I have two Dalmatians — four-year-old Jackson and two-year-old Bennett.
With their unique spot pattern and attractive looks, Dalmatians are truly stunning creatures.
SOME SPOTTED HISTORY
For many of us, when we see a Dalmatian, we tend to think of a firehouse mascot or of Disney’s “101 Dalmatians,” however the breed has a far more interesting history.
Dalmatians have amazing speed and endurance. I am always in awe at how fast mine are. This speed is what originally made the breed famous. Bred in the 1800’s as a coach dog, they would trot alongside carriages for miles, discouraging threats from interfering with the horses. The Dalmatian’s talents were later adapted by firemen, who used them to clear paths for their horse-drawn fire engines.
There are considerable temperament differences for every dog no matter the breed. However, based on my experience, there are a few behaviors that Dalmatians tend to have collectively, depending on their environment. The following should give you an idea of what it’s like to live with one (or two):
Dalmatian Quick Facts:
- Very energetic
- Average 45-60 lbs.
- Low tendency to bark, drool, snore, or dig
- Require lots of attention
- They shed but have low grooming needs
TOO SMART FOR THEIR OWN GOOD
Dals loves attention and have a strong desire to please. They are great at performing tricks and have an excellent memory. If you can teach it, your Dal can probably do it. They are super smart and fast learners.
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME
My dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods of time — 5 hours is the max. If we plan to be gone longer, then we take them to doggie daycare. As with most dog breeds, Dalmatians become bored when left to their own devices. Dals can easily become destructive if left alone for too long or if they don’t receive much attention from their humans.
THEY GET A LOT OF ATTENTION
When out in public people WILL notice a Dalmatian. When we take Jackson and Bennett places I often feel like I am with a celebrity! People of all ages go out of their way to say hello and ask if they can pet the boys. If socialized correctly, Dalmatians are incredibly friendly and thrive when they receive lots of love and attention.
ENERGIZER BUNNIES…THEY KEEP GOING…AND GOING…
Dalmatians have a remarkable capacity for exercise! Their high activity level makes them a great companion for people who like to spend their time running or biking. I am NOT a runner, however, long walks and a good game of fetch work great for my Dals. They also enjoy getting their energy out at doggie daycare or at our local dog park.
REAL TALK — DALS SHED
Dalmatians do shed, so this means I vacuum — A LOT. A common joke among Dalmatian owners is that Dals shed at only two times — During the day and during the night. Dalmatian hairs are very firm so they easily stick to fabric. Of course, nearly half of my wardrobe is all black so I have to use a lint roller all the time!
I bathe my boys every two weeks or so and we have a weekly brushing routine to help keep down the shedding. That being said, you’ll never be entirely fur free. On the other hand, Dalmatian’s coats feel like SUPER soft velvet and they are not oily which means they are virtually odorless (no dog smell!)
When it comes to health, Dalmatians are relatively very healthy dogs. The most common health concerns are deafness and bladder stones. Nearly 30% of Dalmatians have some sort of a hearing disability — whether it’s just one ear or both. Most breeders will have their pups tested for hearing problems. The test is called BAER test, and I highly recommend asking your breeder to provide the results of this test.
Urinary Stones are another common issue. Dalmatians are at a higher risk of developing bladder stones due to high levels of uric acid in their blood. You can reduce the chances of problems with a diet low in purines and lots of hydration.
THEY WILL STEAL YOUR HEART & BED
Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Dalmatian needs to live in the house. But I feel that way about every dog.
Do you own a Dalmatian? If so, why did you get one? I would love to hear about your experience!
Please note — I am not an expert on Dalmatians. I just happen to own two of them. This article is based solely on what I’ve learned from my own experiences and read over the years. Thanks for reading!
Hey y’all! My name is Julie and I am from Houston, Texas. I am married to a wonderful guy named Andrew and we have three amazing dogs: Heath, a blue Weimaraner, as well as Jackson and Bennett, two very spotty Dalmatians. Currently, I work as a higher education Public Relations Coordinator and am a graduate of Bethany College with a BA in communications and WVU with an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. I am the fun-loving dog mom behind the scenes of the Instagram account @jackson_the_dalmatian. I hope you’ll follow along with our daily adventures!