Colors

 

Color At Birth

Adageo Litter
(C) 1999 M. Bouska



 
(C) 1999 Brananman


 Dalmatian puppies with spotting showing through their coats
(C) 2001 M. Deer

Puppies at day 15, notice the spotting (shadows) starting to show through the white fur.



While Dalmatians puppies appear to be born white, they are actually born with their spotting patterns on their skin surface. Their spotting does not appear through the white fur until approximately 2 weeks of age. Many puppies are born with pink noses/eye rims that fill in with color as the puppy matures. Dalmatian Dilemma - white coat colour and deafness - by Dr. Bruce Cattanach


Patches

Patches can be present on almost any part of the body (back, shoulder, tail, head, etc.). Most patches seem to occur on the head, ear or a combination of both. Sometimes patches can occur on parts of the body that are not obvious to most people - under the ear, on paws, on an underside of a leg or belly. Patches are cosmetic. To date they have not been linked to any health issues. Many times patched puppies are very cute and tend to be one of the first chosen in a litter. In the past, many breeders euthanized patched puppies at birth, or soon after. This practice is still done but, not as common as in the past. Most are placed as pets on a spay/neuter contract and on an AKC limited registeration (if bred, their offspring cannot be AKC registered).

 Photo A

A few days after birth.

Eye patch on a Dalmatian puppy
(C) 2000 Bass

 Photo A & B are pictures of the same puppy (one with a small patch on the side of its head).
 Photo B

The same puppy a week and a half later.
Eye patch on Dalmatian puppy
(C) 2000 Bass

You can see the spotting starting to show through the fur. Also notice how the nose and eye rim (pigmentation) is filling in.
Photo C 

This is the puppy at four months of age

(C) 2000 Bass


 Photo A

A few days after birth. 


(C) 2000 Bass

Photo A & B are pictures of the same puppy (one with a small patch on the ear & the eye).
 Photo B

The same puppy at six weeks.


(C) 2000 Bass



Photo A 

A few days after birth.

Unusual ear patch on a Dalmatian puppy
(C) 2000 Bass

Unusal ear patch

Photo A & B are pictures of the same puppy (one with a small patch on the ear & the eye).
 
Photo B

The same puppy at six weeks.


(C) 2000 Bass


As an adult, you might not realize this is actually a patch.
It looks almost like a bunch of spots that have run together.


Noa - A Dalmatian puppy from the Netherlands who has eye patches.
(C) 2000 Ellen Honders

Noa

Noa - A Dalmatian puppy from the Netherlands who has eye patches.
(C) 2000 Ellen Honders

Noa a few weeks later.



Unusal ear patch 

Under ear patch on a Dalmatian puppy
(C) 2000 Deer


This patch is called an under ear patch. It is on the underside of the ear. These types of patches as also fairly common but sometimes hard to detect as the dog gets older.
White in an ear patch  Ear patch on Dalmatian, with white streak
(C) 2001 Deer

This patch is a regular ear patch but it has un unusal white streak on the underside. As this puppy grows, it is very likely that the white will shed out.



 
(c) 2001 Callea

An ear patch on an 8 day old Dalmatian puppy.
 Pile of Dalmatian Puppies
(c) 2001 Callea

Notice how obvious a patch (lower right corner) is, even at this stage.


According to the AKC and most other Dalmatian standards, patches are a disqualification for the show ring. Therefore, they should not used in breeding programs. The patch is considered a throw back to the Pointer, which is said to be an ancestor of the Dalmatian. Patches should not be confused with solid colored ears. Solid colored ears have inter-mingling white hairs. Patches have no inter-mingling white hairs. Most solid colored ears started as spotted ears. As the Dal matures, the spotting runs together. Patches are always present at birth.


Sharra a multiple patch Dalmatian puppy.
(c) 2000 Cyndi - Permission to use photo

Sharra, multiple eye and ear patch puppy, pictured at 7 weeks of age. 
Double Patch Dal Puppy
(C) 2000 Deer

A double ear patch. One across the entire ear plus, a partial patch across the other ear. 





Spotting Patterns

Puppy ghost face on a Dalmatian
(C) 2001 Deer 
 
 Ghost faces
Breeders refer to these open-marked faces as ghost faces. It is a face with very little or no spotting.
Dalmatian ghost face
(C) 2000 Deer 

 

Lightly-marked faces

Light marked Dalmatian puppy face

Photo source unknown



Dalmatian face with alot of spots
(C) 2000 Deer 

Breeders refer to this as a dark or messy marked face.

A dark or messy marked
face is one with alot of spotting or spotting that runs together.

Some breeders and owners prefer this type of spotting.

Heavily spotted faces

Dark faced Dalmatian
Photo source unknown

Markings can vary alot in heavily marked dogs.

Heavily marked face on a Dalmatian
Photo source unknown




 Light-spotted ears
 
 Light-marked Dalmatian puppy
Photo source unknown

This Dalmatian puppy has almost no spotting on it's ears.

For information on blue eyes,
see Dal Info.
Dark ears
 

Photo source unknown

This Dalmatian does not have patched ears, just two darkly marked ears.

