The Dalmatian is a breed of balance and moderation. You do not want a big head on a little dog or a small head on a big dog. Similarly, you do not want an extremely elegant head on a male dog or a very “doggy” head on a female dog. The females are generally more feminine versions of the males and this male/female difference should be quite apparent. The head should have clean lines and the Dalmatian should have a clean mouth, not drooling or loose-lipped. The standard does a good job of describing eyes, ears, stop, muzzle, nose, lips and scissors bite; and it also notes appropriate size and angle relationships.
With regard to eyes, the major faults of ectropion and entropion eyelids refer to lids that turn into (entropion) or out/row, (ectropion) the eye. Trichiasis is a condition of one or more misdirected eyelashes, causing corneal or conjunctival irritation. These conditions are extremely rare to find in the show ring, but the fact that they have been carried forward in our breed standard indicates that these conditions have caused trouble in the past. Also, they are serious enough to be used as screening factors when making current breeding program selections.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the more you deviate from what the breed standard describes, the more you move away from symmetry, balance and intelligent expression. Picture a Dalmatian with close-set, yellow eyes, no stop between the forehead and top of muzzle, and uneven planes between the top of the skull and his pointy-nosed muzzle when viewed from the side. If, for example, a line drawn across the top of the skull was parallel to the ground and another line drawn across the top of the muzzle pointed more toward the ground, the dog would be “down-faced” and less intelligent looking than one with parallel planes. Such a dog does not have the intelligent expression desired in a Dalmatian. Not even perfect spotting could save the conformation standard shortcomings of a head like this.
The neck, top line, body segment calls for a smooth throat with no excess skin folds and a nicely arched, fairly long neck. The word “arched” denotes a curved structure. The top line should be smooth, without a dip or break between the withers and the back. The chest, back, loin and croup descriptions are clear. Tail docking refers to removing any portion of the tail, whether it is done at birth or later for any reason, through surgery. The front legs are to come straight down from the elbows to the pasterns, whether looking at the dog from the side or the front. Cow-hocks occur when the points of the hocks are closer together than the heels of the pads in normal standing position. The feet, coat and color and markings sections are reasonably clear.