Dalmatians are one of the oldest breeds of dog and are thought to have originated from an area along the Adriatic Sea called Dalmatia. Their round spots of either deep brown or jet black are unique to the breed.
Dalmatians are known to have a long history. There are even hieroglyphics that show Dalmatian-type dogs in ancient Egypt, so their genetic make-up has been strong. Dalmatians' spots are passed on through the genes, much as a human baby inherits a parent's hair or eye colour, but each dog is unique in terms of how many or how few spots it has, and the pattern.
Dalmatian puppies are born without spots, appearing completely white. The spots are not evident, but their development has been preset by their genes. According to The Dalmatian Heritage Project, within a few weeks, faded blotches begin to appear. As they near adulthood, these spots darken, leaving few or no white hairs within them.
Don't Be Misled
Occasionally, a puppy's hair stays completely without spots. The spots exist, but only appear on the skin itself. Often these breeds are mistaken for Dalmatians when born, but they actually are other hunting breeds. These breeds do not have the necessary genes to push colour into the hair itself and only the skin is ticked or spotted with pigment.