Dalmatian Health Issues


The Dalmatian is a breed of dogs originating from the Croatian region of Dalmatia. Dalmatians were used as hunting, guardian, and carriage dogs. They stand out with their unique look—white coats marked with black spots.

Dalmatians are high-energy, friendly, and loyal dogs, but wary of strangers and other dogs. They are very active and require frequent and demanding outdoor exercises.

The average life expectancy of a Dalmatian dog is 10 to 18 years.

Do Dalmatians Have Health Issues?

Although they are generally healthy dogs, Dalmatians are also prone to certain health issues, like all other breeds. During past years they displayed a propensity towards certain health issues that became specific to this breed, such as dental issues, deafness, and urinary stones.

The health issues reported in Dalmatians over the years are the following:

  • Orthopedic issues: arthritis, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, panosteitis, exostosis (bone spurs), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Skin problems: Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome/”Dal Crud”, sebaceous adenitis
  • Eye problems: cataracts, corneal dystrophy, glaucoma, entropion, dermoid
  • Ear problems: ear infections, inherited deafness, not old-age deafness
  • Dental issues: dental disease, malocclusion (overbite, underbite), oligodontia, misaligned teeth
  • Heart problems: dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • Urinary problems: bladder stones, urinary tract infections
  • Bacterial and viral infections
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Copper hepatopathy
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Megaesophagus
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Lysosomal storage disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Epilepsy

The purpose of this list is to inform Dalmatian owners about health issues that could potentially occur in their pets. This doesn’t mean that these health issues will definitely occur in your Dalmatian, but it’s good to know what to look out for when it comes to your dog’s health. There are a few things you can do to keep your pet as healthy as possible.

Keep your Dalmatian’s diet consistent. Don’t give him human but exclusively dog food, especially because this breed is prone to dental issues which start with tartar build-up and result in serious infection in the oral cavity. That is why their teeth require regular maintenance and brushing at least twice a week.

Dalmatians are short-haired breed and have low grooming needs. They are sound sensitive, so you should prepare your dog for occasions and events that you know will be noisy by giving him some mild sedative beforehand.

Since they are prone to hereditary deafness, brainstem auditory evoked responses (BAERs) tests are nowadays being performed in Dalmatian puppies, where deafness is detected at an early age and such puppies are excluded from breeding. That way, the anomaly is not passed on to further offspring.

Although it’s impossible to predict whether and when a dog will get sick, by purchasing a Dalmatian puppy from a responsible breeder it’s possible to reduce the risk of hereditary diseases.