dalmatian standing on snow

The world has seen a drastic rise in dog ownership, with 90.5 million households owning a dog in the USA at the most recent count and over 70% of households owning a dog. With more prospective dog owners than ever, people are wondering what kind of dog would best suit their lifestyle. Dalmatians are a rare dog that has experienced waning popularity in recent years. This is partly because they don’t make excellent family dogs. Read on to find out what kind of lifestyle best suits the Dalmatian.

What is a Dalmatian?

Dalmatians are striking with their lithe frames, and black and white spotted coats. They have an even more notable personality with energetic and loyal dispositions that make them great for active families.

The Dalmatian breed is an old one. So old that no one knows the Dalmatian’s origin story. However, they’ve always been valuable working companions associated with firefighting. Before joining the fire crew, they were carriage dogs that would run alongside the carriages of wealthy English lords. Running beside the carriages would calm the horses, and the dogs could stand guard when the carriage would be vulnerable.

The association with firefighting comes from their history of working with horses. Back when horses pulled fire trucks, Dalmatians would run alongside the fire truck to calm the horses and help them feel comfortable approaching the fire.

The association seemed like a match made in heaven for the dalmatian, but the lack of interest from the public has curtailed the number of legitimate Dalmatian breeders. A dedicated club of enthusiasts has kept the breed alive and well in the show arena, but the need for more public interest in the breed remains a hurdle that threatens the overall species.

dalmatian face
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Dalmatians: Too Energetic for Small Children

Dogs intended to run long distances with carriages naturally are bred to have overwhelming stamina. Thus, the Dalmatian requires exceptionally high amounts of exercise and mental stimulation to keep the dog from becoming destructive out of boredom.

Additionally, this high energy threshold can be tricky to navigate when you have a young child, as the dog may be too energetic to be safely left alone with the child. If you intend to have a Dalmatian with small children, you’ll need to monitor your dog’s interactions vigilantly and teach your children how to interact with your dog respectfully.

Dalmatians love to play and often don’t know how strong they are. So, it can be tricky to let them play with young children who are top-heavy and haven’t learned how to interact with dogs. You’ll need to be firm with your children and teach them to respect the dog for the household to work correctly.

You’ll also need to vigorously exercise your Dalmatian so that it isn’t dull or overenthusiastic when playing with your children for your dog’s safety and your children’s. A bored Dalmatian will be even harder to contain when they get excited. So, keeping your dog adequately exercised is a must when owning a Dalmatian, whether you have kids or not.

What Kind of Life Suits Dalmatians?

Dalmatians need a life where they’ll get a lot of exercise. Exercise is non-negotiable with this breed unless you’re okay with them tearing your brand new sofa to shreds out of boredom. Dalmatians are looking at 1–2 hours of vigorous exercise daily to be happy. They will not be satisfied chillaxing on the couch.

They can lead multiple lives and hold various jobs, including hunting, retrieving, guard dog duty, and even search and rescue dogs. Any task that requires dedication and diligence is one that the Dalmatian is ready to perform.

If your Dalmatian is left alone for too long or improperly socialized, they may become agitated, which may lead to digging, scratching, chewing, barking, or even snapping.


Dalmatians may not make good family dogs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help one! Even if bringing one home with you isn’t an option, you can also donate to breed-specific rescues that work to bring strays and surrenders to forever homes that suit their breed-specific needs!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay