Do Dalmatians Shed Hair?

The Dalmatian is a short-haired breed with a fine, single-layered white coat and unique spotted appearance. Dalmatians do not have a typical heavy shedding period like double layered or long haired dogs do, rather, they lose less hair in a more regular fashion, 365 days a year. Dalmatian fur is fine and soft, particularly as puppies, their coats have a beautiful pristine white shine and are as soft as velvet (no wonder Cruella De Vil had such an evil plan). Growing into adulthood, they do lose some of this softness and hair is coarser, but as long as they are occasionally groomed and kept free of dirt, they do still maintain a lovely, sparkling white coat, perfect for a good cuddle.

Do Dalmatians shed much?

As with all dogs, Dalmatians do shed hair as a part of a natural process to lose old, dry, damaged or too thick regions of hair and skin cells. How much hair a dog sheds depends on a number of factors such as:

  • Seasonal temperatures
  • Skin and coat condition
  • Cell and hair follicle natural regeneration rate
  • Age of the dog
  • Breed of the dog
  • Length of hair
  • Type of coat (single or double layered)
  • Sex of the dog (due to hormonal changes during pregnancy)
  • General health and wellbeing (particularly stress and anxiety)
  • Level of activity
  • Level of grooming from owner

As the temperature warms up during spring, you may notice your Dalmatian losing more hair, to prepare for the summer months, but this shedding is nothing like longer haired dog breeds experience, as there is not much hair on a Dalmatian to start with. If you feed your Dalmatian a good diet and keep their fur healthy, they will lose less hair. Dry skin or areas of irritation will result in hair loss. Particularly with animals that have white hair, or a lack of pigmentation, it is important to watch coat condition, being a little more sensitive to sunlight. Transitioning from that cute roly-poly puppy fur to an adult and from adulthood into older age will naturally see more shedding as well. Dalmatian’s are a very active breed, getting out and about will naturally encourage hair to regenerate and shed as a part of a normal and healthy process in dogs. 

Dalmatian hair being fondly nicknamed as glitter, snow, sprinkles or even ‘shedding like a lamington’, you will find just as many Dalmatian owners who say they shed too much as those that say it is no different from their other short-haired pets. On the whole, being a short-haired breed with a thin layered coat, you aren’t going to see the nightmare yearly shed, just a sprinkling of fur year round.

Do Dalmatians need much grooming?

The short answer is no, they are a really easy breed to maintain a good healthy coat with minimal maintenance. If you want to reduce the amount of hair left around your house, a quick brush and a good bath every now and then is really the best way to reduce shedding.

Brushing: a run-over with a brush every other day is very easy and very good for your Dal’s coat conditioning. Use a softer brush, slicker brushes, combs or brushes with long or sharp points are unnecessary on a short coat and will be uncomfortable for your Dalmatian, potentially causing skin irritations. There are a good range of hand-mitts out there that do the job of picking up hair well, even ones designed for cats work great. A brush-over after a bath to help dry off is all that may be needed.

Bathing: As much for their coat as for their skin conditioning, Dalmatians should get baths at least monthly. Absolutely do not use human shampoo, Dalmatians in particular are a sensitive-skinned breed, a good pet shampoo and coat conditioner is a must. Being a short-haired breed, this type of grooming is easily dismissed as unnecessary, however, to be frank, if your dog smells bad you should bathe them, whether they like it or not (preferably making a positive training exercise out of it is best). Being a mostly white coated breed, it is also easy for them to get dirty and over-bathe them, which strips important natural oils from their skin and coat, increasing risk of dry skin and associated irritations. Alternatively, leaving a buildup of dirt on your dog will cause them to lick or itch it, encouraging bacteria and a range of skin troubles, and no one wants to cuddle a smelly dog. It is important not to bathe them too often, just as much as it is important to bathe them when they do get too dirty.

Nails: Dogs need their nails trimmed, start a routine early, making it a rewarding experience and you will have no troubles. Use a proper dog nail trimmer, do not cut them too short or you will hurt your dog (and they will remember it for next time). Be careful if your Dalmatian has a spot on its toe, the resulting nail will be black rather than clear and it is difficult to see where the nail should be trimmed, err on the side of caution. Growing puppies will need their nails trimmed more often and older less active seniors will as well. Generally if your dog is active and gets the chance to run around on harder surfaces, they won’t need trimming very often at all. 

How to deal with Dalmatian hair getting on clothes:

Unfortunately, for getting stuck in your clothing (yes in, not just on), Dalmatian fur is particularly stubborn to remove. Like all short haired dog breeds, regularly losing hair throughout the year means a constant vigilance needs to be kept to keep your good/work clothes clean. There might be more of it, but long hair tends to be easier to collect and clean off your carpet because it is easier to grab at or brush off. Short hair is small, coarser and can splinter, sticking to clothes much easier. Despite advertisements, many lint rollers and clothes brushes are ineffective in removing Dalmatian hairs as easily as longer haired breeds. No need to give up just yet, here are some tricks of the trade:

  • Although not 100% effective, a clothes brush is better than nothing (a pet specific brand would be ideal, make it clear you have a short-haired dog)
  • Basic lint rollers or sticky rollers won’t cut it for short hair
  • Invest in a good vacuum cleaner – really – don’t skimp on this one (again, look at those targeting pet hair and explain you have a short-haired dog)
  • Dalmatians tend to have a lot more white hairs than black, so try to keep dark coloured clothes away from them in particular
  • Simply wiping clothes like jeans gets most of the hair off, but be careful of splinters
  • If you keep your dog well-groomed, less hair on clothes is the obvious outcome
  • Store your clothes in an area where your dog is not allowed (yes, there should be areas your dog is restricted from, it makes for good discipline)
  • As tempting as it is, take off your work coat before going in for the ‘welcome home snuggle’ that Dal’s are particularly good at
  • Regularly change your lint drawer in your washing machine

A strange fact about Dalmatian hairs is that they are surprisingly sharp ended. When hairs are shed and on a hard surface like the tiled floor of a house they can actually cause splinters. This is not a Dalmatian specific occurrence, most dog breeds with short and/or coarser hairs can have this happen, and even cat hairs can cause splintering.

Loose hairs can embed themselves into the skin of people, feeling like a tiny prickle lodged in your skin. Perhaps it is only the soft footed humans that have experienced this, but speaking from personal experience, as uncommon as perhaps once in a whole year, getting a fur splinter can happen. Dog groomers experience hair splinters much more commonly of course, because they are regularly cutting hair and exposing softened, wet hands to shedding pet fur. The important thing to know about fur splinters is not to leave it too late to remedy the situation. Find a pair of tweezers, pull the hair out and keep the area clean. Dog groomers often wear gloves or have particular grooming strategies to avoid splinters, but it is likely you might never come across this odd occurrence with a Dalmatian, assuming your home and pooch are kept reasonably clean.

Lastly, accept the fact that your clothes (indeed your home) will never be Dalmatian hair free. You will find hairs in your keyboard at work, all areas of the house, stuck to plastic wares with static electricity, at a friend’s house months after a visit, it’s just something that any pet owner accepts as part of the deal.

Dalmatian hair is a little more stubborn to keep free from clothes and around the home, because it is the typical type of short-haired, coarser hair. However, they do have the advantage of minimal grooming requirements and no dreaded winter coat shed. Just be prepared to give them a light groom…and find loose hairs lurking all year round!