Known exclusively for their spotted coats and depictions with firetrucks, Dalmatians are the kind of dog who gets you noticed quickly. Aside from the show-stopping black and white coat, Dalmatians have big personalities. They are intelligent, affectionate, active and protective.

Dalmatians as family dogs

Sara Krieger has owned Dalmatians for 11 years and has bred two litters. The dogs are a large part of her family, and they appreciate the vast space they have to run around the family farm.

“Dalmatians are great family dogs and are great with children,” says Sara, although adult supervision is always recommended.

As with any breed of dog, a tired Dalmatian is a happy Dalmatian — and that means a happy family. Plenty of mental and physical stimulation is key for these dogs, who are known to be very smart.

Dalmatians thrive with active families who understand their intelligence and include them in their daily activities, whether that is hiking, running, biking or traveling.

Are Dalmatians aggressive?

One thing Dalmatian fans might not know is that the Dalmatian can become protective of their home and their families. “Especially of their kids,” says Sara.

Working with your Dalmatian on manners and socialization at an early age will help Dalmatians learn when it’s acceptable to show protective tendencies. It’s never too late to enroll your dog in manners classes and socialization; older Dalmatians will benefit from this training, too. 

Dalmatians are highly trainable and need access to regular exercise. A well-exercised Dalmatian (both mentally and physically) will be a great house companion and easy to live with.

“They will nap on your couch and be ready to go when you are,” says Sara.

And lastly, choose a Dalmatian breeder who does all necessary health testing, such as BAER (Brainstem Evoked Potential), a hearing assessment that’s used to evaluate the hearing in dogs on the parents and puppies. Have more questions about the Dalmatian temperament and what it is like to live with one? Go to the Dalmatian Owners of America Facebook page to have all your Dalmatian questions answered by actual Dalmatian owners.