Dog breeders say they've spotted a canine trend


Even kids too little to count know there are 101 of them. Dalmatians, that is.

And thanks to the 30th anniversary release of "101 Dalmatians," kids and parents across the country are scrambling to find these delightful, dotted dogs.

The American Kennel Club report renewed interest in the breed, thanks in part to the movie.

"We've been getting a lot of attention lately," said Vilma Baquero, an Orlando, Fla., Dalmatian aficionado, "especially when we walk both of our Dalmatians. Kids point to us as we go by. We're getting lots of double takes these days."

For Debra Kellermeier, who lives in Belleview, Fla., the timing of the movie's release was perfect. Ms. Kellermeier's Dalmatian had a dozen puppies in June. Desperate, she persuaded a movie theater manager to let her put up notices where "101 Dalmatians" was playing.

Yet the Dalmatian boomlet didn't begin with the re-release of the animated Disney classic. And although the evidence is spotty, it appears that the trend will continue after the movie closes. Long favorites of firefighters, Dalmatians are making a -- toward the top of the doggie popularity charts.

Of the 131 breeds recognized by the New York-based American Kennel Club, the Dalmatian is now the 19th most popular breed in the country -- up from 24th in 1989. AKC officials predict that at this rate, Dalmatians may break into the club's Top 10 during the 1990s.

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