Dalmatians are a well known dog breed known for their unique spots and their association with firefighters. They used to be bred as coaching and guard dogs in the past. They have bubbly and playful personalities that is surely to catch anyone’s attention. This breed is smart and highly intelligent. They can play and run for hours on end without getting tired. Dals get along well with children, pets, and family members as they love interacting with people.
Training and positive disciplinary actions will make them perfect companions for any owner. While we have noted few of the pros and cons of owning a Dalmatian below, not all of them fit to every dog as every Dal is different. We wish your Dal satisfies all the pros with no cons to list. However, it is important for new and existing dog owners to understand this breed before they own or adopt a Dalmatian as they are not congruous to the ones we saw in 101 Dalmatians.
Pros of owning a Dalmatian
1. Attractive appearance
Dalmatians are one of the most unique dog breeds in their world. What makes them special are the spots on their body. While there is no concrete evidence as to why they have spots, this special trait distinguishes them from others. Dals are generally white with black or brown spots on them. Their eye color may vary from blue, brown, and amber. They might possess eyes of different colors, based on their genetic hierarchy.
Their unique appearance inspired one of the most loved movies of all time “101 Dalmatians”. They are graceful, and medium-built dogs. They have remarkable coats and are very attractive by nature. They are known as the most aesthetically pleasing breed of dog. Although they are born white with no spots, they develop spots with age. While normally this breed has black spots, they can also be liver, blue, brindle, lemon, or black and tan.
2. Good Watch Dog
Dalmatians can be good watchdogs, alerting you of any incoming danger. In the past, these dogs were used as carriage dogs that ran alongside carriages and horse riders and alerted them of any threat on the road- especially highwaymen or discouraging street dogs from interfering with horses. They were very much suited for this considering their speed, endurance, and watchfulness. The beauty of this breed is they continue to exhibit such traits to present-day. They will always alert you when things appear amiss to them very loudly. They are incredibly good at guarding their family home. They are territorial and do not entertain strangers wandering their area.
They are extremely loyal to their owners when treated correctly. With proper training, they can also be raised to make guard dogs. However, do remember that Dals are headstrong and independent, so they need a strong, confident leader to follow. Owner say
“He follows me everywhere and is constantly warning me about the dangerous leaves fluttering down the street or the person who had the audacity to open a car door 4 streets away.”
3. Dals make great hiking companions and backpacking dogs
Their positive traits are much more meaningful than the negative ones, and they make excellent hiking companions for owners who love to seek adventure or go on trips. Active personality and endless energy help to keep company with the owner in their trails. As good hiking dogs needs medium-large built with long legs to help walk them on trails, Dals are a good option in this regard as they have these advantages.
A dog should be able to keep up with the owner throughout the journey. They have high endurance which is ideal for backpacking as they love spending their pent-up energy throughout the day.
4. Get along with other pets and children
Dogs should be trained at an early age to make sure they adapt to their surroundings as they grow. The interchange of human emotions and behaviors teaches them discipline and habits to perform well in different situations. If Dals are introduced as puppies to different pets and people, they can make wonderful companions. The energy and enthusiasm makes them good partners for games, thus tiring each other skillfully.
Dalmatians can adjust with other pets just fine. Be it a cat, rabbit, or bird. It is a curious play for them as they will stare and have fun with other pets. The breed is known to have compatibility and a fondness for horses that is advantageous for farm owners. Early socialization means that even a 3-month puppy is excellent to be introduced to pets and children. This helps in the bonding and connection process with the family and surroundings.
5. Intelligent and easy to train
According to Stanley Coren, Dalmatian rank 62 in the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. Dalmatians are smart enough to learn tricks quickly and enjoy plenty of play. They can be taught a variety of tricks which can help them keep mentally stimulated. Dal owners can be fret-free if they train a pup from the beginning. With the right approach and meticulous training, they learn the right ways and methods to act properly around people. Negatively enforced disciplinary activities will make them timid and lose motivation. With composed and responsive training, they can become obedient in no time. They can participate in dog games and activities.
6. Clean, easy to groom with no body odor
If compared to other dogs, Dalmatians have relatively no body odor. Dogs in general have a distinct smell which is due to the oils they secrete. Dals do not secrete much oil and frequent shedding is also a reason why there is no odor as such. They can be groomed very easily as their coat is short and slick.
Regular brushing and cleaning become necessary for their dense coat, but the short hairs dries off fast so owners do not have a hard time. These dogs are cleaner than other four-legged canines. They may rush and run all over the yard, but their fur being silky helps them to shake vigorously and remove dust altogether.
7. Participate in numerous dog sports and activities with your Dal
Dalmatian do well in various dog competitions as they are highly energetic and athletic dog breeds. The breed is known for their extensive high stamina that is good for sports like agility, Flyball, obedience competition, scent hurdling, etc. They can easily navigate their way through an obstacle course. They also excel in barn hunt with their strong prey drive and instincts. Any unique course or rally or obedience will be a good sport for them with proper training and bonding. They can also perform well in obedience games if trained properly.
