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Long-Haired Dalmatian: A Guide to the Long-haired Canine Panda

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

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Forget the classic spots – the Long-haired Dalmatian is a vision of elegance with its luxurious coat and playful spirit. These dogs are characterized by their long, flowing coats of fur that are often white with black or liver-colored spots.

While they may look different from their short-haired counterparts, long-haired Dalmatians share many of the same traits and characteristics. Unlike their smooth-coated siblings that can get away with pet grooming glove, these long-haired beauties need far more brushing.

While long-haired Dalmatians are not recognized by all kennel clubs, they are becoming increasingly popular among dog enthusiasts. Helen Shue’s Guide to Dalmatians is a great source of insight into this stunning pup.

The long hair on a Dalmatian can be wavy or straight and is usually around 1-2 inches long. This means these Dalmatians don’t have the dramatically lengthy coat in breeds commonly associated with long hair, like Maltese, Goldens, and Collies.

Long-haired Dalmatians have the same distinctive spots as their short-haired counterparts, which may appear more defined due to their longer hair. The spots can be black or liver-colored, and some long-haired Dalmatians may have a mix of both.

It is important to note that long-haired Dalmatians are not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a separate breed. They are considered a variation of the Dalmatian breed and can be registered as such.

Check out this Fluffy Dalmatian in Bootcamp training

History of Long-Haired Dalmatians

Long-haired (LH) Dalmatian varieties have existed since the breed’s development. This means that most long-haired Dalmatians are purebred. The Dalmatian breed can be traced back to the1300s in Dalmatia as hunting dogs and carriage dogs.

Today, long-haired Dalmatians are recognized by some kennel clubs as a distinct breed, while others consider them to be a variety of the Dalmatian breed.

Despite their rarity, long-haired Dalmatians have gained a small but devoted following among dog lovers. They are prized for their unique appearance and friendly, playful temperament.

Long-coat Genetics

What makes this dog special is that most people associate the breed with a smooth, short coat. This applies to other varieties such as Fluffy Frenchies, long-coat Chihuahuas, and Fluffy Corgis.

The long fur occurs when both parents carry the autosomal recessive long hair gene (LH) or the Fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF). This means both parents must carry the genes for a puppy to be long-haired, which is why LH Dalmatians are so rare.

It is possible that some long-haired Dalmatians are mixed breeds. This may be when a breeder crosses a Dalmatian with a setter, spaniel, black retriever or a Poodle to create the Dalmadoodle.

Characteristics of Long-Haired Dalmatians

What Do Long-Haired Dalmatians Look Like?

LH Dalmatians are a rare variety of the Dalmatian breed. They have the typical spotted black-and-white look that makes Dalmatians look like cute pandas. The spots may look more defined and pigmented in these dogs because of the long hair.

They are medium-sized dogs with a muscular build and a deep chest. They have a broad head with a long, tapered muzzle and expressive eyes that can be brown, blue, or a combination of both.

You can see another example of long-haired or fluffy Dalmatian in this video:

Coat and Color

LH Dalmatians have a distinctive long and wavy coat that can be up to 3 inches long, much like long-coated Doxies. The coat is soft to the touch and comes in a variety of colors, including

  • black spots
  • Liver spots

It’s almost like the printer ran out of ink in this Dalmatian litter coming in black to liver spots:

Some rare colors are like:

  • Lemon patches
  • Orange patches
  • Black and tan patches

Below is one of the rarest liver-spotted fluffy dalmatians:

How Big Do Long-Haired Dalmatians Get?

Long-haired Dalmatians are medium-sized dogs that typically weigh between 50 and 70 pounds (27 to 31 kg). They stand between 19 and 24 inches (48 to 60 cm) tall at the shoulder. Like all Dalmatians, they are a high-energy breed that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

What is a Long-Haired Dalmatian Mixed With?

Long-haired Dalmatians are not typically mixed with other breeds, as they are considered a variation of the Dalmatian breed. Breeding long-haired Dalmatians with other breeds is not recommended, and it is important to purchase a long-haired Dalmatian from a reputable breeder.

LH Dalmatian Temperament and Behavior

How Does a Fluffy Dalmatian Behave?

