Do Dalmatians Make Good Pets?

Dalmatian PetsAsk anyone what a Dalmatian looks like and right away you will get pretty accurate answer. Being the only dog breed that has spots makes them quite unique – which is why they get so much attention. Well that and a certain children’s cartoon that popularized their look even further. Who wouldn’t want such an adorable dog? A lot of people do, but the truth is that most shouldn’t. This breed just isn’t for everyone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Dalmatians! I mean, this whole website is dedicated to Dalmatians, their care and training. These dogs make great loyal pets, but only for those who are ready for such a dog. Ask any owner and they will tell you that Dalmatians are more of a “hands on” type of a breed. Would such a dog be a good fit for you and your family? Well it depends on what you’re looking for in a dog.

Here is a short Pros/Cons list to give you a quick idea of what I mean:

What’s good about them
  • Beautiful
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Clean
What’s not so good about them
  • Certain Health Problems
  • Not Best breed for Families with Children
  • Can be Stubborn

Who are Dalmatians For

First and foremost, they’re for people who are active. They don’t want to sit at home doing nothing, they want to run/walk/explore every chance they get. Dalmatians are working dogs that require physical stimulation – which could be why firemen like them so much.

Now if you’re not that active but want a Dalmatian anyway, you better find some activities for your Dal or you are going to run into problems. And physical stimulation alone won’t cut it either. They also need mental stimulation to stay happy – which could be good or bad depending on what kind of a dog you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a quiet lap dog to watch movies with and not much else, this breed is definitely not for you.

In the pros and cons list I said they are both intelligent and stubborn which might seem like an odd combo, but it’s true. Dalmatians are highly intelligent and are capable of learning things really quickly, but only if they have a trainer that they trust. Otherwise they are going to be as stubborn as a mule. Those who never owned a dog or don’t really care about obedience training are going to struggle with a Dalmatian. You simply can’t neglect training with these dogs – they will walk all over you.

Something else you should know about them is that these dogs are very good at keeping themselves clean. They tend not to smell as bad as other breeds. They do shed year round, but that’s expected with any dog. So when it comes to grooming, they are relatively easy to take care of – as long as you invest in plenty of lint rollers.

Things You Should Note

They are very energetic – Looking for a dog that loves to spend time outdoors running or just playing? Dalmatians are great at that! These dogs love to exercise and would make good pets for people that love the great outdoors.

Beautiful dogs – Because of their unique look, it’s very easy to fall in love with a Dalmatian and his spots. With a very distinct pattern and high contrast colors, these dogs are one of the most beautiful breeds out there.

They are very intelligent – Dalmatians are really smart dogs and can learn new tricks quite fast. They would make a good pet for people that like to teach their dogs new tricks.

Easy to groom – Because of their naturally protected coat and cleanliness, these dogs need very little grooming. Believe it or not, it’s actually better not to bathe them unless necessary.

Dalmatians can show dominant behavior – Although this is not a real issue for people that know how to handle these dogs, it can be a problem for owners who don’t know anything about obedience training.

They need a lot of space to run and play – If you don’t have a large enough fenced yard then be prepared to take your Dalmatian out to the park on a regular basis. These dogs absolutely need to run and exercise.

Can have certain health problems – This is the only dog breed that is missing certain enzymes required to break down protein. So it’s important to pay attention to these dogs diets and avoid protein dense dog food.

Common Questions

Q: Is my place big enough? How much room do they need?

Let me answer this by saying that these are not apartment dogs. Dalmatians are unbelievably energetic and will want plenty of room for playing and goofing off. Can you live in an apartment and still get your Dalmatian the exercise that he needs? Yes, if you go on walks daily and, notice it’s an “and” and not an “or”, you include him in other activities – like the park, a jog or a hike.

Q: What health issues do I need to look out for?

During the peak of their popularity, Dalmatians got a lot of bad rep due to poor breeding practices. After the release of the cartoon that we mentioned earlier, a lot of people wanted a Dalmatian. To meet the demand, people who either didn’t know, or didn’t care to know, what they are doing started to breed them for profit. As a result, a lot of problems arose – both the behavior issues and health problems – that gave this breed a bad reputation.

Having said that, each breed comes with its own set of problems, and Dalmatians are no different. The biggest difference with them is the way their urinary system is built – which makes them more prone to urinary stones. To avoid formation of stones, they will require a slightly different diet than other dogs do. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s something that you should be aware of. Other problems can include: blindness, deafness and tumors.

Q: Are they an expensive breed to keep?

Overall they are fairly large dogs. Besides the obvious expenses like food and regular checkups/shots you should also factor in the cost of other less obvious expenses. This can include unexpected medical bills, destroyed property, training classes, etc. When you bring home a dog, you’re taking on a lot of responsibility. It’s better to be fully prepared.

You might also want to get permission of your landlord, or home insurance company if you own your own home, to make sure such large dog is allowed. Because of the overbreeding problem and poor training, these dogs made it pretty high up on the list of most aggressive breeds, so a lot of landlords think of them as a liability.

Q: Should I get My Dalmatian from a pet store?

No you should not. Pet stores are well known for getting their pups from puppy mills. Puppy mills are for-profit breeders that only care about the bottom line. They carelessly overbreed their dogs, keep them in tight enclosures and save on any expense they can to get the most profit. These are not the type of people you want to support with your money. Puppy mills should be avoided not just because of their cruel breeding practices but also because they’re the main reason behind Dalmatians having a bad rep by breeding and selling sick/unstable dogs. You should either look for a rescue or find a reputable breeder.

Plan to Adopt a Dalmatian?

Before you bring a Dalmatian home, I highly suggest you check out the Dalmatian Owners Guide. Not only does it show the proper way to raise and train these dogs, but it also talks about things you should know before you bring one home. It’s a must have guide for any future or current Dalmatian dog owner – click here to learn more.

About The Author

Charles Owens is a proud Dalmatian owner, trainer and enthusiast. He has been helping Dalmatian owners for years through his website, discussion forum and personal one on one training sessions.

He has also written a complete guide on what it takes to raise a healthy, happy and obedient Dalmatian.

You can find the complete guide here: The Complete Dalmatian Guide

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