Dalmatians have been around for hundreds of years where they were kept as both companion dogs among the elite and working dogs among the working classes. However, most of us probably got to know about them in the late 90s with the hit film 101 Dalmatians. Despite the popularity that came with the release of the film, not many people realize exactly what they are getting themselves into by taking one of these pooches home.
Dalmatians can cost between $800 to $5,000. They are energetic medium sized dogs that some people like because of their unique coat pattern. They need a lot of food to keep up their energy, so you should expect to spend around $150 per month maintenance, mostly on food. Dalmatians are prone to skin diseases like sebaceous adenitis, so you might need to spend money on medical bills.
Why have they been declining in popularity? What exactly do you need to prepare yourself for before owning a Dalmatian? And most importantly, why are they still so expensive despite being so infamous? Let’s find out.
How Much Is It To Buy A Dalmatian?
Dalmatians are quite expensive, costing between $800 to $1,700 and even up to $5,000 in some cases.
Despite having a few issues in terms of reputation and demand, they still enjoy niche demand. Here are a few of the reasons why people still love the dog and why you should buy a Dalmatian.
Great Companion Pet
Dalmatians are great companion pets. They are quite affectionate and incredibly loyal and are the perfect lively roommate for people who live alone. However, a Dalmatian is not the kind of dog you get if you have a family or if you are a first time dog owner. This is because they are very high energy and can be aggressive and difficult to handle. This is the last thing you want to expose children to or yourself to in case of first-time dog owners.
The Film Effect
The film effect refers to the surge in popularity of Dalmatian dogs after the release of the 101 Dalmatians movie in 1996 and the sequel in 2000. While popularity has dropped significantly since then, it is a wave that the breed is still riding to date. It has created a niche demand in the market which allows breeders to set such high prices.
The dogs were initially heavily bred after the first two movies. However, as demand plummeted with people realizing how difficult the dogs were to live with, so did their breeding. In fact, there has been a drop of up to 90% in AKC registrations since the early 2000s.
For those still interested in the breed, the fact that Dalmatians are not very easy to come by also contributes greatly to their high pricing.
How Long Do Dalmatians Live For?
Dalmatians have a lifespan of about 11 to 13 years which is exactly what you can expect for a dog weighing in the 45 to 70 lbs range.
The breeding boom of the late 90s and early 2000s was geared more at satisfying the growing demand than providing healthy puppies and breeding out undesirable traits. As a result, Dalmatians are prone to a number of health issues. Here are some of the most important ones.
This is one of the most common issues affecting Dalmatians with about 30% being either deaf in one ear or fully deaf. The loss of hearing is as a result of a group of genes inherited by the pup from their parents that affects blood supply to crucial structures within the ear. Unfortunately, the deafness is irreversible.
Dalmatians are among the most commonly affected dogs by this condition that results in thinning and loss of power by the heart muscles. Some studies suggest that Dalmatians may be affected in a bit more of an intense way than other breeds. Ultimately, the heart completely fails resulting in death in most cases.
Dalmatians are also likely to develop urinary stones that are not just uncomfortable but could also become dangerous when they become complicated and cause kidney infections. The good news is that a healthy, low-purine diet and proper hydration might just be all you need to deal with the issue.
Dalmatians are also known to have really bad teeth with tartar build up being the most common issue. If oral hygiene steps are not taken early enough, the dog will most likely end up with cavities as well as gum infections.
How To Take Care Of Dalmatians?
Dalmatians saw a huge surge in popularity after the release of the 101 Dalmatians movie. Unfortunately, a lot of the pooches that were bred and sold or adopted ended up getting abandoned. This is because people took them on without preparing themselves for the responsibilities that lay ahead.
If you are considering adopting or buying one of these dogs, here are some of the most important care needs you need to be prepared for.
Feed Them High Quality, Balanced Meals
When feeding a Dalmatian, you have to factor in not only their general growth, energy needs, and wellbeing but also specific health issues like renal stones. Diets rich in purines often precipitate the condition making life very uncomfortable for the dog.
Dalmatians should not eat too much of purine-rich meats like beef and pork as well as vegan dog food where yeast is used as a main ingredient. With such restrictions, we recommend you try Pet Plate. Their variety, high quality ingredients, and dog-specific meal plans are exactly what you need to keep your Dalmatian well-nourished and healthy.
Supplement The Diet With Micronutrients
In addition to a healthy diet, supplements play a huge role in helping keep your Dalmatian strong and as healthy as possible. Multivitamins in particular are awesome for everything from coat and eye health to improved immunity.