The exuberant Fluffy Dalmatians are highly affectionate, friendly, loyal, protective, funny, and intelligent. They can be extremely playful, especially as puppies, when they can be a bit rowdy. They display relentless loyalty to loved ones and family, getting them protective if need be.

Some Fluffy Dals may be a bit aloof with strangers but warm up pretty fast if you win them over. They can also be sensitive, requiring gentle parenting and training with positive reinforcement.

These intelligent fluffs are pretty easy to train because of their brilliance and eagerness to please. However, like most dogs, they may have stubborn episodes where they seem to ignore all you’re saying. Patience and positive reinforcement will overcome this stubbornness.

Are Long-Haired Dalmatians Aggressive?

It is important to note that dog aggression is not determined by their coat length or texture. Instead, it is influenced by various factors, including genetics, environment, and training. Therefore, no evidence suggests that long-haired Dalmatians are inherently more aggressive than short-haired Dalmatians.

Do long-haired Dalmatians get along with other animals?

Long-haired Dalmatians are generally good with other animals, including cats, dogs, and even livestock. However, like any breed, there are always exceptions to the rule. It’s important to socialize your long-haired Dalmatian early to ensure they learn to interact positively with other animals.

Do Fluffy Dalmatians Get Along with Kids?

Fluffy Dalmatians can get along well with kids, just like their short-haired counterparts. However, it’s important to note that dogs must never be left unsupervised with small kids to avoid accidents.

Caring for a Long Haired Dalmatian

How to Groom A Fluffy Dalmatian

Brushing their coat at least twice a week is necessary to prevent matting and tangling.

A slicker brush or a pin brush can be used to remove loose hair and dirt from their coat. Note that, unlike their short-haired counterparts, these dogs “blow their coats” or molt twice a year.

Additionally, they should be bathed every 3 to 4 weeks to keep their coat clean and healthy.

It is important to use a dog-specific shampoo that won’t dry out their skin.

Clip their nails with a sharp nail clipper monthly.

Clean their ears with a vet-approved solution every month.

Brush their teeth twice a week and alternate with a canine mouthwash.

Dietary Requirements

Long-haired Dalmatians have the same dietary requirements as their short-haired counterparts. They require a balanced diet with enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some metabolic issues can affect the ideal Dalmatian diet.

For example, Dalmatians with metabolic intolerance to purines often require a low-purine diet, which involves avoiding or minimizing foods rich in purines, such as red meat. Specialized commercial dog foods formulated for Dalmatians or those with urinary stone issues are available, aiming to prevent the formation of urate stones.

Additionally, ensuring proper hydration is important to maintain dilute urine and prevent urate crystal formation. Providing access to fresh water and encouraging regular urination can help flush out excess uric acid.

Feeding them twice a day instead of once to prevent canine bloat is important. Additionally, they should be fed in moderation to prevent obesity, which can lead to health problems in the long run.

Exercise Requirements

Long-haired Dalmatians are a very active breed, as you’d expect from a carriage dog used to pull carriages. They need at least 2 hours of exercise each day, including walks, runs, hikes, or playtime in a fenced-in yard.

It is important to provide them with mental stimulation as well, such as puzzle toys or training sessions. Regular exercise can help prevent obesity, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of developing behavioral problems.

Health Concerns in Long-Haired Dalmatians

One of the primary health concerns in long-haired Dalmatians is skin problems. Their long hair can trap moisture and dirt, leading to skin irritation and infection. Regular grooming and bathing can help prevent these issues. Other issues include:

  • Deafness: Dalmatians have a higher chance of developing deafness due to the genetics behind their spotty coat color
  • Eye issues like glaucoma, cherry eye with pink bumps on the eye, and cataracts
  • Hip dysplasia, where the joint and socket don’t fully connect
  • Lysosomal storage disease refers to inherited metabolic diseases characterized by abnormal toxic build-up. A study showed that Dalmatians were more susceptible to this disease due to genetics.
  • Skin issues such as the Bronzing skin syndrome or “Dal Crud,” where the dogs have a patchy hair coat, and their skin has a bronze hue.
  • Liver issues like copper hepatopathy, where copper builds up in the liver
  • Bladder stones
  • Heart issues like dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
  • GDV (Gastric Dilation-Volvulus) or bloat when the stomach fills with gas and twists
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies, obesity, ear infections, and food intolerance

One issue that is quite common in Dalmatians, especially males, is their metabolic intolerance to purines. Studies show this is a genetic condition that affects Dalmatian dogs, specifically their ability to metabolize purines found in their diet. Purines are natural substances found in various foods, including meat, fish, and certain vegetables.

In Dalmatians with this metabolic intolerance, their bodies are unable to effectively break down and eliminate purines, resulting in the accumulation of uric acid. A study showed that Dalmatians have Hyperuricemia, which is increased quantities of uric acid in their serum. Excessive uric acid levels can lead to the formation of urate crystals and stones in the kidneys, known as urate urolithiasis or urate kidney stones.

Urate kidney stones can cause several health problems for Dalmatian.

Ideal Fluffy Dalmatian Home

  1. A home with a yard
  2. Active individuals who take dogs for plenty of daily exercise
  3. Non-allergic households
  4. Adult supervision if there are children around
  5. Regular schedules where they’ll get to spend time with you

Adopting a Fluffy Dalmatian

Finding a Breeder

When looking to adopt a long-haired Dalmatian, it’s important to find a reputable breeder. A good breeder will have a strong knowledge of the breed and will take care to breed dogs with good temperaments and health. To find a breeder, consider the following:

  • Look for breeders registered with reputable organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).
  • Ask for recommendations from other Dalmatian owners or local breed clubs.
  • Research the breeder’s reputation online and read reviews from previous customers.
  • Visit the breeder’s facility to ensure the dogs are well-cared for and live in clean, safe conditions.

Adoption Process

Once you’ve found a breeder, the adoption process will typically involve the following steps:

  1. Contact the breeder to express your interest in adopting a long-haired Dalmatian.
  2. The breeder may ask you to fill out an application or questionnaire to ensure that you are a good fit for the breed.
  3. If approved, you may be placed on a waiting list for a puppy or be able to choose from current litters.
  4. You will need to pay a deposit to reserve your puppy.
  5. The breeder will provide you with information on the puppy’s vaccination and health history, as well as advice on caring for your new pet.
  6. You will need to sign a contract agreeing to provide proper care for the puppy and to return it to the breeder if you can no longer care for it.

Because the fluffy Dalmatian is so rare, it will be difficult to find one in a shelter. Nevertheless, we strongly suggest that Dalmatian lovers support rescue organizations that specialize in Dalmatians. One that we recommend is the Dalmatian Rescue of South Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are long-haired Dalmatians rare?

Yes, long-haired Dalmatians are considered extremely rare. They are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a separate breed but as a variation of the Dalmatian breed.

What is the difference between a long-haired and a short-haired Dalmatian?

The main difference between a long-haired and a short-haired Dalmatian is their coat. Long-haired Dalmatians have longer and softer hair, while short-haired Dalmatians have a sleek and shiny coats. Additionally, long-haired Dalmatians may require more grooming to maintain their coat.

How much does a fluffy, long-haired Dalmatian puppy for sale cost?

The cost of a long-haired Dalmatian puppy for sale can vary depending on the breeder and location. However, they are generally more expensive than short-haired Dalmatians due to their rarity. On average, a long-haired Dalmatian puppy can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.

Do long-haired Dalmatians shed more than short-haired ones?

Long-haired Dalmatians may shed more than short-haired ones due to their longer coat. However, the shedding amount varies from dog to dog and can also depend on the season. Regular grooming can help reduce shedding.

Are long-haired Dalmatians hypoallergenic?

No, long-haired Dalmatians are not hypoallergenic. They still produce dander and can cause allergies in sensitive individuals. However, some people with allergies may tolerate long-haired Dalmatians better than short-haired ones due to their softer coats.

Final Thoughts

The long-haired Dalmatian is a unique and beautiful breed that offers its owners a great deal of love and companionship. While they require a bit more grooming and upkeep than their short-haired counterparts, their stunning and distinctive coat is worth the extra effort.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.