Are Dalmatians Prone to Having Abnormal Hearing?

Dalmatians are prone to having abnormal hearing, with an estimated 30% of the dog breed experiencing deafness in one or both ears. It is more common for Dalmatians to have unilateral hearing, in which they have limited hearing in one ear – around 22% of Dalmatians are thought to be partially deaf; however, it is often not as noticeable by pet owners. Just 8% of the breed are born completely deaf. The high rate of deafness in Dalmatians is thought to be the result of a genetic defect. The organ within the dog’s ear that sends signals to the brain to process sound waves may begin to degenerate in those with the genetic defect within the first weeks after birth.

More about Dalmatians:

  • Dalmatians with blue eyes have been found to have an increased likelihood of also being deaf; however, it is not known exactly why.
  • Although Dalmatians are mainly known for accompanying fire trucks, they have historically been used for a variety of roles, including shepherd, retriever, and even as a circus dog.
  • A Dalmatian’s dotted coat is unique – no two dogs have an identical pattern of spots.

Discussion Comments

Just a thought, but is there a reason why dalmatians are used in such a wide variety of roles, and aren't frequently seen with other people as pets? Considering how they work with firetrucks and in circuses, perhaps they're a lot less domesticated than other breeds of dog.

In relation to the second bullet point, considering how many dalmatians are deaf in one or both ears, I wonder if that's the reason why they're always with firetrucks. After all, those kinds of trucks can be extremely loud, and could be very noisy to a dog with normal hearing. Because of this, maybe the trucks tend to bother dalmatians a whole lot less.


Wow, that's a very interesting fact, as I had no idea that many dalmatians were deaf until reading this article. In my opinion, this really shows how there are a lot of things about animals that we don't know about, especially because we don't see things from their perspective.

For example, even though dogs are color blind, without doing some online research, you wouldn't even give that a second thought. After all, they do interact with nature in a way where it's hard to tell that they can't see anything in color.

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