But Is It A Dal???

This page contains pictures of unusual Dals and Dal crosses. It's sometimes difficult to tell whether a spotted dog is actually a Dalmatian, a Dal cross, or just a speckled mixed breed dog. Please refer to the first color page for explanations and discussions of possible Dalmatian colors.

The Color Pages
Page 1 - Dal Colors & Coat Lengths
Page 2 - Additional Color Pictures
Page 3 - Dal Crosses, Mini-Dals & Identification
Page 4 - Spotting Patterns & Ticking
Page 5 - Patches

This is Karma, a blue spotted mini Dal This is Kismet, a black spotted mini Dal

Here are Kismet and Karma with they Toy Rat Terrier friend
"Toy" Dalmatians
These little gals are thought to be examples of Miniature or Toy Dalmatians. They are 11 1/2 and 12 inches tall and weigh in at 8 pounds! Although certainly part Dalmatian, they are obviously crossed with a small breed(s), possibly Italian Greyhounds or Toy Fox Terriers. The faces, ears and eyes as well as the tiny bone structure makes one think of Italian Greyhounds. The light colored dog is "blue" which is also a common color in IGs. They are a good example of the fact that when crossed with another breed, the crisp clear Dalmatian spotting generally becomes faded and/or frosted. Dal spotting is thought to be a specialized form of ticking. Ticking exists in many breeds, but only Dalmatians have true Dal spotting.

Blue Dal One Blue Dal Three
Blue Dals or Crossbreds?
These blue/gray spotted dogs showed up at a Humane Society in Arizona and were said to come from the same "breeder". Unfortunately, no registration papers were available. Compare their spotting to the dog below. Since their spots are mottled, rather than sharply defined, they may be Dal crossed with something like Australian Cattle Dog, OR they may just be poorly marked Dalmatians.

A pointer from the 1700s

Is This A Dal?
Many of the randomly bred "Dals" that show up in Humane Societies look very much like this dog, which is actually a Pointer painted in 1738, by the English artist John Wootton! Again, it is a ticked dog, not a Dalmatian spotted dog. Show lines do not normally produce dogs marked like this, but these markings do show up in dogs presumed to be purebred. The question is whether or not correct spotting is lost if we don't breed for it, or if many of these so-called purebreds are really not purebred at all.

Spotty Lemon
Here It Is In Lemon
Here's the same type of spotting pattern, this time in lemon. This dog is more obviously a Dalmatian than the blue dogs. This kind of spotting pattern shows up occasionally in livers and is referred to as "antique liver".

Heavily spotted Dal
Heavily Marked or Patched?
The dog on the left is actually a registered Dalmatian. She's grossly overweight and very heavily spotted. She is not patched, just has many spots that run together, and does have white hair on her ears. Heavily marked dogs often show the heaviest spotting down the middle of the back, and on the chest and stomach. The dog on the right is either a very heavily spotted liver Dal or a GSP or Pointer cross. Her owner considers her to be a Dalmatian, but the people at the animal shelter considered her to be a Pointer Cross. I would guess she is a poorly bred German Shorthaired Pointer with an undocked tail.

Heavily spotted Dal
Dal Crosses or Just Poorly Marked?
The dog on the left is marked like the Pointer from the 1700s shown above. While possibly a Dal cross, it's very unlikely that she's a Dal. The dog in the center has very faint very small spotting, and is not really built like a Dal. While she too may be a Dal Cross, the speckled pattern could have been inherited from something other than a Dalmatian ancestor. Many breeds are ticked, but that should not be confused with Dalmatian spotting. The dog on the right, although double patched and unevenly spotted is undoubtedly a Dalmatian. Her face, and rich color and clearly defined spotting labels her a Dalmatian.

For additional information on color genetics. check out this site. It's very interesting and complete.

1999-2000 by Sue MacMillan.
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Please request permission to use or distribute this article. Many thanks to those who contributed some of these interesting pictures for my collection. If you have concerns, comments, corrections, ideas, or if you have pictures or information to share, please contact me at suemac@concentric.net

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