The Patch Page
Patches have always been a part of the breed. The s(w) gene (extreme white piebald) that gives Dalmatians their white background color, sometimes comes with small areas of color as well. Although Dal pups are normally born pure white (the spots start to show up at about 10 days), patches are present at birth. They are most commonly found on the ear and around the eye, may be seen at the base of the tail (generally extending part way down the tail), and appear less commonly on the body, generally on the shoulder. Various studies indicate that the percentage of patches is about 12% for the breed as a whole. Although that amounts to about one patch per litter, some litters have multiple patches, while others have no patches at all. (I'll be adding a discussion of the inheritance of patching and how its possible relationship to hearing numbers.)
Although patches are not shown in the breed ring and are generally not bred from, they are popular as pets, and are often the first pups selected from a litter. Some of the top obedience competition Dalmatians have been patched.
There was a time when most responsible breeders in the U.S. euthanized patched pups because it was thought that patching was associated with serious health problems. That theory was disproved, patching is now considered strictly a cosmetic issue, and most breeders place their patched pups in homes as companions.
The Color Pages Page 1 - Dal Colors & Coat Lengths Page 2 - Additional Color Pictures Page 3 - Dal Crosses, Mini-Dals & Identification Page 4 - Spotting Patterns & Ticking Page 5 - Patches
Because of all the pictures, this page loads slowly, so please be patient.
These pups are multi-patched! The lovely puppy on the left has two patched ears and the tail patch, while the liver puppy on the right has a shoulder patch and a tail patch.
Patches are generally found on the head. These are typical Dalmatian patches. The pup on the left has an ear patch, probably the most common patch. Some of them are only on the ear, while others extend onto the head, like Theo's does. The pup in the center has an extremely attractive eye patch. Eye patches are often much larger. The liver pup on the right has a double patch - both his ear and eye are included. Note the white edge on the otherwise patched ear.
The pup on the left has a rather unual patch. I call it a beanie patch! Patches spread a bit as the pup grows. The pup in the center still shows a white area between the two ear patches. A few weeks later the patches are connected.
This pup has a shoulder patch. Note how short the hair on the patch appears, compared to the fluffy puppy coat. The shoulder seems to be the most common location for body patches, other than those at the base of the tail.
Tail patches attract much attention. This mother & son pictured on the right would probably attract twice as much attention!
Patches come in all colors! In addition to the typical black or liver patches, there are lemon, brindle and blue patches. For more information on less common Dalmatian colors, click here.
We'll be adding to this page - be sure to check back!
For additional information on color genetics. check out this site. It's very interesting and really complete.
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