LETTER D is for DALMATIAN | #AtoZChallenge

94 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging
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Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
#AtoZChallenge, D is for DALMATIAN
Day 4, April 5

This is a breed I know more about than many others, having shared my life with one for over 15 years.
She was our beautiful “Principessa” and I still miss her.

#AtoZChallenge 2016: D is for Dalmatian
Tasha ♥ Nov. 5, 1991 – May 22, 2007

The Dalmatian is named after the Adriatic coastal region of Dalmatia, Croatia, its first definite home, since the origins of the breed are unknown. This breed has served as a sentinel, war dog, fire department mascot, hunter, shepherd, and performer. It is best known, however, as a coach or carriage dog, functioning as an escort and guard for horse-drawn vehicles. A sleek, symmetrically built, short-haired dog, the Dalmatian is characterized by its dark-spotted white coat. The pups are born white, and the spots develop a few weeks after birth. The Dalmatian stands 19 to 23 inches (48 to 58 cm) and weighs 50 to 55 pounds (23 to 25 kg). – Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Generally speaking, Dalmatians are hardy but have a genetic predisposition to deafness (approx. 30%) and hyperuricemia, which makes them prone to bladder and kidney stones. The latter can be guarded against with a low protein diet, which we fed to Tasha. She had no issues, nor was she deaf. I used to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to her because she was.

#AtoZChallenge 2016: D is for Dalmatian

Thanks to Walt’s Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” live action film released in 1996, Dalmatians became the “breed du jour”, which was detrimental to all. Let me explain: These are intelligent, strong-willed dogs who need experienced owners and more exercise than most people can handle. As a result, many of them ended up in shelters. A good case in point would be J.J., a male Dalmatian who was a regular houseguest for a couple of years.

#AtoZChallenge Day 4: D is for Dalmatian
J.J. the “Brat Prince”

Excerpt from chapter two of my W.I.P., “Adventures in Dog Sitting”:

J.J.’s “Dad”, Bob, was a very busy man, juggling a public relations firm with a young family and a cat. Whatever made him decide to add a Dalmatian into the mix? He obviously had little understanding of the breed and opted to keep J.J. confined to a crate for much of the day, (because he tormented the cat). You just DON’T put a Dalmatian in a cage and expect life to be hunky dory once he’s let loose! No surprise that J.J. would run amok. These are intelligent, high energy dogs who need an outlet. I kept my disapproval to myself and accepted J.J. as a houseguest with much trepidation. Hopefully, my own Dalmatian, Tasha, would keep him in line. Before he arrived, shoes and other “chewables” were hidden or put out of reach, just in case. CONTINUE READING ►

#AtoZChallenge Day 4: D is for Dalmatian
Tasha and J.J. at home


FYI: Dalmatians are prolific shedders, year round.
Daily brushing helps somewhat, but if you have objections to dog hair, this breed is not for you!

Have you had any experiences with Dalmatians? Do you like them?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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94 thoughts on “LETTER D is for DALMATIAN | #AtoZChallenge

  1. In downtown Charleston, South Carolina there is an old firehouse with a statue of a Dalmatian at rest in front of it. I lived near a firehouse where I grew up in the Bronx and they had a Dalmatian – during an open house I was taken to once the dog was there, greeting visitors. I am not a dog lover but I enjoyed reading about this breed. Definitely, always investigate the traits of a prospective pet before you commit, because animals are NOT made to be thrown away. It is a lifelong commitment – usually for the pet, sometimes, for the owner, too. I hope J.J. was taken in by a good forever home.

  2. Yes, that movie was my first introduction to the Dalmatians. And they definitely do look intelligent. My Dad hates dog owners who lock up their dogs and allow them to get fat due to lack of exercise. He also dislikes keeping dogs in small apartments. He says it’s bad enough that we humans do this to ourselves, we shouldn’t do it to dogs too!
    – Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    1. So many people became aware of and purchased Dalmatians after that movie came out and it wasn’t good for the breed. They need experienced owners to thrive. Locking up dogs is so detrimental to their well-being! Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with people in apartments having dogs because they must walk them, whether they want to, or not. Some dogs who live in houses with backyards are stuck there and never get walked, which is completely depressing and frustrating for them.

  3. What a character JJ was! I had to laugh about him eating the jeans and pooping denim. Funny but nervewracking, too, I imagine. Sad to hear about his owner Bob having no time for his high energy and always putting him in a crate.

    The hubs family always had Dalmatians when he was growing up and I’ve heard all their stories about each one and their antics. They are as bad as huskies with their energy and mischievous ways, aren’t they? But their lovable nature wins out. That’s how I feel about Loup as he can drive me mad but he is so lovable, it’s hard to stay angry at him.

