Advice about Dalmation crosses and finding a puppy

(90 Posts)
Equimum Sun 12-Jul-20 08:46:12

Okay, so I’ll start by saying that I am fully aware that getting a puppy is nigh on impossible at the moment, and that prices are absolutely crazy.

The upturn in the market will probably change out plans a bit, as we had always planned to get a puppy this Autumn, once our youngest had started school and I would have lots of time for it. We know this is now unlikely to happen, but we are still starting to plan ahead in the hope it might happen at some point in the future, and that we can perhaps try to get on breeders lists etc.

So, to my question. DS is obsessed with dalmations (he’s never seen the film, just fallen in love with the one we see being walked). We have looked into purebreds, but understand cross-breeds can be better due to overcoming genetic issues. So, does anyone know what the best crosses are (with dalmations), and how one goes about finding reputable people who breed them?

For the record, we would love to consider a rescue, but as we have primary school aged children and will do for some time, it’s not an option for us this time.


OP’s posts: |
PollyPolson Sun 12-Jul-20 09:16:09

My advice would be to think long and hard about this mix.

Dalmation crosses will also have health issues.
Dalmation need hours and hours of exercise daily every day
They are big bouncy dogs and will knock over primary age children very easily
Your DC will not be able to walk them on a lead as they are strong and do tend to pull on the lead as they are strong long legged paced dogs.

They are prone to epilisey(as far as I know no health test for this) deafness, hip dysplasia, and allergies.

They do need company so not a dog that can be left on their own when the owners go out to work

dalmation rescue may help you and give you more advice

more info here

They are not for the faint hearted. I think a cross will bring many issues and it will be very hard/impossile to find a health tested dalmation cross.

They will certainly change your life - a lot

icedaisy Sun 12-Jul-20 09:20:11

Agree with PP.

Re puppies in general, that's how you will find a reputable breeder. Puppy price will not increase. We have a litter due next week, same price as per last five years. Waiting list longer than me.

Lockdown does not increase the value of well bred puppies. It increases the level of enquiries that's for sure though.

justanotherneighinparadise Sun 12-Jul-20 09:21:27

I always thought that Dalmatians were one of those breeds not to buy. I think OP you’d be silly to go for aesthetics over personality when it comes to dog breeds.

AriettyHomily Sun 12-Jul-20 09:23:36

Dalmatians are hard work and I wouldn't have one around a kid. There's a reason you don't see many in the around.

Chocolatedeficitdisorder Sun 12-Jul-20 09:23:42

As a rule of thumb, the breeders of cross-breeds aren't reputable.

Reputable breeders are attempting to improve their breed and don't cross-breed. Those who breed crosses can't do that so they're breeding for money.

Many will not agree with me, but with a surplus of dogs in rescue, there can never be a justification in breeding more dogs for no reason other than money.

huuunderickssss Sun 12-Jul-20 09:26:02

I grew up with many dalmatians , I don't think they are compatible with normal life unless you are super active . They need hours and hours of walking a day . We had 5 over my childhood and had a big house with lots of land and they move constantly. Please think very hard before you get one .


CherryPavlova Sun 12-Jul-20 09:28:43

Think very carefully about a Dalmatian. Not all have health problems- ours is fit as a fiddle and hearing should be screened.

They do need lots of attention. They are not terribly sociable and like a clear human attachment. They don’t like being left alone.
They need lots of exercise. Not all get it and can then be destructive of property or become neurotic.
Ours dislikes children. Not all do; some are OK but they certainly aren’t little Disney creatures. They are big, powerful dogs. Ours is a large Dalmatian weighing in at 39kg without an ounce of fat. He can lift off the ground with his jars, if he’s playing
Insurance is high. Their energetic nature makes them accident prone. We’ve had ours three years and he’s been in hospital five times, with a £200 excess each time. They are thieves and eat everything they shouldn’t, so are prone to bad bellies from ingesting rotting squirrel carcasses etc.
Dalmatians moult far more than other dogs. White hair everywhere.
He’s lovely, sweet, a good guard dog, loyal, handsome, but he’s not an easy dog.

