Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
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The Goldmatian is a hybrid dog, which is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Dalmatian. Both parent dogs have distinctive looks, with their offspring likely to be a large dog with medium-length hair and a spotty coat. They are a well-proportioned dog that requires plenty of exercise and play in order to satisfy their active mind.

The Goldmatian is a hugely friendly soul, who at times may be over-exuberant. Exercise is key to keeping a lid on their ebullience, with regular reward-based training session’s key to helping them focus. An ideal family dog for the active, potential health problems to which they may be prone include hip dysplasia and thyroid disease.

About & History

The Goldmatian is the dog equivalent of a newly built town; as yet not enough time has passed to have its own history. Instead, we look to the stories of the founding parent breeds to colour their story.

The Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever’s history runs alongside the Labrador Retriever in that Lord Tweedmouth played a part. The breed arose in the mid-19th century, from wavy coated Labradors (now known as Flat-Coated Retrievers) and the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Other blood was introduced from Bloodhounds and Irish Setters, with the breed as we recognise it today first registered with the Kennel Club in 1903.

The Dalmatian

The Dalmatian’s history is less clear, with spotted dogs described back in ancient Greece and Egypt. A region in Croatia for which they are named first mentions a spotted dog breed, Canis dalmaticus, in the 1700s. The breed is believed to have accompanied travellers and spread across Europe and become popular in the 19th century with English aristocrats as attractive looking carriage dogs.


The Golden Retriever and Dalmatian both have distinctive coats, which define their respective breeds. So, what type of coat can we expect from their hybrid? Actually, there is no guarantee as to the appearance of a Goldmatian, since an individual may resemble one of the parents or be a true blend of both. For the latter, the Goldmatian may have a short to medium-length coat with feathering but is white and spotty.

The Goldmatian is a large, well-proportioned dog with a wide skull, long snout, and pendulous ears. Their body has deep rib cage and neat waistline, topped off with a long slightly curved (but always wagging) tail.

Character & Temperament

The Goldmatian hopefully inherits the good nature that typifies both of the parent breeds. Indeed, when properly socialised as a pup, they are a great match for energetic families. They are an intelligent dog, but the Dalmatian side of the family tree make for an over-exuberant and headstrong dog (in a good-natured way).

To rein this tendency in requires plenty of exercise and a commitment to regular training sessions. The opposite is also true: insufficient exercise and a lack of mental challenges will lead to a bored dog that is likely to behave badly.


The Goldmatian may need to burn off some energy first before they can fully focus on a training session. They are clever dogs and with the right motivation learn quickly and can be trained to a high level of obedience. However, be aware they may harbour a naughty streak that can get them into trouble, so teaching a rock solid 'Stay' or 'Leave it' is beneficial to their safety and on-going good health.


Unlike purebred dogs, for which there is a large repository of information about the diseases to which they are prone, the same cannot be said for hybrid dogs. For the latter, it is reasonable to assume some of the conditions prevalent in the parent may occur in their offspring.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the anatomy of the hip joint and causes pain, inflammation, and can sadly lead to early onset arthritis. This is a complex condition with numerous factors that contribute to its development, of which a genetic predisposition is an important influence.

Hip dysplasia can be a concern in any young dog with persistent hind leg lameness and such pups should be assessed by a vet. Owners can help reduce the risk of a rapid or more serious deterioration of their pet’s mobility, by feeding a diet that is appropriate for large, growing dogs, and by not over-doing exercise whilst the dog is still growing.


Hypothyroidism refers to underactive thyroid glands, and results in an under production of thyroid hormone. The latter governs how quickly the metabolism runs, and an insufficiency of hormone means the dog lacks energy, feels the cold, and tends to gain weight for no apparent reason.

Once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be managed effectively with a daily supplement of thyroid hormone. However, the symptoms develop slowly and can be mistaken for simple weight gain or as part of the ageing process. Therefore, if in doubt, an owner should get their dog checked by a vet.

Thyroid Carcinoma

Thyroid cancer is rare in dogs, but when it occurs is serious and unfortunately the Golden Retriever is a breed over-represented amongst those numbers of dogs suffering from thyroid cancer. In contrast to hypothyroidism, this condition is linked to an over-production of thyroid hormone and results in symptoms including changes in behaviour, including restlessness or over-excitability, and unexplained weight loss. Surgical removal of the affected gland, or radiotherapy, is the treatment of choice.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Dalmatian was bred to trot along behind a horse-drawn carriage, which reflects great stamina and a need for exercise present in the offspring. This is reflected in the Goldmatian, which a dog that needs to be on the go most of the time and has an owner committed to at least one, preferably two, long and active walks off-leash each day. They would make a great competitor in agility or canicross activities, and thrive with an owner who loves to jog or hike.


The Goldmatian is likely to be a shedder. To reduce the amount of dog hair on soft furnishings, a quick daily slick-over with a deshedding tool is recommended. If they have longer hair, then check for twigs, grass awns, and leaves after each walk as these form the base for tangles and knots.

Tooth brushing is a much-overlooked part of grooming care. Ideally, from puppyhood get into the habit of brushing a Goldmatian’s teeth every day. This has the benefit of removing the plaque which hardens into tartar, and reducing the likelihood of dental disease later in life.

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