Choosing Your Dog

PuppiesinbasketIf you have decided to acquire a Dalmatian, it is best to view as many litters of puppies as possible to observe the differences in appearance and temperament. You must also decide if you wish a “show” or “companion” dog as these dogs will differ not only in appearance but cost as well.

If you wish to show your Dalmatian, it is advised that you carefully review the Dalmatian Standard to understand the technical points, faults, and disqualifications. You should next attend several dog shows and meet the exhibitors and breeders with dogs that appeal to you. At this point, it is recommended that you visit kennels to view the conditions and environment from which your puppy will come – not everything is hereditary!

Should a companion animal suit your needs, you may find a “patched” puppy an option to be considered. A patch is a solid mass of color most often found on the head of the dog. Patching in Dalmatians is the most frequently seen disqualifying fault for the show ring. A patch is strictly a cosmetic flaw and any puppy displaying this imperfection, although prohibited from showing, is general as sound and healthy a specimen as his “champion” littermates. In fact, many people find the patch adds an endearing quality to a puppy’s expression and actually prefer it on their dogs.

The single most important factor to consider when purchasing your dog is temperament. No matter how pretty he is, you will have to live with this individual for the next ten to fifteen years. It is more pleasurable (and isn’t that the whole purpose for having a dog?) to live with a calm, even-tempered animal than a neurotic dog.

In light of the foregoing, it should be obvious that the kind of dog you want will not be found in a pet store, nor through the uneducated seller who has spent little or no time becoming knowledgeable about the breed, or dogs in general. These puppies are merely merchandise to the broker who provides them to the store, or as a quick source of income to the “make a quick buck” seller. The broker who sells to a pet store typically gives the litter minimal veterinary care as this is an expense that will reduce the broker’s profit margin, and this may very well be the case with the home-based producer. Tragically, they will then be wrenched from their mothers and siblings at a very early age in order to get them to “market” at the most appealing age of six to eight weeks. Socialization is virtually nonexistent, producing psychological problems that may be irreversible. No care or thought is given to producing a healthy, well adjusted, quality dog by either source, and we do not recommend obtaining your new pet from either one.

It is the wisest choice to procure your puppy, your companion, from a reputable breeder who has the best interests of his puppies at heart. Most conscientious breeders are extremely interested in the welfare of their puppies and follow up as to how they have settled into their new homes. They are generally more than happy to assist in this transition by answering questions and offering any advice necessary. For the novice owner, the breeder’s knowledge, experience, and expertise on their breed, often acquired over many, many years, can prove to be an invaluable wealth of information. Additionally, in many instances, the sale of a puppy has proven to be the beginning of a lifelong friendship between breeder and buyer. Finally, and most importantly, you will be rewarded for your time and research with a happy, healthy, well-adjusted pet you can be proud of.

We, the members of the Dalmatian Club of Greater Indianapolis, Inc., wish you well should you decide to include a Dalmatian as a member of your family. If we can be of any assistance or answer further questions you may have, we encourage you to contact one of our members and attend one of our monthly meetings. We’d love to have you join us!