Behavior and personality are two qualities that are hard to standardize within a breed. Although generalizations are difficult to make, most Dalmatians are alert, extremely energetic and affectionate toward their owners. They make great working dogs because they have the capacity to be loyal and determined and have the stamina to work all day long. This is not a breed to be cooped up in a house all day; this is not the breed for the hectic family with no time for the dog; this is not the breed to be tied in the backyard to serve as a watchdog.
Behavior and personality are incredibly important in dogs and there seem to be quite evident extremes in the Dalmatian. The earliest of the breed were bred for guard work and that did not make them ideal house pets. They were considered as working dogs. Today's Dalmatians seem far removed from their earliest ancestors. Still, they are high-energy dogs and dog owners need to provide a channel for that energy.
The ideal Dalmatian is neither aggressive nor neurotic but rather a loving family member with good self-esteem and acceptance of position in the family "pack." Because the Dalmatian is a powerful dog and can cause much damage, it is worth spending the time when selecting a pup to pay attention to any evidence of personality problems. It is also important that all Dalmatians be obedience trained. Like any breed of dog, they have the potential to be vicious and unruly without appropriate training; consider obedience classes mandatory for your sake and that of your dog.
Although many Dalmatians are happy to sleep the day away in bed or on a sofa, most enjoy having a purpose in their day and that makes them excellent working dogs. They need long daily walks or runs and as well as events that involve family members. Do not let Dalmatian pups run unrestricted because it can increase their risk of developing orthopedic disorders. All Dalmatians owners are encouraged to enroll their pets in obedience classes to learn limits of unacceptable behaviors.
As a pet owner, there are several activities that you can share with your Dalmatian. They not only make great walking and jogging partners but they are also excellent community volunteers. If properly trained, the loyal and loving Dalmatian will be your personal guard dog. For Dalmatian enthusiasts who want to get into more competitive aspects of the dog world, conformation showing, road dog trials, obedience, utility, agility, hunting, guarding, tracking, herding and search & rescue are all activities that can be considered.
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