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.

Matian Wed 26-Jun-13 21:22:06

I have a 19 month old Dalmatian boy who is actually very calm, doesn't steal food and only touches his bowl if he has been given permission to do so. He is the most amazing dog we've had and is an absolute joy to have around!

We spent a lot of time training him - classes and at home. he gets 2 walks/runs per day , 5 days a week and goes to daycare the other 2 days - he gets to play with his friends- snd he's shattered by the time he comes home! smile He's also running with his dad 2 days per week and comes with us on our bike rides. ;)
I think you need to be careful with very young kids and puppes, but this goes for any large bread. An active dog can accidentally knock the child over. Also kids need to be thought how to behave around dogs/ mine tollerates everything but not every dog will !
Bite inhibition training is also paramount.

I would't say Dalmatians crazy, they just need more excersise and in my view more mental stimulation than other dogs as they are highly intellegent! They need a firm owner especially when they are young as they like pushing the boundaries...
If you feed them cheap food filled with rubbish, don't give them enough excersise and let them do what they want they will of course act crazy! Just like a child!

When choosing a Dalmatian puppy you also need to make sure that you buy from a reputable breeder... To ensure that the little ones have great temperaments and you won't end up having to rehome it...

ps - did you read the puppy threads? Good insights there re the reality and training etc.

Oh... sorry... with you saying that her dogs were amazing etc I assumed you knew them in RL and had spent time with them to make that judgement, 'my bad' as my kids seem to say these days!

Just a thought, but why focus on a bitch? Focus on the dog from the litter whose temperament best suits your families needs? Most reputable breeders will 'grill' you anyway before they allow you one of their precious litter, as I am sure piffle will have advised, we had to meet ours and be interviewed then go on a waiting list etc etc. The breeder will then help you select the best one for your circumstances.

Not saying you shouldn't go for a bitch, just looking at it from a different angle iyswim?

Of your list, don't do the second option for the sake of waiting, I would have questions about how well socialised that litter would be for a family.

What medical conditions are RR susceptible to? What medical checks/socres will you need to ask the breeder about? Ours was hips scores for both parents in the main.

sweetkitty Thu 20-Jun-13 10:15:40

Unfortunately piffle and I live too far apart for me to borrow one of her dogs for the day (and she would have a hard time getting her back grin)

We finally decided on a ridgeback bitch but of course there's difficulties the options are

- get a dog instead from a trusted breeder
- get a bitch from an unknown breeder, have questions over temperament and they have been raised in kennels, ready now
- wait until we can get a bitch from a recommended breeder (could be up 6 months + though)

Yes I know option 3 is the rational one grin

kitty - are you guys RL friends? Was wondering if you could 'borrow' a RR for a day or two or spend time walking them with the family etc, something I found really useful when getting our puppy.

Sounds like you are happy and made your mind up, good luck.

Have a read of the 'Really Struggling.... Still' thread, which gives a good insight into the early days if you get chance, it's near the top of The Doghouse thread list.

Piffle Tue 18-Jun-13 21:13:51

A wire haired vizsla is my 2nd favourite breed :-)

Yes I have one who runs at 40mph after bunnies and birds and her walk would take 10 mins
We have a large garden where they have free access and I am home all day as is DH ( works from home) so they don't spend large chunks of time confined so are quite active even at home, playing etc

Like I said the 45-60 mins field romp is off lead quite full on.
Then they get the school run on lead (1 mile each end of the day) plus agility training in the garden too.
Plus biking for the less exuberant field walker and 3-4 long on flexi lead and some off lead walks 4 miles (2 hrs)

My dogs haven't been hard at all but I was so ready and they are my life. I show as well so we do a lot of travelling and days out plus we take UK holidays where the dogs come too.

