This page updated 8/3/00

History of The Dalmatian


From the brochure, The Chicagoland Dalmtain Club presents the Dalmatian

Although the origins of the Dalmatian are obscured by the mists of time, most authors and historians have agreed: the Dalmatian is an ancient breed of dog and a pure bred one at that.
Some prefer to start their tracings as far back as ancient Egypt where spotted hunting dogs were depicted in scenes on the tombs of the pharaohs. There is another theory that the Dal developed from the spotted hunting dog of India: in France, the Dal is often called the Bengal Harrier. By far the most popular theory, however, traces the origin of the Dalmatian back to the Balkan Peninsula and the small community from which the breed derives its name. The small seacoast nation of Dalmatia was ruled in turn by Greece, Rome, Venice, Turkey, Austria, Germany and Yugoslavia. In this history may be the reason for the obscurity of the origins of the Dalmatian, for he may have been taken to several of these countries as bounty or gifts. Some die-hard romanticists hold that the Dalmatian's obscure origins are due in part to roving bands of Romany Gypsies who pirated away some top Dal specimens and spread the breed throughout the whole of Europe. This theory is borne out in part by the fact that, even today a gypsy prizes a spotted animal above all others.

His lust occupation was as a hunter. However, when he was imported into England, he was not as good a hunter as the other hunting breeds then established in England. Since the Dalmatian was gentle in nature, he was allowed freedom to roam his master's estate. He attached himself to the stables, becoming a companion for the horses.

When the master would go out driving, this handsomely marked dog would trot along. While the master was gone from the equipage the Dalmatian would stand by as a guardian. It wasn't long before no correctly equipped carriage would be seen without four or five Dalmatians. They began to be bred for this purpose and it was found that certain dogs preferred different positions around the coach, the most difficult being to run between the lead horses' hooves.

As carriages were replaced by automobiles, Dals could still be seen around the local fire station, the last city department to mechanize. One could picture the old horse-drawn fire wagon going at full gallop careening around the new automobiles and the few horse-drawn carriages. However, as the fire departments became motorized, there seemed to be no need for the "follower of fires", but the fireman had grown to love him and the Dalmatian stayed as mascot and guard.


Red Fire Hydrant


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