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Are Dalmatians Aggressive? [Breed Temperament Guide]

If you are thinking about making a Dalmatian part of your family, you will naturally want to know if they’re an aggressive breed. Dalmatians are fairly big dogs, so you’ll want to make sure they get along well with children, other animals, and people. Are Dalmatians aggressive? Let’s find out!

So, are Dalmatians aggressive? Dalmatians are generally not aggressive, but unfortunately, poor breeding practices have led to some lines displaying aggressive characteristics. Some can be overly protective or skittish and prone to nervous behavior. However, with the right socialization and training, there is no reason why your Dalmatian would be any more aggressive than other dog breeds.

There is certainly a little more to it with Dalmatians than in other breeds.

And it does mean that where you decide to get your Dalmatian can result in a drastically different dog.

So, if you are opting for a puppy, be particularly mindful of the breeder you adopt from.

Do your research and due diligence before approaching. Do ensure that they are a reputable breeder with a track record of producing well-tempered dogs.

Going through organizations such as the AKC (American Kernel Club), or equivalent organizations, is strongly recommended to find a breeder.

Nevertheless, let us now explore the typical Dalmatian temperament in further detail.

That way you’ll know what you are getting yourself in for should you decide to get one.

What Is The Typical Dalmatian Temperament?

The typical Dalmatian is friendly, outgoing, and playful in temperament. However, they can be very sensitive, making them loyal but somewhat needy for attention.

Let us now explore the characteristics a little further.


When faced with strangers, Dalmatians tend to be more suspicious or aloof than other dogs: they make excellent watchdogs.

Even though they can be suspicious of strangers, this trait doesn’t extend to their loved family members.


Dalmatians can be kind, loving towards their family members, and very loyal. Once they have bonded with you and your loved ones, they will do anything for you!

Your Dalmatian will be very affectionate towards you and will be a happy dog, provided he gets enough exercise.

Dalmatians are strong and active dogs who are used to running and working, so enlist the help of your children or other family members to keep them busy!

Excellent With Horses

These dogs have a high affinity with horses, so whether you are a keen equestrian or you have a pony for your children, your dog will love spending time with the horses.

Dalmatians seem to be able to bond with horses and have a calming influence on them. These dogs were originally employed as coach dogs, so dealing with horses is in their blood.

Carriage owners used to have their Dalmatians sleep in the stables with the horses to calm them and protect them from thieves or intruders.

In the past, fire trucks used to have Dalmatians, too, to work alongside the horses. This is why these dogs are often associated with fire stations, even today.

Dalmatians are also brave animals: often, horses would be too afraid to get close to a fire, but the Dalmatians would calm them down.

Their presence meant the firemen could get the carriages closer to the flames.

Dalmations are very muscular and athletic dogs who enjoy lots of running: they can run for miles alongside your horses without tiring.

A Good Team Player

Dalmatians had many uses in history, carrying out jobs alongside their humans that they can still do today.

In addition to accompanying horses and carriages to fires, Dalmatians would wake the horses when the bell rang.

They would also make sure any rats were kept out of the fire station – so if you live in the countryside and don’t have a cat as a mouser, your Dalmatian may be willing to step in!

Are Dalmatians Aggressive To Their Owners?

Dalmatians are not known for being aggressive towards their owners unless they haven’t been socialized properly as puppies.

These dogs make excellent watchdogs, so they will alert their owners to any danger and be protective of their families.

They won’t usually display aggressive behavior with their owners: if anything, they would be more likely to bark or growl at strangers.

Most of the time, Dalmatians are loving towards their owners, especially if they have strong-minded or experienced owners who know what these dogs need.

What Can Make Dalmatians Aggressive?

The most common causes of aggression in Dalmatians are insufficient training, boredom, or illness.

A few things can make Dalmatians aggressive, most of which can be prevented.

Insufficient Training As A Puppy

If you haven’t trained your puppy to learn to accept the company of other animals and people, he is likely to become nervous or anxious. He can, therefore, be more susceptible to displaying signs of overprotectiveness.

Growling, nipping, or biting are signs of a dog who is most likely afraid or nervous.

Some Dalmatians will jump on you not out of aggression but because they are overexcited.

If you haven’t taught him not to jump as a puppy, your Dalmatian will think such behavior is acceptable.