Set About 1 To 2 Hours Every Day For Exercise
Dalmatians need a lot of exercise and without free access to the outdoors, you should plan for 1 or 2 hours of walking or playing in the park. This is not only good for their physical health but also mental wellbeing. This prevents frustrations that often result in them acting out and even becoming dangerous.
Do Dalmatians Bark A Lot? Temperament Of Dalmatians
The Dalmatian breed’s bad reputation has everything to do with their occasionally problematic personalities. However, not all Dalmatians are too much to handle especially if you are patient and start obedience training early.
Furthermore, there are a lot of awesome personality traits that are often overlooked on account of the few bad eggs. So if you are considering getting a Dalmatian, here is a rundown on the good, the bad, and the ugly so you know exactly what to expect.
Dalmatians may look big and tough but they are just a bunch of softies. They love attention and affection and love to give the same back to their human companions. For this reason, they may not be the best dogs to live alone especially for long periods of time.
Dalmatians are pretty smart and relatively easy to train. The only issue is that they can sometimes be a little stubborn and may lose interest especially with very long training sessions. Getting professional training is often pricey costing $100 to $200 per week.
We recommend you try the Brain Training for Dogs program to take matters into your own hands and teach your dog yourself. The program allows you to take a more customized approach factoring in your dog’s personality and mental capabilities.
Vocal And Expressive
One of the main problematic traits with Dalmatians is how noisy they can get. Dalmatians dark a lot when they are frustrated, bored, lonely, anxious, or agitated. Training will do a lot to help you control this but it is not always enough. It is something you need to be mentally prepared to deal with for a while.
Energetic And Prone To Aggressive Outbursts
Another personality trait that often lands Dalmatians in trouble is their high energy levels and the fine line between playful and aggressive that they cross too often. The best way to deal with this is to engage them both physically and mentally as much as possible. This can mean taking walks together, playing games like frisbee, or getting them doggie puzzles and scavenger hunts.
Do Dalmatians Shed A Lot? Grooming Tips For Dalmatians
Getting your Dalmatian groomed professionally will cost you $40 to $60 per session depending on exactly what it is you are getting done. Despite their notoriety in terms of personality and general maintenance, they are actually quite easy to maintain in terms of grooming. If you are up for a DIY approach to this aspect of your furry best friend’s care, here are some of the most important needs you need to address.
Invest In Dental Hygiene
Dalmatians are prone to developing dental issues which is why oral hygiene is something you cannot afford to take lightly. Try and get your dog used to having their teeth brushed in which case you can do it once a day to get rid of plaque and germs. In this case, you would also have to invest in dog-friendly toothpaste.
If this doesn’t work, consider using dental water additives that have herbs like peppermint to deal with the bad breath. Chew toys also help a lot with the plaque thus preventing tartar buildup.
Brush Their Coats Once Or Twice A Week
Dalmatians shed very little which is something that makes their care in terms of grooming quite easy. All you need to do is brush their fur once or twice a week. Use something like a grooming mitt to get the loose fur from the short coat. If you notice the dog shedding more, you just have to increase your brushing intervals to 3 or even 4 times a week as needed.
Wash Them As Needed
When it comes to washing needs, every Dalmatian is different. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors may get dirty faster and may need a bath every 2 weeks. Those with skin issues on the other hand need baths every 2 to 4 weeks with high quality grooming products; preferably all-natural.
If your dog is more of a homebody, doesn’t get into contact with dirt, and doesn’t have skin issues, you can wash them once every 2 months.
Can Dalmatians Have No Spots? No, all Dalmatians, according to breed standards, must have spots. It is important to note that the number and density of the spots is not always the same with some being more spotted than others. Another crucial consideration is the fact that Dalmatians are actually born without the spots and develop them over the first few months of life.
Why Are Dalmatians Fire Dogs? Dalmatian dogs were popular in the era of horse-drawn fire fighting carts. Their roles involved running ahead of the horses to clear crowds and keeping the horses calm and in line as the firefighters put out the flames. While these roles have been made obsolete by automobile fire engines, Dalmatians are still quite popular as fire dogs but they play more of a traditional mascot role.
How Can You Tell If A Dalmatian Is Deaf? There are a few physical cues that should lead you to suspect your Dalmatian is deaf including having very few spots and having one or both eyes being blue. You may also notice a lack of responsiveness as they grow older. However, the best and most definitive way to tell is by having a hearing test conducted by a veterinarian.