The black-spotted white Dalmatian is the classic, but black is not the only permissible color combination for these spotted canines. Dalmations also appear in liver-on-white. Rarely, a tricolor Dal appears, with tan markings on a liver- or black-spotted dog. The tricolor pattern is not acceptable in Dalmations; such dogs cannot be shown.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, a Dalmatian's spots are round and well-defined -- "the more distinct the better." Comparing spots to coins, they should range in size from that of a dime to that of a 50-cent piece. Usually, spots on the extremities and head are smaller than those on the body. Ideally, ears sport spots. Spots should appear evenly distributed, with little intermingling.
A Dalmatian with liver spots has the liver coloration gene. Not only does a dog with the gene have liver and white spots, but his nose pigment and paw pads will also be liver-colored.
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.