Are Dalmatians good family dogs?

Potential Problems With Dalmatians

While Dalmatians are overall great pets for your family, there are a few drawbacks to calling one of these furry friends a part of your family. Here are some of the issues that may arise with Dalmatians:

Health problems - Most purebred dogs have at least a few genetic weaknesses. In Dalmatians, there are two major genetic conditions to watch out for: It's estimated that around 30 percent of Dalmatian puppies suffer from hearing loss. In extreme cases, the puppies are completely deaf. In others, they may have unilateral hearing (they can only hear in one ear). Dog breeders use a test to check a Dalmatian's hearing at around seven weeks of age. It's called a BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test, and should be part of a Dalmatian puppy's wellness check. The other genetic anomaly is an inclination to develop hyperuricemia, a build-up of uric acid that can lead to bladder stones, kidney stones and gout. The condition presents itself more frequently in males than females and can be controlled, at least partially, through diet [source: McCoubrey].

Obesity - Most Dalmatians love to eat. If they're getting plenty of exercise, this won't be a problem, but for older dogs, a big appetite can lead to weight gain and many of the health problems that plague overweight humans.

Shedding - Don't let a Dalmatian's short hair fool you, short-haired dogs shed just like long-haired dogs, and Dalmatians shed all year long. The hairs are stiff, too, and can weave their way into carpet, upholstery, draperies and clothing in a way that's difficult to extract with conventional vacuuming.

Hyperactivity - Vigorous, social dogs like Dalmatians are happiest when part of an active family. Dalmatians are so active, in fact, that they can sometimes be too intense for toddlers that may become alarmed by all the frenzied motion. This isn't always a problem, but it's something to consider.

No dog breed is all things to all families. Traits like enthusiasm and energy that may make a Dalmatian the perfect pet for your household, would make him a poor choice for the dedicated couch potato owner who wants a laidback dog that thinks Frisbee chasing is a big yawn. If you can give your Dalmatian lots of attention, some useful activities to keep him interested and room to run, you'll be rewarded with years of faithful and loving service.

Related Articles


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  • AKC. "Why Purebred?" (8/3/11).
  • DCA. "The Dalmatian Club Of America's Informational Brochure Regarding Dalmatians." 1994 (8/3/11).
  • The Kennel Club. "Breed Clubs." 8/7/06. (8/3/11).
  • Melina, Remy. "Why Are Dalmatians the Official Firehouse Dogs?" Life's Little Mysteries." 5/19/11. (8/4/11).
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