Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Dalmatians: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Dalmatian temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Dalmatian dog breed

Dalmatian Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Dalmatian Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016

A good Dalmatian is a dependable, dignified gentleman, yet high-spirited and playful. A good Dalmatian.

However, there are lot of poorly-bred Dalmatians around, and these dogs can have serious temperament flaws. In addition, even a good Dalmatian needs plenty of exercise and companionship. Too much confinement (especially without the companionship of his family) and too little mental stimulation lead to boredom, hyperactivity, and destructive behaviors.

This athletic, vigorous dog has great endurance and a working heritage and should be taken jogging, hiking, or biking on a regular basis, or otherwise allowed to romp in a safe, enclosed area.

Challenging canine activities such as advanced obedience and agility (obstacle course) are also highly recommended.

Some Dalmatians greet strangers with enthusiastic jumping, while others are politely reserved. Some have mild protective instincts. Unfortunately, skittishness and/or aggression are seen in some lines, and plenty of socialization is required to promote a stable temperament.

Usually good with other family pets, the Dalmatian is especially fond of horses.

This breed is an independent thinker, but in the right hands is capable of learning and doing anything. Owners who don't understand the necessity of leadership or training will find him an impossible handful.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium to large and built like a sleek athlete
  • Has a short easy-to-brush coat
  • Thrives on vigorous exercise and interactive family activities
  • Is usually polite with everyone

A Dalmatian may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • An extra careful search to avoid neurotic individuals
  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
  • Destructiveness and barking when left alone too much
  • Aggression or fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Stubborness, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Constant shedding -- 365 days a year!
  • Serious health issues

A Dalmatian may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Dalmatian

If I was considering a Dalmatian, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Unstable temperaments. Because of the movie "101 Dalmatians," Dalmatians became a fad breed in the 1990s. Unknowledgeable people tried to cash in on the breed's popularity by breeding every Dalmatian they could get their hands on, including individuals with bad temperaments. The result is LOTS of Dalmatians with neurotic temperaments, including biting, wild hyperactivity, and extreme stubbornness.

  2. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Dalmatians MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Dalmatians can make a shambles of your house and yard.

  3. Bounciness. Young Dalmatians (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.

  4. Stubbornness. Dalmatians are not Golden Retrievers. The best Dalmatians are versatile working dogs, capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They can be manipulative, and some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say

    To teach your Dalmatian to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Dalmatian Training Page discusses the program you need.

  5. Constant heavy shedding. Dalmatians shed only once a year -- for 365 days. In other words, they shed constantly and their coarse white hairs cling tenaciously to your clothing, upholstery, and carpeting.

  6. Serious health problems. Dalmatians have an unusual urinary system that is genetically prone to forming dangerous urinary stones. Thus, they require lifelong monitoring of their diet and urination habits. In addition, one-third of all Dalmatians cannot hear, or can hear in only one ear. Other health problems are also common.

book cover To learn more about training Dalmatians to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Dalmatian the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Dalmatian. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Dalmatian might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Dalmatian home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Dalmatian...

When you're acquiring a Dalmatian PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Dalmatians who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter