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The Dalmatian

Before the Kennel Club found it necessary to insist upon a precise

definition of each breed, the Dalmatian was known as the Coach Dog,

a name appropriately derived from his fondness for following a

carriage, for living in and about the stable, and for accompanying

his master's horses at exercise. As an adjunct to the carriage he

is peculiarly suitable, for in fine weather he will follow between

the wheels for long dist
nces without showing fatigue, keeping easy

pace with the best horses. He appears almost to prefer equine to

human companionship, and he is as fond of being among horses as the

Collie is of being in the midst of sheep. Yet he is of friendly

disposition, and it must be insisted that he is by no means so

destitute of intelligence as he is often represented to be. On the

contrary, he is capable of being trained into remarkable cleverness,

as circus proprietors have discovered.

The earliest authorities agree that this breed was first introduced

from Dalmatia, and that he was brought into this country purely on

account of his sporting proclivities. Of late years, however, these

dogs have so far degenerated as to be looked upon simply as

companions, or as exhibition dogs, for only very occasionally can it

be found that any pains have been taken to train them systematically

for gun-work.

The first of the variety which appeared in the show ring was Mr. James

Fawdry's Captain, in 1873. At that period they were looked upon as

a novelty, and, though the generosity and influence of a few admirers

ensured separate classes being provided for the breed at the leading

shows, it did not necessitate the production of such perfect specimens

as those which a few years afterwards won prizes. At the first they

were more popular in the North of England than in any other part of

Great Britain. It was at Kirkby Lonsdale that Dr. James's Spotted

Dick was bred, and an early exploiter of the breed who made his dogs

famous was Mr. Newby Wilson, of Lakeside, Windermere. He was indebted

to Mr. Hugo Droesse, of London, for the foundation of his stud,

inasmuch as it was from Mr. Droesse that he purchased Ch. Acrobat

and Ch. Berolina. At a later date the famed Coming Still and Prince

IV. were secured from the same kennel, the latter dog being the

progenitor of most of the best liver-spotted specimens that have

attained notoriety as prize-winners down to the present day.

In appearance the Dalmatian should be very similar to a Pointer except

in head and marking. Still, though not so long in muzzle nor so

pendulous in lip as a Pointer, there should be no coarseness or common

look about the skull, a fault which is much too prevalent. Then,

again, some judges do not attach sufficient importance to the eyelids,

or rather sears, which should invariably be edged round with black

or brown. Those which are flesh-coloured in this particular should

be discarded, however good they may be in other respects. The density

and pureness of colour, in both blacks and browns, is of great

importance, but should not be permitted to outweigh the evenness of

the distribution of spots on the body; no black patches, or even

mingling of the spots, should meet with favour, any more than a

ring-tail or a clumsy-looking, heavy-shouldered dog should command


The darker-spotted variety usually prevails in a cross between the

two colours, the offspring very seldom having the liver-coloured

markings. The uninitiated may be informed that Dalmatian puppies are

always born pure white. The clearer and whiter they are the better

they are likely to be. There should not be the shadow of a mark or

spot on them. When about a fortnight old, however, they generally

develop a dark ridge on the belly, and the spots will then begin to

show themselves; first about the neck and ears, and afterwards along

the back, until at about the sixteenth day the markings are distinct

over the body, excepting only the tail, which frequently remains white

for a few weeks longer.

The standard of points as laid down by the leading club is

sufficiently explicit to be easily understood, and is as follows:--

* * * * *

GENERAL APPEARANCE--The Dalmatian should represent a strong, muscular,

and active dog, symmetrical in outline, and free from coarseness and

lumber, capable of great endurance combined with a fair amount of

speed. HEAD--The head should be of a fair length; the skull flat,

rather broad between the ears, and moderately well defined at the

temples--i.e. exhibiting a moderate amount of stop and not in one

straight line from the nose to the occiput bone as required in a

Bull-terrier. It should be entirely free from wrinkle. MUZZLE--The

muzzle should be long and powerful; the lips clean, fitting the jaws

moderately close. EYES--The eyes should be set moderately well apart,

and of medium size, round, bright, and sparkling, with an intelligent

expression, their colour greatly depending on the markings of the

dog. In the black spotted variety the eyes should be dark (black or

dark brown), in the liver-spotted variety they should be light (yellow

or light brown). THE RIM ROUND THE EYES in the black-spotted variety

should be black, in the liver-spotted variety brown--never flesh-colour

in either. EARS--The ears should be set on rather high, of moderate

size, rather wide at the base, and gradually tapering to a round

point. They should be carried close to the head, be thin and fine

in texture, and always spotted--the more profusely the better.

NOSE--The nose in the black-spotted variety should always be black,

in the liver-spotted variety always brown. NECK AND SHOULDERS--The

neck should be fairly long, nicely arched, light and tapering, and

entirely free from throatiness. The shoulders should be moderately

oblique, clean, and muscular, denoting speed. BODY, BACK, CHEST, AND

LOINS--The chest should not be too wide, but very deep and capacious,

ribs moderately well sprung, never rounded like barrel hoops (which

would indicate want of speed), the back powerful, loin strong,

muscular, and slightly arched. LEGS AND FEET--The legs and feet are

of great importance. The fore-legs should be perfectly straight,

strong, and heavy in bone; elbows close to the body; fore-feet round,

compact with well-arched toes (cat-footed), and round, tough, elastic

pads. In the hind-legs the muscles should be clean, though

well-defined; the hocks well let down. NAILS--The nails in the

black-spotted variety should be black and white in the liver-spotted

variety brown and white. TAIL--The tail should not be too long, strong

at the insertion, and gradually tapering towards the end, free from

coarseness. It should not be inserted too low down, but carried with

a slight curve upwards, and never curled. It should be spotted, the

more profusely the better. COAT--The coat should be short, hard, dense

and fine, sleek and glossy in appearance, but neither woolly nor

silky. COLOUR AND MARKINGS--These are most important points. The

ground colour in both varieties should be pure white, very decided,

and not intermixed. The colour of the spots of the black-spotted

variety should be black, the deeper and richer the black the better;

in the liver-spotted variety they should be brown. The spots should

not intermingle, but be as round and well-defined as possible, the

more distinct the better; in size they should be from that of a

sixpence to a florin. The spots on head, face, ears, legs, tail, and

extremities to be smaller than those on the body. WEIGHT--Dogs,

55 lbs.; bitches, 50 lbs.