Do you think Cruella de Vil knew that there were also long-haired Dalmatians? I'm thinking not. Surely one of the wickedest Disney villains would have loved a longer, fluffier coat
In fact, not many people know that these spotted dogs exist, often mistaking them for a Dalmatian mixed breed. They look different from their short-haired counterparts, with a distinctive feathery coat and adorable fluffy ears.
They're intelligent, regal, funny, and alert dogs that are bound to catch everyone's eye as you walk down the street. They're sure to gain popularity with pet owners around the world.
Here's everything you need to know about this fluffy Dalmatian.
Origin and history of the long-haired Dalmatian
It's thought that this dog breed originally came from Croatia. In 1374, a Croatian Bishop first wrote about a white hunting dog from Dalmatia (a region in Croatia) that had black spots all over it.
In the 17 and 1800s, Dalmatians were loved by the nobility in many different countries for their appearance and their ability to run alongside carriages. Their regal manner, muscular bodies, and protective instincts made them the perfect carriage dogs to accompany noble men and women on long journeys and to protect them from bandits.
In the 1800s Dalmatian dogs were taken to England and the US where they became much-loved pets.
In 1888 the American Kennel Club officially recognized these spotted dogs as a breed. Even though the Dalmatian breed was listed, it wasn't until Glenn Close, Pongo, and Perdy hit the screens in 1996 that Dalmatian puppies really became as popular as they are today.
So, what is a long-haired Dalmatian?
If you see one of these familiar, yet fluffy pups you'd be forgiven for thinking they're a cross-breed. They look like short-coat Dalmatians (they're just as spotty) but with distinctively fluffier, featherier fur. Their coat is particularly noticeable around their ears, chest, legs, and tail! They are, however, purebred Dalmatians and just a variety of the better-known pups.
Even though they're purebred, the AKC doesn't recognize long-haired Dalmatians as standard.
Are long coat Dalmatians rare?
Yes. In comparison to short-haired Dalmatians, they are rare.
The long coat gene is recessive, meaning that if two parent pups with this specific gene breed, there's a possibility that they'll have a litter of long-haired Dalmatian puppies.
Because this coat isn't considered standard, Dalmatians with a long coat have been bred out over time. It's thought that at one point long-haired Dalmatians were 50% of all Dalmatians.
Temperament and personality of a long-haired Dalmatian
Long-haired Dalmatians are balls of adoring energy.
They're loyal, protective, and love to be around their family members. They're eager to please and will constantly be looking for your attention.
These dogs can be a little goofy and will do all sorts of silly things in an attempt to use up their energy.
Because long-haired Dalmatians are so excitable, it's really important that they get enough exercise and are entertained throughout the day.
They're very intelligent dogs and this intelligence can easily be used in a destructive manner if they're left to get bored. They need plenty of space to play in, puzzle toys, attention from you, and interesting exercise throughout the day.
It's really important to train all Dalmatian puppies (long coat Dalmatian puppies included) from an early age.
If not done correctly, they can grow up to be badly behaved. Luckily, because they're so eager to please, it's not too difficult to train a long-haired Dalmatian puppy.
They respond really well to positive reinforcement (especially if treats are involved) and will be really happy to learn new things and tricks.
Because of their past, you may also find that your long-haired Dalmatian excels in carriage training and they'll love being enrolled in obedience classes.
How much exercise do long-coat Dalmatians need?
Although not specifically sporting dogs, Dalmatians need a lot of exercise. They're very athletic and have a high level of physical endurance (after all, they could keep up with carriages).
These dogs need at least 2 hours of exercise per day.
This could be a long walk, run, or playing in the doggie park. It's also a good idea for them to have a yard to blow off some extra steam in.
Are long-haired Dalmatians aggressive?
Unfortunately, Dalmatians in general have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive. This doesn't, however, have to be the case.
In all likelihood, long-haired Dalmatians will become aggressive if they haven't been trained well or if they've not been socialized properly. Bored pups can also become aggressive if there's nothing ‘better' for them to do, so make sure their bodies and brains are entertained!
It's fairly common for both long and short-haired Dalmatians to suffer from hearing difficulties and even complete deafness.
It's important you approach all dogs with caution but especially Dalmatians. If they don't hear you coming, their natural reaction could be aggression.
Appearance of long-haired Dalmatian
Actually, a long-haired Dalmatian looks exactly as you'd imagine. They look like regular Dalmatians with longer hair (roughly 2-4 inches long)!
They're medium-sized dogs with sleek, muscular bodies. They have a well-defined muzzle and triangular-shaped ears which flop down. Of course, these pups are iconic thanks to their white bodies covered in spots!
Long-haired Dalmatian puppies are actually born all white and their spots start to develop after 10 days or so (we all remember Cruella de Vil waiting impatiently for the puppies to get their spots)!
Long-coat Dalmatian size
As with many dog breeds, females are slightly smaller than male long-haired Dalmatians. Males can grow to be between 21 and 23 inches tall and females between 19 and 22 inches tall.
Long-coat Dalmatian weight
Long-haired Dalmatians weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. Dalmatians are known for loving food and treats and can easily put weight on. It's important that you don't overfeed your long-haired Dalmatian and that they get enough exercise to stay at a healthy weight.
Long-coat Dalmatian color
Of course, most of us think of black and white pups when we think of Dalmatians but they can also be white with liver brown spots, brindle, tri-color, and even lemon (a beautiful orange-like shade).
