FCI-Standard N° 153
DALMATIAN (Dalmatinski pas)
TRANSLATION: Christina Bailey / Original version : (DE).
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID STANDARD:
UTILIZATION: Hunting dog. Companion dog, family dog, suitable to be trained for various purposes.
FCI-CLASSIFICATION: Group 6 Scenthounds and related breeds.
Section 3 Related breeds. Without working trials.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
The origin of the Dalmatian dog can be recognized in paintings and in church chronicles from the 16th to the 18th century. Dalmatians can be found on the altar painting “Madonna with Jesus and
Angels” in the church “Gospa od andjela” in the town Veli Losinj, island Losinj in Croatia dating back to 1600 – 1630 and also in a fresco in Zaostrog, Dalmatia, Croatia. It suggests that the
Dalmatian originates from the eastern Mediterranean region, in particular the historic province Dalmatia.
The first descriptions of the Dalmatian were found in the diocese Djakovo, in the Croatia, namely in the church chronicles of the Bishop Petar Bakic from the year 1719 and the church chronicles
of Andreas Keczkemety from the year 1737. The dog was named with the Latin name “Canis Dalmaticus” and the height of the dog described with 4-5 “Spithamus”. Thomas Pennant described this breed in
his work “Synopsis of Quadrupeds” in the year 1771 as very independent, named it “Dalmatian” and wrote the origin of this breed to be Dalmatia. A work by Thomas Bewick, published in 1790, refers
to this breed as “Dalmatian or Coach Dog”. The first unofficial Dalmatian Standard was written by an Englishman named Vero Shaw in the year 1882.
After the formation of the Dalmatian Club in England in the year 1890 this standard was transferred to the first official breed standard.
The FCI published the first Dalmatian standard on the 7th of April 1955 under the name of “Dalmatian
Mesocephalic. Head prismatic form with hanging ears. The body is rectangular, strong, muscled and distinctively spotted. The movement must be elegant. The sexual difference must be
Length of the body: height at the withers = 10 : 9. The height at the elbow joint: 50% of the height at the withers. The height the hocks: 20-25% of the height at the withers. Length of head:
around 40% of the height at the withers. Length of skull : length of muzzle = 1 : 1.
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT:
Pleasant temperament, friendly, not shy or hesitant, free from nervousness and aggression. Lively kind, loyal, independent and easy to train. The Dalmatian likes water and outdoor activities. It
has a marked hound instinct.
The head must be in proportion and harmony with the rest of the body and not too wide in the skull area. The length from the occipital protuberance to the stop and from the stop to the tip of the
nose equals 1:1, or the muzzle is slightly shorter. The upper line of the skull and the upper line of the muzzle are slightly divergent. The masseter muscle and the cheek bone must not be too
developed. The head must be entirely free from wrinkle.
CRANIAL REGION: Skull: Flat, with a slight lateral rounding. Broadest between the ears and well defined temples. Slight frontal furrow.
Stop: Moderately defined.
FACIAL REGION: Nose:
Large with wide open nostrils, it must be completely pigmented. The colour must be in accordance to the colour of the spotting. Muzzle:
Well developed & strong jawbone, nasal bridge straight. Lips:
Strong, must fit the jaw rather closely and not be pendulous, or too thick; without the corner of the mouth too defined. A complete pigmentation is desired. Jaws / Teeth:Scissor bite, i.e.
the upper 6 incisors closely overlapping the lower teeth, with all teeth set square to the jaw. A complete set of teeth (42 teeth) is desired (in accordance with the teeth formula). The teeth are
evenly formed and white. A pincer bite is tolerated in older dogs. Eyes:
Oval, in a sub-frontal position placed at an angle of 10-15˚. The eye colour is in accordance with the spotting. Eyelids are close to the eyeball and not loose. Eye rims are completely pigmented
in accordance with the coat colour. Ears:
Set on rather high, carried close to the lateral part of the head. The length reaches to the inner corner of the eye or to the stop. The tip is slightly rounded. The ears have the shape of an
isosceles triangle. They are fine in texture and soft to the touch. It is very important that the ears are spotted, i.e. the ears must not be completely black or brown but black or brown spotted
etc. with the spotting in accordance with the colour variety on the white base.
