Meet the Breed

Recommended Practices for the Owners, Handlers, and Breeders of the Western Reserve Dalmatian Club

Ethical Guidelines


These Guidelines are presented with the full realization that ethics cannot be legislated, and most individuals desire and intend to do what's right. The purpose of these guidelines, therefore, is to set forth principles of practice the Western Reserve Dalmatian Club would have its members adhere to as they strive to accomplish goals and purposes so clearly stated in the by-laws. These guidelines present the minimum in ethical practices; how best to conform to these practices is better left to the educational efforts of individuals and regional clubs. The principles set forth are guidelines, and not rules or laws, therefore they carry no sanctions other than those dictates of ones individual conscience as he strives to promote and protect the Dalmatian Breed.


1. To ensure that all dogs in my care are provided adequate food, shelter, and medical care.

2. To become educated in the fundamentals of owning, breeding and exhibiting dogs.

3. To understand the basic laws of genetics, the standard of the breed, and the differences between the correct and the incorrect before attempting to breed.

4. To register all breeding stock with the American Kennel Club, and to keep complete, true accurate records of all matings, litters, and pedigrees.

5. To refrain from breeding unless there is strong assurance that a sufficient number of homes are available for the resulting puppies and to be willing to accept the return of unwanted dogs produced by my female or sired by my stud dog.

6. To ensure that no female will be bred before reaching 18 months of age nor before her second season and that no female will be bred after she has reached 8 years of age. To ensure that no male will be bred before he has reached one year of age.

7. To be extremely discriminating when considering the acceptance of bitches for breeding to my stud dog, especially those whose owners have not pledged to adhere to these guidelines.

8. To ensure that the hearing status of all puppies and breeding candidates is known and taken into consideration in all breeding decisions. To ensure that all bilateral deaf puppies produced by my female or sired by my stud dog are humanely euthanized as soon as the condition is detected and confirmed.

9. To transfer puppies only after they have reached at least seven weeks of age, to provide at least a three generation pedigree, and ensure that the buyer has the physical facilities to properly care for a Dalmatian.

10. To appropriately use A.K.C. limited registration for puppies that are not of breeding quality. To avoid sale agreements that include puppy back clauses that may encourage unnecessary breeding.

11. To ensure that puppies or adults produced by my female or stud dog are never knowingly sold or consigned to pet stores, wholesalers, or commercial dealers. To not knowingly supply dogs for raffles, auctions, giveaways, prizes, or other such projects.

12. To recognize that careful followup of all genetic defects is the responsibility of owners of both sire and dam of every litter.

13. To ensure that all advertising is factual and not misleading. To never engage in malicious criticism and to separate fact from fiction before repeating comments heard from others.

14. To adhere to the rules of the AKC while exhibiting; to practice the principles of good sportsmanship; and to consider competitors as a challenge, not a threat.

15. To ensure that while engaged in the art and science of judging that I will be only influenced by the quality of the animal to be judged.

16. To always ensure that my actions are directed toward the best interest of the Dalmatian breed, the Western Reserve Dalmatian Club and the American Kennel Club.

The dignified Dalmatian, dogdom's citizen of the world, is famed for his spotted coat and unique job description. During their long history, these "coach dogs" have accompanied the horse-drawn rigs of nobles, gypsies, and firefighters.

The Dalmatian’s delightful, eye-catching spots of black or liver adorn one of the most distinctive coats in the animal kingdom. Beneath the spots is a graceful, elegantly proportioned trotting dog standing between 19 and 23 inches at the shoulder. Dals are muscular, built to go the distance; the powerful hindquarters provide the drive behind the smooth, effortless gait.

The Dal was originally bred to guard horses and coaches, and some of the old protective instinct remains. Reserved and dignified, Dals can be aloof with strangers and are dependable watchdogs. With their preferred humans, Dals are bright, loyal, and loving house dogs. They are strong, active athletes with great stamina—a wonderful partner for runners and hikers.

Go to AKC's Dalmatian page to learn more about this amazing breed!

WRDC President