    I took a fun photo of a German lady on our boat trip on the Ammersee recently. She was holding a Dalmatian in her lap. Not exactly a lap dog but she made her sweetie into one. Couldn’t resist taking a photo and she had matching spotted socks, too. I wish I could share the photo with you here but I did put it on my Facebook recently.

    1. Yes, J.J. was something else! 🙂 Some people shouldn’t have dogs and I hope Bob did find a new home for J.J. I would have taken him. The lovable nature is always a dog’s saving grace. Your photo sounds interesting. I’ll look for it.

  4. I know this breed and I have seen several folks in Pune walking their Dalmatians. Their spots are amazing and the dogs are quite handsome.. if that is the correct word to use!
    @yenforblue from
    Spice of Life!

  5. Bob should’ve given you first dibs on that dog. Sometimes what’s best for us and what’s best for the dog are not the same. When those roads part, even if it’s painful, we need to do what’s best for the dog. I’m glad JJ spent as much time with you as he did, but sad this didn’t have a happier ending.

    1. I would have taken J.J. in a heartbeat! Hopefully, Bob did the right thing and found him a more suitable home. Sadly, I’ll likely never know.

  6. I love the dalmatian, to me the hero in every since of the word. They are beautiful and muscular and friendly, but to think they should be caged. How horrid! I hope too that they gave her the right home. You Are My Sunshine is a song I use in my books. Sarah sings it when the stress becomes too much. 🙂

    1. Caging a Dalmatian is a terrible thing! Yes, I hope J.J. ended up in a better home. I would have loved to take him. That is a good stress-relieving song, but it makes me sad now, missing my baby.

  7. Debbie, I love Dalmatians! The Disney classic 101 Dalmatians was one of my favorites. In recent years, we watched the the non-animated version with Glenn Close and enjoyed it a lot. I always wanted a Dalmatian, but I knew they were prong to deafness and so I thought that would be a good suit for me. I didn’t know about the shedding problem or the other health concern associated with Dalmatians. I don’t think any pure breeds would be to my complete liking because I know many have special concerns and from what I understand have a shorter life expectancy. I think I would like to get a mixed breed someday. Your Princess sounds sweet, though, and glad you didn’t have to worry with the problems that you mentioned with her.

    1. Dalmatians have fewer health problems than many other breeds, but I agree with you that mixed breeds tend to be healthier and not as high strung. Tasha (aka “Principessa”) was a great dog and we enjoyed her company for almost 16 years.

  8. When I was a kid, before the Disney film, the Dalmatian was one of my favorite breeds. I think it was the association with fire dogs. Little Golden Book covers used to have a picture of a Dalmatian among the many other little pictures they showed. That probably influenced me as well.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

    1. Yes, the fire station mascot was popular long before Walt Disney came along. When fire wagons were horse drawn, the Dalmatians used to clear the path for the horses.

  9. I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog! I am participating in the A to Z challenge and posted D for Dachshund today, cos that’s my dog. I hadn’t heard the ‘you are my sunshine’ song before but I think I’ll sing it to her today 🙂
    Thank you for a beautiful post and blog!

  10. We have had a Dalmatian. We called him Pepper. And he gave us nightmares. As you mentioned about their high energy levels, our Pepper would eat/chew anything in sight, our once beautiful garden had deep trenches and taking him out for a walk was never a walk but a chase. He stayed with us for 9 months and then I put my foot down. We gave him away to a person who had a female Dalmatian and wanted a pair at his home. My son and husband have not forgiven me for doing this to them still. *Sigh*

    1. Dalmatians need lots of exercise and attention. Walks aren’t good enough – they need a good run every day. Sorry it didn’t work out with Pepper.

  11. Dalmatians are wonderful dogs. I had one that was a regular visitor, Toby. He used to sleep in the bed with me, a true treat as he wasn’t allowed in the bed at home. Sadly Toby has moved on to the Other Side and his owner is still devastated.

    Tasha was beautiful! Love those spots! I didn’t know Dalmatian pups are born all white! That’s very cool.

    I do hope J.J. found a more suitable home. I wonder why he quit coming to you? Do you think he just didn’t want J.J. to grow to love you all more? Or possibly he just got very busy with life…Moving and selling a home are certainly stressful times in life.

    That cracked me up about him peeing in the water bowl! Yuk!!! Scolding and laughing at the same time? I’ve done it many times. These guys just crack us up, don’t they?

    Glad you featured Dalmatians today. I do love that breed!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. You let dogs onto the bed, too? 🙂 Sorry about Toby. It’s always devastating to lose a pet and never gets any easier to bear. I still mourn Tasha after 8 years. I think Bob was not happy that J.J. kept running to our house when he brought him to the play group. I hope that convinced him to find a more suitable home for J.J. I would have taken him, but Bob didn’t offer. 🙁 The water bowl incident still makes me laugh, all these years later!

