It was the movie that made Dalmatians an instant success as companion dogs and family pets, and caused the over breeding of Dalmatians that led to several serious problems. Among the most serious of these issues was a sudden influx of Dalmatians into shelters and the abandonment of many of these dogs. The people who snatched up Dalmatians immediately following the release of "101 Dalmatians" expected the docile, intelligent creatures depicted on the big screen. When the dog was more difficult to train than expected and went through serious shedding episodes on a regular basis, people quickly got tired of them. There's no doubt that the Dalmatian has a mind of its own and can be quite aggressive.
There's also no doubt that given proper training and socialization, these can make excellent family pets, companions and show dogs. There are many countries that claim the origins of the Dalmatian and there seems to be no real consensus about which is the legitimate originator. There's little doubt that this is a true "ancient" breed or that it is directly descended from some breed that dates back several centuries. The first undisputed evidence of the Dalmatian goes back a mere two centuries to the early and mid 1800s.
In those days, many people raised Dalmatian to be the equivalent of a modern day car alarm. The dogs didn't ride along in buggies, carts and wagons, but trotted along beside. Once the wagon reached its destination, the Dalmatian was trained to take up a position under the conveyance and guard it until his master's return.
They were especially popular in cities where thefts were more common. These dogs would run alongside the wagons, often taking refuge from other wagons and horses by walking under the wagon they would be guarding! The natural stamina needed for their guarding tasks has lasted across the years. Today, Dalmatians need plenty of exercise and tend to expect some help getting it. They want their people nearby and can be destructive if left to their own devices. Like several other breeds, the Dalmatian craves attention and will settle for negative attention if his owners aren't doling out sufficient time otherwise. An important fact that caused the disenchantment of many Dalmatian owners is the incredible memory of these dogs.
Once they've been mistreated, they may never really recover. The families who had small children who were rough on the Dalmatian or mistreated the dog quickly found out that distrust was immediate and long-lasting. That led to many families' willingness to give up the dogs quickly.
Dalmatians have a white coat, usually with distinctive black spots though the spots may be several shades of brown as well. In some cases, Dalmatians may have no spots, though this is often a negative point for the show ring. The spots are irregular and may or may not completely cover the ears. Treated well and properly trained, Dalmatians can be every bit the wonderful companion depicted on the big screen. And one of the most incredible traits? These litters can be every bit at large as the one in the movie with litters of 12 to 15 puppies being quite common.
For more information on Dalmatians and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Non Sporting Dog Directory