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Position on Dalmatian Deafness

From the Board of Governors of the Dalmatian Club of America

Deafness is NOT uncommon in Dalmatians. It has been estimated that from 10% to 12% of the breed is deaf. Recent discoveries in the genetics of deafness have made it possible to reduce the incidence of deafness, with the possibility of virtually eliminating it in the future. Hearing research is currently being financed by the Dalmatian Club of America Foundation, Inc., various regional Dalmatian clubs and interested individuals.

Dalmatian pups normally start to hear at fourteen to sixteen days of age, and hear by five weeks of age if they are going to hear. The placing of a bilaterally deaf puppy is at the breeder's discretion.

A bilaterally deaf puppy must never be used for breeding, and must be spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. Considering the inherent ongoing challenges in their care, humane euthanasia of a bilaterally deaf puppy may be an alternative to placement. Any breeder who places a bilaterally deaf puppy is responsible for conducting a thorough screening of potential candidates to ensure they have the knowledge, experience and resources to socialize, train and provide for a deaf puppy for the entire life of the dog.

Deaf pups should NEVER be be bred from. Deaf Dalmatians can be harder to raise, difficult to control (they are often hit by cars when they "escape") and often become snappish or overly aggressive, especially when startled.

IF YOU ARE THE OWNER OF A FEMALE DALMATIAN, and plan to raise a litter, be sure that you are prepared to deal responsibly with any resulting deaf pups. If you have trouble identifying deaf pups, please ask for assistance from an experienced breeder.

IF YOU ARE A STUD DOG OWNER, be sure that your stud contract requires that deaf pups be properly handled.

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PURCHASE A DALMATIAN, contact the Dalmatian Club of America, the closest regional Dal club, or an experienced local breeder who provide the hearing status of your new puppy.

For further information, please contact:
Darlene Chirolas

Return to the Deafness Information Page

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