Would I be mad to get a Dalmatian?

(76 Posts)
sweetkitty Thu 13-Jun-13 12:30:12

Any Dalmatian owners out there who can advise? We are considering getting a dog, we all love Dalmatians but have done enough research to know they are bonkers as puppies, shed white hair everywhere and need daily long walks.

We have 4 DC aged 8-3, I'm a SAHM and DH runs marathons so can take a dog running with him. We have a large house and enclosed garden.

Other dogs in the running are Hungarian Vizlas and Ridgebacks.

mistlethrush Thu 13-Jun-13 12:32:34

You must be Dottie! grin

sweetkitty Thu 13-Jun-13 12:37:19

grin that's what DD3 wants to call it.

Will be getting a bitch

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 12:39:08

Yes grin

The only ones I've known are not just bonkers as pups, but actually just not right in the head, I mean completely loopy, lol. One in particular broke her back trying to jump a wall for no particular reason and managed to have a stroke (which she survived) seemingly caused by just sheer over-excitement.

However...I know that is not what they're supposed to be like, so if when you're looking for a breeder, as well as looking at health tests, look at the temperament of their dogs as well and you should end up with just a normally bonkers one, lol.

To be fair all those breeds are pretty high energy - so if that's what you're after, I don't think a dalmatian is any more unfeasible than a vizla or a ridgeback.

HotPanda Thu 13-Jun-13 12:40:58

I have one.

He is actually very calm in the house, always has been from a pup but he does go out 2/3 times a day, plus lots of play in the garden.

The main things to bear in mind is that Dallys are wilful little creatures. You must be absolutely consistent at all times. Other than that, very trainable. Running would be great, but it will be several months before it could go out for any distance/speed.
I would only recommend to get one to those who can absolutely give time and energy to fully training one though.

Oh, don't forget the black hairs moult too, so no matter what you wear dog fur will show. grin

sweetkitty Thu 13-Jun-13 12:57:20

I keep thinking that we are mad to be even thinking about it grin

Any dog will need an awful lot of training, we are prepared for putting in the hard work at the start to get a good member of the family. I did know that it will be at least a year before it will accompany DH on his 15 mile runs or 20 miles he does a lot shock

Christ you've got more bottle than me there's one in my puppy improvers (aka delinquent hooligan) class and it managed to knock all 11st9 5ft7 of me off my feet twice. I was gobsmacked, it knocked a bundle of fluffs tooth out this week as well, its like its had too much redbull

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 13:06:05

Longer than a year...the recommendation is over a year for running with them and 5 minutes per month of age until 18 months for large breed dogs, which ridgebacks are, I'm pretty sure Dalmatians are and I'm not sure about vizlas, are they medium? So at a year old, while they can go running they should only be out for an hour and only if you've built up their muscles and stamina gradually.

I have a Dally. Used to have two of them.

Ours is sweet and gentle and not mad at all.

That is only because we put a huge amount of time into exercise and training. They have to be on the correct food - just one unhealthy biscuit can make ours climb the walls like a kid on haribo.

It's not just the exercise. You have to change your life to fit around them. You will never, I repeat, never be able to leave food out again. Not even on the kitchen side all the way back against the wall. A fully grown Dally will get it and will eat it.
They are very clever when it comes to stealing food and no amount of training will stop it. I am a member of Dalmatian clubs and groups and I've never known anyone to have a Dalmatian that doesn't steal food.

The hair. That's it really. It will be everywhere. Forever. It's thin, needle like hair. I vaccum 2 - 3 times per day so its not too bad but you can still find it everywhere.

Aside from all that. I love them. They have the best personalities and are brilliant characters to have around.

They do get rehomed quite often though because even if you've done your reseach it can still be quite hard to imagine how tough the 1st year can be with them.

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 13-Jun-13 14:32:44

Do a bit of research into their history as well. They were used to run alongside coaches as transport guards. When the horses were changed mid journey the dogs were not. They have also been used as general retrievers, dogs of war, sentinels and shepherds. This may give you some idea of the breeds adult excercies requirements and intelligence and why they end up mad as a box of frogs if they don't get the stimulation they need.

None of those breeds are easy smile

My concern would be the exercise requirements with the kids in tow. I am just back in from a 90 minute brisk walk over the fields with my Springer, he had an hour this morning. Our DC are at high school so able to be left anyway.

Have you considered how you would do that during, say, school holidays or if your DH was away, or if one of your DC was poorly? Or if the weather is utterly shite and you have to drag the DC on a walk?

Our friends have a Vizsla, in fairness, she doesn't need as much exercise as people suggested but she's high maintenance, you need to be on top of her training all the time. They initially researched Dalmations but I think they can be prone to deafness and other health issues? They plumped for the Vizsla instead.

I would have a Vizsla tomorrow (having a good dog day today smile) but you need to have the time, energy and commitment for them.

