Dalmatian Puppy




Complete Dalmatian information

Dalmatian Puppies for Sale

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 Choosing Your Dalmatian: Where to Look and What to Look For

If you have decided to purchase a Dalmatian puppy, we advise you to look at as many litters of puppies as possible in order to observe the differences in both appearance and temperament found in the breed. Show-potential puppies cost more than pet quality puppies. A show puppy will be your pet too, but pet quality will not be suitable for showing or breeding. Different breeders have different opinions as to what they judge to be a pet versus a show pup, and even the most promising pup at eight weeks of age may not evolve into the adult that the breeder predicted. Therefore, if you think you may be interested in showing or breeding Dalmatians, carefully study to understand the technical points, faults and disqualifications specified for the show ring. Go to several dog shows to see Dalmatians in competition and talk to the breeders and owners at the shows who have the dogs which appeal to you.

The American Kennel Club offers breeders the option of placing their puppies on either full or limited registration. Full registration allows the dog to compete in all AKC events, and permits any purebred puppies produced by the dog to be registered. Limited registration allows the dog to compete in any AKC event except conformation classes, and precludes registration of any puppies produced by the dog. Limited registration is another tool, along with spay/neuter contracts, through which breeders protect the breed by preventing the breeding of pet quality dogs. The AKC permits the breeder to lift the limitation on the registration one time during the life of the dog. The owner cannot have it lifted. If you acquire a pet-quality puppy on a limited registration and you think you would like to have a litter, you must take the dog back to the breeder to have it evaluated, and discuss with the breeder the possibility of having the limited registration lifted.

Temperament in the Dalmatian varies widely throughout the breed. The type of temperament your particular Dalmatian exhibits is a result of both his genetic background and his subsequent environment and handling. When looking at a litter of Dalmatian puppies for prospective purchase, it is advisable to observe them in a group if possible. Watch how they play with each other and, if they have been removed from their normal play area, how they go about exploring the area they are in. The pup who tends to be a "bully" may be tougher to handle as an adult than you want. Conversely, the pup who avoids joining in play, who startles easily, or who shrinks away from being handled may be too timid to make a good pet. The best temperament is shown by the middle-of-the-road pup who shows natural curiosity, can hold its own in a crowd without being aggressive or withdrawn, and who doesn't struggle and claw when it is picked up.

While the Dalmatian is a highly adaptable dog, the new owner should carefully consider the kind of environment the dog will experience in his or her home and the kinds of reactions to that environment expected from the dog in a given situation. If you have an aged parent in your home or very small children, you will want a quiet, calm, tolerant dog. If you live alone and want a pet who will double as an alarm dog or who has a shot at the next World Frisbee Championship, you will want a more alert, keen Dalmatian. Meet the breeder's adult dogs and see how they behave. Breeders tend to reproduce the kind of temperament they like, and much can be predicted about your new puppy's temperament by seeing the adults the breeder has on hand. Of course, training has a lot to do with how your dog acts around people, but the basic temperament and attitude of the dog will be little modified by formal training, if at all. A careful analysis of your particular wants and needs will guide you in choosing the Dalmatian which will suit you best and which will be, with proper care, your perfect companion.

In view of the foregoing, it should be fairly obvious that you are not likely to find a well-bred pup of good temperament in a pet store. Most pet store pups come from "puppy mills" which are huge breeding kennels where the females are bred nearly every season and the puppies are sold in bulk to the pet shops. These animals are not bred carefully for temperament and correct type as are a private breeder's; they are bred strictly for profit. The pups receive minimal veterinary care, no real socialization, and are often shipped to the pet shops in packing crates of 8 or 10 puppies per crate. These pups are then divvied up among the regional pet shops and are subsequently housed as you see them in the stores: in metal cages where, among other things, they learn to urinate and defecate right where they eat and sleep. This habit can make them extremely difficult, if not impossible, to housebreak once they go to their new homes. These puppies, being of dubious pedigree to begin with, do not receive affectionate human contact in their early weeks of life. Handled like inert merchandise, they often have physiological and psychological problems which time cannot cure.

