The fun and energetic personality of the Dalmatian makes the breed well suited for dog shows and many owners are anxious to get their pets involved. Unfortunately, not every Dalmatian will have what it takes to make it in the ring. Each breed must adhere to a "breed standard" which is simply the means by which the dogs are judged at show. Before you decide to enter your dog you may want to read up on the specific requirements for Dalmatians.
Size and Proportion
The desired height at the withers, or the highest part of the dog's back, is between 19 and 23 inches for the United States. Any undersize or oversize will be considered a fault and a dog which measures over 24 inches will be disqualified.
The length of the body from the chest to the buttocks should be roughly equal to the height at the withers.
The head must be in balance with the rest of the dog's body and must be free of lose skin. The expression must indicate alertness and intelligence which are indicative of an even and outgoing temperament.
The eyes should be rounded and medium in size. Accepted eye color is blue or brown, although the darker the eyes the better.
The ears should be of moderate size, wider at the base and narrowing to a rounded tip. The nose must be fully pigmented and should be black on black spotted dogs and brown on those with liver colored spots. Any interruption of nose pigmentation is considered a major fault.
The base color must be pure white. The spots of black Dalmatians must be pure black and those in liver spotted Dalmatians must be liver brown. Any variation is considered a fault and grounds for disqualification.
The spots should be sharp and uniformly distributed over the body. It is also important that the ears be spotted.
Tri-colored, which means dogs who have tan spots mingled with the traditional black or brown spots, doesn't occur often in this breed but if found will result in disqualification. Patches, or a solid area of the coat which contains no white hair, will also result in disqualification.
It is important to note that these are the standards in the United States. Accepted sizes in Great Britain are usually larger so if you will be showing your dog outside the U.S. check with your national kennel club to learn what the standards for your dog will be.
This is a very basic overview of the accepted standards for showing Dalmatians. If you are serious about showing your dog it would be helpful to get in touch with someone who has experience. Join a group in your area or if you cannot locate one join an online group devoted to this breed. You will likely be able to find someone who can advise you as to whether your dog is show material. Whether that is the case or not, don't lose sight of the fact that you are lucky enough to share your life with one of the most loving and intelligent dogs around!