Dalmatians were bred to run under or along-side of horse-drawn carriages and therefore have a vast amount of stamina and energy. They do not like to just sit around all day with nothing to do. They are playful, happy-go-lucky, extremely sensitive and loyal. The Dalmatian needs human companionship, without which it is likely to become depressed.

Dalmatians are medium-sized, short coated dogs. The accepted size in the USA is between 19-24 inches at the shoulder. Weight ranges from 40-70 pounds. Females are generally smaller than males. Today, many Dalmatians are much larger than the accepted breed standard. Males can be seen as large as 27 inches and weigh 90 pounds. In Great Britain, Dalmatians are usually larger than in the States. The Dalmatian is built for long distance endurance. It is well-muscled, without being coarse, with a capacious, deep chest. The coat is quite short and predominantly white with distinctive round spots in either black or liver (brown).

Historically, the Dalmatian's purpose was to accompany carriages. The dogs travelled under the axle, between the lead horses, or alongside and cleared the road of stray animals. They also served as guard dogs. To be able to fulfill this purpose the Dalmatian had to be capable of covering great distances and also had to be protective. Therefore, genetically, the Dalmatian is predisposed to be very active and somewhat territorial.

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