Dalmatian is a dog breed known for its dark spots. Did you know that there are also varieties with different coat colors and length?
Dalmatian is a hunting dog from Dalmatia (nowadays Croatia) known for its black or brown-spotted coat (puppies are born white). The official FCI standard is here.
Rare coat varieties
Other than black or brown spots and short hair is considered undesirable in a Dalmatian but they can be absolutely captivating and beautiful. This difference doesn´t affect the temperament and personality of the dog.
Lemon Dalmatian is one of the less common color varieties in a Dalmatian. It is a very rare color variation with pale yellow to amber spots on its coat instead of the black ones due to a genetic mutation. To compare to other dog breeds, the spots can be the color of a golden retriever or an English Setter.
Puppies have paler spots at first and they can gradually become deeper.
To discover more about the Lemon spotted Dalmatian, read here.
Orange Dalmatian is a very similar variety to the lemon dally and it is easy to mistake one for the other. The orange spots are darker. However, the orange dogs don’t have black pigmentation of the nose and mouth, it’s always brown, sometimes almost pink.
Also, the orange dallies are of darker eye color.
The blue or grey spots are caused by the recessive D gene which dilutes the black color of the B gene. It’s the same color like that of the Weimaraner.
The spots run into one another. They create larger spots with a pattern of dark stripes on background of fawn color
Very exceptionally, in a black or brown-spotted coat there can be one spot in liver or orange color (dogs with b gene) or there can be a spot of lemon color in a liver-colored coat (e gene). It’s the so called localized mutation.
Tricolored Dalmatians are extremely rare. The black-spotted coat has additional spots in yellow, amber or even brindle color. These spots tend to appear on the lower legs above the paws, the chest, chin and around the mouth, eyes and also the anus.
Larger solid patches
Larger solid patches instead of the typical spots can appear anywhere on the body, but most often on the head, ears, or tail. Unlike the spots which start appearing more than a week after the puppies are born, the patches are visible at birth. A patch has a smooth edge and no interlacing white hairs in them.
As for the ears, a solid patch can be seen also on the inside of the ear.
White Dalmatians aren’t albinos (without pigment) but rather lemon-spotted with extremely pale spots. Their mouth and eyes have normal black pigmentation.
In a litter of smooth-coated parents there can be one or even two long-haired puppies. These Dalmatians have a bushy tail and longer hair on ears and chest. These individuals experience much less shedding than their smooth-coated counterparts, which shed year-round.
The long-haired variety started appearing after the founding of the LUA project in the USA. It was a breeding effort in which other dog breeds were mixed into the Dalmatian breeding lines in order to correct a genetic defect leading to increased urinary uric acid, urate crystals, urinary bladder aggregate formation, stones etc.
Read more about the long haired Dalmatian here.
A blue eye in a Dalmatian is a purely aesthetic flaw, it doesn’t affect the dog’s sight. Blue eyes can be, however, the sign of deafness, although it’s not always so.