Are Dalmatians Dangerous?

All dangerous dogs should be identified individually by behaviour, not by breed. That being said, there are some dog breeds that are more likely to contain dangerous traits or behaviors than others, due to factors such as genetics, temperament, breeding history, location and treatment. Dalmatians in general are not known to be dangerous, but they can show aggressive tendencies due to their loyalty and protectiveness, potentially leading to dangerous behaviour if not treated or trained properly.

Some countries do have laws that forbid the breeding of certain dog breeds, usually due to their ability to inflict serious damage. It is probable that most dog breeds have had a dangerous dog status labeled to an individual dog at some point in modern society somewhere in the world.

There is also a distinction between a dangerous dog and a vicious dog. A dangerous dog could be classified as a dog that loves to jump on people. A vicious dog is a description reserved for dogs that have traits or behaviors to harm other humans or animals.  

What makes a dog a dangerous dog?

There are many reasons why a dog may be considered dangerous depending on the infinite situations that may present themselves and the perspective of the individual judging the dogs behaviour. In general, a dangerous dog is a dog that will aggressively attack a human or other animal causing injury or death. This type of behavior may be referred to as a ‘vicious” dog instead of a dangerous dog, as a dog that jumps up on people or runs away may be considered dangerous in some parts of the world. Any dog regardless of breed or size can be declared a dangerous dog, but it is recognised that there are genetic components contributing to a dogs aggressive behaviour, the trigger for that aggression and its ability to inflict injury – making certain dog breeds more likely to have dangerous dogs within it. A dog doesn’t become dangerous overnight, it takes consistent negative treatment or poor behaviour without training for a dog to get to the point of being dangerous by biting or potentially attacking people or animals. 

Trusting your Dalmatian with family

A big part of owning a Dalmatian is trust, especially in a family environment. Due to dalmatians high energy, they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If this is lacking, that energy will be misdirected to more negative behaviors, potentially creating the foundations for a dangerous dog. It is important to note that a Dalmatian will not become a dangerous dog quickly, they will need to be mistreated and/or put in poor conditions consistently to develop the seriously negative qualities to want to attack people. You and your family need to be well connected to your Dalmatian so you can trust each other. This is especially important when small children are around. Teach your Dalmatian to be gentle around your kids with the correct training from an early age. This is easier to do if your Dal is a puppy with your young kids, they can grow and learn together. If introducing your children to an adult Dalmatian, the training and learning process will be longer and more intense. Always keep a close eye on any dogs with young children, regardless of circumstances as even the most well trained dogs can be unpredictable when poked in the eye.   

Potential aggressive tendencies

This is a snippet taken from the article “Are Dalmatians Aggressive”. Aggression in dogs can come in many different forms and stems from many different scenarios, from poor breeding to poor training or potential mistreatment. Potentially aggressive tendencies can be in the form of:

  • Barking
  • Growling or snarling
  • Stiff rigid body and/or ears pinned back
  • Baring teeth 
  • Snapping
  • Nipping or biting
  • Bite and shake

Soft biting (or mouthing) is a natural instinct for most dogs as they use their mouths to investigate and/or play. Bite inhibition is the dogs ability to control how hard they bite and is a skill learnt from their mothers and the litter as young puppies. Dalmatians love to play and can play bite as a result of their extreme enthusiasm. As long as the Dalmatian is properly trained and has learned bite inhibition, playful mouthing or tug of war games shouldn’t be a problem. Remember to be careful of your fingers during a tug of war battle.

There are many reasons why an owner may not want their Dalmatian to play bite. Training is the key to stopping this behaviour by using positive reinforcement and stopping games such as tug of war and aggressive forms of playtime. 

Dalmatians may be considered aggressive because of their extreme loyalty and protective qualities which make them good guard dogs if trained properly. This potential aggression needs to be controlled from a young age with proper training and treatment. If not treated or trained properly, a Dalmatian may start developing the early signs of becoming a dangerous dog.