The neck should be strong and fairly long, tapering towards the head and free from throatiness.
Rectangular, proportions of length of body to the height at the withers is 10: 9.
Withers: Well defined. Back:Powerful, level. Loin:Short and muscular. Croup:Muscular, inclined less than
30°. Chest:Deep and capacious, not too broad or barrel-shaped. The depth of the chest should be 45-50% of the height to the withers. The height of the elbow is 50% of
the height to the withers. The ribs are well sprung. Underline and
belly:The belly is moderately tucked up but not drawn in.
on at the extension of the croup. Reaching approximately to the hock or slightly longer. Strong at the base evenly tapering towards the tip, not too thick but in proportion to the body. Carried
sabre-shaped. Preferably spotted.
FOREQUARTERS: General appearance:The forelegs must be in proportion to the rectangular
body. Shoulder:The shoulder angle is around 115-120˚ Elbow:Close to the body. Forearm:The bones are developed in proportion to the
body and strong (round), forequarters placed straight and legs standing vertical. Metacarpus
(Pastern):Strong, slightly sloping with a spring. Forefeet:The toes are compact, so
called cat feet are typical. Pads are tough and elastic. The nails should preferably be pigmented.
HINDQUARTERS: General appearance: In proportion to the body. With strong well developed muscles. Hindlegs are parallel. Thigh:Muscular and
strong. Stifle (Knee): Strong and well developed. The stifle has an angle of 40 degree to the horizontal line. Hock joint:Strong. Metatarsus (Rear pasterns):The length of the hocks is around 20-25% of the height to the withers. The angle of the hock is around
130˚. Hind feet:The toes are compact, so called cat feet are typical. Pads are tough and elastic. The nails should preferably be pigmented.
GAIT / MOVEMENT:
Rhythmic action, elegant and smooth movement. Stride and trot long with good reach and strong drive. Viewed from the front the legs are parallel.
COAT Hair:Short, shiny, hard and dense all over the body.
colour is pure white. Black spotted variety with black spots, liver spotted variety with brown spots. The spots should be symmetrically placed all over the body, clearly defined and without
intermingling into the white ground colour. The size of the spots should preferably be even, with a size of 2 – 3 cm in diameter. In the brown variety the spots are a little smaller, around 2 cm.
The spots on the head and on the legs should be proportional smaller than on the rest of the body. It is desirable the tail is spotted too, with spots also proportional smaller that those on the
body. Splashes on the body are not desirable and should be penalised. The spots must not intermingle, i.e. forming large patches. Patches and coloured areas are not desirable. The spots on the
ears should be especially noted.
SIZE AND WEIGHT: Height at the withers: Males 56 – 62 cms. Females 54 – 60 cms.
Dogs with excellent type and balance should not be penalised if above the upper limit.
departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health
and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.
DISQUALIFYING FAULTS: • Aggresive or overly shy.
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• Converging head line.
• The lack of more than 6 premolars, the lack of M3 is not noted and will not be considered as a fault.
• Entropion, ectropion, wall eye, eyes of different colours (heterochromia), blue
• eyes, partially blue coloured iris.
• Lack of nose pigment.
• Curled tail.
• Monocle (patching around one or both eyes) or patching elsewhere.
• Tricolour (black and brown spots on the same dog), brindle coloured spots, lemon coloured spots,
orange coloured spots, blue spots and pure white colour without spots.
• Wirehaired or longhaired
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum
In order to start with the commentary, it should be noted that the Dalmatian is not typical owing to its nice head,
scissor bite, rectangular body or correct legs position since these are characteristics of almost all dog breeds. The Dalmatian comes from the hounds group, more precisely from the "group of the
hounds from Illyricum". We can say that they have the following features:
A lighter "braccoid dog type", a mesocephalic head of prismatic form, folded ears, a body of rectangular form with
characteristic coat and colour.
When it is stated that the Dalmatian is a braccoid dog, then it means that its body is of rectangular form. The length of
the body exceeds the height at the withers for 8 - 10%. Further, it has a mesocephalic head with a cephalic index of about 50 (cephalic index = width of head x 100 / length of head), with
slightly divergent lines of the skull and of the muzzle, a clearly defined stop, eyes of an oval shape which are set in a sub-frontal position, folded ears set on high (in the line with the tip
of the nose - the inner corner of the eye). The movement must be harmonious and elegant.
When judging a Dalmatian, the general impression is very important. It includes harmony of the body lines, the movement
and its elegance, which is extremely important since a hound, due to the task which has been assigned to it for centuries - the driving of game, must have agile, harmonious, but also powerful and
elegant movement. Further, it includes the head proportions with typical lines and with ears correctly set on, the correct coat and colour with spots as symmetrically as possible distributed all
over the body. The sex distinction must be evident, which means that the males are not "feminine", and the females are not "masculine".
The head must be in harmony and proportion with the body of the dog, it must not be too wide in the skull area. The length
from the occipital protuberance to the stop and from the stop to the tip of the nose are in the proportion 1 : 1 (or 1 : 0,9, which means that the muzzle is somewhat shorter than the skull, but
only insignificantly!). The skull must be flat with slight lateral roundings. The stop must be well defined, but not too marked or too long. The lines of the skull and of the muzzle are slightly
divergent (all hounds from South-East Europe have slightly divergent head lines). The masseter muscles and the arches of the zygomatic bones must not be too developed because that would harm the
head harmony. The skin on the whole head must be free from wrinkles.
The ears must be neither too long nor too short, when pulled forward, they normally reach the inner corner of the eye or
the stop. They have the shape of an isosceles triangle, and the tip of the ear must be slightly rounded. They must be "velvety-fine" to the touch. Their colour is important, which must be
"marbled", i.e. they must not be completely black or completely brown. A completely black or brown ear is not desirable.
The eyes are of an oval shape, set in a sub-frontal position, at an angle of 10-15° to the horizontal line. The eye (iris)
is pigmented in accordance with the colour of the spots, which means that it is dark brown (giving the impression of being black) in black-spotted dogs, and lighter brown in brown-spotted dogs. A
light eye is a fault which should be penalised according to the degree of deviation. Eyes of different colours, a blue eye or a partially blue coloured iris must be severely penalised, i.e.
disqualified. The eyelids are close to the eyeball and not loose. The rims of the eyelids are completely pigmented (in accordance with the coat colour - black pigment in dogs with black spots,
brown pigment in dogs with brown spots).
The muzzle has well developed jaws, special attention should be paid to the lower jaw, which must be strong with
sufficiently developed kin. The lips are strong and fit the jaw closely, they are not pendulous or too fleshy without pronounced corner of the mouth. It is desirable that they are completely
pigmented in accordance with the colour of the spotting (the same as in the case of the eyes). The nose is large with wide open nostrils, it must be completely pigmented in accordance with the
colour of the spotting. Pronounced depigmentation is to be penalised. Complete depigmentation of the nose results in disqualification.
The bite is a scissor bite and no other forms are permitted, such as undershot, overshot, reverse scissor bite, cross
bite. A pincer bite is tolerated in older dogs without penalisation. As demanded in the standard, a complete bite (42 teeth) is desirable. A lack of teeth, if existing, predominately affects
premolars, whereas a lack of other teeth is very rare in practice. A lack of 4 premolars next to each other on the same side (from P1 - P4) is not advisable so should be penalised in some way. If
there is a lack of 7 or more premolars, it results in disqualification. It should be also noted that a lack of any other single tooth: incisor, canine or molar (with exception of M3), results in
The neck must be strong, long enough, without excessive skin on the throat or the lower part of the neck (dewlap), which
must be penalised.
