Is a Dal the Right Dog for You?

Dalmatians are a great breed for the right people.  When puppies, they are sooooo cute. But the puppy stage doesn’t last forever. Dals rapidly grow to an adult weight of on average 45-70 pounds of muscle and energy. Unless you are prepared to deal with an adult dog (considered “large breed”) of this size, the Dalmatian is NOT for you.  

History & Devotion to Family

Dalmatians are wonderful, fun-loving dogs who do well in the right environment. They want inclusion in family activities, whether it’s jogging, hiking, or laying around watching TV. Historically Dalmatians were bred to run many miles each day with horse and carriage.  Therefore, their exercise requirements are lofty. They also functioned as guard dogs for the horses, carriage and its occupants, and they have retained this protective nature as a breed.


  • They should be fed twice a day (breakfast and dinner) with high-quality wet & dry dog food mixed with water (preferably that doesn’t contain corn, soy, wheat or organ meats); and if they are stone-formers they may require a prescription diet (see below).   
  • Daily exercise is necessary to keep the Dalmatian from channeling its energy into destructiveness. 
  • Obedience training and socialization is also invaluable.
  • Their short coats shed all year round so grooming with a brush helps cut down on the shedding . 
  • Their ears should be checked regularly and cleaned when appropriate to prevent ear infections. 
  • Nails should be trimmed routinely as well.

Medical Conditions

The Dalmatian is a very hearty breed, and usually does not have many serious medical problems.  This is not to say, however, that there aren’t certain medical conditions inherent within the breed.

One such known condition is the inherited trait of deafness.  Deafness occurs in about 10% of the Dalmatian population. 

A second known condition is Urinary tract stones (also known as urinary crystals).  Urinary stones or crystals can be life-threatening if a blockage occurs.  Not all Dalmatians are stone-formers, however, all Dalmatians have the potential of becoming stone-formers, and the formation of stones can occur without notice, and at any age in the Dal’s life.  A Dal owner should always pay close attention throughout the Dal’s life to its urinary habits.  Any indications of urinary pain or blockages should immediately be attended to by a veterinarian.  A urinalysis will provide a definitive diagnosis.   This too is why water intake is so extraordinarily important, including the adding of water into the daily meals.

Knowledge is Power

Anyone interested in owning a Dalmatian should go the extra mile, beyond the information contained on this website, to research as much about the breed as possible. Save the Dals also recommends you speak with experienced Dalmatian owners. Ultimately the onus is on you to perform your research and make sure a Dalmatian is the right breed for you (and your family) before you adopt one. If you do decide a Dalmatian is the right choice, you will have a wonderful canine friend for life!

Life Time Commitment

Casual “backyard breeders” (BYB) are the cause of the millions of animals being put to death annually in animal shelters. This is a result of the BYB’s lack of expertise in placing animals in permanent homes, their refusal to guarantee that they will take the animal back at any point in its life if the new owners cannot keep it, and the massive over-population of animals as compared to available homes.

However, Save the Dals is committed to, and in fact insists that, if at any time an adopter of one of our Dals is no longer able to care for or keep the dog, the Dal must be returned to our rescue for permanent re-homing.