Because of their fame from books and movies, practically everyone recognizes the spotted Dalmatian. What some folks don't know is that these fairly large dogs are incredibly athletic, virtual canine running machines. They love their people, and their size makes them a good choice for families with older kids.
Dalmatians mature between 19 and 23 inches in height at the withers, according to the American Kennel Club breed standard. Females are smaller than males. The body length from chest to buttocks should equal the height at the withers for the individual dog. This breed boasts strong, prominent bones, so a dog should appear sturdy and well-conformed. While the Dal's weight varies, it should be proportionate to his height.
Dalmatians originally were coaching dogs, bred to run along horses and carriages all day. That's one reason they became firehouse mascots, back in the day when apparatus was pulled by equines. The long-legged Dal needs a lot of exercise. He's not a pet for the couch potato, but for an active person he's not just a best friend but an exercise and workout buddy.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.