Also beware of the so-called "backyard breeder" who has bred a pet bitch for frivolous reasons, such as "I wanted to get my money back out of her" or "I wanted the kids to witness the miracle of birth". Such people do not take the time to learn about the breed and plan a breeding that results in improvement. Their bitch is likely not of breeding quality, and their choice of the sire of the litter is probably based on convenience ("The dog down" the road") rather than his suitability for their bitch. They generally do not have the experience or facilities to raise a well-socialized, healthy litter. They often do not know about deafness or other health problems and may not have wormed or vaccinated the puppies properly. The best way to find out if the person is a backyard breeder is to simply ask whether they exhibit their dogs in AKC shows (conformation or obedience classes) and how long they have been in the breed. If the answers are "Oh, no, we don't show her, she's just our pet" and/or "What do you mean, how long have we been in the breed?", you are talking to a backyard breeder. All in all, you are best advised to buy your puppy from a reputable and experienced private breeder. You will have a well-adjusted, properly vetted pup of indisputable pedigree; a pet you can be proud of.

Once you have chosen your puppy, paid for it and received the papers from the breeder, the rest of its education is up to you. Training in the elementary niceties can begin right away, but remember that you have a baby in the house and his or her attention span is short. Housebreaking is the first order of business and you can help tremendously by taking your pup outside immediately after he eats and after he wakes up from a nap. As soon as he relieves himself outside, lavish praise on him. It is smart not to let him go off to play afterwards because then he will forget that the reason he went outside in the first place was to eliminate. Instead, bring him back in and play with him inside. Take him to play outside a bit later, as a separate event from going out to eliminate. Most puppies catch on very quickly and you will be able to tell, if you keep an eye on him, that he needs to go out. Many puppies circle on the floor in an ever-decreasing radius; it is your job to anticipate and take the pup outside. As he catches on to the idea, he will go to the door when he needs "out". Remember, lots of praise when he performs outside, even if he also sprinkled the rug before you got to him. Praise for doing the right thing will put your Dalmatian on track faster than punishment for doing the wrong thing.

We recommend that you purchase a crate for your Dalmatian. This is a welded wire or molded plastic house for your dog in which he can stay, in the house, during those times you are not around to supervise. All dogs have a "denning instinct" and your dog's crate will become, in his mind, his own "den" or "cave". He should never be punished when in his crate; it is his little home. Crating will help immeasurably with housebreaking since a normally clear dog is loathe to soil his bed and will "hold it" while he is crated. (This is where pet shop dogs become difficult because they are used to messing in their own beds). The crate is also handy when you have company and want the dog confined. It is a comfortable and safe place for your dog to ride when traveling in the car. When you must leave the house for an hour or two, your dog is where he is secure and cannot cause damage to the house or himself. Be sure to buy a crate which will accommodate your Dalmatian comfortably when he is full-grown.

Do not eliminate the idea of obtaining an adult Dalmatian rather than a puppy. Some breeders have adult Dalmatians available for placement in suitable homes at any given time and the Dalmatian "rescue" associations always have dogs in need of loving people. Most Dalmatians adjust readily to a new household and are completely settled in within two to four weeks. Adult dogs have the advantage of being housebroken already and being past the chewing stage. Depending on the individual dog, an adult may also be already crate-trained, trained not to bark, not to lie on the furniture, not to jump up on people, and may even have had formal obedience training. If you acquire a puppy, you have to do all this yourself. Adult Dalmatians usually do very well in situations where the owner is at work all day or with elderly people who want a companion but feel they cannot "keep up" with a puppy effectively. The Dalmatian Club of America or your local Dalmatian club can put you in touch with the nearest Dalmatian rescue league, or breeders who occasionally place adults. Rescued dogs should be thoroughly examined by a veterinarian and also evaluated for temperament by experienced breeders before being placed.

General Care

The day-to-day care of the Dalmatian is quick and easy but should be done regularly in order to keep him feeling and looking his best. The Dalmatian is basically odor-free, and bathing is usually unnecessary more than 3 or 4 times a year unless the dog becomes dirty or stained frequently, or needs a medicated bath due to fleas or ticks. Use a mild shampoo made for dogs and be sure to rinse all the soap completely out of the coat or it can dry and cause itching. If your Dalmatian has been exposed to fleas and ticks, use a shampoo made for repelling them. Start at the dog's head and work back towards the tail. Be careful to work the lather well into the coat, including legs and feet, as fleas often hide between the toes until your inundation is over with. Be sure to protect the dog's eyes and ears from the suds.

A good brushing with a moderately firm bristle brush, curry comb, or horsehair mitt every day or two will put a nice gloss on your Dalmatian's coat and help to alleviate shedding. Trim his toenails back (just the hooked tip, please!) once a week so they do not grow too long and cause him discomfort in walking. Check his ears once a week. If you see matter in them or smell a strong odor, clean the ear canal with a Q-Tip dipped in baby oil. If the odor persists or the dog is shaking his head and digging at his ears, have your vet check them for infection. Keep an eye on your Dalmatian's teeth, too, so that he doesn't suffer an inordinate build-up of tartar.

Aside from the above, you should keep a general eve on your dog to make sure he is acting bright and happy, is neither too fat nor too thin, and that he has not eaten anything detrimental to him. Puppies are especially curious and, much like human babies, everything goes in the mouth. With moderate attention and awareness on your part, your Dalmatian will be an easy dog to care for.

Health Peculiarities

As with any breed of dog, there are a few things you should be aware of when choosing a Dalmatian as regards faults of health. One is congenital deafness. This occurs in Dalmatians at the rate of about 12%, although whole litters are often born with no deaf pups. However, ethical breeders have their litters tested for hearing impairment at a professional facility by a trained technician, when such facilities are available to them. Any puppies proven deaf are euthanized. The test, called a BAER (brainstem auditory evoked response) test, measures the hearing response of each ear on each puppy. The tester then provides a printout of each puppy's test, which is then given to you at the time of purchase. In this way, you know your puppy hears.

Still controversial at this time is the issue of the dog that hears in only one ear. These are referred to as unilaterally hearing, or "uni" (pronounced "yoo-nee"). Very young unilaterally hearing pups appear to have some difficulty with directional hearing (locating the source of a sound), but usually by the age of about 8 weeks the uni pup has adapted almost perfectly to this limitation, and it would be difficult for the uninformed person to "find the uni" in the litter. Most experienced breeders feel unis make perfectly suitable pets, and since it is not clear what the inheritance factor(s) of deafness may be, some breeders will keep an especially fine show-potential puppy that is a uni to show and breed. The inexperienced breeder, however, should seek advice from a knowledgeable breeder before attempting to breed a litter, particularly if the bitch or proposed sire is uni. Of course, before the BAER test became available, breeders could only tell if a dog was completely deaf; everybody had unis and had no idea of it!

The Dalmatian Club of America takes the problem of deafness very seriously and has instructed its Research Committee's sub-committee on Deafness Research to collect BAER test data in the attempt to discover the mode of deafness inheritance. The search is on for a "marker gene" (a measurable or observable characteristic present in close proximity to the deafness-causing gene(s) and inherited with it) in order to devise a simple blood test to determine whether or not a particular dog carries the gene(s) for congenital deafness. With this tool, a breeder would be able to know beyond doubt which animals in his/her breeding program are capable of producing deafness-free puppies and which animals have the potential of passing along the deafness causing gene(s).

