Dalmatians are an iconic dog breed that have been popularized through films and their association as fire department dogs. However, many people may not be aware that this breed is susceptible to several significant congenital issues, including deafness. According to research, almost 18% of Dalmatians live with some form of hearing impairment. This prevalence has declined over the years, largely due to more careful and selective breeding by responsible breeders.
Deafness used to be much more prevalent in Dalmatians in the past, with around 30% of all Dalmatian puppies being born with some form of deafness. However, recent research completed in 2020 shows that deafness in dogs has reduced by about a third, largely due to more careful and selective breeding. The genetics behind deafness is complicated, and the ways that genes affect each other are intricately intertwined. So, in some cases, two Dalmatians without any signs of deafness may be bred together, and they can still give birth to a litter of Dalmatian puppies with deafness.
Fortunately, the use of the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test can detect electrical activity and help determine if a puppy has any deafness. Puppies are usually tested when they’re between 5 to 6 weeks old. However, research has shown that Dalmatians with blue eyes are at higher risk of deafness, while Dalmatians with a color patch on their heads are at a lower risk of deafness. Breeders have been selectively breeding to lower the prevalence of deafness in Dalmatians, but they’re still at higher risk of having deafness than most other dog breeds.
Dalmatians are not a breed that’s well suited for most people, and it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you decide to bring one home. Dalmatians are very active and require a lot of daily exercise. They usually bond with one or two people and are not the most social dogs, tending to be aloof toward strangers. Because of these traits, it’s important for Dalmatians to receive proper training and socialization. An untrained Dalmatian can develop aggressive behaviors and they’re not afraid to defend themselves against strangers or whenever they feel unsafe. Due to their large size, they can end up being a liability and cause significant harm to someone else. Therefore, Dalmatians are recommended only for experienced dog owners.
If you’re interested in getting a Dalmatian as your next dog, make sure to only work with reputable breeders that are registered with a kennel club or official Dalmatian organization. Good breeders have high standards for their breeding programs and are dedicated to producing healthy Dalmatian puppies. They prioritize their puppies’ best interests and will be on top of their puppies’ routine care and health checks. They will also be willing to show proof of vaccinations and diagnostic test results. Many reputable breeders will offer a health guarantee and return policy if you take your puppy to a veterinarian and significant health issues are discovered.
In conclusion, deafness is a relatively common health issue in Dalmatians, but its prevalence is continuing to lower over time due to more careful and selective breeding by responsible breeders. Dalmatians are not a breed that’s well suited for most people and require proper training and socialization. If you’re interested in getting a Dalmatian, make sure to work with reputable breeders that are registered with a kennel club or official Dalmatian organization. They prioritize their puppies’ best interests and will ensure that you get a healthy and well-socialized Dalmatian puppy.