Dalmatian Dog Breed Origin and History
The Dalmatian dog is one of the most easily recognized dog breeds in the world, yet the origin and history of the Dalmatian is not quite as clear. It is probable that the Dalmatian dog breed derives its name from a region in (what was then) Yugoslavia called Dalmatia, and it was at this point in the 18th century that the dog was more or less recognized as a distinct breed of dog.
Prior to this, however, dog breeds with similar coloration and markings were known to have existed in Egypt, Rome and Greece as they have been portrayed on paintings and depicted in the writings from those cultures. There is also evidence of similar dog in the Vatican in the 16th century and Gypsies have traveled with these dogs for many centuries.
Dalmatian History The Dalmatian dog breed has long been used in a variety of capacities including a bird and hunting dog, a retriever, a sentry and a trail hound; however, the Dalmatian was originally best known as a coach dog. In fact, there is some archaeological evidence, including sketches and engravings, depicting a dog similar to the Dalmatian dog breed working with Egyptian chariots.
They became most popularly used in this capacity, though, in England accompanying carriages drawn by horses. They were small enough to fit under the rear axle and they would sometimes run among the horses. They had great stamina so that they could keep up with the horses all day, and at night they were adequate guard dogs while the coachman and travelers were lodging for the evening.
Additionally, the Dalmatian created an air of distinction with his picturesque black and white coloring and regal manner. This image of Dalmatian as iconic coach dog persists today, even in the United States, as the Dalmatian has been used in commercials walking among Clydedale horses and their beer wagon.
More famous even than their use as a coach dog, however, is the Dalmatian dog breed as the ubiquitous fire house dog. Used as both a guard dog and ratter, the Dalmatian was early used in early London stables of fire houses in a similar capacity as the earlier coaches. When the fire engine replaced the coach, the Dalmatian remained as the firehouse mascot.
The Dalmatian dog breed history also includes dog shows and they have been shown as early as 1860 in England while the British Dalmatian Club was formed in 1910. In the United States, Dalmatians were first recognized by the American Kenell Club in 1888 and the Dalmatian Club of America was formed in 1905. Earlier still, Dalmatians play a role in American history as both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were known to have owned Dalmatians.