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Meet The Beautiful Long-Haired Dalmatian: colors, temperament, traits

Long haired Dalmatian with fluffy fur looking into the distance in a field

The Dalmatian is one of the world’s most popular and easily recognizable breeds, thanks mainly to its iconic spotted coat. While every Dalmatian has spots, not all have short hair. Meet the long-haired dalmatian.

HEIGHT: 19 to 23 inchesWEIGHT: 45 to 60 pounds
LIFE SPAN: 10 to 13 yearsBREED SIZE: Medium 
INTELLIGENCE: HighEXERCISE NEEDS: high
ENERGY LEVEL: HighBARKING LEVEL: Low
DROOL TENDENCY: Medium COAT LENGTH: Long
Close up of a brown and white Long haired Dalmatian
jaxx_the_dal
COLORS: White with black, brown, lemon, brindle spots
TEMPERAMENT: Playful, friendly, affectionate, loyal, timid
GOOD WITH: families with older children, active adults
HEALTH FACTORS: kidney stones, deafness, obesity
Other Traits: great hiking or running companion, sheds a lot, protective, has high prey drive

Yes, a long-haired dalmatian does exist. This dog is not a product of crossbreeding. It is every inch purebred and possesses the temperament and personality of a typical Dalmatian. But how did it get its long, luxuriant fur?

Discover the science behind its coat, plus other fascinating facts about this exquisite pooch:

History | Long-haired dalmatians are as ancient as their short-haired siblings.

Long haired Dalmatian puppy
charlie.the.dalmatian

Many historians believe that Dalmatians have existed for more than 4,000 years. However, it is only just recently that people started acknowledging the long-haired dalmatians. These dogs are not crossbreeds but a variation of the short-haired Dalmatian. They possess a recessive long coat (LC) gene, and when two Dalmatians with a long coat gene mate, they may produce long-haired puppies.

Experts believe that both long-haired and short-haired Dalmatians have the same distribution back then. However, prestigious kennel clubs only recognize short coats and ban long coats from competing in shows. Eventually, breeders systematically bred away from the long-haired variety.

Luckily, more dog lovers are rediscovering the exquisite beauty of the long-haired dalmatian. It is still not a recognized breed, but there is hope that the ruling will change eventually. After all, the LC gene is a natural occurrence and has existed since the breed first showed up.

Appearance | Except for the coat, they have the same physical traits as short-haired Dalmatians.

fully grown Long haired Dalmatian
dalmatian_of_gingerbreadvalley

Imagine the distinct random spots of a short-haired Dalmatian on a long-haired pooch. These dogs have coats that are about two to four inches long. The majority of them sport feathering in their ears, legs, and tail. Like their short-haired siblings, their spots are not exclusively black but come in brown, lemon, brindle, even tricolor. As puppies, long coat dalmatians are born pure white and acquire the markings around two to weeks old. 

Apart from their signature spots, long-haired dalmatians are known for their graceful gait. They have long, lean legs and sleek, muscular bodies. Their well-defined muzzles and alert round eyes create an intelligent expression. Their tails curve upwards, and their feet are thick and compact. 

Long-haired dalmatians are medium-sized breeds. The males are slightly taller than the females, standing at 21 to 23 inches, whereas females are between 19 to 22 inches. Both sexes weigh between 45 to 60 pounds.

Temperament | They are sweet and make fantastic family pets.

Close up of a Long Coat Dalmatian with orange eyes
dalmatian_of_gingerbreadvalley

Long-haired dalmatians are loyal, affectionate, outgoing, intelligent, and friendly. They are also playful, athletic, and energetic. Their elevated energy level makes them unsuitable for apartment dwellers as they need adequate space to move around. They can also be fiercely protective of their humans, a trait they inherited from their ancestors, who were coach dogs. 

Some people mistake their guard dog instinct for aggression. They are, in actuality, very loving dogs and scored high in the American Temperament Testing Society (83.3%). It proves they are a gentle, tolerant and amiable breed. With proper socialization at a young age, they will get along well with other pets and different people, including friendly strangers. 

Like most breeds, they can be strong-willed and destructive, especially if they are unsocialized, untrained, ignored for long periods, or bored due to lack of exercise. They are patient and friendly with kids, but their enthusiasm may be too much for small children to handle. Adults must always supervise their interaction with young members of the family.

Care | As heavy shedders, long-haired dalmatians need a quality grooming routine.

Majestic looking Long haired Dalmatian
charlie.the.dalmatian

LC Dalmatians shed all year round, unlike other breeds that only do twice a year. They require consistent and regular grooming to minimize shedding and prevent their hair from getting tangled. It is best to brush them daily with a de-shedding tool or fine bristle comb. Brushing will also remove dead hair and stimulate blood flow.

Clip their nails whenever necessary and shave or trim the hair on their footpads to keep them from slipping on hardwood or tile surfaces. Bathe the dogs once a month or when they need it. Don’t forget to clean their ears as well as their teeth.

Exercise | They are a highly active breed.

Fluffy Dalmatian playing in the snow
jaxx_the_dal

Long-haired dalmatians need at least two hours of daily activity to keep them physically fit and mildly tempered. Exercise includes running, hiking, jogging, and playing fetch. If available, you can enroll them in high-impact activities, such as dog sports and obstacle races. 

These dogs require a lot of space to move around to expend their boundless energy. For this reason, they are not fit for apartment dwellers, homes with small space, or owners with inactive lifestyles. Too much pent-up energy can cause them to misbehave, leading to destructive chewing, knocking over objects, overeating, or barking at nothing.

Diet | They require a low-purine diet.

Long haired Dalmatian with food
mae.the.longhaired.dal

With their high-level energy, it is no surprise that Long-coat Dalmatians are voracious eaters. Their diet and food intake should depend on their size, age, physical activity, and health conditions. Daily feeding of 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food is sufficient for an active adult long-haired Dalmatian.

Due to their susceptibility to kidney stones, you should avoid giving high-purine foods, including organ meats, duck, venison, sardines, and mackerel. Be sure they have access to fresh water all the time. Also, avoid feeding them fried human food or exposed leftovers as such may cause stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea, or worse, poisoning.

Training | Long-haired dalmatians are very intelligent and highly trainable.

close up of Long haired Dalmatian in the snow
charlie.the.dalmatian

As with any other breed, training for long-haired dalmatians must begin when they are puppies, some as young as two months. Training often starts at home, preferably around people, children, and other pets. These dogs respond well to praises, treats, and gentle corrections. Still, you need to be firm when training them as they can also be willful and stubbornly ignore commands. If given the ideal environment for learning, they can be the most obedient and well-behaved dogs around.

Health | Their main weaknesses are their kidneys and their hearing.

Happy Long haired Dalmatian with its tongue out
jaxx_the_dal

Hyperuricemia is a condition where dogs produce excessive uric acid in their system, resulting in kidney stones, bladder stones, even gout. long coat dalmatians are exceptionally prone to this health issue. Symptoms include frequent or painful urination, blood in urine, and straining. These dogs must eat the proper diet to avoid getting this disease later in life.

An estimated 30% of puppies suffer from deafness, either partial or complete. If you have reason to believe your dog has trouble hearing, let them take a test called Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER). Although deafness is incurable, it can be prevented by responsible breeding.

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Written by Joe Kahlo

After years of writing in the financial industry, Joe was finally able to focus his writing on what he loves, Animals!