Dalmations--More than just Hollywood Heartthrobs

Discussion in 'Dog Breeds' started by tx_cowgirl, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'm sure most of you have heard the awful reputation that Dalmations have accumulated over the years. For those of you who have heard this, there are probably just as many if not more who have seen the 101 Dalmations movies that make these dogs seem exactly the opposite of what their bad rap makes them.
    Personally, I do not believe than any dog is born a "bad dog," or that any particular breed of dog is doomed to aggression or behavior problems of any kind. I am a firm believer that any breed of dog can become a loving, mentally healthy dog if it is raised and socialized properly.
    The release of 101 Dalmations resulted in America falling in love with the breed. Dog lovers everywhere rushed out to the nearest backyard breeder to buy their own little spotted ball of love and loyalty. These dogs were bought and tossed into the backyard and forgotten quite quickly. They ultimately became "backyard ornaments," underexercised both mentally and physically. The Dalmation is a very sensitive breed, and tends to require a generous amount of exercise. Proper socialization is detrimental with all breeds of dogs, including the Dalmation. A dog with little to no mental and physical stimulation is unbelievably likely to develop behavior problems. A sensitive breed like the Dalmation will develop problems very quickly without plenty of exercise. Think of it this way: you take a two-year-old and give him ten cups of coffee, then stuff him into a tiny, empty room with no toys. Just 4 walls. Underexercised dogs will have lots of pent-up energy and nowhere to release it. So, they tend to release it by destroying your $100+ loafers, your new Armani suit sleeve, your leather couch, your yard...etc. With nothing to do to release their energy, they develop habits that we do not approve of. This can also result in aggression of many kinds.
    So, these people who ran out to get their Hollywood star simply wanted a dog. Not a dog that needed socialization and frequent exercise........and thus, the bad reputation of the Dalmation was born. These are NOT simply "bad dogs." I believe that there is no such thing as a bad dog--only a bad or uninformed owner. Most of these people were not bad people who wanted to create an unhappy dog, they simply didn't know how to raise a puppy--especially one as sensitive as the Dalmation.
    Because they can be high-strung and very friendly, many people claim that these dogs are horrible with children. Ridiculous. The first dog I ever knew was a young male Dalmation, unusually large for his breed. I met Rosco when he was about two or three years old. My parents found him at a few months old darting bravely(or stupidly rather) back and forth across a busy highway. This was before I was even born. They brought him home and he stuck. As soon as I was old enough to walk, I was outside with Rosco. He was my best buddy, and my guardian. Rosco was not leash-trained, and his greeting to my father was to jump up playfully and give him a big hug and kiss. Being a large dog, this would be dangerous with children....but he wasn't. If I came outside, he'd scamper over to me and sit in front of me. You could see in his eyes how excited he was to have his buddy out there with him, and he would do everything he could not to wag his whole body in anticipation until I rubbed him behind the ears. If I walked out the back gate and left it open, Rosco would tag along, never leaving my side. He made it his duty to keep me out of harm's way. If my father was walking him, he was pulling ahead, leading the way. If I grabbed the leash, or if I was just beside him, he would stay glued to my side as though he'd been leash-trained all along. He never rough-housed with me(despite the fact that I sometimes wanted him to) but he always loved to play. Gently, of course. He slept outside my bedroom window at night, and warned us of anything or anyone suspicious. He was the best family dog anyone could ask for.
    Later we acquired a female, Sasha. She had been owned by a deaf child, and the family was moving. Sasha was incredibly timid due to both lack of socialization and simply living in a relatively quiet world. She was very sweet, however, and was much like Rosco. She was laid-back but enjoyed playing, but never offered to jump, pull, snap, or anything. She and our horses were fast friends. She never wandered unless she was following one of us. If the gate was left open all day long, you never had to worry that she was anywhere. If she wasn't still in the backyard, she was by the front door. She also was very motherly...with people, animals of all kinds... She was very sweet, and great with kids and a wide variety of animals. She was also a guardian, like Rosco. If those two were barking, something was wrong.
    Well, now that I have ranted a little on their bad reputation... :doghappy: The Dalmation was originally a carriage dog. They would run stock off of the road as carriages passed by, and were excellent family and guard dogs. They were later used as fire rescue dogs because of their desire to please and of course, their desire to help people. They have an undying loyalty and wouldn't think twice about giving their life for their family. They are highly intelligent dogs, and I find them to be a joy to train. They are spontaneous and fun-loving, and as I said, need plenty of exercise. Every dog of this breed that I have ever known has been a social butterfly. One downside about Dallies is that they are notorious shedders...so playing with Spot before going to work in the morning is likely to result in a million little while hairs all over your black suit. ^^ (But hey, no outfit is complete without a few horse/dog/cat/etc hairs, right?)
    Today, Dallies can be seen competing in Agility, Obedience, Flyball, Frisbee....just about anything, really. And of course, they are still in many homes all over the world. I personally do not recommend Dallies for inexperienced or first-time dog owners, simply because they are a sensitive breed. However, I love Dalmations and it is easily one of my favorite breeds. :doghappy: We no longer have any, but we've had quite a few over the years. Don't just believe what you hear. Look into breeds before making up your mind about them. :dogsmile:
    Zimgales likes this.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    Nice post tx_cowgirl. I never thought about people buying a specific breed of dog simply because they saw it on TV. LOL. I guess people think they will act like the one on TV. I guess the same thing happenned with Lassie.
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well around here Collies weren't near as easy to come by...so to my knowledge Lassie didn't have much of an effect. But Dallies used to be as easy to buy as peanut butter. Now, because of their bad reputation, virtually no one has them in Texas. There is one reputable breeder that I know of in Texas. Yes, ONE.
  4. bigboytex New Member

    ooooo I like dalmations...........urs were pretty cool but that was a long time ago wasnt it. Anyway I think its kinda dumb fo someone to go out and get a dog becuse they saw it on tv
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Yep, but that's what people do. e-e Same with everything I suppose. Hilary Duff shops at Kohl's, and suddenly everyone wants to shop there... Oprah supports Barack HUSSEIN Obama -coughcoughBOOcough- ahem...and he gets a slight popularity spike. It's the way this world works. Publicity is everything...pretty stupid if you ask me.
  6. szecsuani Experienced Member

    One of out family friends have a dalmation. She is old now, and went crazy...:dogsad:
    She doesn't recognise her owners, mad at strangers, and everything. She was a really sweet dog before. I really loved her. But now, you can't go into their flat, becouse Steffi would attack you... :dogsad:
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Aww....that's sad. Poor pup. :dogsad:
  8. dakotamom421 New Member

    I have had dalmations all of my life, my mom use to show and breed them before the movie came out then she stoped, they are great dogs, and as for good with kids they are wonderful when i was 4 mons old one of our dalmations jumped through a window screen because i was crying, and when i was about 3 when one of ours had puppies i would lay in the box with them. My current dalmation is 15 years old and when she was younger i would dress her up and she didnt care. All of mine have been great with other animals to at one point we had 4 that would sleep in our garage and when i went out at night all of them were sleeping with the cats a chicken and a turkey.:dogsmile: I could go on and on, I love the breed and its very sad that such a wonderful breed had to get such a bad rap, because of a silly movie. the only bad thing is that they are very prone to blatter stones that cause problems in males of this breed we have lost 2 to this one at 2yrs old and his son just recently who was ten:dogsad:

    2 of my dalies the one on top is 14 in this picture the other is her son he is 8
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Aw gorgeous. ^^ I really love Dalmations, and someday I hope to get another one. They really are fantastic dogs. Luckily we never had a problem with bladder stones. