What Does a Dalmatian Look Like?

by Susan Linden on Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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in View from the Rescue Desk

A typical black-and-white Dalmatian

Casanova is a typical black-and-white Dalmatian.

Thanks to the well-known Disney movie, nearly every child on the planet recognizes a typical Dalmatian on sight. The black spots, brown eyes, short coat, and wagging tail are hard to miss.

Even the slightest variation in this classic picture, however, produces confusion for many people, including those who volunteer in shelters and attempt to identify dog breeds. Blue eyes? Must be a husky mix. Patches over the ears? Must be some pointer in there somewhere. Brown spots? Maybe a German shorthaired cross. A long, fluffy coat? English setter, surely, what else could it be.

The truth of the matter is that purebred Dalmatians may indeed have blue eyes, patches, brown spots, and long coats!

A Dalmatian with one brown and one blue eye.

Savannah has one brown eye and one blue eye.

Dalmatians may have two brown eyes, two blue eyes, or one of each.

Gia has one eye that is part blue, part brown.

Occasionally one eye shows both colors.

Izzy has brown spots and a patch on one ear.

Dalmatians may have areas of solid color, called patches, that appear typically over the ears. One ear or both may have patches.

Wishbone has lemon spots.

Spots may be black, brown (sometimes called “liver”), or even a lighter, lemon color. The spots are generally separate and distinct.

Although they are rare, some Dalmatians have long, fluffy coats!

Prince is a Dalmatian with a long coat.

All the Dalmatians in these photographs were rescued by Dalmatian Rescue of Illinois and have been adopted.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia Rosiek April 4, 2012 at 10:33 am

I’ve always loved dalmatians and now have a third one that we’ve rescued. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when they have two diff. colored eyes. But, it was only recently that I learned that they can have that long coat.


Kathy Vautsmeier December 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Love the look of the long hair–do you ever get younger dogs in like 2, 3, 4, year olds? Ihave had Dallys of and on for40 years. Love the breed!!


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