a Dalmatian looking at the camera


Dalmatians have a great sense of humor and love to jump around and play. They are easy to train and will quickly learn to obey their owners. Dalmatians are protective of the family and will quickly sound the alarm if they hear a strange noise or see a stranger in the yard. In general, Dalmatians are great pets for families with kids.

Dalmatians are great pets for your family. These dogs  are loyal, intelligent, fun, protective, and energetic.  They are a big dog in a small package, and they are great for many reasons.  

Dalmatians are great with kids because they are very patient and protective of their owners.  These dogs are even protective of their owners when it comes to strangers.  Dalmatians are fun because they are always ready to go on an adventure.  Dalmatians are always ready to run and play.  They are also great because they are very intelligent.

Dalmatian Information

  • Average Height: 27 to 30 inches
  • Average Weight: 45 to 70 pounds
  • Average Length: 31 to 33 inches
  • Coat Type: Short
  • Coat Appearance: They have a short, fine and flat coat
  • Coat Colors: Pure white base with spots of black or liver brown color 
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Low
  • Brushing Requirements: Once a week
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: They tolerate heat but not cold.
  • Good Family Pet: With early socialization and training, yes!
  • Safe with Children: Yes but not for toddlers
  • Good with Other Dogs: Moderate
  • Good with Other Pets: Moderate
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: No
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: Depends
  • Training: They are intelligent but can be stubborn at first
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Urolithiasis, Hereditary deafness, Hip dysplasia, Iris Sphincter Dysplasia and skin allergies
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 13 to 16 years

Physical Appearance of Dalmatians

Dalmatians have a unique spotted coat that can come in different patterns. They are born pure white but as they grow, dense spots of bright black hair grow on their body.

Dalmatians have a strong and muscular body. They are medium-sized dogs with a long and arched neck. Their chest is deep and the shoulders laid-back. Their eyes can be brown or blue, or sometimes even one of each. The ears are wide at the base and gradually taper to rounded tips. They have a short tail that tapers towards the tip. The tail is somewhat curved upwards but on most dogs it does not stand straight up.

They have a short, dense and fine coat. The coat is not very silky but has a slightly glossy appearance with a sleek texture. The base color of the coat is pure white with several spots of either black or liver brown color. Spots tend to have a rounded shape but can come in possibly any pattern. The size of the spots can also vary with the spots on the head, tail and legs being smaller than on the rest of the body. 

Temperament of Dalmatians

Dalmatians are companion dogs who love to spend time with people. They will try to be part of all family activities and get involved in everything that your family does. Dalmatians are loyal, affectionate and also tend to have a good sense of humor. They can sometimes be quite silly and you’ll see them doing things that make you laugh, making them a great pet for families.

two cute Dalmatians in a basket

They are active, intelligent and alert. They are also territorial and protective of their family members. All these qualities add up to them being an excellent watchdog. They are calm and generally do not bark, but the Dalmatians will bark to alert their family members when they see strangers.

Dalmatians are highly energetic and need a lot of exercise. They will be excellent pets for families who love to do adventure activities like going cycling, hiking or other sports. For families who do not like to do a lot of activity, the high-energy needs of the dog can be exhausting for them. Their high energy needs mean they need to be given a lot of space to move around, so apartment living is not good for them.

a cute Dalmatian puppy in a basket

Training a Dalmatian

Dalmatians should be trained right from the day you first get them home. Though they are intelligent, the Dalmatians can be headstrong at first and can develop a stubborn personality if not trained with the right approach early on. Their training has to be consistent and firm to help them grow into a well-mannered pet.

They do not respond well to anger or loud commands, so positive reinforcement techniques should be used for best results. Give them lots of treats and praise to keep the dog interested in the training sessions. Obedience training should be complemented with lots of exercise to take care of their highly active personality. 

Dalmatians do really well with early socialization training that exposes them to different pets, people, sounds and experiences. It will help them to be friendlier to new people and animals when they mature.

Their Compatibility with Children

Dalmatians love to be around children. They are companion dogs who naturally enjoy spending time with people, including children. The active nature of the Dalmatians is also a perfect match for the high-energy that children have. Dalmatians are happy going on walks or just running and playing with children.

As Dalmatians are large and energetic dogs, younger children should not be allowed to play with the dog. The active nature of the dogs may cause the dog to accidentally push young children, resulting in accidents. It’s best to teach your children how to approach and play with dogs.

To prevent any accidents from happening, always have an adult supervise the interaction between the children and Dalmatians.

Best Climate for Dalmatians

Dalmatians do best in moderate climatic conditions. Their short coat helps them to tolerate warm weather but they are not so good at tolerating cold weather.

