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.