmatians are often allergic to some foods and losing hair is a sign of this. You may also see red skin and itchy spots or bumps.
- Trauma such as being abandoned by an owner may cause a dog to constantly lick it’s fur. This will lead to destruction of the follicles and cause shedding.
- This is caused by mites. The disease makes the skin go hard and itchy. You will notice your dog scratching more than normal and see bald patches in the hair.
- Hormone imbalance. Thyroid and pituitary imbalances will cause shedding in excess.
If you recognise any of these symptoms, you should consult your vet right away.
Leaving the situation to see if it improves or treating it with home-made remedies is not the solution. You may do more harm than good.
It is a very sad thing that many rescue Dalmatians are returned to the centres because the owners realise just how much they shed.
Dalmatians are a wonderful breed. They are smart and clean dogs, highly affectionate and loyal to their owners.
There is no doubt about it that Dalmatians shed – a lot, but if you can get past this and see them for the beautiful breed that they are, then you will find you have a true and loyal friend for many years.