SPOTLIGHTING DALMATIAN THE by JAN WARREN LINNÉ for the Dalmatian Club of America
A lthough the breed is traditionally consid- ered to be from the country of Dalmatia (now Croatia), in actuality the breed’s beginnings have been shrouded in mys- tery over time and are virtually unknown. Spotted dogs of similar type have been recorded in countries all over eastern Europe and even into India. Although their breed beginnings may be in doubt, what cannot be disputed is that they came into their own thanks to the English who recognized their unique bond with horses and their striking good looks. Thus, the breed’s coach dog career was born. Not only were they functional and served guard duties with their owners’ horses and property while on the road, their beauty promoted them to status symbol standing among the wealthy. In America, with its lack of nobility, bold nature and lack of affectation, the Dalmatian became a true working dog. Because of the breed’s affinity with horses, they became a natural in the firehouse with its horse-drawn fire wagons. Although they served pri- marily as guard dogs at the fire, watching the horses and equipment, they even went so far as serving as the original “siren” by running ahead of the horses, clear- ing the way. Although that duty has been relegated to the history books, to this day they are considered the official mascot of the fire department.
Fast forward 100+ years and the obvious advances in technol- ogy have put the Dalmatian out of work—at least in its histori- cal roles. Today, their primary job is that of family compan- ion, which is a role they truly embrace. But thanks to his versa- tility, athleticism and intelligence, the Dalmatian excels in so many other venues. In addition to the Conformation ring, dogs are now being titled in a wide variety of canine sports—Therapy Dogs, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Dock Diving, CAT Trials, Barn Hunts, Road Trials and Tracking. You name it, the ever-resourceful Dal- matian can do it all.
© Spot Shots
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2017 • 265
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