Showsight Presents the Dalmatian

1780—Dalmatians were kept as “coach- ing dogs” by genteel houses. 1780—The first printed use of the word Dalmatian in the English language. 1787—George Washington purchased a Dalmatian stud dog. 1862—Dalmatians were first “shown” in a dog show in England. 1888—The first Dalmatian was regis- tered with the AKC. 1904—The Dalmatian Club of America was founded. 1906—The first Road Trial for Dalma- tians was held in America. Dalmatians were used as hunting dogs by Gypsies, in Italy, in France, in Spain, and in the US by none other than George Washington. Their coaching heritage developed largely in England. They served mul- tiple purposes in this role as compan- ions for the horses, guards for the coach and its cargo, and status symbols for the owners. HUNTING DOGS? COACHING DOGS? FIREHOUSE DOGS? Their position as a Fire House dog is uniquely a US phenomenon and dates back to the days when fire trucks were horse drawn wagons. The Dalmatians cleared the way for the fire wagons run- ning ahead and sounding the alarm. One thing is clear. The Dalmatian is a versatile, highly trainable breed that likes to have a job! They are also an intelligent and affectionate breed, which means constant companionship, love and attention—often expressed by following their humans from room to room. Dalmatians are one of the first breeds of dogs children are able to iden- tify by name due to the popularity of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and “Marshall the Fire Dog”. The Dalmatian’s most unique physical feature is, of course, his spots. “Any color markings other than black or liver are disqualified. Spots vary from the size of a dime to the size of a half-dollar. Patches are a disqualifi- cation. A patch is a solid mass of black or liver hair containing no white hair. It is appreciably larger than a normal sized spot. Patches are a dense, brilliant color with sharply defined, smooth edg- es. Patches are present at birth. Large color masses formed by intermingled or overlapping spots are not patches. Such masses should indicate individual spots by uneven edges and/or white hairs scattered throughout the mass.” While the AKC breed standard places the highest weighting on “color and markings”, Dalmatians are much more than just spots! In fact, adding together other factors in the standard such as 276 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , O CTOBER 2018

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