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LUA Dalmatians vs HUA Dalmatians: Unveiling the Differences

Welcome, fellow Dalmatian enthusiasts, to another exciting blog post! Today, we are diving deep into the age-old debate of LUA vs HUA Dalmatians. These two terms may sound like they belong in a mythical land, but they actually refer to two distinct genetic variations within the Dalmatian breed. So, grab your popcorn and get ready for a thrilling journey as we unveil the differences between LUA and HUA Dalmatians!

Before we embark on this adventure, let’s decipher the acronyms. LUA stands for Low Uric Acid, while HUA stands for High Uric Acid. To understand the significance of these terms, we need a little background information. You see, Dalmatians are known for their unique coat pattern and their predisposition to developing urate uroliths, which are kidney stones composed of uric acid. This susceptibility is a result of a genetic defect that affects the metabolism of uric acid in the liver.

Now, let’s meet the stars of the show – Low Uric Acid (LUA) Dalmatians and High Uric Acid (HUA) Dalmatians. LUA Dalmatians have a specific genetic mutation that allows them to produce a lower level of uric acid compared to their HUA counterparts. This mutation is present in breeds such as the Bulldog, Labrador Retriever, and the Dalmatian. On the other hand, HUA Dalmatians have the traditional genetic makeup, which causes them to retain higher levels of uric acid in their bodies.

You might be wondering, what’s the big deal? Well, my friends, the difference in uric acid levels between LUA and HUA Dalmatians can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. As mentioned earlier, Dalmatians are prone to developing urate uroliths, which can lead to urinary tract problems and discomfort. In severe cases, these kidney stones may even require surgery to remove. However, studies have shown that LUA Dalmatians are less likely to form urate uroliths due to their lower uric acid levels, making their overall urinary health more manageable.

Low Uric Acid (LUA) Dalmatians:

A Spotted Future: The Rise and Relevance of Low Uric Acid Dalmatians

The Dalmatian, a breed of dog globally recognized for its unique black or liver spots on a white background, has served in various roles throughout history, from war dogs and circus performers to firehouse mascots and carriage escorts. However, behind their charming spots and striking appearance, Dalmatians have suffered from a serious health issue tied to their genetics – a predisposition to forming urate stones in their bladder due to their bodies’ high production of uric acid. This article explores an innovative solution to this health issue: the development of Low Uric Acid (LUA) Dalmatians.

Genetic Predisposition and Health Risks

Dalmatians are unique among dog breeds due to a fixed gene that metabolizes purine-rich foods into uric acid rather than allantoin, which is the norm for other dog breeds. This metabolic anomaly results in a high concentration of uric acid in the urine, leading to the formation of urate crystals and stones in the urinary tract. This condition can cause painful and severe health problems, including urinary blockage, which can be life-threatening.

Breeding Towards Better Health: LUA Dalmatians

To combat this inherent health risk in Dalmatians, a specific breeding program led by Dr. Robert Schaible in the late 20th century introduced a gene from the Pointer breed into the Dalmatian gene pool. This Pointer gene allows Dalmatians to metabolize purines more effectively, producing allantoin rather than uric acid. Allantoin, being more soluble in urine, significantly reduces the risk of these dogs developing urate stones. These Dalmatians, with their newly integrated gene, were referred to as Low Uric Acid (LUA) Dalmatians.

Benefits of LUA Dalmatians versus HUA Dalmatians

Compared to High Uric Acid (HUA) Dalmatians, LUA Dalmatians experience considerable health benefits. The primary advantage is a substantial decrease in the risk of developing urate stones, which translates to a lower risk of urinary blockages and subsequent health complications. This genetic modification does not impact any other aspect of the breed’s appearance or disposition, allowing the LUA Dalmatians to retain their traditional appearance and temperament.

In addition to the health benefits for the dogs, the development of LUA Dalmatians also provides peace of mind for Dalmatian owners and breeders. These dogs require less dietary management to prevent urate stones, and the risk of costly and potentially dangerous veterinary emergencies is significantly reduced.

A Continuing Journey

While the LUA Dalmatian variant is increasingly recognized, the breed is still relatively rare. Both the Dalmatian Club of America and the American Kennel Club recognize LUA Dalmatians, and they are permitted to compete in official events.