CherryPavlova Sun 12-Jul-20 09:35:47

For a reality check, ours went initially to a family who wanted a cute spotty puppy. Then he grew too big to be cute and became unsuitable for a flat. They are better in the country.
Ours runs about 10 miles every morning, rain or shine.
He walks 3/4 hour off lead at lunchtime.
He walks another hour or more after work usually with swimming too.
In between he plays tuggie and rugger.

He wants more and is happiest when on our boat running the 10miles each morning, then a 20 mile trot beside a bicycle during the day. He’s not tired by that amount of exercise but it’s enough to make him happy as long as we moor beside woods where he can jump on and off the boat and chase squirrels.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sun 12-Jul-20 09:40:03

Cherry Pavlova - is that Cornwall in your picture?

Dalmations are wampy dogs. Very very high energy. I would be wary.

ChewChewIsMySpiritAnimal Sun 12-Jul-20 09:48:03

Oh my god i had no idea Dalmatians were that high energy - that's crazy amounts of exercise. I know they were bred to your alongside carriages all day though so makes sense they need a LOT of activity.

Equimum Sun 12-Jul-20 09:54:29

Thanks everyone, that’s all really useful information. We are not set on getting a Dalmatian, it’s just one idea, and we are aware of many of their downfalls.

Interestingly, it was our vet who suggested a cross-breed, as she said that in her experience they were healthier than the pure-bred ones she had treated. I didn’t ask what specific crosses, though, as it was a fleeting conversation when she was looking at one of our other pets.

Our lifestyles are pretty active, which is why we are looking for fairly active dogs, whether Dalmatian or otherwise. DH wants something that will eventually go out with him when he runs (most days!), and I want something to take on long walks. We have a big garden and the dog would spend time in the ‘dog field’ at the stables most days. Our kids are fantastic hikers, and already do several miles every weekend, so exercise wouldn’t be the biggest problem for us, but it is definitely something we need to think carefully about.

Are Dalmations more boisterous than other dogs of similar size (retrievers etc)? Our kids have always spent time round these, and although been knocked over a few times, they are generally okay and have learned to respect the dogs (they’re not out dogs, but ones they play with at the yard/ grandparents).

OP’s posts: |
PrimalLass Sun 12-Jul-20 09:57:39

Lockdown does not increase the value of well bred puppies.

Every breeder I've looked at has more or less doubled the prices since last year. Even long established ones.

Equimum Sun 12-Jul-20 10:02:00

CherryPavlova, thanks, that’s a really useful guide on exercise. At the moment, we could give that sort of level of exercise - DH runs up to 12- 15km around five times a week, and I’d be happy to do a two hour walk or bike ride with it in the middle of the day. It would also get another walk in the evening (more like an hour, I suppose), and would come hiking/cycling and the yard at weekends as well. It’s also have the chance to be off the lead and running around lot as we do live rurally. We’d have to think long and hard about whether we will be still be that active in ten + years time though, or what we’d do if the children find hobbies that change our lifestyles (At the moment, they are happy being outside, hiking, cycling, riding etc, but I don’t know for how long.)

OP’s posts: |
Equimum Sun 12-Jul-20 10:06:55

Primalass, yes, we have found that. There is very reputable Labrador breeder near us, and when we spoke to them, the guide prices they quoted were more than double what our neighbours paid for one of their puppies last Autumn! (& they have closed their books as their list will go beyond next year).

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Sun 12-Jul-20 10:07:51

“Are Dalmations more boisterous than other dogs of similar size (retrievers etc)?”


It’s not the activity levels in terms of exercise, it’s that they’re... um, well no offence to Dalmatian owners because they are sweet and very entertaining when they’re not yours, but, they’re madder than a box of frogs tbh.

A fairly frequent medical issue is that they split their own tails open from the frantic wagging too near walls and furniture.

CherryPavlova Sun 12-Jul-20 10:17:00

Definitely more boisterous. They are sometimes called the Peter Pan of dogs. They think they are puppies throughout their life. Ours is nearly four and still thinks he’s a puppy. He barges past us whenever we’re walking, as he wants to be in front.
They’re bright, very bright but not especially biddable. He is good around horses, unsurprisingly. His second home was a horsey one and he was happy there, but too expensive and too much for the young couple (who I suspect wanted a baby).
We quite like him. He’s definitely good looking and you don’t lose him easily. He does draw idiots who send their children to say hello to the spotty dog - unfortunate because he’s quite defensive and has a very loud bark, which upsets aforementioned idiots.

