10 things you need to know about the Dalmatian before you buy one

10 things you need to know about the Dalmatian before you buy one

Life As A Pet Parent

The Dalmatian is perhaps one of the most well-known and certainly distinctive dog breeds of all, largely thanks to their beautiful crisp black or liver spots on a snow-white background. The breed also of course became hugely well known as a result of the 101 Dalmatians film and later spin-offs, and many people have a particular soft spot for the breed as a result.

The breed’s undeniable good looks and of course, portrayal in film means that this is a breed that many people shortlist when trying to pick the right dog breed for them, but this is a complex breed that has a lot of individual factors that can be a challenge, and which prospective owners need to learn about in detail before they make a purchase.

With this in mind, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the Dalmatian, before you go ahead and buy one. Read on to learn more.

1. Dalmatians have a high incidence rate of deafness in the breed

The Dalmatian breed as a whole has a hugely high occurrence rate of hereditary deafness, and up to around 70% of all dogs of the breed have compromised hearing to some extent. Most dogs of the breed are not fully bilaterally deaf, but again a notable percentage are, and if your dog is deaf and to what extent is something you really need to know when you get them, and of course, may mean that the dog is not going to be right for you.

2. Dalmatians have fairly complex breed health challenges as a whole

Dalmatian health as a whole is complex, and there are several other notable and limiting hereditary health issues within the breed that affect enough dogs of the breed to be cause for concern. Around 5% of all Dalmatians suffer from hip dysplasia, and the full list of hereditary health issues within the breed is a long one.

3. Puppies are born white and without spots!

Something not everyone knows is that Dalmatian puppies are not born with their spots already showing – they are born pure white, and the sports develop over time, beginning when they reach a couple of weeks old. This means that you won’t see a pup’s full pattern until they’re an adult!

4. Dalmatians are a very high energy dog breed

The Dalmatian was originally used as a carriage dog to accompany horse drawn carriages carrying well-off members of society, where they would run alongside of the carriage.

As you might expect, this means that Dalmatians are very lively and high energy dogs, and they require a significant amount of exercise each day as a result of this.

5. The Dalmatian can be something of a challenge to train, although they are not stupid dogs

The Dalmatian is 62nd out of 138 dog breeds in the canine intelligence stakes, so they are by no means stupid dogs. However, they can be something of a handful to train as they are high energy dogs that have a relatively short attention span and that can easily become distracted if something more interesting is going on elsewhere!

6. Dalmatians tend to be good with children

Dalmatians are sociable with both other dogs and people, and they tend to be personable, loving and very friendly. They generally get on well with children as well as adults, and can be a nice pick as a family dog for an active household.

7. They are very intolerant of being left alone for long

Dalmatians like to have company for the greater part of the day, and they are highly intolerant of being left alone at home for too long at a time. This is a breed that often suffers from separation anxiety, and they will not thrive if they don’t have company with them most of the time.

8. Dalmatians tend to have notably large litters

One interesting trait of the Dalmatian breed is that they tend to have larger litters than the average dog, with Dalmatians rarely delivering less than six live pups. The average litter size across the breed as a whole is six to nine pups, but really huge litters of up to eighteen live pups have been recorded occasionally too!

9. They are not hugely expensive to buy, but can be to keep

Dalmatians are around the middle of the pack in terms of average purchase prices, at £713 per pedigree Dalmatian and £560 per non-pedigree Dalmatian, based on the average asking prices for dogs of the breed showcased over the last year here on Pets4Homes.

However, the breed’s complex health and also the cost of insuring Dalmatians can make them rather expensive to keep.

10. This is a breed that needs careful consideration before you decide upon it

Dalmatians can be hard to manage and motivate, they have very high energy levels, many dogs of the breed are at least partially deaf and they’re very intolerant of being left alone for long, so altogether this can fairly be described as a complex and challenging dog breed to own.

If you are considering buying a Dalmatian, ensure that you do plenty of research to find out what you’re getting into, and pick a puppy from a breeder that undertakes pre-breeding health screening on their parent stock, and that is willing to show you evidence of their results.

Newsletter icon
Get free tips and resources delivered directly to your inbox.


Pets for StudWanted Pets

Accessories & services


Knowledge Hub


Support & Safety Portal
All Pets for Sale