Do not adopt a completely deaf dog even if it is given to you, as you will be letting yourself in for a lot of work and probable heartbreak: work, because the dog cannot hear you, and for all but the most experienced handlers is rendered untrainable; probable heartbreak, because if the dog ever escapes from you, he cannot hear traffic. You can conclude the ending. The deaf dog leads a sadly neurotic life, as every hand on his fur or step on the floor startles him because he cannot hear. Most deaf dogs become so fearful and timid that they must be put to sleep anyway; it is better to do so right after the BAER test proves the dog deaf, before a family is attached to the dog. Should you somehow procure a deaf Dalmatian, the breeder is obliged, by any code of ethics, to replace the puppy with a hearing one or to refund your money and take the dog back.

The other peculiarity intrinsic to the Dalmatian is the direct excretion of uric acid by the kidneys, without conversion into water-soluble urea. This is due to metabolic differences inherent in the breed and should not be confused with the renal failure and/or incontinence common to many breeds during old age. The most dramatic consequences of uric acid excretion (kidney/bladder stone formation, urethral blockage, toxemia) occur in a very small percentage of male Dalmatians and seldom in females. Females, however, can exhibit symptoms of Uric Acid Syndrome and must be treated when it occurs. It is likely that females do form stones, but pass them more easily than do the males.

The DCA Research Committee has devoted attention to this problem also, and has compiled a "Primer On Urinary Stones for Dalmatian Breeders and Fanciers", available through the Secretary of DCA. Various corrective diets and medications have been developed to combat the effects of Uric Acid Syndrome. There seems to be a link between the feeding of high levels of protein and the aggravation of stone formation. It also appears that using a wheat-, soy- or corn-based food helps to alleviate stone formation, as opposed to feeding a diet high in meat- and bone meal based protein. As with congenital deafness, stone forming occurs in proportionately few animals.

Some Dalmatians experience skin and coat problems which are usually worse during the summer months. In some cases, the redness, scratching, and loss of hair can be attributed to an obvious source such as fleas and ticks, or an allergy to the flea bites. Other Dalmatians may have allergies to grasses or dust, and some just seem to have a chronic dermatitis. These types of sensitivities tend to be hereditary, so when looking for a puppy it is wise to see the parents of the litter and to ask about possible skin reactions in the bloodline(s) of the puppy.

Aside from the above, Dalmatians do not have any appreciable problems with the kinds of things one of in some other breeds, such as hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand's disease, or luxated patellas. They are not, as a rule, finicky eaters and they do not require expensive supplements to their normal diet in order to keep them fit and looking well.

Training and Socialization

Training your Dalmatian to behave as a good citizen and good neighbor is extremely important, whether you tackle the job at home or enroll in a formal obedience class. We recommend that you find a good obedience class in your area so that you can learn to handle your dog properly and so he can learn what is expected of him in society. Dogs which have no direction or guidance become a nuisance to you and everyone else. Your puppy's breeder can probably recommend a good obedience class for you and your Dalmatian, and some organizations even offer "kindergarten" classes for very young puppies. Do train your Dalmatian: you will appreciate the cooperation from your dog, and your neighbors will appreciate the cooperation from you!

Equally important to your dog's well-being and happiness is what breeders call "socialization". This means exposing your youngster to new things, new people, and new situations. The dog who pines in the boarding kennel and refuses to eat when the family goes out of town, or the dog who snarls and backs away from strangers is often the dog that is poorly socialized Take your dog with you whenever possible, especially as a young puppy. Walk him on a leash through a shopping mall and have strangers pet him. Take him to the train station or the airport and acclimate him to the noise and human traffic. Expose him to as many unusual situations as possible to assure that he doesn't cower or hang back under stressful circumstances, and that he is confident and trustful that you will not let anything hurt him. This is especially critical for a show dog because a self-confident "heads - up" kind of dog will carry the day every time over the skittish, frightened one.

If you are interested in showing your Dalmatian, you should attend a show handling class. Here you will learn not only how to pose your dog properly and how to present him in motion to the judge, but also the correct etiquette for the ring, what to wear and how to prepare your dog. Handling classes are often given by all-breed clubs or by professional handlers; your dog's breeder or your local breed club can point you toward good classes in which to enroll.