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Breed Priorities – The Dalmatian

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194 – July, 2016


By Nikki Riggsbee

The Dalmatian derives his name from the province of Dalmatia in Croatia, but there have been many spotted dogs in Europe, Asia, and Africa for centuries. Among his many talents is his fame as a coaching dog, keeping up with the horses and guarding the entourage. The breed has a natural affinity for horses. This talent and his unusual spotted coat make him unique among breeds. It might be expected that features that make him distinct would be among the most valued when considering individual Dalmatians.

A group of Dalmatian breeder-judges was invited to participate in a survey to identify priorities for evaluating their breed. Thirtytwo agreed to do so, and eighteen responded with their input. The group averaged nearly thirty-three years in the breed and over twelve years judging the breed. Almost all have judged Dalmatian specialties and nearly half have judged the national specialty. Some judge the entire Non-Sporting group; some judge multiple breeds; others judge only Dalmatians.

Dalmatian Virtues

The breeder-judges were sent a list of breed characteristics from the Dalmatian standard, to prioritize from most important to least important. The following is the list of them in sequence by the average rank, with “1” being the most important.

1. Movement steady and effortless
2. Balanced angulation fore and aft
3. Capable of great endurance, combined with fair amount of speed
4. Strong level back
5. Length approximately equal to height
5. (tie) Well-laid back shoulders
7. Upper arm equal in length to shoulders and joined so that foot falls under the shoulder
8. Feet round, compact, thick pads, well-arched toes
9. Croup nearly level with back
10. Arched, fairly long neck, blending smoothly into shoulders
11. Spots round, well-defined, distinct
12. Stifles well-bent
13. Tail carried in slight upward curve
14. Ground color pure white
15. Muzzle and skull of equal length
16. Moderate-sized, high set ears, carried close to head

Click here to read the complete article
194 – July, 2016

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