Dalmatians are large dogs with even larger personalities. They are a very active breed, and some Dalmatians can be hyperactive. They love fun and they love to play play play. If you don't like being assaulted with love when you get out of the car, this might not be the breed for you. They require daily exercise, and it will take a lot to tire them out.
They enjoy running, hiking, flyball, Frisbee, agility, and rollerblading -- they were bred to be able to run for hours. They also usually love water. They need to be kept on-lead or in a fenced-in yard because if they get away from you, they are fast. And they are not car smart. If they do not get enough exercise, they can become high-strung and destructive. Early obedience training is essential with this breed. Dalmatians can be dominant, and if they are not shown early on who the pack leader is, they will try to take on the role. Dalmatians will certainly take advantage of a master who lets them get away with bad behavior. They are, however, quick to housetrain.
A Dalmatian is an intelligent, independent thinker who wants to be the class clown -- any teacher will tell you that's a challenging combination! Even a well-trained Dalmatian may occasionally surprise his owner by coming up with some unusual (and usually unpleasant) behavior. These dogs are people-oriented and thrive in a family environment.
They will want to follow you from room to room and cuddle with you at night. Dalmatians who are kept away from family activities frequently become barkers, chewers or diggers. Dalmatians were bred to be guard dogs and are protective of their families.
They do a good job of alerting the family to strangers. They are territorial and will protect when there is a need. They are typically not biters unless they are provoked. They can be aloof with strangers and early socialization is important with this breed. Puppies who are not socialized can become aggressive or fear aggressive and they might snap or bite when they are afraid of people. Some Dalmatians can be quarrelsome with strange dogs, but most get along well with other pets.
They have a strong affinity for horses. Dalmatians have made great family pets for lots of families. They are strong enough to handle children's roughhousing, but care needs to be taken with really young children. A large, active Dalmatian can flatten a young child, and a happy Dalmatian tail makes a powerful unknowing weapon. A well-cared for, happy Dalmatian makes for an alert, curious, dignified, and enthusiastic social butterfly.
They are sensitive to human moods and to human corrections. Some of them smile -it looks like a snarl but is coupled with a wagging tail -- they often do it when they are in trouble. They are talkative: they coo and grunt and give a whistling yawn. But they are usually not problem barkers. Dalmatians are very smart, quick to learn, and they love to please the ones they love.
They are very affectionate and devoted to the families they adore!