This Dal was born with spots on the ears that ran together.


 




Other Colors

The only acceptable colors in the AKC Dalmatian standard are: Black-Spotted or Liver-Spotted.


Liver Spotting


Liver spotting is a recessive color gene. This means both parents must have be factored in order for the liver color to be expressed. Neither parent has to be liver, in order to pass on the liver gene. As long as each carry a recessive, they are capable of producing liver-spotted puppies. Liver-spotting can range from a light red-brown (seen on many Brittany's) to a rich, deep chocolate colored brown. Some look so dark they are often mistaken for black-spotted Dalmtians, unless seen up close. The easiest way to tell is a liver is by looking at their nose pigmentation and eye rims. They are brownish or reddish in a liver spotted Dalmatian. Examples of liver dals:


Liver spotted Dalmatian puppy Liver spotted Dalmatian
(C) 2005 Deer

Molly, The Liver spotted  dalmatian
(C) 2000 Ashbey

Molly




Lemon Spotting

Lemon Spotted DalmatianHead shot of a lemon spotted Dalmatian
(c) 2001 M. Deer

Close up of lemon-spotted dal at the Dalmatian Club of America
National Specialty in Ventura, CA

 

Lemon spotted Dal
Picture taken by Debby Reynolds

Lemon-spotted dal at the Dalmatian Club of America
National Specialty in Seattle





On occasion, a tri-color (a dal with both black and liver spots or liver and tan spots), mosiac, a lemon (yellow spots) or an orange-spotted Dalmatian can be seen. On rare occassions a brindle or blue-spotted Dalmatian can be seen. While uncommon, these should not be considered extremely rare or more valuable by their coat color alone. Sometimes these dogs are more prone to health and skin coats issues.The Dalmatian Club Of America has an excellent video about colors in the Dalmatian. If you would like to learn more about the video, contact the DCA directly.







Mosiac

Mosiac-spotted Dalmatian
(c) 2000 B. R.

An example or a liver-spotted dog with mosaic spotting.


Mosiac spotting has been described to us as a spot or small series of spotting that changes in color. Mainly do to seasonal changes. The tannish coloration appearing in any other area on the body, other than where you would see tan on a dog like a Doberman (feet, chest, muzzle). Mosiac spotting can be in either a black or liver-spotted Dalmatian. It is not exclusive to one color.

 

Tri-color


(C) 2000 Gail McKenzie

This liver-spotted, rescue Dalmatian is an example of a tri-color. Notice the chest and leg areas.

Notice the tannish markings on the chest, forelegs and muzzle. The difference between a tri-color and mosaic Dal is that the tannish markings appear on different areas of the Dalmatian. The tri-coloration appearing in the areas where you'd normally see tan on a dog like a Doberman (feet, chest, muzzle). Tri-coloration can be in either a black or liver-spotted Dalmatian. It is not exclusive to one color.




Brindle spotting

Brindle tricolored dalmatian
(c) 2001 M. Deer - N. Morgan

Close up of brindle spotting



Brindle Dal PuppyBrindle spotted Dalmatian puppy
(c) 1999 Millie Palmer




Brindle Tri-color spotting

 

Tri-colored brindle Dalmatian
(c) 2001 M. Deer
Permission to use per N. Morgan

Brindle spotted tri-color

Dalmatian with
(c) 2001 M. Deer
Permission to use per N. Morgan




A Blue-Spotted puppy

Blue-Spotted Dalmatian puppyBlue-Spotted Dal puppy profile
(c) 1999 Karen Moore
Permission to use by Karen Moore




The color of this blue spotted puppy is similiar to that of of blue Great Dane. It is not easy to see in these photos. The puppy has blue/gray eyes and spotting to match. This puppy, Indy, was rescued from a back yard breeder. She had parvo when she was found.


Long Coats

Long Hair Dalmatian
(c) 1999 Kristen M. Sadler - Permission to use from photographer

There is no acceptable long-hair Dalmatian according to the American Kennel Club , Canadian Kennel Club , FCI or United Kennel Club Dalmatian standard. While some bloodlines can be pre-disposed to producing a longer length of coat, there is no "official" long-coated Dalmatian. It is suspected that some of these dals with extreme length of coat may have been cross breed with an English Setter to produce a long coat. , There is also the possibilty they may be a throw back to a recessive gene. These should not be considered extremely rare or more valuable by their coat alone.

 

Mini Dals?

There is no acceptable Miniature Dalmatian according to the American Kennel Club , Canadian Kennel Club , FCI or United Kennel Club Dalmatian standard. While some bloodlines can be pre-disposed to producing a smaller Dalmatian, there is no such thing as Miniature Dalmatian. It is suspected that some of these so-called miniature dals may have been cross breed with a toy breed to produce a smaller version. These should not be confused with a pure bred Dalmatian. These should not be considered extremely rare or more valuable by their size alone.

 

Do you have any pictures of coat or color variations in the Dalmatian that you can share? We'd love to add them to our website.
Drop us an email.

 

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