During the first half of the twentieth century Robert Kaleski was the great authority on the Australian Cattle Dog breed and, as time went by, questioning his authority amounted to heresy. Kaleski, however, developed a breed mythology (ADCB p.22-26, 139-140). The Dalmatian myth has proven particularly resistant. Setting aside the various discussions in ADBC, visual evidence questions the Dalmatian ancestor.
Basic coat colour in ACDs is a spectrum from black to white in blue ACDs, and from red to white in red ACDs. Between the two end-members are various mixtures black (or red) and white and varying proportions of coloured to white hairs.
The speckled or mottled colour, characteristic of ACDs, is controlled by the Ticking gene. Some ACDs, such as the dog in the second photo, show a range of colour/white distribution from even blue (or red) to mottled.
There is no white/colour gradation in Dalmatians.
It’s complete speculation, but imagine yourself at a dog show in the early 1920s. Kaleski is there, ring-side, making free with his opinion of the ACD exhibits to a group of admirers.
Someone asks: “Mr Kaleski, why are Cattle Dogs sort of spotted?” Kaleski invents the Dalmatian ancestor on the spot, and so the myth was born.