Abra1d Tue 18-Jun-13 21:10:28

Our dalmation had two 25-minute walks a day from about the age of four. She was fine on this. Very slim, very calm and lived to 16. They can be happy without as much exercise.

bishboschone Tue 18-Jun-13 21:07:54

We have always had Dalmatians ( 5 in total) .... They have all been bonkers !! But totally adorable .. The one we have now was pretty much untrainable , we spent years going to puppy/ dog training and eventually had to buy a dog training collar as she literally just ran off all the time. She has calmed down alot as she has aged ...Mum has a very big house and garden and she gets lots if exercise but still batty. You will need to walk them a lot !!!! Also did you know they 'smile'? A lot of people think they are growling but its a happy thing . I think it's unique to Dalmatians.

sweetkitty Tue 18-Jun-13 20:59:40

grin piffle yes it's all her fault, I had hardly heard of RRs before I befriended her on FB her dogs are utterly stunning and her advice invaluable.

It's now down to ridgeback of vizsla, I want a ridgeback, DH wants a vizsla, we both want a bitch.

mrslaughan Tue 18-Jun-13 19:31:06

That's great that you ridgebacks only need that amount of exercise.... Maybe because there are 3 of them to entertain each other? I would have thought that if you can get away with that, that's fab, but my dogs best friend in a ridgeback, he is about 15months and needs a minimum of 2 hours spread across the day, or he becomes destructive.
He is not allowed to run with his owner yet.

I think that you need to go into dog ownership with worst case scenario, as what you can provide.

But hey, it's just my opinion.....

And I would love to have a ridgeback, love love love one, but there is no way I can do that amount if walking every day, with my young family.

I don't think anyone is disageeing that RR a fabulous dogs...

We probably come over as somewhat negative smile

I wish I had read these forums before getting our Springer, read and actually digested and taken notice, which I am not sure that I would have done, so keen was I to have a puppy/dog. I was sure I could deal with all the mess, nipping, general insanity a puppy brings etc.

I have dealt with it, but it has been far harder work that I ever deemed possible, I don't think I am alone in this feeling, a quick search of the last 20 threads would suggest not anyway, there have been at least 4 threads in the last week from owners with puppies who are at their wits end. I have also ensured I did all the things you mention, he's a lovely well trained, gentle little soul, but it takes work to get there and is ongoing, imho. Mine will go blind due to getting a thorn in his eye at 4 months, and has just has a tumour removed - I have lost count of the number of vet appointments I have had, these things you don't actually factor in or can appreciate, at least my kids are 12 and 13 so able to be left smile But all part of dog ownership.

None of the three 3 breeds mentioned are easy, again imho and I think folk are just posting to ensure the OP is 100% aware of the fact that life will be hard for the first year or so.

Good luck again OP.

Piffle Tue 18-Jun-13 15:30:39

I am the mad lady with 3 RR's seducing SweetKitty on FB with lovely photos :-)

Exercise, while I was out of action with hip/back surgery my hubby walked all 3 for 45 mins in the field every weekday. Weekends kids and dogs did a one hour bike ride. Sometimes it didn't happen, dogs lived :-)
Now I am fixed - all dogs get 45 mins at the field daily, youngest gets biked every 2nd day and a big 1>2 hour lead walk on the other days. Sme weekends we go out to the coast kids and dogs, or biking round a national park or National Trust Estate.

I have 2 kids at home 10 and 6 the RR's are 4/3 and nearly 2.
The temperaments on mine are outstanding, school runs from 12 weeks, much socialisation and bought from careful breeders.
I owe the dogs my sanity I love them so much and I cannot imagine life without them :-)

PeanutPatty Mon 17-Jun-13 23:53:28

Cocker Spaniel - show lines not working?

sweetkitty Mon 17-Jun-13 13:13:00

Oh no I don't want a husky cross just a friend had gotten one yesterday.

I'm not saying that's all the dog would get a 30 min walk, just maybe once a week if that.

My online friend has 3 RRs beautiful dogs, she says they can miss a day now and again and not be insane unlike a Dally.

I'm more thinking of the DC and I doing half an hour during the day then DH or I am hour or more at night.

Some Border Collies are stunning shock Like mine! He isn't a first dog for either of us.

DCs were 2 and 4 when we got him. First 12 few months were very hard work, now it's just quite hard work (he is 2 now). I am a SAHM at the moment. Times it's a PITA - when you want a full day out - someone will have to exercise them, they cannot usually be cooped up day while you go to the zoo. Holidays are ok - we go selfcatering in UK and take them with us. We've got a small terrier mutt too.