As already mentioned, the body has a rectangular shape, the length of the body and the height at the withers are in the
proportion 10 : 9 (the length of the body exceeds the height at the withers for 8 - 10 %). The top line should slope slightly from the withers to the croup. A saddle or roach back are not
desirable. On the back, a soft dip may be present, which must not be so pronounced as in a Sloughi, but only slightly. That is a characteristic which can be found in all hounds from the
Mediterranean area and should be regarded as a typical feature of the breed. The loins must be short and muscular, and the croup muscular and inclined at an angle of 30°. The chest must not be
barrel-shaped and it must be deep enough to reach the elbows. The distance between the ground and the elbow and that between the elbow and the withers are in the proportion
The tail must be set on at the extension of the croup, it reaches the hock or is slightly longer. It must not be thick,
but in good proportion with the body. Similarly to all other hounds, it is carried sabre-shaped. A tail bent over the back should be penalised, whereas a tail carried rolled is atypical for this
breed and results in disqualification.
The forequarters must be in good proportion with the body, with correct angulations. The shoulder angle is about 115-120°,
the forearm is vertical, the bones are proportionally developed, the legs are straight. In movement, the elbows must neither turn in nor turn out. The toes of the feet are compact, so called "cat
feet" are typical for the Dalmatian. It is excellent if the nails are pigmented, but non-pigmented nails should not be penalised.
Like the forequarters, they must be in good proportion with the body. Their musculature is strong and well developed. The
lower thigh is inclined at an angle of 40° to the horizontal line, the angle of the hock is around 130°. The height at the hock is around 1/5 of the height at the withers. The position of the
hind legs is straight, on no account O-legs or X-legs, which must be adequately penalised. The hindfeet are like the forefeet.
The movement must be smooth and harmonious, without jerks or "heaviness". The stride, trot and gallop must be long and
harmonious. Any abnormality in the movement of the dog must be penalised.
Coat and Colour
The hair must be short, shiny, dense and hard all over the body. Presence of longer hair should be severely
The colour of the dog is white with black or brown spots on the body. The spots must be as symmetrically as possible
distributed all over the body, they must be clearly defined without gradually blending with the white ground colour. The size of the spots must be as uniform as possible, with a diameter of about
2-3 cm. The spots on the head, on the tail and on the legs are proportionally smaller than those on the rest of the body. The colour giving clear impression as if sprinkled over the body is not
desirable and should be penalised. It is important that spots do not merge together and form certain "larger spots", which are undesirable. Special attention should be paid to the colour of the
ears. Patches are a disqualifying fault. Attention should be paid to the fact that either only black or only brown spots can appear besides the white ground colour, presence of a third colour is
not permitted. Lemon or orange coloured spots are not permitted and result in disqualification. The pigment colour of the mucous membranes, of the nose and of the eye is in accordance with the
colour of the spotting (black or brown), as already mentioned before. It is desirable that there are several spots on the tail, they must be proportionally smaller than those on the
The standard prescribes the demanded size. Nowadays there are numerous dogs (especially males) which exceed the demanded
size. One should not "blindly stick to centimetres", but every dog should be considered individually and judged according to features typical for the breed and certain faults. What should be
strictly demanded, is the dog type, elegance and movement. It is recommended that any size deviation of up to +3 cm/-2 cm in males and females can be tolerated.
The Dalmatians are very lively, kind, loyal, independent and very easy to train. They are great friends of children. They
like the company of their household members and are always ready to play. They have need of lot of movement. Concerning food, they are not very demanding. Some animals show tendency to obesity.
This breed is very fond of water and swimming.
Because every dalmatian deserves only the best of us...