Good luck though!

ps - having a dog has been far harder work than I thought it would be, physically and mentally, but I probably wouldn't have listened to that advice when desperate for a dog smile

typoqueen Thu 13-Jun-13 16:25:02

having had 3 dalmations in the past 2 female 1 male you are completely right they are loopy as puppies however they stay puppies they never actually grow up, and yep they shed white hairs all year long and everything gets covered, they like lots of exercise as they were bred as carridge dogs, they get bored very quickly if not properly exercised and can often be destructive, they are quick to learn but just as quick at forgetting you need to keep on top of their training, I find the females more excitable than the males the males are quite soppy and laid back females always rushing around and getting into everything...other than that they are lovely dogs lol

wriggletto Thu 13-Jun-13 18:35:22

One of the things I genuinely love about the Doghouse is the frequency of posts that go:

[BREED] are a bit mad as puppies - mine ate an entire Lego set and pooed miniature houses for three days, plus you can't walk them till they're eighteen months old, and then only on grass; they do wreck everything in sight with their enormous teeth and you can only train them using semaphore so you need to go to special classes, plus they shed eleven months of the year and have radioactive drool. Insurance is £100/month and they only eat Wafcol sensitive. But they're really, really lovely dogs with lovely temperaments, and we adore Mr Boggins - wouldn't have any other kind of dog now!

Affection, coupled with brutal honesty. The MN dog owner way...

k2togm1 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:03:26

I grew up with two, a breeding couple, so puppies around often too. I loved them so so much, they were so clever. Crazy? Oh yeah. But worth every broken ornament, pulled curtain, impossible-to-keep garden bed...

everlong Thu 13-Jun-13 20:31:59

I used to see one on my dog walks. The poor owner was at her wits end. Run her ragged. She moved away so don't see her now. It wore me out just looking at it.

What about an Italian Spinone or a lab?

sweetkitty Thu 13-Jun-13 21:11:33

This is what indeed though the brutal honest truth grin

I grew up with 2 large dogs do have a bit of an idea. DH has be we owned a dog, he just thinks they are stunning grin

Exercise wise during school hols would be half an hour down the park with the kids, ball chasing in the back garden then a big walk at night with either DH or me, weekends DH is up v early for a run.

DH is a bit like a Dalmatian he never sits down!

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Thu 13-Jun-13 21:15:48

I used to walk my dog with a lady who had one. It was insane. The poor woman said she lived for the days when the dog went to doggy daycare.

everlong Thu 13-Jun-13 21:35:19

With the ages of your dc I would go for a more laid back breed.

The all round training of a placid normal puppy is exhausting. But throw a high maintenance breed in the mix and you could end up demented.

ihatethecold Thu 13-Jun-13 21:41:57

Go for a vizsla.
I have a 4month old pup.

He s amazing. Lovely temperament. Easy to train, very loving.

Happy to be left in his bed to sleep.

Just make sure you buy from a good breeder and you can see both the parents.

I thought it would be a lot harder than it has been. I have been very pleasantly surprised.smile

bergedorf Thu 13-Jun-13 22:56:16

My vet has a dalmation. He cycles for a couple of hours every day and she runs alongside. Then they get home and she wants to play ball in the garden. BOUNDLESS energy. They were bred to run alongside carriages after all..!!

sweetkitty Fri 14-Jun-13 07:35:29

So a vizsla would be a better idea, still high energy but a bit calmer.

HotPanda Fri 14-Jun-13 11:55:47

MiseryBusiness you need to meet mine! He is not a food stealer at all, in fact, until we switched to raw the big bag of kibble used to live on the floor behind the bin, open and would be untouched. I can also put a sandwich on a side table, leave the room and when I come back it will still be there.
I realise this is a fluke though - am not trying to say is down to our training, but it is possible to have a non thieving dally. Saying that, anything on the floor is fair game as we found out when he scoffed an entire box of sugar cubes that have been knocked over. Fun times.

Ours was in the crate from day 1, left overnight with a couple of get ups for wees. Has never been a chewer, and is left daily for 4-5 hours without incident. He is also trained not to go on the sofas or upstairs.
This I attribute solely to the early morning walks. We go in the woods, he runs off crashing through the undergrowth, I amble in a half asleep funk.

He is scared of water (the great Jessie) and the Hoover, and chases shadows of balls being thrown instead of actual balls, but has great recall and behaves nicely in cars. A patch of sunlight will be your best friend, as if mine is anything to go by, can lay in sunlight for up to 8 hours without so much as a peep. Just don't look at the carpet once he has got up!

In all honesty, I am finding our new Weimaraner pup MUCH harder work that the dally every was at that age.

BlueSkySunnyDay Fri 14-Jun-13 12:04:02

My friend has one and her major bugbears are the shedding which is apparently horrendous (amazing as the fur is so short) and the food issues. She has serious reservations about him sometimes.

You do need to go into this with your eyes open - I think a % of us went into dog ownership with promises of help with walking and care which long term tailed off. Do you want another child, one which wont ever grow up? If the answer is yes then go for it!!

sweetkitty Fri 14-Jun-13 12:12:44

I've wanted a dog forever I'm a dog person without the dog, I'm prepared to adapt our lifestyle, not that it needs much adapting, I see the dog as my hobby and part if the family. I want the DC to grow up with a dog as part of the family.

I am coming round to the Vizsla though same size, not as mental, can still go for runs with DH, not white hair (I used to have 3 cats am used to pet hair). Less inbred health issues.

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