Is A Dalmatian A Good Family Dog?

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Dalmatians make excellent family pets due to their temperament of being extremely loyal, fun, playful, highly energetic and sensitive animals. They are intelligent dogs that love to be trained and to please their human companions. If trained and properly socialised, Dalmatians and children will get along well with each other, although it is important to supervise dogs with children at all times.  Dals are extremely loyal animals and make excellent guard dogs to help protect your family. 

Before taking on the responsibility of owning any pet, research needs to be done to make sure your new pet will fit nicely into your family lifestyle, especially if you’re considering a Dalmatian. Many underestimate the responsibilities associated with pet ownership, especially Dalmatian ownership leading to a large number of Dalmatians moving through adoption agencies. This is because Dalmatians require a large amount of attention, love, exercise and they basically want/need to be by your side as much as possible. They also require a special diet to avoid health complications.

Are Dalmatians good with children?

Because of the Dalmatian temperament, they can be known to misbehave around children without the correct socialisation and training. With the correct training, socialisation and introduction to your children, Dalmatians are great companions for your kids. Dals need to be taught how to be gentle around small children, especially during playtime. It’s much easier to introduce Dalmatian puppies to children, as they can grow and learn how to act around each other while they are both young and small. That being said an older Dalmatian can still be trained and socialised with small children, it just takes much more careful training, socialising and depends on many more variables such as the Dalmatians history, treatment, training ect. 

Teach your children

Teach your children how to act around a Dalmatian. Any negative behavior and emotion around Dals is a recipe for disaster. This could be in the form of children poking and prodding the dog, grabbing its tail, yelling or screaming in its presence or even hitting. This goes for any dog breed but Dals are much more sensitive to negative behaviors and children may not recognise the signs of a Dalmatian getting agitated and annoyed with the child. They will show signs of getting annoyed or being mistreated by children by growling, barking or trying to distance themselves. This is why supervision at all times is important. 


Dalmatians are very high energy dogs and can easily get carried away while playing knocking over small children. This is where training is useful for both the Dalmatian and children. They both need to be taught how to act around each other for happy and healthy play sessions and general wellbeing. It’s not only small children you need to be worried about. An excited Dal running full speed can easily take out your leg or hurt other pets that get in their way. This can be fixed with the appropriate training methods. Maybe its a good idea to let your Dalmatian burn off some energy before allowing the children out into the backyard.  

Is a Dalmatian a good fit for our family?

To help figure out this question, let’s create a 3 step checklist to go through before making a decision on adding a Dalmatian to your family. 

Step 1 – Understanding the Dalmatian temperament

The Dalmatian temperament is a very unique combination of playfulness, stubbornness, loyalty, sensitivity and intelligence. They require lots of daily exercise and need plenty of bathroom breaks. They need to spend plenty of time with their people and need lots of love and attention. They are very sensitive animals and will learn negative behaviors if not treated or exercised correctly. Give this article a read to better understand the Dalmatian temperament. 

Step 2 – What kind of family are you?

What kind of lifestyle do you currently lead, and plan on leading in the future? A Dalmatian requires a stable family life with loads of daily attention and exercise. A Dalmatian really needs to travel with you unless you can leave the dog with trusted family or friends who understand the breed. Basically Dalmatians don’t like being left alone for long periods of time, if the owners work long hours consistently, this is a problem. Apartment living is not ideal for Dals as they require lots of bathroom opportunities throughout the day and plenty of daily exercise. Their constant shedding year round will require extra house cleaning and dog grooming

Step 3 – Puppy Vs Adult Dalmatian

Are you adopting a Dalmatian or purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder? Adopting a Dalmatian is cheaper, noble and the dog may be older, but you don’t know the history, treatment or training of the animal. This may be a problem, especially around small children if the Dalmatian adopted has behavior problems and was mistreated beforehand. This isnt always the case but always plan for the worst, hope for the best. Purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder that has experience and has completed all the required health testing is advisable. It can be a large upfront purchase cost, plus your new Dalmatian puppy may live for 10-15 years. There are positives and negatives to both situations, so have a good family discussion about what decision will fit into your family best.

Dalmatians make excellent family pets, although they are not for everyone. A quick read of this article and understanding the Dalmatian temperament will let you know pretty quickly if a Dalmatian is a good fit for your family. 

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