Devon not Cornwall. Above Dartmouth on his morning run.

Our daughter has a very sweet working cocker who is also high energy, gentler, easier to train but has less stamina. We’ll keep ours until he dies now, but would have thought more carefully if we’d realised just how high energy and needy he was. He’s fun but limiting. There really is a reason you don’t see many about these days.
We’d get a working cocker next time, I think.

Cociabutter Sun 12-Jul-20 10:17:37

I've got an 8 year old Dalmatian. I ran 20 miles with him yesterday and 30 miles with him the Sat before so they really can do the distance. That said he's fine on just an hour a day too.

We have DC's, he's great with them.

A ferocious guard dog, never expected that I must say. He's extremely territorial.

Researched breeders and found a brilliant one in Leicester, all hearing tests etc done before we got him.

He's quite highly strung, completely devoted to me, I'd do anything for him, he's my boy, but he sure ain't no Labrador.

vanillandhoney Sun 12-Jul-20 10:20:02

I really wouldn't recommend a Dalmatian as a first-time owner with children I'm afraid - gorgeous as they are, they are nuts and can potentially have a lot of health issues if you don't get them from a decent breeder.

They need a LOT of exercise - they were bred as carriage dogs after all, so were designed to spend their days running. They're also fairly neurotic and don't do well being left alone. I see one fairly regularly when I take my beagle out and he is just a massive bundle of energy - he pulls his owner everywhere (admittedly a training issue, but lots of dogs pull - it's not an easy thing to train them out of) and he's a big dog. About 40kg of solid muscle.

I would honestly go for a smaller, calmer breed as a first dog.

CherryPavlova Sun 12-Jul-20 10:22:18

Jumping barbed wire has been his problem. We’ll be going over a stile and wants to be in front so jumps over the fence made of barbed wire and rips he underbelly.
He can clear 5ft but sometimes catches, if it’s from standing rather than running. We had to have our entire perimeter fenced to stop him chasing off down the road after passing cyclists and herds of sheep. It was mainly the herds of sheep moving fields that worried us. He would spot them from the garden and was off. Now we’ve 6ft fencing all around except at the front where we had to have wall and gates raised. It wasn’t cheap.

Cociabutter Sun 12-Jul-20 10:28:43

Ours doesn't jump over anything, doesn't counter surf for food, brilliant with all the little kids who are desperate to stroke him - in my experience the parents always ask first. He's a wonderful pet and I'd get another in a heartbeat.

frostedviolets Sun 12-Jul-20 11:02:07

What you want is a ‘LUA Dalmatian’

They don’t have the faulty gene that ‘normal’ dalmatians have so they can be fed a regular diet.
‘Normal’ dalmations have a faulty gene that means they can’t digest purines in good thereby giving them urate stones.

The pup needs to BAER hearing tested too.

I would say though, I have only met two and they are both very big, very strong dogs.

One is pretty much uncontrollable, it wears a head collar and the owner struggles as it launches (aggressively) towards every passing dog/cat/person on sight.

The other seems friendly enough but it’s very rambunctious indeed, also on a head collar, I assume because without it both owners would be on the backsides unable to hold on.

frostedviolets Sun 12-Jul-20 11:05:07

How old is your DS?
Because if he’s over 8 or so, you might find a border collie a nice fit?

Cociabutter Sun 12-Jul-20 12:35:45

What you want is a ‘LUA Dalmatian’

Our breeder is at the forefront of this project, unfortunately ours isn't LUA but he's fed on a special diet of low purine food. We've only had one episode of uric acid stones and that was 4 years ago. I think out of the litter of 12 only 3 were LUA

Cociabutter Sun 12-Jul-20 12:38:04

Because if he’s over 8 or so, you might find a border collie a nice fit?

See now I've had a Border Collie too and would say they're every bit as complex as a Dalmatian but more intelligent and need more stimulation. That said OP sounds like a very active household so would be good, you can't wear a Collie out though and they can be nippy if not cared for correctly.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in