Deaf Dalmatians. According to the Dalmatian Club of America, (DCA), Dalmatian puppies born deaf do not make suitable pets. The Club requires Dalmatian breeders to put deaf puppies to sleep at birth. In addition, their advice to shelters is to put all deaf Dalmatians down, regardless of age. The Dalmatian Club feels that deaf puppies are hard to train, tend to be “snappy” and have aggression issues. Therefore they prefer breeders, potential pet owners and shelters to focus on healthy puppies without any hearing impairments.
Approximately 30 % or nearly 1/3 of Dalmatians suffer hearing loss in one or both ears due to genetics and heredity with in the breed.
Dalmatian Club representatives feel that because of their inability to hear, deaf dogs regardless of age, are not able to be trained by traditional means. Furthermore, they feel this often leads to behavioral issues in the dogs which become problematic to owners. Pet owners become frustrated with their hearing disabled dogs and abuse results. Euthanasia, according to Club officials eliminates the entire problem.
Lately a few concerned pet loving groups have popped up hoping to counteract this guideline. Deaf Dogs Rock, Spotted Dog Dalmatian Rescue and Tennessee Safety Spotters are online resources available to adopt, train and place deaf Dalmatians.
Certain people who have adopted deaf Dalmatian’s now seem to disagree with DCA’s guidelines and feel the warnings on DCA’s website are unwarranted.
In fact, many also feel deaf pups are smarter than their hearing enabled counterparts and are also more in tune with their owners partly because they are more dependent upon them. In addition, many veterinarians have become reluctant to put down perfectly healthy puppies just because of a hearing loss.
The good news is that positive changes are occurring within the Dalmatian Club of America and hopefully with time and further education these guidelines will be reversed.
Many of these dogs are now being specifically trained as Therapy dogs and they are being well received by a wide variety of human patients, both children and adults.
One deaf Dalmatian was recently credited with teaching a child to talk as the dog helped a child gain enough confidence to utter his first words.