Grooming long-haired Dalmatians
Do long-haired Dalmatians shed?
Yes! Long-coated Dalmatians do shed. So do standard Dalmatians.
They're known for being all year round moderate shedders, so if you're thinking about adopting a long-haired Dalmatian puppy or adult dog, you'll need to accept that grooming will be part of your daily life!
We recommend brushing your dog once a day to keep vacuuming to a minimum. You may want to do it outside so stray hairs don't blow around your house too! It's also a good idea to take your pup to a groomer so they can trim their feet and ears.
As with all dog breeds, it's important you take care of their dental health and take them for regular trips to the vet. You should bathe your long-haired Dalmatian every so often and make sure their ears are clean to prevent infection.
Are long-haired Dalmatians hypoallergenic?
No! Because long-haired Dalmatians shed, they're not considered to be hypoallergenic or good for those with dog allergies. Here's a list of pups that are better for allergy sufferers (although every dog sheds to some extent)!
Long-haired Dalmatian health problems
Different breeds of dogs have different common health issues. Generally speaking, purebred dogs are likely to have more problems than mixed breeds.
There's no sure way to know if your pup will suffer from the following conditions, but some breeders will do tests to minimize the risk.
- Deafness/hearing problems. Almost 30% of all Dalmatian puppies have hearing problems or suffer from hearing loss. That's a pretty big percentage. It's normally inherited from their parents and, unfortunately, is untreatable. You can ask your breeder or vet to do a BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test which measures their hearing.
- Urolithiasis. Purebred Dalmatians (both short and long-haired pups) have a unique urinary tract system. Because of the high levels of uric acid in their urine, stones form easily and can get lodged in their urethra. It can be painful for your dog, and even fatal. Regular urine tests, as well as a specific diet, can help manage Urolithiasis.
- Elbow and hip dysplasia. These are both conditions normal in medium-sized and large dogs. It's when the leg bones don't properly fit into the hip or elbow joint. It can sometimes go unnoticed, and other times be very painful and cause your pup to go lame. Your long-haired Dalmatian may also develop arthritis as they get older as a result of this. Regular checkups with the vet can help to diagnose different types of dysplasia early on. Dogs with hip or elbow dysplasia should not be bred as it's a hereditary condition and it's worth asking your breeder for proof that neither parent had it.
- Skin allergies. It's common for both varieties of Dalmatians to suffer from allergies. These could be air-born (such as pollen), food-based, or substance-based (such as allergies to a specific shampoo). They can be diagnosed and treated by a vet or by a change in environment and diet.
Ethical breeding and catching any conditions early on can help to minimize the risk of your pup suffering from these issues.
Life expectancy of a long-haired Dalmatian
When adopting a pup, it's important you get them from a respectable and ethical long-haired Dalmatian breeder. Doing this will ensure that your pup is as healthy as can be and help them to be a part of your family for as long as possible.
Generally speaking, long-haired Dalmatians live between 13 and 16 years. As well as the unique genetics of your pup, lifestyle will also have an effect on how long your long-haired Dalmatian lives.
Regular trips to the vet, plenty of exercise, nutritious food, and keeping their brains engaged should keep them healthy and happier for longer.
How much does a long-haired Dalmatian cost?
This really depends on which breeder you go to, but long coat puppies can cost anywhere between $600 and $1200. If you go to a responsible breeder who prefers the short-haired variety (so they can compete in shows), you may get any long-coat puppies they have for a cheaper price.
Seeing as they're purebred dogs, it's unlikely that they'll be in a doggie shelter. But it's always worth looking! Try checking in Dalmatian-specific shelters too.
Fun facts about long-haired Dalmatians
Do long-coat Dalmatians like to swim?
Most Dalmatians love water! They're very energetic dogs and splashing about in water is a great way for them to play, exercise, and use up some of that energy!
It's interesting that so many Dalmatians like water when it isn't in their breed history. They were never used specifically as water pups but swimming seems to come naturally to them!
Can long-haired Dalmatians live in apartments?
Dalmatians are not the best choice in dog breed for apartment dwellers. They have a lot of energy and like to play in quite a boisterous manner, meaning a bigger space with a yard is more suitable.
Of course, if you have a lot of free time and are happy to take your pup out more regularly, having a Dalmatian in an apartment is possible.
How long does it take a long-haired Dalmatian to be fully grown?
Dalmatians are fully grown after roughly 16 months.
Can long-haired Dalmatians be left alone?
Dalmatians are real people pups and love to be around their owners. They don't do well being left alone for more than 2 hours and can easily develop separation anxiety.
Do long-haired Dalmatians bark a lot?
Of course, not all dogs are the same, but generally speaking, long-haired Dalmatians don't bark much. They may bark occasionally if they feel threatened but are normally pretty quiet.
Are long-haired Dalmatians smart?
Yes! Absolutely. Both long and short-haired Dalmatians are intelligent dogs and are relatively easy to train. They're eager to please and will excel in all kinds of training classes. They also make great watchdogs!
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about these wonderful dogs that make just as good pets as the short-haired variety. They're loyal, caring, funny, intelligent, and will just love spending time with you!
Had you ever heard of a long-haired Dalmatian? Would you consider getting one? Why?
Credits to @charlie.the.dalmatian for the picture. Go follow him!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!