When you/DCs are ill - the dog still needs to go out. No fun with flu. Or in icy sleet and the DCs want to watch TV instead.

We have put a lot into training him, he is bloody fantastic now. Fab recall, lies down in the boot for car trips, walks nicely offlead, doesn't herd children or cars (but did try to herd cars for a while), doesn't nip anyone (did as a small puppy, when they all do).

mistlethrush Mon 17-Jun-13 12:46:41

Gentle giant in the house - you're talking greyhound of course and they can also be stunning

SK - No no no no no no no no no to the Husky cross smile. Nearly hit the ground with a thud at that last suggestion!! A Husky cross will not be happy with a 30 minute run, or probably a 3 hour run to be honest....... Do a quick Google, these dogs are bred to work ALL day.

To be brutally honest, neither the Dally, Vizsla or Ridgeback would benefit from a 30 minute run. They may tick all your other requirements perfectly but be fully prepared to walk for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, each day everyday for these breeds.

Our Springer puppy, now 8 months, gets an hour playing with other dogs in the morning. All off lead, then about 90 minutes in the afternoon, all off lead again. He is then up for another 90 minutes in the evening if DH fancies taking him out. And that's not including playing in the garden etc.

Of course, for a few days, he would be fine with less than that but I think you need to be up for that level of exercise, and if you get a more laid back Vizsla, Dally etc, then be very happy smile

A Lab however would suit those requirements perfectly smile

mistlethrush Mon 17-Jun-13 12:36:39

SK - they come in all shapes and sizes... I'm sure there's one out there that would be perfect grin... Actually, I think its the rather nice thing about lurchers - there's lots of variation because of the different breeding (sighthound cross with working dog) so you get lots of 'a bit like' but really there is so much variation...

sweetkitty Mon 17-Jun-13 12:35:02

Mistlethrush - they are lovely grin

mistlethrush Mon 17-Jun-13 12:34:56

I can't think a husky cross with anything is going to be happy with a 30 min run...

We had a similar sort of requirement from our dog - and the socialisation with DS was very high on the list - she will play with a ball in the garden on her own but is much happier if you play with her - and quite happily swapped from her normal 2 walks and some playing a day to being out and about all day in our week's holiday recently. She's a bit smaller than a ridgeback bitch which means I can pick her up (which I always think is quite helpful, just in case...).

sweetkitty Mon 17-Jun-13 12:20:43

I want a ridgeback grin

The vizsla is the compromise!

I could walk 2 GSD size dogs aged 9, although why my mother ever sent me out with them is beyond me now looking back. I'd be gone hours as well down the beach.

Ideal dog would be medium/large, short haired, gentle giant in the house happy to lounge about with us, happy chasing a ball in the garden, happy with a 30 min walk or a 2 hour run. Most important good with the DC.

Friend has just got a husky/lab cross, never heard of that combination before. Looks of a husky with the temperament of a lab?

mistlethrush Mon 17-Jun-13 10:26:51

Here's stunning for you grin

Do you agree with your husband sweetkitty regarding getting a stunning dog?

Ridgebacks are lovely looking dogs, they are very strong, stronger than a Vizsla. May be consider how this would work with your DC, having a large, strong 8 month old puppy bounding about, our friends German Shepherd can knock me flying! Also, if you ever wish the DC to walk the dog in future years and pulling on the lead etc. Jumping up etc etc. Our 8 month old Springer still strains at his lead when he sees other dogs and that's quite hard work when you see a lot of dogs in one walk, my arms ache!

A lady in our village has a Ridgeback, she's a very experienced owner and says, in all honesty, it's taken her nearly 5 years for her to turn him into the obedient, family orientated dog that he is now.

I honestly think you need to think about the character traits that you want in a dog, then work from there. There's lots of questionnaires on the internet if you Google.

But... good luck again smile

Floralnomad Sun 16-Jun-13 16:06:16

What about a Spinone or a Weimaraner , if you want 'stunning' , they both fit the bill . Having said that a standard poodle would also be stunning and probably more suitable .

BlueSkySunnyDay Sun 16-Jun-13 15:35:11

Yeah but they are like your children - even if they are pug ugly you end up loving them ;-)

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