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About Us

Our History

Rod and I purchased our first Dalmatian in the late sixties while we were still in college. I fell in love with a neighborhood Dalmatian while growing up, a dog named Pal who loved playing with all the kids in the neighborhood. He was the perfect dog, friendly, intelligent and full of fun. He left a lasting impression on me as the kind of dog I wanted when I grew up.

Rod’s family had a Cocker Spaniel they loved. She was delivered to their home in a neighbor’s pocket, something that made her arrival something very special and memorable. With 5 kids to look after her, she quickly became a family member and playmate. Rod loved all dogs but instantly fell in love with the Dalmatian’s special intelligence, desire to please, athleticism and beauty. Rod was a natural with dogs in every way and he loved working and playing with them. His natural ability enabled him to become skilled at training dogs rapidly so it was natural to get involved with dog sports

Merry Go Round Dalmatians

Our first registered Dalmatian was sold to us as pet quality. In the AKC lexicon that means that the dog, while purebred, was sold as a companion dog rather than a show dog, or a breeding quality dog. In the 1960’s and 1970’s most breeders did not yet require purchasers to neuter a dog sold to them as pet quality, something that changed as surplus dogs filled animal shelters.

So at that time, pet quality was just a description; it didn’t limit the purchaser’s choice. If the owner chose to show the dog, they could show the dog.  If they chose to breed the dog, no one would stop them.

And so it began: One day during finals week we heard of an AKC Fun Match being held in a park about a block away from our house and decided to see what it was all about. A Fun Match is one of few AKC events that doesn’t require pre entry, so we entered our dog and proceeded to show her.

We learned the meaning of the term pet quality that day, losing to the only other Dalmatian entered, but that day also marked the beginning of our lifelong involvement with Dalmatians and the sport of dogs.

We recognized right away that the dogs at the match were better trained than ours, something that instantly grabbed our attention. We also noticed that they were better groomed than ours, and that many of the breeds were just plain gorgeous, dogs that carried themselves like perfectly conditioned athletes. We also enjoyed the people we met.  It was a great day and a turning point in our lives. We were hooked instantly.

We followed this up by traveling to every dog show and match we heard about to see more Dalmatians. We checked out all the library books we could find on Dalmatians, and bought all kinds of books and magazines about Dalmatians and the sport of purebred dogs. As soon as school was out for the summer we were off to find a Dalmatian that could be a playmate to our pet Dalmatian, one that could also compete at AKC conformation dog shows!

The quest for our foundation dogs took us hundreds of miles on many consecutive week ends for nearly two years and led us eventually to the three kennels that we based our bloodline on. Our journey led us eventually to the Williamson’s home in Richland, Washington (Karastella Kennels); to Barbara Niemeyer’s Jaybar’s Dalmatians in Southern California; and to Coachmaster Kennels near San Diego owned by Bob and Shirley Hays.

We were so fortunate to have these breeders as our mentors. They spent time with us teaching us about husbandry, training, selection, dog shows, and about the cultural aspects of the sport.  Most importantly, they taught us the concept of maintaining a breeding program that was always “breed progressive,” improving a structural, cosmetic, health and/or temperament characteristics.


At that time in breed history,



Current Goals

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The Strands purchased their first Dalmatian in the late sixties as newly-wed college students and soon discovered the sport of dogs.  Patti’s appreciation of Dalmatians was inspired by childhood memories of a neighbor’s Dalmatian, a dog named Pal who was a constant playmate with all the kids on the street. Rod grew up with dogs, and instantly fell in love with the Dalmatian’s special intelligence, athleticism and beauty.


45 years later Strands are still having the time of their lives in the sport of dogs with the breed they love. Along the way they’ve made lifelong friends and have served the breed and the sport as judges and AKC delegates – Patti served on the AKC Board for 16 years and has judged the DCA National Specialty twice.


Together, Rod and Patti developed an influential Dalmatian bloodline – Merry-Go-Round Dalmatians – that is known for producing long-lived dogs with excellent temperaments, good movement and spectacular beauty.


Strands have bred, owned and shown numerous top producing sires as well as dams, more than 150 champions, many top 10 winners, and Best-in-Show dogs, including the top winning Dalmatian in breed history, Ch. Merry Go Round Mach Ten. Another of their dogs is currently the number one Dalmatian in the US. After 46 years in the breed, one of their greatest rewards is working with people who have dogs from their line, some for as many as 40 years and 4 consecutive generations.