A general description of the dog, the version of the appearance of the Dalmatian, the use of the dog and the development of its abilities, the ancestors of the breed, the recognition of the variety and the influence of popularization on it. The Dalmatian or Dalmatian is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable breeds to be famous for its spotted color. It got its name from the ancient Croatian region in which it originated - Dalmatia. However, it was in the United Kingdom and America that this dog was widely popularized and developed to take on its current form. The species has been used for a wide variety of purposes throughout history, but nowadays, the animal is most often kept as a talisman or companion pet. The variety also has other names: carriage dog, spotted carriage dog, firehouse dog, plum pudding dog, spotted dog, the dalmatiner and dal.
Versions of the origin of the Dalmatian breed
There are many stories about the pedigree of this breed, but for sure they are all inaccurate. It is known that these canines are not the first of their kind, as the spotted species have been found throughout history and in different parts of the world. Egyptian relics dating back several thousand years BC, as well as several younger artifacts from Africa, India, the Middle East and various regions of Europe, depict such dogs.
Since people are attracted to colorful animals, it is very likely that such varieties of dogs have appeared and bred many times throughout history. Any of them could have been the ancestor of the present Dalmatian. Since until the end of the 1700s there were almost no records of breeding or importation of canines, there is no reliable data on the true origin of this breed.
It is widely believed that the dalmatian is the oldest variety, dating back at least 700 years. Its mottled appearance and other attributes make it unique among all canines. The Dalmatian does not fit into any large breed group, and at various times has been classified as a hound, gun-dog, watchdog, herding and sporting dog.
The earliest evidence for a species that may generally be the ancestor of the Dalmatian dates back to around 1360 AD. Around the same time, a fresco was painted in the Spanish chapel of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (Italy) showing a dog that looks a bit like a modern dalmatian. There is speculation that the dog depicted is actually an early Italian greyhound.
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, spotted canines became associated with the Dalmatian region, which consists of a strip of the Adriatic coast and its surrounding islands. This area was predominantly inhabited by Croatian peoples and until the 20th century was occupied by countries such as the Roman Empire, Hungary, Venice, Austria, Austria-Hungary and Yugoslavia.
Due to its location, Dalmatia has been a border area for many centuries and has been at the forefront of endless conflicts between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years. It was at this time that the Dalmatian first became famous as a war dog. Croatian, Austrian and Hungarian troops used them in the battle with the conquerors, as well as for patrolling and guarding the borders. It is unclear how exactly the breed originated in these areas. The most common theory is that it was brought in by Romanian groups (Gypsies) fleeing the Turkish offensive, but this is just a hypothesis. Perhaps she was bred from local canines or species from another region.
Due to their unique appearance, Dalmatians have appeared in both German and Italian art - especially in the works of Austrian and Venetian artists. Numerous canvases from the 1600s show similar dogs, including "Boy with a Dalmatian" by the famous master Domenichino (Italy). These works, carried out in different places, indicate that by this time the breed had spread throughout Europe. In 1687, a painting of Dauphin (heir to the throne of France) shows him fondling a typical dalmatian.
It is widely believed that the Dalmatian first appeared in England in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Most likely, British traders first saw and became interested in these dogs while doing business in Austria, France or the Netherlands. Until 1737, written records of the dalmatian have survived. Episcopal chronicles from the city of Djakovo (northeastern region of Slovenia) describe the breed under the Latin name "Canis Dalmaticus".
Unlike British guard species of the 1700s, such as the English mastiff, the Dalmatian was a hardy athlete capable of overcoming great distances. British carriers realized that the breed could be used as a traction dog in teams of two or more individuals. Dalmatians were used by carriers to guard the crew as well as the horses that drove it. During the movement, they ran in front, under and along the sides of the carriage, depending on the circumstances and preferences of the coachman. When the carriage was in motion, the dogs pushed pedestrians out of its path, and also slightly bit the lower legs of the horses to make them move faster.
While the Dalmatians were useful for transport, they were mostly kept for security. Before the development of modern law enforcement in England, theft was a fairly common occurrence. Horse stealing was one of the most widespread and serious forms of theft. The coachmen of the carriages had to sleep in a hammock next to their animals. However, this was very dangerous, as thieves on occasion could kill in order to take possession of horses or cargo.
Dalmatians were used to fight unbridled lawlessness and theft. The dogs protected the carriage and horses whenever they stopped. The Dalmatian was mainly a deterrent - a watchdog that either preempted the culprit or warned its master that problems were beginning. However, when that failed, the dog was more than capable of driving out the would-be robber in a violent way.
The Dalmatians were in many ways the ideal transport animal. The breed was large and powerful enough to act as a watchdog and also had a strong protective instinct. These dogs kept up with the carriage and did not take up much of the valuable space in the carriage. The most important thing for a wealthy clientele who could afford to own or rent such a vehicle was that the dalmatian was handsome and elegant.
The development of the abilities of the Dalmatian and the ancestors of the dog
Despite the natural advantages of the breed, English amateurs have worked tirelessly to improve it. It is they who are credited with shaping the dalmatian into its present form. They made the dog faster, increased its stamina, improved its appearance and softened its temperament. Some experts say that breeders in England have developed the Dalmatian's natural ability to work with horses. Other amateurs claim that such inclinations were present due to the travels of these dogs with the gypsy caravans or from the participation in the battles of the Egyptians when they fled alongside the chariots.
However, it is unclear how exactly the Dalmatian reached its modern form. Due to the common practices of the time, they must have been infused with the blood of local British breeds. It is also believed that such crosses were rare and the variety remained almost pure.There are versions that few representatives of the species were imported to England, and the hereditary composition of the dalmatian is associated with the genetics of British dogs.
