Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Dalmatians Good With Kids? Breed Temperament Facts & FAQ

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

Dalmatian dog training

Are Dalmatians Good With Kids? Breed Temperament Facts & FAQ

When you have a growing family, bringing in a dog of any age can be challenging. After all, you need to ensure that all household members will be completely compatible with one another. If you have never owned a Dalmatian, or you’re not quite familiar with the breed’s ins and outs, they might have attracted your attention.

This spotted, physically capable dog is desirable for many reasons. Perhaps your children just watched 101 Dalmatians for the first time, and they have a serious fever for the breed. You’re doing the right thing by researching before bringing a puppy home. Dalmatians can be great with kids, but they need to be properly trained!

Here we will discuss what would make a Dalmatian compatible with kids and some key things you might want to watch for.

Dalmatians Can Make Wonderful Playmates

With the proper socialization, training, and care, a Dalmatian can make an excellent addition to many families. They have the energy levels necessary to keep up with many small kids. Plus, they tend to have the classic positive, fun-loving personalities that Dalmatian lovers adore.

Your child can develop irreplaceable memories of running around the yard with their dog. Dalmatians will absolutely love playing fetch, frisbee, and other interactive games. They can simply chase the kids around the yard, getting into all sorts of shenanigans.

With proper interactions, they make perfect matches for most child energy levels. However, with some calmer children, or even those with particular disabilities or special needs, they might be a little too exuberant.

Playing in the snow with a Dalmatian dog
Image Credit: Rebecca Scholz, Pixabay

Dalmatians Are Good Watchdogs

Dalmatians have a very keen sense of their surroundings. If you are looking for a larger dog that will alert you if anything suspicious is going on around the home, they are fit for the task. Exposure to strangers in various situations is imperative so your Dalmatian can learn good discernment.

If you have an obedient Dalmatian, they can certainly keep your household safe by alerting you of any knock at the door or stranger entering. They are a substantial enough size to subdue an intruder, if need be, as well.

So if your growing family has you thinking about protection, this is undoubtedly a breed to consider. Although, with deaf dogs, it can potentially limit awareness of their surroundings.

Dalmatian dog standing on a grass
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

The 3 Factors that Determine Compatibility

Even though Dalmatians can be perfect additions to many different lifestyles, there are certain factors that you want to consider. Dalmatians are not like every other dog. They have specific unique quirk quirks that deserve attention.

Sometimes, these specific inclinations will work for some homes, while it might not be so fitting for others. Understanding as much as you can learn about the breed will help you determine whether or not it’s right for you.

1. Deafness

Statistically, 8% of Dalmatians are bilaterally deaf. 22% of Dalmatians are unilaterally deaf. This totals a whopping 30% of total deafness in the breed. So it’s incredibly relevant, and proper breeding does not eliminate the risks of this genetic defect.

Because they can sometimes be deaf, this can be very challenging for small children. If they sneak up on them abruptly or they are otherwise unaware of their presence, it could cause accidental injuries or reactions due to sudden startling.

dalmatian face
Image Credit: Rebecca Scholz, Pixabay

2. Inclination Toward Aggression

Dalmatians aren’t inherently aggressive, although they might show some of these tendencies depending on breeding and individual personality.

These dogs are not calm and require a constant outlet for energy. If a Dalmatian has pent-up energy, it can result in behavioral abnormalities, such as moodiness and aggression.

3. High Energy

Dalmatians are incredibly high-energy dogs. They require an extensive amount of mental and physical stimulation every day. This is definitely not the breed to have if you plan on keeping them locked in a kennel when you go to work every day. They need space to roam, explore, and stretch their legs.

If you have a Dalmatian in a kennel or confined most of the day, it can have some pretty detrimental effects on their overall behavior and personality. When these dogs have a lot of pent-up energy, they can express themselves in other ways that are much less favorable, like aggression, destructiveness, and anxiousness during separation.

Your Dalmatian will need lots of room to run! They benefit greatly from having open land to explore or a sizable fenced-in backyard to burn off steam. These will also be the kinds of dogs you will want to take to the dog park if you live in an area where extensive exercise in your own space isn’t an option.

