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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

11 to 13 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:




Coat Color:

White With Black SpotsWhite With Liver Spots
Blue Ribbon

Best For

With their distinctive spotted coat and playful personality, the energetic Dalmatian makes a charming family pet. They'll thrive with active pet parents who can keep up with their stamina, so if you're a runner, hiker or simply have access to a big outdoor space, this just might be your dog.

Dalmatian Traits

Dalmatian Temperament

An outgoing personality and a curious mind are a big part of a Dalmatian’s temperament. With a smart and friendly demeanor, the Dalmatian breed rates highly as a pup who’s a good pick for kids. Fortunately, biting isn’t a common problem with this pet, though early and consistent training is still recommended. A Dal may show wariness toward strangers; they were bred to guard and protect animals (namely horses), so teaching this canine from puppyhood to become used to new people, places and things is ideal.

The Dalmatian breed is quite competent and will pick up on the various commands and cues in obedience class as they love to learn and play. And if lots of exercise is added to the mix, you’ll allow your Dal to work to their full potential and use their deep energy reserves. Remember—a tired dog is a happy dog!

Dalmatians won’t be happy, however, if you leave them to play by themselves in the backyard. These active pups need human companionship and want to be active with you. Be sure you include them in all your fun.

Other important Dalmatian qualities include a playful nature and the ability to get along with cats and other dogs in the home. But because they’re so high energy, space to run and roam is important. A Dalmatian dog is best served in a home with access to outdoor space, a yard or large dog run where they can frolic.

Dalmatian intelligence is apparent as this dog’s backstory is one of extensive service. Bred to trot alongside horse-drawn carriages, they’ve worked closely with firefighters, marched in parades and even taken a turn in the spotlight as a circus dog. The Dalmatian is truly one of a kind.

How to Care for a Dalmatian

Gym rats welcome! The Dalmatian breed was bred to run and enjoys every kind of exercise and game a pup parent can think of. And grooming’s a breeze, leaving time for yet another walk and extra rounds of training sessions.

Dalmatian Health

While Dalmatians have a lifespan of 11 to 13 years, they are prone to certain health issues. But that shouldn’t stop you from opening your heart to a Dal. Armed with knowledge about these health concerns, you can help your pup live the longest life possible.

  • Deafness: Unfortunately, some Dal dogs lose their hearing within the first several weeks of life. While more Dalmatians are deaf in only one ear (13.4%) than in both ears (4.4%), overall approximately 17.8% of Dalmatians have some deafness. This trait is likely inherited, and is more commonly seen in Dalmatians with blue eyes. While there’s no treatment for hearing loss, dogs with deafness can still have great quality of life and live happy lives.
  • Bladder Stones: Due to a genetic mutation that causes Dals to secrete elevated uric acid into their blood and urine, urinary stones may develop in the bladder. A dog with this condition may strain to urinate or show blood in the urine—and in some cases, a stone may block the bladder completely, which leaves them unable to urinate and is a life-threatening emergency. Bladder stones may be treated surgically. Dogs who’ve had stones are often treated with a prescription diet to prevent them from reoccurring.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): DCM is a heart condition in which the heart is enlarged so the heart muscle is thin and weak. Symptoms can include cough, trouble breathing, heart murmur and lethargy. If your vet suspects your pet may have a heart condition, they may refer you to a veterinary cardiologist for an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).
  • Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome: In this genetic skin condition, Dalmatians develop pink to bronze skin discolorations around the nose and mouth. Hair loss and inflammation at the hair follicle is also noted. Treatment may include special shampoos, topical or oral medication, or special diets.

Dalmatian History

When reaching back to determine the Dalmatian’s history, the results are sort of murky. Indeed, the Dalmatian’s origin has roots all over the globe—in Europe, Asia and Africa—but one region near the Adriatic Sea, Dalmatia, can claim proper credit for this dog’s eventual name.

Dalmatians are closely associated with their special skills, including that of coach dogs, which means these animals were tasked to keep the pace of horse-drawn carriages as well as protect their equine pals at rest. The British also became enamored of the attractive Dalmatian, putting them to work in livery stables.

Along with steady work as a shepherd dog, draft dog, coach and carriage dog and even as a circus performer, the Dal’s position as a firehouse mascot is probably the most well-known, and New York City firefighters started the tradition. In the early days, horses pulled the fire trucks, and Dalmatians cleared the path in front of the horses on their way to fight fires.

Dalmatians are also patriotic pups, making appearances alongside the Budweiser Clydesdales in various parades, and they’ve been forever immortalized in the classic Disney cartoon movie “101 Dalmatians.”

Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888, this prized pup no longer has to toil with farm animals to earn their keep. Instead, the friendly and intelligent breed is happy at home, especially if they can run and run—and then run some more.

If you’d like to add this cute pup to your household, keep in mind that Dalmatian prices are about $1,500. But for that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. Check out the reputable breeders at the AKC Marketplace. If you’re looking to adopt, contact Dalmatian rescues, look for the breed at local animal shelters or search Chewy’s database of adoptable dogs in your area.


Do Dalmatians shed?

Yes, Dalmatians shed, but you should be able to keep up on your Dal’s gorgeous spotted coat with a weekly brushing.

Are Dalmatians good with kids?

Yes, Dalmatians are good with kids. A well-trained and socialized Dal is very playful and affectionate, making them nice additions to nearly any type of family with children who have been taught how to interact with dogs.

Are Dalmatians deaf?

A small portion of the Dalmatian population may exhibit deafness, so be certain the breeder you’re considering has tested their animals and is careful to avoid passing the trait down to puppies in future litters.

What are the most popular Dalmatian names?

The most popular Dalmatian names tend to be cheeky, relying on this breed’s telltale spots or Hollywood fame. For example, you could pick the movie names, like Lucky, Penny, Pepper or Patch, or you could use this dog’s black and white markings as inspiration (think Spot, Polka Dot or Freckles). But the easiest way to pick a name is to cruise our definitive list.

What are the most common Dalmatian mixes?

The most common Dalmatian mixes are:

Note: These are not purebred dogs but mixed breeds.


Top Takeaways

Full of vigor, friendly and bright, the dashing Dalmatian is a nearly flawless dog package wrapped in a spectacular spotted coat. If you love to run, hike and bike and welcome a little extra attention directed your way when you’re on the town with your pup, consider this breed as your faithful companion.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Carly Fox, DVM, of Animal Medical Center in New York City and Russell Hartstein, certified dog behavior consultant and trainer in Los Angeles and founder of Fun Paw Care.

Breed characteristic ratings provided by veterinarian Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado; dog trainer and behavior consultant Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, in Los Angeles; and certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai, CABC, in Sherman, Texas.

The health content was medically reviewed by Chewy vets.

Search for Adoptable Dalmatians Near You

Top Dalmatian Names

These are the top Dalmatian names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Luna
  • Daisy
  • Penny
  • Pepper
  • Dottie
  • Willow
  • Stella
  • Lucy
  • Bella
  • Piper

Male Names

  • Pongo
  • Milo
  • Marshall
  • Loki
  • Apollo
  • Ace
  • Domino
  • Chief
  • Lucky
  • Oliver