There is a debate about which species were used for this. The likelihood that the Dalmatians were developed by crossing with the Pointer is high, since these dogs were spread throughout England. They are also similar to dalmatian in structure, appearance and physical ability. Some hobbyists have suggested the possibility of introducing the genes of the last surviving Talbot and Northern Hound. The Talbot was a sturdy white deer hunting dog that had been common in England for centuries but disappeared by the late 1700s. The Northern hound was similar to the Foxhound, lived in Northern England, was used for deer hunting, and disappeared during the same period.
By the late 1700s, the variety was found throughout England, especially in the north of the country. The breed was also imported early in the North American colonies. President George Washington is considered one of the earliest American Dalmatian breeders. During the 1800s, America became urbanized. A side effect of this was the increasing danger of massive fires. In the United States, fire departments have been set up to prevent the threat. In the era before the invention of the automobile, the only way to get firefighters and their equipment to the scene of a disaster on time was by horse-drawn carriages, which often stole. The robbers took away expensive firefighting equipment and horses while the "fire guards" slept or extinguished the flames. People in this profession increasingly used Dalmatians to protect their property. By the beginning of the 20th century, the breed had become ubiquitous.
Although the main role of the Dalmatian was to guard the crew, there are several records of these dogs fighting fires in destroyed buildings and participating in other dangerous situations to save people. In Britain, dalmatian was used in a similar way, but not in the same way as in America. American breweries transported large loads of beer in wagons, very attractive to casual thieves. The variety ensured their safety and became associated with a number of breweries in this country, primarily with Budweiser.
Dalmatian recognition history
This breed was considered pure even before the creation of pedigrees and kennels. When dog shows became incredibly popular in the UK by the mid-1800s, dalmatian were often on display. This variety especially appealed to the regulars of the early screenings - members of the upper classes who could afford to own their own crews. The Dalmatian is one of the very first canines registered with the United Kingdom Kennel Club (KC). The dogs also appeared regularly at the very first American shows, and at the same time received recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888.
In 1905, the Dalmatian Club of America (DCA) was founded to breed, protect and promote the breed's interests. Five years later, his British "brother" appeared. The breeders did not significantly change the Dalmatian, who retained most of his working propensities. The earliest hobbyists celebrated the dog's talents, and many experimented with their abilities. Records from Great Britain and America report that the species was excellent as a hunter.
Such dogs tracked the animal on the trail, scared birds, hunted hares, grazed cattle, guarded, served as rescuers, police assistants, and in addition to performing at shows - protected the crews. Many Dalmatians continued to be used as working dogs. In 1914, the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the breed. The invention of the automobile almost completely eliminated the need for horse-drawn carriages. By the end of World War II, the species disappeared from American public life because the Dalmatians did not need working skills.This was supposed to imply a decrease in the number of livestock, but unlike many other species, this did not happen. These pets were firmly entrenched among the American firefighters, who kept them as talismans and companions.
Impact of popularization on the Dalmatian
In 1956, writer Dodie Smith published 101 Dalmatians. In 1961, the Walt Disney Company made a mega-successful animated film based on the work, which continues to be watched by children around the world. The enchanted kids wanted such a pet for themselves. Since the 1960s, most of the breed have been bred to meet the intense demand for dalmatian.
Unfortunately, many of the breeders were concerned about the profit rather than the quality of the dogs produced, which led to defects in health and temperament. The Dalmatian has earned a reputation as an unpredictable biting pet. Such problems were compounded by the fact that this breed needs more activity than the average family can provide. Despite numerous warnings from kennels, veterinarians and animal health organizations that dalmatian is not an ideal choice for most people, the film sparked a serious fascination with their puppies.
Unfortunately, the breed's offspring are extremely energetic and destructive, and get thick and bored without proper training. Thousands of families learned too late how to handle Dalmatian puppies. This meant that many individuals ended up in animal shelters. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, more than half of the dalmatian population was euthanized. Dalmatians have acquired an extremely negative reputation in the media and among the US population. The breed was considered hyperactive, destructive, uncontrollable, naughty, and stupid. Her wild popularity ended by the early 2000s. Breeders and pet shops couldn't sell puppies. Over the course of a decade, registration statistics have dropped by 90%.
The health of a Dalmatian is a concern for many breeders. The breed suffers from deafness and hyperuricemia. Most of the behavioral problems are the result of the owners of deaf individuals not knowing how to train and control them. Modern breeders have a better understanding of genetics and are working to correct these flaws.
Hyperuricemia (high levels of uric acid in the blood), a potentially fatal disease, leads to kidney failure and is caused by a “faulty gene”. Unfortunately, the purebred Dalmatian does not have the correct gene, so it cannot be bred from the breed without crossing over with other species. This was recognized back in the 1970s.
In 1973, Dr. Robert Scheable started the Dalmatian-Pointer Backcross project. He paired a Pointer with a Dalmatian in order to introduce the correct gene. All subsequent crosses were made between purebred individuals. By 1985, after 5 generations, the doctor's dogs were indistinguishable from other pedigree specimens. He convinced the AKC to register two of his pets as dalmatian, but the DCA was against it.
This project continues to cause controversy among amateurs. In 2006, the DCA began discussions about repeating this practice. The AKC officially acknowledged that in 2011, 13 generations of bred dogs had bad genetics removed with the initial injection of Pointer blood.
Long-time enthusiasts and breeders of the species watched the negative consequences of the influence of the film "101 Dalmatians" with horror. Due to careless breeding by unscrupulous breeders, certain individuals are poorly suited to live with many families. Once a dalmatian is out of the puppy stage, it needs to be trained and trained to become a great companion dog. Connoisseurs of the breed refute misconceptions about this dog.