The origins of the breed are debatable as is the name of the breed: there is little evidence that it originated in the Dalmatian coastal region of the Balkans. In the late 18th century, there was a type of white spotted dog known as the Talbot Hound and these dogs were used to accompany horse-drawn carriages and guard the passengers and the cargo.
In 1791, Thomas Bewick named this type of dog as the Dalmatian. In the Regency period the breed became a status symbol, accompanying horse-drawn carriages. Dalmatians would also guard the stables at night and be used to run ahead of horse-drawn fire engines, clearing the route for the vehicles.