They are energetic and access to a backyard helps them to enjoy their time but if the temperature gets too cold, they should be kept inside. Temperatures around 40°F can be too cold for them. If you want to take them out in the cold, a jacket will be needed to keep them warm.

The Attention a Dalmatian Needs

The Dalmatians are people-oriented dogs and need a lot of your attention. The dog will happily follow you around and sleep on the bed or sofa next to you. As they are companion dogs, leaving them alone for long hours is not recommended. This can cause them to develop separation anxiety or become destructive. 

Dalmatians are also highly-energetic which will require you to exercise them daily for a few hours. Without a few hours of daily exercise, they will not get the mental and physical stimulation they need. If your family is not this active, it is not recommended to have them as a pet.

a Dalmatian pretending to look away, but looking at the camera

Health Issues

Dalmatians are fairly healthy dogs but like other breeds they can also have some health issues.


Hereditary deafness is the most common health condition that these dogs can have. Close to 8 percent of Dalmatians are born deaf and 22 percent with hearing in one ear only. It may be difficult to understand if your dog has this disease. To identify if a Dalmatian puppy is deaf they should undergo a scientific test called BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response). Contact your local vet to find out if they do the test.


Dalmatians can develop a urinary tract infection called Urolithiasis. The disease results in the formation of urinary tract stones which is caused by the uric acid present in their urine. The salts from uric acid will form large stones in their urethra. Blockage of the urinary tract can be fatal for the dog. To prevent your dog from developing stones they need a diet that contains low levels of purines and a bowl full of water during the day.

a Dalmatian standing outside in the grass

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a commonly occurring joint problem in dogs, including Dalmatians. The health condition happens when the thigh bone is unable to attach itself properly to the hip-joint. Dogs affected with the disease will have pain or lameness in one or both legs but hip dysplasia can also exist without any signs. Some dogs may also develop arthritis as they age. 

Iris Sphincter Dysplasia

Iris Sphincter Dysplasia is an inherited eye disorder that is a result of a poorly developed iris sphincter muscle. The disease can cause poor night vision, partial to total blindness or cataracts in the dog. The dog may also have difficulty in looking at objects in sunlight.

Skin Allergies

Dalmatians can also suffer from skin allergies that can be caused by food; topical contact with substances like dog shampoos, flea powders or chemicals; and airborne allergies like pollen or dust. The airborne allergies can be accompanied by ear infections. The treatment can vary depending upon the source of the allergy but in most cases removing the source of allergy and medication will help.

If you find your dog behaving abnormally or being lethargic, take them to a vet to have them checked.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Dalmatians have low grooming needs. They have a short and fine coat that is easier to care for than many other dog breeds. They also like to keep themselves clean which further helps pet owners. 

They do shed throughout the year and need infrequent brushing. Their coat should be brushed once every week with a soft rubber brush. Their coats are dirt-repellent so they do not need frequent baths. Bathe them only when their coat gets very dirty or starts to smell. With regular brushing, they may require baths only once every 3-4 months. When bathing your Dalmatian, only use only a dog shampoo to gently clean them. 

The Dalmatians should ideally wear down their nails themselves but if they have grown a lot, use a pet nail clipper to trim their nails. Dog nails have blood vessels in them, so avoid cutting them too short as it can cause them pain. 

Take your dog to a vet to have their teeth cleaned every 3 to 4 months. It will prevent them from having dental diseases. Use a moist cotton cloth to clean their ears but do not insert the cloth inside the ear canal. 

Check their ears, teeth and eyes for any signs of infection every week. If you smell a bad odor from their mouth or ears, take them to a vet to see if they have an infection. While grooming their coat, check for rashes, redness or any other signs of infection.

a beautiful Dalmatian standing outside
a pile of multi colored dog food

Feeding A Dalmatian

Adult Dalmatians should be fed 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry dog food. Puppies may eat less and their feeding size should be increased gradually as they grow. Steer clear of giving them foods that have purines as it can cause urinary tract infection in Dalmatians. 

Treats should also form an important part of their diet. You can also give them human food and table scraps but it should be done in moderation and not regularly. 

Dalmatians can become overweight if they are overfed. Exercise them regularly, at least for an hour every day to keep them physically fit. 

They should have access to fresh water at all times. 

Related Questions:

Can Dalmatians swim?

While most Dalmatians like to play with water and may know how to swim, there can be some dogs who cannot swim. If you take them to a beach or close to a water body, keep your dog on a leash to prevent any accidents. Dalmatians are intelligent, have an active temperament and can be taught to swim. You can do this by enrolling them in dog swimming classes. 

My Dalmatian is ignoring me, what should I do?

The behavioral issue might be the result of hereditary deafness in your dog. You may sometimes find them responding to loud sounds but not to your commands, which can make it difficult for you to know if the dog is deaf. The best way to know if they are deaf is to give them a BAER test.

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