Dalmatians health issues should not keep you from owning this wonderful breed of dog as they are still extremely healthy dogs as well as very loyal and protective companions.
They make excellent guard dogs and terrific family pets.
In fact, several experts have claimed them to be almost people like in nature as they absolutely love to be around people and families.
They are classified as a non-sporting breed primarily because they have a wide variety of talents.
In fact, their sense of smell is so strong and defined, that they were used both in World Wars as well as in Vietnam to guard our troops and alert them.
Their keen sense of smell also makes them excellent tracking dogs as well as search and rescue dogs.
They are a large breed and a well grown male can weigh up to 90 pounds.
They are built by heredity for endurance and can run or trot for several miles at a time and were believed to be breed by English aristocrats to run along side and protect carriages almost 200 years ago.
Their beautiful silky white coat identifies them as well as their black or liver spots. However, they are born pure white unless they are patched.
The spots are present at birth and will grow in size as they mature.
There are some that are tri-colored which keeps them from any dog shows but it certainly does not keep them from being the loyal friend that they will become.
They were breed to be friends and companions, not show dogs.
Their temperament has often been related very similar to people as they can be extremely sensitive to any type of a scolding or reprimand.
However they are also very boisterous when they are happy or want to gain your attention.
They also require a lot of exercise, the more the better. They are breed to run for hours at a time and absolutely love to run.
Their health issues are almost unique in nature compared to most breeds.
The quality of breeding is absolutely critical and you should never get a Dalmatian from anyone other than a top rated and qualified breeder.
The reason is very simple; it can and will lead to an early death in your dog if you do so.
I learned that from experience.
However, if you get a well breed dog, they can live and be part of your family for several years.
My current Dal is now fifteen years old and our veterinarian still shakes her head every time she checks him as he looks to be six to seven years old and not the old man he actually is.
This breed a hereditary deafness issue that is referred to as polygenic inheritance.
This is an inheritance that can not be breed out as it composed of quantitative traits.
This means that it is influenced by multiple genes rather than just one gene.
An example of a polygenic inheritance would be skin color in humans that is determined by genes that are hereditary.
However, that does not mean that all Dalmatians will be deaf.
Less then ten percent of this breed is totally deaf while approximately twenty five percent will have unilateral hearing, which means that they will have hearing in only one ear.
Any breed of a puppy is born with ear canals that are closed but they will open usually two weeks after birth.
In this breed, it will be critical for breeders to check all puppies for this development as it will be determined by the age of six to eight weeks if they will be deaf, have bilateral deafness, or have normal hearing.
All reputable breeders will use what is called the BAER tests which are the Brainstorm Auditory Evoked Response tests.
This is the only reliable method of testing that is foolproof. If your dog does have this condition, it is permanent and can not be corrected.
However, a deaf dog can easily be trained with hand signals and just like in humans, when one sense is lost, the others become more powerful.
They still make absolutely incredible and lovable family pets.
The heredity deafness challenge also leaves them more vulnerable to ear infections.
Most all dog ear infections are caused because moisture remains in the ears and this allows both bacteria and yeast to grow.
Dogs with large floppy ears are more prone for these infections, but because of their inherited challenges, this breed is a lot more likely to develop this condition than most breeds.
Treating these ear infections will be a constant routine with your Dalmatian.
Vitamin C will help reduce the inflammation as it also helps in the production of a natural steroid that slows down the inflammation as well as keeping the adrenal glands operating properly.
There are also natural herbs such as Tea Tree Oil, Rosemary, and Marigold that you can make into a liquid formula that will reduce these infections.
Simply boiling these herbs for an hour and letting them cool will set them, and than you rub a small portion gently into their ears.
There is also a very effective flush called ChlorhexiDerm that is a tropical antimicrobial flush that works almost instantly.
You can not eliminate this problem in your Dalmatian, but you can very effectively treat it.
They have a very unique urinary system that is different than any other breed.
Dalmatian’s urine contains uric acid instead of urea acid which makes them very susceptible to both bladder infections as well as kidney stones.
This is especially dangerous for this breed as if the stones become large enough they can block the urinary track completely and could cause the death of your dog if not treated very quickly.
Feeding your dog a diet that does not have too much protein will be critical as excessive protein strengthens uric acid.
Liver and beef should be totally avoided; instead use food that contains lamb, poultry, eggs or vegetables.
If your Dalmatian starts to develop this condition feeding them a homemade diet of rice and turkey burger will eliminate it very quickly.
Turkey burger is high in protein but is very low in the purines and can be very helpful.
Dalmatian health issues also include skin allergies and can cause a reddish tinge in your pet.
This is most always associated with their diet and providing them with either turkey or even venison is a natural way to keep the protein levels high enough.
It also helps in protecting them against allergies as well as slowing urinary issues.
Isaac is our third Dalmatian and we have learned through trial and error what you need to look for with this wonderful, intelligent, and very gentle breed can bring.
The hypertension that is often associated with Dalmatians can easily be worked out with the proper exercise.
And do not ignore them, include them.
They want to be part of any family activity that they can be in and you will not find a more loyal and protective breed of dog than a Dalmatian, despite their many health issues.
We have enjoyed this wonderful breed now for over 25 years.