Longcoat vs. Shortcoat Dalmatians
Which coat type is right for you?
Is a longcoat or shortcoat Dalmatian right for you? There are pros and cons to both coat types.
The hair of a longcoat Dalmatian is soft and silky in texture. The hairs are quite different from the coarse, short hairs of the shortcoat Dalmatian. Longcoat hairs therefor tend to be easier to cleanup, as the stiff little hairs of shortcoats tend to stick in and to everything. Longcoat Dalmatians have a thicker coat and can therefor tolerate colder climates and snow better than shortcoats. Though having long hair still currently disqualifies a Dalmatian from competing in conformation shows, it is my hope and my dream to one day see them accepted into the AKC breed standard as they are a naturally occurring coat variation that has historically been a part of the Dalmatian breed for at least 100 years. In the meantime though, longcoat Dalmatians can still compete in competitions such as agility, obedience, dock diving and more!
Longcoat Dalmatians do require more grooming than the average shortcoat Dalmatian. Particular attention should be given to keeping their tail, legs and neck free of debris. I recommend brushing them on a weekly basis, or more frequently as needed, depending on their lifestyle. In contrast, shortcoat Dalmatians require less grooming. Their short, coarse hairs often seem to shed dirt and they clean up fairly easy.
Longcoat and shortcoat Dalmatians shed the same amount, year around.
The gene responsible for giving a Dalmatian longer hair is a naturally occurring recessive trait in the Dalmatian breed. Longcoat Dalmatians are purebred Dalmatians, not the result of outcrossing or mixed breeding. One of the first well known longcoat Dalmatians was named Sally. She was whelped November 14th, 1943 and belonged to Dr. and Mrs. Leakey. Longcoat Dalmatians are the same as any other Dalmatian. The only difference is in their coat. They are not prone to any additional health problems.
MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE: As for me, I love and understand the draw of both coat types. Shortcoats are beautiful with their sharp, clearly defined and distinct spots. Their short coat accentuates their streamlined, athletic and agile figure. Their grooming is simple….but oh goodness, do they shed and cleaning those stiff little hairs up can be a tricky task! Longcoats are also beautiful, with their silky, flowing coats and feathered tails. Watching a longcoat trot across the yard in the sunlight is a beautiful sight to behold. Though a longcoat’s spots are still clearly defined and VERY different from the faded ticking of the English Setter, someone once described their spots as “melting”, and I feel that is pretty accurate. Though they shed about the same as shortcoats, the texture of their hair really does make cleanup easier. The trade off is that they need to be groomed more often to keep their coat free of tangles and debris and their coat does not shed dirt the way a shortcoat’s does.