Dalmatians aren't really bad with kids, are they?

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Calamity- Jane

Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 6:51am PST 
While my heart is set upon a Dal in the next few years, my family is against my decision. They believe that they're bad with kids. I have a bunch of nieces and nephews ranging from newborn to 10 years old, all of whom visit semi frequently, so they're very concerned about that. Is there any truth to that? If not, how do I convince them that Dals are good dogs?

Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 7:28am PST 
I have incredibly fond memories of Dals from my childhood.
A former friend of my parents rescued and fostered many Dalmatians when I was younger.

Now, I'm not entirely sure if it was a result of my always being around dogs to begin with (and therefore acted appropriately around them). There was one in particular, Dale, who was locked in a closet for 14 hours per day prior to this couple adopting her. She hated strangers and many people, but was always excellent with me. shrug

This was during the time that 101 Dalmatians was popular and thus caused an explosion in the amount of Dals being bred.
Because of this poorly bred, bad temperamented dogs were running rampant.

From what I understand since they are no longer as popular, they are being sort of "restored" to their former grace.
I'm sure if you purchase from a reputable breeder and raise the pup right, a Dalmatian would be fine with children.
Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 9:52am PST 
Agreed - the breed fell apart after 101 Dalmatians, physically and temperamentally. Most of the horror stories are fall out from that.

They are not one of the easiest breeds, though. Much like my dear Huskies, they can be quite stubborn and aloof in personality. So, if you are the type to let kids do whatever they want to your dog, it's a recipe for disaster. Not to say it's ok to let kids torment any breed... But in general some breeds will let you get away with a lot more.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having Dals and kids in the same house. Your biggest hurdle is actually changing your family's mind. Remember that if you can't get everyone on the same page, it just isn't the breed for you right now... I've passed on great dogs (specifically a Bullmastiff) because the rest of the household was afraid of him.


Got food? I- can be bought ya- know....
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 10:16am PST 
Keeping in mind that a dogs behavior is part nature and part nurture, if you find an excellent breeder and meet both sire and dam you should have no problem with ANY dog breed.

Dalmatians are no exception.

With that said… I grew up in the Post 101 dalmatians era and the first time I saw a dog attack was a Dalmatian attack 2 Westies, then turn on it's owner when the owner pulled it off the little dogs. It had every intention of killing the smaller dogs if it could.
And our immediate neighbor put their Dal down after it bit one of their grandkids (for the second time).

Lack of popularity is a dogs best friend! smile
Isabelle the- Great

Nothing is- greater than an- Springer!
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 10:38am PST 
My cousins' grandparents, the ones we don't share, had Dalmatians. I loved them as a kid as they loved to run and play with everyone. Unfortunately one day another of our cousins was with us and was around three he got ran over by their extremely young and energetic Dal. While it was not intentional, I would caution the dalmatian for that reason. They are rather large... well not large but big enough to run over a kid and break their arm. The Dalmatian owner actually rehomed that dog to a younger couple who could keep up with the young dog. Other than that, I have extremely found memories of Dalmatians from my days as a child.

I love sitting- in laps
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 2:21pm PST 
I have a friend who has a rescue Dal and he is the absolute sweetest thing when it comes to kids. Gets kind of motherly with them. Not protective, but seems to make sure the little ones are ok and is ever so gentle.
My friend has a severly autistic cousin and his Dal won't leave his cousins side when they visit. It's so sweet.

But, like all dogs, it's a case by case basis.

Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 2:39pm PST 
Honestly, I've only met one I consider remotely child appropriate. Every other one I've met (And a teacher of mine rescued Dals for years) has been bad to okay with children but all had an edge that established fairly quickly they wouldn't tolerate child-like missteps.

They were not a particularly gregarious breed pre-Dalmatians movie (They were coach dogs and a big part of that was guarding the coaches) and they're very much not a breed for everyone. They do not tolerate a lot of foolishness by "not their human" humans.

High-flyin' Pup!
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 7:58pm PST 
I almost laughed out loud when I saw this thread title. While I am certain that well-bred, friendly Dals exist...I have never met one.

When I was a vet tech, we called them "D***atians", and the technicians I worked with at three different hospitals disliked working with them. The breed is so overbred...all of the ones I've met are very tense, reactive, and won't hesitate to bite a person when they are displeased or stressed. Sadly, they're also pone to bladder stones and allergies, so we saw rather a lot of them. The last hospital I worked in instated a policy shortly before I left that all dals were to be muzzled, period. I had never seen a breed-specific policy before so I was a little surprised...but after the experiences I had there, I was thankful to have the policy in place.

If I were looking to get into the breed, I would find a mentor and spend a LOT of time getting to know the temperament of the bloodline before even thinking about adding one to my household.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 10:22pm PST 
Zephyr is right and Jasper speaks to some realities. It may be true to blame it on the movie, but that is too easy an out. In the dog fancy, Dalmatians have long been known for having a vast range in temperament. Some were lured in only for their spots, and could/would look past temperament flaws. Some breeders make excuse for a skittishness or a slight sharpness, and three generations later and you have some big problems. This is why with Dalamatians, there is *no such thing* as being too careful in selecting your breeder. Look past the surface....the testing and conformation titles...and expect to be able to grill a breeder as to what they have done to stabilize the temperament in their lines. If they look at you funny....do not walk away, run!

A problem the breed struggles to rectify is a slight nervous edge that does not do well in novel situations and can make them mistrusting. Anyone obtaining a puppy needs to be aware of this and willing to discuss this with a breeder, what their experiences have been. If you get any "oh no, that is just mill dogs" or some such....leave.

In terms of "good with kids," not all breeds are naturally. Dalmatians can be a bit independent, driven, have a great deal of energy and are rowdy. Some breeds have a particular affinity, Dalmatians aren't really one of them, but nor are many. Certainly anything LESS than a perfect Dalmatian would be a concern if these are visiting children and the home gets turned upside down for a few days or hours.

So you need to start early with a good example and socialize a lot so that's their range of normal. Although I warn you that if your family does any amount of research on this breed, then you are in a lot of trouble, for they definitely have a reputation.

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Sun Dec 9, '12 5:27am PST 
I would have to ask why you are set on getting a Dalmatian? Have you had a lot of experience with them? A well bred Dal is a beautiful dog, but you really need to know the breed (as in spending a lot of time with a number of them) to know if the breed is for you.

As a teenager, I was very involved in 4-H dog training and did very well with our Collie mix, GSD and Golden. A neighbor asked me to work with their Dals. I quickly learned what biddable (or actually "not biddable") means. These dogs had no desire to work with or for me. This was the Kohler period and corrections didn't seem to have much effect on these dogs either. They weren't mean dogs and the family did have a young child. The dogs were only dangerous for the baby since they were so out of control.
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