  12. Dalmatians are so cute and until you mentioned I did not know they were prone to deafness. Recently someone at work mentioned of a deaf Dalmatian and that was the first time I heard of a deaf dog. Your post tells me the signs. Thanks for sharing. Those pictures are so cute. 🙂

  13. Holy cow! I did not know they had a propensity for deafness. How terrible. I’m glad yours were alright 🙂 The excerpt is highly intriguing and promises the book will be an excellent read. You know, it’s hard for me to crate an animal even for transportation because I know they hate it so much. To force that as a way of life is downright cruel. Do you suppose Dalmatians realize how uniquely beautiful they are?

    1. Yes, the deafness gene is strong with Dalmatians, but hopefully, responsible breeding will cut it down. I put the book aside after eight chapters, because reliving some of the sad stories made me an emotional wreck. I just couldn’t take it! That said, this series has given me renewed enthusiasm to pick it up again. Crate training is the quickest and easiest way to house train a puppy, but after that, the crate should disappear, IMO. Some small dogs do like their crates and see them as their “dens”; safe havens from the big, scary world. Dalmatians are charmers, aren’t they? 😀

  14. This is a breed I actually know. Most likely, as you point out, because of Disney.
    I love hearing cool dog stories. This one was kind of sad in a way, but I too hope he found his new home much better.

    1. Thanks for reading my story, Jeffrey. 🙂 I hope J.J.’s people did find him a more suitable home. He was a great dog! I still miss my Tasha terribly, even though it’s been almost 8 years since she died.

  15. Beautiful dogs! I’ve never met a Dalmatian. My husband’s grandma had one named Val when he was growing up that was super mean, fat, and spoiled. I always felt bad for the dog in his stories on her because she was probably miserable there at his grandma’s house.

    We have a Weimaraner, so I’m waiting to see if our breed gets picked for W!

    1. I’ve never seen a fat Dalmatian. Poor Val! No wonder she was mean. Weimaraners are gorgeous! There’s one in our neighbourhood but I have no personal experience with them. Sorry to disappoint.

  16. I love Dalmatians… from a distance. 🙂 I could never handle one myself, but for those who can, I applaud them. That said, what’s not to love?

  17. So here’s my confession for the day: For the longest time when I was younger, I wanted a Dalmation. Not just any Dalmation. I wanted mine to be male, and I would name him George. Sadly, I have never got my George nor Dalmation.

  18. Dalmatians have a reputation for getting into trouble and being too much for their owner to handle. Many years ago Nobby Stiles the England footballer lived near us – his dalmatian was always running away. One day in came into our house while my wife was dusting the stairs. She got quite a shock when the dog put its cold nose up her skirt.
    I still meet two regularly in our village. They seem well behaved – but I wonder!
    Loved your dog and the story about JJ.

    1. Hi, Bob; Dalmatians need a lot of exercise and attention. If they get it, they are generally well-behaved. This is not a good breed for novice dog owners or those without time or patience. Funny anecdote about your neighbour’s dog and your wife! 😀 Thanks for visiting and for reading J.J.’s story.

  19. Dalmatians!! Always the favourite. But I have seen very few in real life.They look so unique and friendly <3 Principessa!! that's a beautiful and a very different name.

    1. “Principessa”, which is Italian for “princess”, was her nickname. Her real name was “Tasha”. 🙂 Dalmatians can be somewhat aloof if they don’t know you.

  20. The firehouse dog! I’ve never had a dalmatian, but I know about deaf dogs as our dog has lost his hearing as he’s aged (he’s 15 years old).

    1. Yes, and don’t they look fabulous against the red background of those fire trucks? 😀 Sorry about your dog’s hearing loss. With Dalmatians, it’s usually a birth defect.

  21. Your Principessa was so adorable! Just like my Sparky, she was 11.5 years old when she passed away last year, renal failure was the prognosis. Her first anniversary is coming up on 7th May and I am putting together a book on her life, to be launched on the same day. Wish me luck. Lovely article and beautiful pictures of Dalmatian babies 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sulekha. Yes, I remember Sparky’s story and am so sorry for your loss. ♥ Tasha has been gone eight years now and I still mourn. I’m looking forward to your book and will definitely buy it. Good luck!

  22. I have never seen a dalmation up close and personal, but would love to. I bet they are a blast to scuffle with, outdoors. We have enough space for one to run the reckless out of its system, at least for a little while.

    Great feature here, Debbie.

    1. Dalmatians are beautiful dogs. Highly intelligent and independent as well, which makes for a challenge. Sounds like you have the ideal property for such a dog.

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts, Indy. I had stopped writing the book after eight chapters because it was emotionally draining – too many sad endings. This is inspiring me to go back to it.

      1. Debbie, I hope you go back to writing it. Dogs do make us sad but the happiness they give is manifold – concentrate on that. I too wish they had more time with us. It is one of the reasons I have not got one for my son and I am waiting for him to be a bit older to understand it. Hugs dear.

        1. I intend to but had to stop for awhile because it was making me an emotional wreck. Chapter 7 in particular really did me in. You’ll find a link to that in the “L” post. Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs back. 🙂

  23. That’s a sad story about JJ. I too hope he found a home where they understood him better. I rescued a dalmatian and she wasn’t deaf although she almost turned us deaf with her barking. She had tons of nervous energy and was absolutely gorgeous. The shelter told us her name was Sandy which made no sense for a spotted dog. We realised it was a corruption of Cindy and called her. She responded very well to being called Cindy and kept us entertained with her antics and her devotion.

    1. Thanks for reading J.J.’s story. 🙂 I too hope he ended up in a more suitable home. Your Cindy sounds lovely. Dalmatians are extremely devoted to their people.

  24. Wow I read the dogsitting story too and I also hope JJ found a new home, really enjoyed today’s entry, I’ve only met two Dalmatians, they were fortunate enough to live with a family who had lots of time for exercise and plenty of room for them to round around in. Great post!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

    1. Thanks for reading J.J.’s story, too. 🙂 Those Dalmatians you mentioned are certainly lucky to have such great people! Very few understand the needs of this breed. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Cheers!

  25. I’ve only met a couple of Dalmatians and they were bonkers – lovely, but bonkers 🙂 I can imagine they need a lot of exercise to keep them happy. It’s such a shame when people get any animal they don’t understand how to care for.
    Tasha’s Thinkings (70) | Wittegen Press (72) | FB3X (AC) (73)

    1. Yes, Dalmatians were also great in the early days, when fire wagons were pulled by horses. They would clear the path for them. 🙂 Thanks for the compliment, Angelika. Much appreciated!

    1. Dalmatians are smart, too. 😉 I actually stopped writing this after eight chapters, because reliving some of the sad endings was too draining and depressing. This theme has given me new enthusiasm to get back to it. Thanks for coming by, Corinne.

    1. Glad you could come by, Sunila. 🙂 This is a hectic month for all. Dalmatians are beautiful dogs in general and of course, we think Tasha was even more so. Terriers are fun and yes, they do shed, but, it’s a minor thing if you love your dog.

    1. I didn’t know Dalmatians were so popular in India. 🙂 Their popularity has waned here, thank goodness. Most people who get them don’t know how to take care of them properly. Tasha was a beauty, for sure. We had 15+ wonderful years together. ♥

  26. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    Yessum, I certainly do have experience with the Dalmatian – just one of them, not 101. 🙂 In the fall of 1954 when I was turning age 5, my family moved from the country to the suburbs. I loved to play outdoors and soon discovered that one of our neighbors around the block owned a Dalmatian named Lucky. Your description of the breed is accurate. That dog had energy to burn. He romped around at high speed, bolting this direction and that, and he was so frisky that he often jumped up on me and bowled me over. One time that first winter he grabbed my scarf in his teeth and dragged me across the yard. Lucky never bit me but I never felt at ease when he was on the loose.

    Thank you, dear friend Debbie!

    1. Sounds like Lucky wasn’t exercised enough by his owner. How irresponsible of him to let the dog run amok in the neighbourhood! I hope you weren’t injured in the scarf incident.

  27. They are quite the great dog but you have to be a great owner and that is the issue. My former sis in law worked at the humane society and after 101 Dalmatipns came out they got inundated with Dalmatipns. Too many thought they would be good for their kids when they aren’t. I remember having a Dalmatian when I was 5 yrs old. We never went to get a dog as many just showed up since we lived in the country. Spot showed up and he became our dog. One day the owner came and said that was his dog, Spot ran behind my mom but my mom, being ignorant of what to do, let hi. Take the dog. 3 days later Spot came to us and he was missing an eye. The next time the guy showed up my dad told him he will do the same thing he did to the dog. The jerk left and we kept Spot until, one day, he just disappeared. Kind of a sad story actually.

    1. Yes. that’s EXACTLY the issue, Birgit! Dalmatians are high-maintenance and need an experienced hand. How awful that poor dog lost an eye! I’m so glad you were able to keep Spot in the end.

  28. My precious Mercedez, Sades, Sader Bader, Mama’s Girl was half-Dalmatian. We lost her a few months ago. She was 15.8 years old. The only thing I do not miss is the constant shedding but when you love your dog so much, you don’t really notice. RIP best dog ever.

    1. My sympathies, Carol ♥ I know how it is. Tasha was our best dog ever and she’s been gone for 8 years now, but I still mourn. Very true about the shedding.