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Cons of owning a Dalmatian
1. High-energy dogs
As Dals are an active dog breed, they require an energetic and outgoing owner who is active mostly for their lifetime. Owners say they never rest, at all. They hate being a “sofa pet” and love hurling around. Having daily activities and outdoor exposure is advantageous to keep them engaged at all times. If not, they can get bored easily and act timid. They should not be left unattended for a long time as they develop destructive behaviors in the absence of their owners. They are not good for quiet people and families with sedentary lifestyle.
Having a child at home and leaving them alone with an untrained Dal is not wise as they are very jumpy and active. The dogs can knock the child down and injure themselves too. They need their daily exercise and playtime without any lapse. It enables them to utilise their energy naturally. It keeps them healthy and peaceful as their requirements match the energy they are spending with the owners.
2. Health issues
One of the major cons of adopting a Dal is their health concern. As we know Dalmatians are spotted animals. But these spots can result in partial or full blindness or deafness in them. The incidence of deafness is due to a polygenic trait inherited and all Dal bloodlines can pass along this deafness to their offspring. Reports say, around 8% are born completely deaf whereas others are born with 22-24% deafness in one ear only. the Bear test is popularly done to check the deafness in Dalmatians.
Dalmatians also have a unique urinary system in the dog world and have few special requirements because of this to prevent medical complications. Their diet should never be high in protein and must have access to plenty of fresh water. Owners must check they get sufficient time to relieve themselves and must have a check on their urine always.
3. Need an active family
Dalmatians are needy and demanding, and having dals can be very loud for some owners. Daily exercising and playtime are a must for this breed. Active families can help in a positive attribute where the dogs get engaged in many activities and games, but it may not be possible for every family. If there are people with health ailments or elderly people, Dalmatians may be too energetic and loud for them as they cannot take part and match the energy Dals require.
Dal owner says “If you cannot commit to an hour at either end of the day with at least 30 minutes off leash time running chasing a ball, running while you cycle etc. then do no get a dally. They need this. They have so much physical and mental energy to release. They were bred to run with horses and carriages all day every day, its in their DNA. Skimp on the exercise and you will end up with a dally with behavioral problems.”
Read some Interesting and fun facts about Dalmatians.
4. Cannot be left alone for a long time
Dalmatians love every type of activity be it playing, running, fetching, or jogging. Dalmatians are people oriented dogs and and love human companionship. Living them alone for longer hours can create a sense of separation anxiety and may cause destruction. Even if you are leaving them alone ensure that they have got enough exercise and leave food and toys with them to keep them occupied.
It is essential to teach them to leave alone from a small age, and slowly increasing the time so that they get adapted to it. This is particularly useful if you spend time outside or don’t have all the time to give to your Dal. The play and walk sessions are important because if they do not get enough activity in a day, they may splash their energy at home which can create a commotion. This can be too exuberant and can result in a piece of broken furniture or things being knocked down.
Dalmatians are not usually loud and noisy, but they become so only when left alone or confined somewhere where they feel unsafe and unattended. They may bark loudly to gather the attention of the owner.
5. 365 days shedding
Dalmatians have a thick but short, dense fur, which sheds year-round and can prick you anywhere and everywhere. Brush them regularly to avoid this scenario. Baths and brush sessions can decrease the quantity of dog hair around you altogether. Their coat is velvety but the shedding can cause a serious dilemma for any owner. Seasons such as spring and fall are peak times for their shedding.
6. Not suitable for apartments or small living spaces
One may choose a crate for a deal, but they are fairly larger than the general medium-sized dogs. Small apartments are not suitable for this breed as they are hyperactive most of the time. The owners need to be disciplined and diligent in taking them to play, run and walk. There is a minimum requirement of 2 hours of walking and running for Dalmatians which allow them to stretch and exercise at their will.
They need enough space for playing and running and if the same is not provided, things may take a destructive turn as the dog will do everything to spend their energy. Make sure to educate yourself on the size and behavior of this breed before owning a one.
7. Independent thinking with headstrong traits
Dalmatians are known for above-average intelligence. They have a remarkable history of independent thinking themselves. They can act on various occasions without human intervention which can be a difficult situation for the owner as Dal training can be exhausting. They are obedient dogs, but are quite headstrong. Imagine the toddler saying ‘why, why, why’. This is a what a dalmatian is like.
Researchers say they tend to remember harsh interactions and the strict negative impact of training. Proper active training and patience will enable both the dog and owner to respect and respond to each other harmoniously. The trainer should understand the leadership necessary to discipline Dalmatians in the right way.
While all dog breeds have a relatively equal share of pros and cons, we must understand that Dals are one of the unique existing spotted dog breeds in the world and it’s up to us to choose what we can adapt, and if we can give them a good home. With careful breeding of Dals, there has been a considerable reduction in their genetic diseases and unwanted characters. Hope you liked reading this article and this has given a good insight on whether you should get a dial particularly if you are a first-time owner of a dog.
Are Dalmatians good for first-time owners?
We do not recommend Dalmatian for first time owners. As this breed is a high energy breed and certain requirements which many may not be aware of. We urge people to fully know about this breed before you get one.
How fast can a Dalmatian run?
Dalmatian are highly energetic dogs and their sleek body helps them run long distances without getting tired. The fastest speed recorded of a Dalmatian is 37 miles per hour.
What is the height of a Dalmatian?
Dalmatians have a height of 20-23 inches and weigh 45-60 pounds.