Dalmatians as a breed are susceptible to jumping about while they’re young – at least until they are about 2 years old. If you have very young children, bear this in mind and train your dog well.

Don’t leave children and dogs alone together – at least, not while the children are young.

Dalmatians are slower to learn than some other dog breeds, but they are hard workers. Once they know what you expect from them, they will be happy to comply.

Unfortunately, some people see a movie like 101 Dalmatians and think a spotted puppy would make a cute addition to the family.

They may not take the time to look beyond the Dalmatian’s cuteness to understand what is required to raise these dogs correctly.


Like all working or athletic dog breeds, Dalmatians need to be kept busy. They require lots of activity, and in particular, physical activity. Challenging play such as agility training is excellent for Dalmatians.

If your dog doesn’t have enough to do, he will find things to do.

You may not appreciate it when he decides he can chew up your furniture or dig holes in your garden – he will choose to do something rather than nothing.

Dalmatians are used to running and have a high level of stamina and endurance.

They are not couch potato dogs, by any means, so unless you have a highly active lifestyle, a Dalmatian might not be for you.

Many times a Dalmatian will jump all over his family, not because he wants to display dominance, but because he needs to burn off energy!

And do consider, these are pretty large dogs!

Feeling Unwell

If your dog is sick or injured, he may display signs of aggression: anyone feeling unwell is likely to be more irritable than usual.

Bring your dog to the vet if you notice any sudden changes in behavior or eating habits.

How To Prevent Aggression In Dalmatians

Here’s how you can prevent aggression in your Dalmatian.

Use A Reputable Breeder

If you are getting a Dalmatian puppy, check out the breeder beforehand.

Don’t choose one of the many breeders who cropped up after the success of Disney films featuring these dogs.

 Inexperienced breeders who follow current fads can bring dogs into the world who are neurotic, hyperactive, or unnecessarily aggressive.

A reputable breeder will know what these dogs require and will have already begun socializing the puppies before you arrive on the scene.

Check how your breeder interacts with the dogs, and check how all dogs seem to be. Are they happy and content?

Of course, you will need to continue training your puppy at home, but a good breeder will have taken good care of the puppies to make your job that much easier.

Reputable breeders want their dogs to be happy – they are not just after a profit.

Many online resources are available to find reputable breeders, so see what’s possible in your area. A good breeder will also have certification and can answer important questions.

Adopt An Adult Dalmatian

If you want to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter or similar, you will want to get an idea of the dog’s history, where possible.

Spend some time with the dog to get a sense of his character before bringing him home.

Many adult dogs need loving homes, so it can be advantageous to adopt a grown dog who has perhaps already been properly trained.

And if you find yourself falling for an adult dog who perhaps hasn’t had the necessary training, you can always get an expert dog trainer to assist you.

Your local vet will most probably be able to refer you.

Provide Enough Stimulation

Make sure your Dalmatian has daily physical and mental stimulation. These dogs need opportunities to burn off their energy and do things that hold their interest.

A bored Dalmatian will chew, bark, or dig, so give him chances to run and play every day.

Start Training Right Away

Training your Dalmatian begins as soon as you bring your dog home, no matter his age.

Because Dalmatians are slower to learn than some other breeds, they require extra patience and consistent training.

Dalmatians are independent thinkers – they don’t learn more slowly from a lack of intelligence! They can be willful and dominant, wanting to be the boss.

You will need to prove to your dog that you are in charge and can make them do things.

Show your dog you mean what you say: be consistent in your training and rules because otherwise, your dog can get confused and seek to manipulate you!

A dog who tries to control you is a dog who is stressed and struggling: your dog would much rather rely on you to handle the decisions.

He is happier being a follower who doesn’t have to try to figure out how to be in a complicated world.

If you are unsure where to start, you can begin by using respect training right from your puppy’s first day home.


Dalmatians are not aggressive dogs – for the most part.

That being said there are certain circumstances where this breed can resort to aggressive behaviors.

A lot has to do with how they are bred and raised; so it is crucial you spend a lot of time finding the right breeder and then training and socializing your dog.

In doing so, there is no reason why you cannot expect a loyal dog with a terrific, yet active personality!

Besides, it will also ensure you get them at a fair price too!