Dalmatian Puppies: Is This Breed Right for You?
Dalmatian puppies have remained a popular choice by pet owners since the launch of the 1961 Disney movie that featured this breed. The Dalmatian breed has been somewhat mass produced by breeders due to the influx of interest in those wanting to purchase Dalmatian puppies. As a result of overbreeding and failing to use selective breeding for temperament, choosing among Dalmatian puppies can be a bit of a gamble because there have been more occurrences of Dalmatian dogs with temperament issues. That beings said, if you are willing to seek out a proper breeder who takes care in producing well-rounded puppies of sound temperament then this is definitely a breed not to be ruled out.
Physical Traits of the Dalmatian
The Dalmatian breed is best known for its snow-white fur and black or brown spots. Dalmatian puppies are actually born with pure white fur, however dark circular spots will begin to form around six weeks of age. All Dalmatians have circular spots but in show circles it is desirable to have clearly defined circles. This breed sports a sleek coat filled with fine, heavy hairs. A Dalmatian’s head is somewhat square-shaped with a flat top and a muzzle that is proportionate to the length of the top of the skull. The average height for a male is 22 to 24 inches while females can be expected to average about two inches smaller. Both males and females average around 50 – 55 pounds. This breed has a very lean and agile build with impressive endurance. In the 19th century the Dalmatian was used to guard horses and carriages and would often dutifully trot or run alongside his master, even if it meant keeping up with the master’s horse!
There are a few personality traits that a Dalmatian dog should have, but overbreed and unselective breeding has brought about some highly unwanted changes in temperament. A properly bred Dalmatian should be kind, intelligent, loving, playful, and energetic. He will be quick to protect his family members and would make a great watch dog. This breed requires socialization with other dogs from a young age to prevent aggression toward strange dogs. The Dalmatian requires a lot of discipline and alpha-style leadership. This breed is very intelligent and will pounce on any opportunity to benefit from the submissive tendencies of family members if allowed. If left undisciplined and/or if the dog is not shown that his owner is the alpha of the pack, then he will likely take actions to challenge his owner’s authority. Dalmatian puppies are in particular need of consistent leadership, structure, and dependability. This breed definitely prefers to be around people and can become distressed or even depressed if left along for long periods of time.
Dalmatians have a high need for physical exercise. Bear in mind that this breed was bred for endurance and therefore their natural need for exercise is going to be impossible to satisfy indoors. This breed will require a large yard, preferably one that has a fence. Several brisk walks or runs will be necessary each day to ensure that the dog is getting enough activity. It is also a good idea to initiate play time once or twice each day inside or outside the house. This type of dog would not be satisfied with a daily walk down the street or quick trot around the yard. Failure to allow a Dalmatian to spend his energy can result in high-strung behavior, destructive tendencies, and depression. The dog may become restless and/or temperamental.
Common Issues with Dalmatian Puppies
Boredom can be a problem for Dalmatian dogs because they require regular activities to stimulate their intellect and to get rid of pent-up energy. Providing the dog with a task or “job” to perform can help to prevent naughty actions spurred by boredom, such as digging large holes, chewing on anything within reach, and destroying furniture. This breed has been known to eat virtually anything, so potential owners would need to ensure that they can keep dangerous items out of reach.
The Dalmatian breed is highly prone to deafness. In fact, as much as 12 percent of all Dalmatian puppies are born deaf. It is important to ensure the breeder has tested all puppies with the “BAER” method at around six weeks of age. Deaf puppies should not be purchased at full “pureblood price” and they should be spayed or neutered to prevent passing along the genetic disability. That being said, properly trained and well-adjusted deaf Dalmatians can still be a delight to raise.
Is This Breed Right for You?
When determining whether this breed is right for you, you must first consider your lifestyle. Do you have the time necessary to dedicate to firm, consistent training and the disposition to enforce discipline without bending the rules? The saying, “if you give an inch, he will take a mile” is certainly applicable to the Dalmatian, therefore all rules should be enforced at all times with no exceptions. It is also important to consider whether yours and your family’s schedules will be suitable for a Dalmatian. This breed is prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. If the dog will regularly be subjected to long stretches of time by himself then he isn’t going to be happy. If, on the other hand, there will usually be someone at home to keep the dog company on most days, then this breed might be a good fit for you.