Their size, in combination with their activity levels, can be challenging for smaller children as well. Because of the potential for accidental injury, they really should be in homes with children aged 6 and older.

Running dalmatian
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

Dalmatians Often Benefit from Professional Training

Because of the Dalmatian’s challenging exercise and mental needs, they often benefit from professional training. You might be a seasoned dog owner that has direct experience with this breed or ones that require much of the same care.

A professional trainer can guide you and your dog on how to form a trusted, bonded relationship with one another. Every obedient dog trusts and relies on their master for commands. Even though he is your best friend, there must be a hierarchy to create needed respect.

Professional training is not a fix-all. It takes just as much effort from you as the owner to continue the training methods when your dog arrives home. Soon, if you follow the training instructions correctly, you will have a well-mannered dog in no time.

Professional training can vary in cost. Some of it is extremely expensive, while other resources will be cheaper or even free if you do your own research. In any case, it’s sometimes nice to have that added layer of support to ensure you have a mannerly, well-trained animal.

dalmatian puppy having treats
Image Credit: Evgenii Panov, Shutterstock

Purchasing from a Licensed Breeder

If you bring a puppy home, you’ll want to purchase from a licensed, reputable breeder. Poor breeding can result in various issues relating to temperament, health, and quality.

Breeders should also require a deposit to ensure each puppy has a serious new owner. Many breeders also put puppy contracts in place to ensure the dog is taken care of if your life changes.

For example, if you have to give them back due to a divorce or other significant life change, the breeder will take them back with no questions asked. This safety measure ensures they will not end up in a shelter or be passed around from family to family without stability.

You can expect to spend between $450 to $1,200 on average. The ultimate cost will depend on your general location, particular breeder rates, bloodlines, and puppy quality. In addition to purchasing the puppy, you will also have to get all of the first-time supplies, which can be costly.

Dalmatian puppy
Image By: Annette Kurka, Shutterstock

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

Acclimating an Adult

Bringing a full-grown Dalmatian into the home can be a little challenging. After all, the pup has already developed a personality and lived in a specific house with a different lifestyle than yours.

While some Dalmatians can acclimate to a new environment just fine, others have trouble. Dogs have personalities just like us, and when we welcome a full-grown adult into our home, we must understand that this is a fully developed animal that didn’t have the chance to grow with your family the way a puppy would.

Often, rescues are extremely grateful to their adopted owners. However, only some have kids. So if you have a growing family, the adult Dalmatian might never have been exposed to a child’s exuberant energy in the past. Even though some will respond just fine, others can find it very challenging, and you may even hit roadblocks in the process.

If you plan to adopt a Dalmatian from a rescue or shelter, it is a good idea to have a meet and greet with every family member. Take your time to see how the Dalmatian responds to your children and other pets in the home. This is a great way to make sure that a dog is a proper fit before you get home, only to realize the situation is incompatible.

woman with her dalmatian dog at home
Image By: New Africa, Shutterstock

Dalmatians Had False Representation

All things are good with fame and fortune, right? Not so much when it comes to the Dalmatian. When Walt Disney created the wonderful hit cartoon 101 Dalmatians, it really caused an upheaval in the United States.

Many people rushed out to buy their kids one of these adorable spotted puppies. With the breed’s popularity growing so heavily, people did not stop to research the breed before committing.

It led to a lot of homelessness with this particular breed as people’s expectations did not match what the Dalmatian breed could offer. Within 6 months to a year following the release of the 1996 film, shelters saw a devastating influx of surrenders.

It seems many folks had severely unrealistic expectations. So, this once popular breed faded from the limelight and is less prevalent today.

two dalmatian dogs
Image By: artofvisionn, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Realistically, Dalmatians can make beautiful additions to a variety of homes. They can get along with children and adults alike. However, the situation does require proper training and respectful interaction on both ends.

If you understand the particular requirements of owning the Dalmatian and they would be a good match for the children in your home, research reputable breeders with a proven history of successful litters. You are much more likely to get a well-rounded, even temperament Dalmatian your kids can share their childhood with.

Featured Image Credit: Arthur Bargan, Shutterstockg

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.