However, the transition towards LUA Dalmatians as the new norm is a gradual process, requiring ongoing education about the health benefits of the LUA variant. Prospective Dalmatian owners are encouraged to research and seek out reputable breeders who are committed to testing their dogs for the LUA gene.


The story of LUA Dalmatians is a testament to the potential of responsible and innovative breeding practices. This genetic modification represents a pivotal step towards improved health and quality of life for this beloved dog breed. By prioritizing the well-being of our canine companions, we can strive towards a future where every Dalmatian can live a healthier and happier life, free from the genetic predisposition to urate stones.

High Uric Acid (HUA) Dalmatians:

Beneath the Dalmatian’s spirited demeanor and eye-catching looks lies a health challenge that has confounded breeders and veterinarians for years: a high level of uric acid production that predisposes Dalmatians to the formation of urate stones. This article delves into the world of High Uric Acid (HUA) Dalmatians and the associated health issues they face.

The Genetic Quirk of Dalmatians

Unlike most dog breeds that metabolize purine-rich foods into allantoin, Dalmatians have a unique genetic trait that metabolizes these foods into uric acid. This metabolic peculiarity, which is present in all pure-bred Dalmatians, leads to high levels of uric acid in the dogs’ urine. As a result, Dalmatians have a predisposition to develop urate crystals and stones in the urinary tract – a health issue that has often been a painful and severe complication for the breed.

Understanding Urate Stones and Their Effects

Urate stones are a product of the high concentration of uric acid in the urine, which can crystallize and form stones. These stones can cause discomfort, inflammation, urinary tract infections, and in severe cases, life-threatening urinary blockages. Even when not life-threatening, the stones can significantly reduce a Dalmatian’s quality of life.

The high prevalence of urate stones among Dalmatians necessitates vigilant monitoring for signs of urinary distress, which include frequent urination, blood in the urine, and signs of discomfort or pain while urinating. Diagnosing and treating urate stones can involve significant veterinary intervention, including radiographs, ultrasounds, diet changes, medications, and in severe cases, surgical intervention to remove the stones.

Managing High Uric Acid Levels

For HUA Dalmatians, managing the uric acid level becomes a vital part of their care. This involves a carefully curated diet that is low in purines, increasing water intake to dilute the urine and regular veterinary check-ups to monitor the urinary system’s health.

Despite these efforts, the threat of urate stones often looms large for these Dalmatians and their owners, adding a layer of stress and worry to the joy of owning one of these charismatic dogs.

A Call for Action: The Need for Genetic Diversity

While measures to manage and treat the symptoms exist, the ultimate solution to the problem of high uric acid levels in Dalmatians lies in addressing the underlying genetic cause. This has led to attempts to introduce genetic diversity into the Dalmatian breed, as seen with the breeding of Low Uric Acid (LUA) Dalmatians.


The tale of HUA Dalmatians is one of resilience in the face of a genetically predisposed health issue. Their situation underscores the importance of responsible and informed breeding practices, as well as the crucial role of research and veterinary medicine in improving the health and welfare of our canine companions. The ongoing efforts to understand and address the high uric acid issue in Dalmatians symbolize a commitment to ensuring these iconic dogs can lead healthier and happier lives.


– Armstrong, J. P., Whittemore, J. C., & Lockhart, R. L. (2021). The Effect of the Low Uric acid Allele, c.74C>T-UAH1, on Serum Uric acid Concentration and Urinary Tract Health in Dalmatians. Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, 25(6), 367-372.
– Giger, U. (2012). Uropathy in Dalmatians. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 26(3), 452-461.
– Howell, T. J., Canterberry, S. C., & Geyer, R. (2015). An examination of the possible Epistatic and Pleiotropic Effects of the Canine Urate transporter 1 (SLC22A12), xanthine Oxidase (XDH), and Urinary Stones in Dalmatians. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 29(4), 947-952.

July 2011 AKC Board Minutes: Registration of Low Uric Acid Dalmatians {1} http://thedca.org/LUA/DalmatianExecSummary.pdf {2} www.thedca.org/LUA/HennesseyDCA.pdf

LUA Dalmatian Makes Breed History At Crufts

An AKC Dalmatian Breeder’s Perspective on Low Uric Acid Dalmatians

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