As a Dalmatian and Poodle mix, the Dalmadoodle can inherit a range of demanding characteristics from either parent, so it's worthwhile doing your research if you're considering welcoming one of these unique dogs to your family.
It's not clear when people first began deliberately breeding Dalmadoodles, but as a 'hybrid', they are new kids on the canine block. But, we do know about the history of Dalmatians and Poodles, which can shape our understanding of the Dalmadoodle.
The History of the Dalmatian
The stars of Disney's 101 Dalmatians, this iconic spotted breed has been a jack of all trades since the 17th century.
Famous for its white coat with black or liver spots, the Dalmatian originates from Dalmatia, in historical Croatia, where it was a dog of war. The first known depiction of a Dalmatian is in an altar painting dating as far back as 1600.
By the Regency era, the Dalmatian became popular in England as a status symbol, running for miles alongside carriages and warding off dreaded highwaymen. Their smart coats and endurance made them highly prized.
Since the days of horses and carriages, however, they became more widely known as the famed firefighters’ dog and since then have been mainly kept as lovable, if somewhat stubborn and energetic pets.
The History of the Poodle
Originating either in France or Germany, the Poodle is another ancient European breed. Early depictions, such as a self-portrait by Rembrandt with his pet poodle, suggests that poodles were traditionally the dogs of the rich and powerful.
Everyone from the nobles of Spain to the kings of France had to have one.
Poodles come in three sizes; the Standard, Miniature and Toy. In the Dalmadoodle, the Standard is the type most often used as it is the closest in size to the Dalmatian.
Just like the Dalmatian, the Poodle is traditionally a working dog, known as an excellent retriever and gun dog.
Physical Features of a Dalmadoodle
Dalmadoodles can vary in appearance, which is often the case with mixed breeds.
Nevertheless, they should be medium to large-sized dogs who typically stand about 20-22 inches at the shoulder.
Their average weight is about 55 pounds, although this might range from 40 to 75 pounds with the males generally being larger than the females.
They have an athletic build with a long tail and snout capped with a black nose. Their eyes are usually soft, dark and full of soulful expression.
A Dalmadoodle puppy can inherit its phenotype or the way it looks from either the mother or the father, or any combination of traits from its parents. This means that it can have black or liver spots on a white coat like a Dalmatian, or the spots may appear in bigger patches.
There may also be no spots or patches, and your Dalmadoodle may be entirely white or even black or brown, depending on the colour of the poodle parent.
Similarly, it may inherit the Dalmatian's smooth short coat or the dense, wavy coat of the Poodle.
Many people are interested in the Dalmadoodle because of their reputation for being hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, the completely hypoallergenic dog is a myth.
Certainly, any dog can potentially be an allergen. However, the Poodle does lack the fine undercoat that tends to cause most allergies.
On the other hand, your Dalmadoodle may not inherit these hypoallergenic properties from its poodle parent and may instead inherit the Dalmatian coat. In this case, it will not be suitable for somebody with dog allergies.
General Care of a Dalmadoodle
As pack animals, Dalmadoodles flourish when living inside with their humans and being kept outside and alone too long can be detrimental to their well-being.
Crate training inside is always an option if you need to keep your Dalmadoodle confined for short periods. However, if your dog needs to live outside, make sure it has an adequate shelter that is insulated against both hot and cold weather, with plenty of space to move around.
This is not a dog for an apartment, but it can do well in a house with a relatively big yard.
Food & Diet Requirements
If you are considering becoming a new Dalmadoodle parent, then you should always discuss food and diet with your veterinarian. If you decide on pellets, ask your vet to recommend a quality brand made specifically for your dog's age group and specific dietary needs.
For instance, a young growing dog has different nutritional needs from an old one. Some dogs also have individual food sensitivities or may need to be on calorie-controlled diets.
Plenty of owners find that a natural raw food diet, also known as BARF, is highly beneficial, but if you choose to go this route, make sure you do your research to make sure your Dalmadoodle is getting a well-balanced diet.
Grooming a Dalmadoodle largely depends on what kind of coat your mixed breed inherited.
If it inherited the smooth, short coat of the Dalmatian parent, then a quick brush three to four times a week will minimize shedding. This goes well with the occasional bath.
For a puppy with the poodle-type coat, daily brushing, frequent clipping and trimming is needed, which means much more maintenance. A neglected coat could lead to matting and skin problems, so be prepared!
Also, don't forget to trim nails regularly and talk to your vet about the best course of action for canine dental hygiene.
Do Dalmadoodles shed?
While Poodles are beloved for being minimal shedders, unfortunately, Dalmatians are not. This means the Dalmadoodle can fit anywhere on the shedding spectrum, depending on the genes it got from mum and dad.
The Health of a Dalmadoodle
Many argue that mixed breeds are generally healthier than purebreds, who may suffer from genetic disorders because of inbreeding. Nevertheless, the Dalmadoodle does come with its share of potential problems.
Firstly, hip and elbow dysplasia can affect any dog, so make sure your puppy's parents have been tested and had their hips scored.
Secondly, deafness runs in many Dalmatian lines, and it can be passed on to your puppy.
Other issues to be aware of include urinary stones, bloat, skin allergies, iris sphincter dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis and gastric dilatation-volvulus.
Dalmadoodles usually live 11-14 years on average.
With both parents coming from a long line of working dogs, your Dalmadoodle may be a high-energy dog. Therefore, it should have a big yard and be walked daily, at a minimum.
Their sweet, intelligent natures make them great for a host of fun activities, especially for an owner who likes to lead an active lifestyle. Dog sports such as agility or flyball are great, as are hiking, games of fetch or fun visits to safe dog parks.
Do not leave them alone for long periods without chew toys or something to keep them occupied, as high-energy dogs can become destructive when bored. In short, a Dalmadoodle owner should schedule about 90 minutes a day for exercise.
If your dog inherits the Poodle's intelligence, you will have a highly trainable companion. Although poodles are known to be extremely sensitive, so make sure you work gently and reward often.
Dalmadoodles are likely to love people and enjoy playing and goofing off, although they may show a little bit of the Dalmatian's guarding instinct and stubborn streak. The stubbornness may mean exercising a little more patience during training and keeping sessions short.
They should be extroverted, and while rambunctious when young, they should settle into calm and well-adjusted members of the family so long as their exercise needs are met.
A Dalmadoodle should get along well with other pets provided it is socialized from an early age. The Poodle does come from a hunting background; however, so keep an eye out for a high prey drive which may lead it to chase and harass smaller animals.
This mixed breed pup should make a good all-round family pet, but since it may be medium to a large-sized dog with a lot of energy, it should always be supervised with small children or with older people whom it might accidentally knock over when excited.
The best home for a Dalmadoodle is one with a reasonably active family with a yard, who have the time to play with, train and exercise it.
How much does a Dalmadoodle cost?
Prices on a puppy may vary, with some breeders putting a higher premium on certain coat types or colours. If you are lucky, you may find one at a shelter, but if you're buying from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay around $800.
In short, this lovable and unique mixed breed could make an excellent addition to the right family. Did you enjoy reading about it? If you have a Dalmadoodle, please leave a comment below and let us know about your experience with this wonderful breed or share this article with another Dalmadoodle admirer.
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