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Are Dalmatians Good With Kids? Breed Temperament Facts & FAQ

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Dogster Team


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. 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!

Below, we will discuss what makes a Dalmatian compatible with kids and provide advice about raising one.

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 small kids. Plus, they have the classic, fun-loving personalities that Dalmatian lovers adore.

Your child can develop irreplaceable memories of running around the yard with their dog. Dalmatians love playing fetch, frisbee, and other interactive games. With proper interactions, they are perfect matches for the energy levels of young kids. However, less active children may be overwhelmed by the dog’s exuberance.

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 happening around the home, they are fit for the task. Exposure to strangers in various situations is imperative so that your Dalmation isn’t aggressive to visitors or your child’s friends.

If you have an obedient Dalmatian, they can keep your household safe by alerting you of any knock at the door or stranger entering. They are a large enough to subdue an intruder, if need be, as well. So, if your growing family has you thinking about protection, the Dalmatian is undoubtedly a breed to consider. However, due to unsound breeding practices in the past, some Dalmatians are vulnerable to hearing loss.

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

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The 3 Factors that Determine Compatibility

Even though Dalmatians can be ideal pets, there are certain factors that you want to consider. Dalmatians are not like every other dog and have unique quirk quirks that deserve attention. Sometimes, their issues aren’t problematic for their owners, but they might not be so fitting for others. Understanding as much as you can learn about the breed will help you determine whether or not they’re right for you.

1. Deafness

Statistically, 8% of Dalmatians are bilaterally deaf, and 22% are unilaterally deaf. However, proper breeding does not eliminate the risks of this genetic defect. Because they can sometimes be deaf, it can be very challenging for small children. If they sneak up on them abruptly or are unaware of their presence, the startled dog can cause accidental injuries or reactions.

dalmatian face
Image Credit: Rebecca Scholz, Pixabay

2. Inclination Toward Aggression

Dalmatians aren’t inherently aggressive, but they might show aggressive tendencies depending on their breeding and personality. They are not calm pups and require a constant outlet to release their 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 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 detrimental effects on their behavior and personality. When they can’t exercise or play with you, 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. Their size, in combination with their activity levels, can be challenging for smaller children as well. Because of the potential for accidental injuries, 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 benefit from professional training. You might be a seasoned dog owner who has experience with Dalmatians or dogs 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 they are 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.

The cost of professional training can vary. It’s not cheap, but some trainers are much more expensive than others. 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 lifespan. 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 and $1,200 on average. The ultimate cost will depend on your location, breeder prices, 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

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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 house with a different routine 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 grateful to their adopted owners. However, only some have experience with kids. 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 quickly adapt to them, 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, having a meet and greet with every family member is a good idea. Take your time to see how the Dalmatian responds to your children and other pets in the home. This is a great way to ensure a dog is a proper fit before you get home.

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

Dalmatians Had False Representation

When Walt Disney created the hit cartoon 101 Dalmatians, it really caused an upheaval in the United States. Many people rushed out to buy Dalmatians for their kids. Although the demand for the breed increased significantly, most new owners did not realize how much exercise and training they required.

It led to a lot of homelessness since 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 pet parents 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

Dalmatians are excellent pets for active families and devoted owners. They can get along with children and adults but require thorough training to become well-behaved companions. If you understand the particular requirements of owning the Dalmatian and think 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-tempered Dalmatian your kids will adore.

Featured Image Credit: Arthur Bargan, Shutterstockg

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