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Dalmatian Origin and History

Dalmatian Breed Origin

The Dalmatian dog is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds in
the world, yet the origin and history of the Dalmatian is not quite as
clear. It is probable that the Dalmatian dog breed derives its name
from a region in (what was then) Yugoslavia called Dalmatia, and it
was at this point in the 18th century that the dog was more or less
recognized as a distinct breed of dog.

Prior to this, however, dog breeds with similar coloration and markings were known to have
existed in Egypt, Rome and Greece as they have been portrayed on paintings and depicted in
the writings from those cultures. There is also evidence of similar dog in the Vatican in the 16th
century and Gypsies have traveled with these dogs for many centuries.

Dalmatian Dog Breed History

The Dalmatian dog breed has long been used in a variety of capacities including a bird and
hunting dog, a retriever, a sentry and a trail hound; however, the Dalmatian was originally best
known as a coach dog. In fact, there is some archaeological evidence, including sketches and
engravings, depicting a dog similar to the Dalmatian dog breed working with Egyptian

They became most popularly used in this capacity, though, in England accompanying carriages
drawn by horses. They were small enough to fit under the rear axle and they would sometimes
run among the horses. They had great stamina so that they could keep up with the horses all
day, and at night they were adequate guard dogs while the coachman and travelers were lodging
for the evening.

Additionally, the Dalmatian created an air of distinction with his picturesque black and white
coloring and regal manner. This image of Dalmatian as iconic coach dog persists today, even in
the United States, as the Dalmatian has been used in commercials walking among Clydedale
horses and their beer wagon.

More famous even than their use as a coach dog, however, is the Dalmatian dog breed as the
ubiquitous fire house dog. Used as both a guard dog and ratter, the Dalmatian was early used in
early London stables of fire houses in a similar capacity as the earlier coaches. When the fire
engine replaced the coach, the Dalmatian remained as the firehouse mascot.

The Dalmatian dog breed history also includes dog shows and they have been shown as early as
1860 in England while the British Dalmatian Club was formed in 1910. In the United States,
Dalmatians were first recognized by the American Kenell Club in 1888 and the Dalmatian Club
of America was formed in 1905. Earlier still, Dalmatians play a role in American history as
both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were known to have owned Dalmatians.

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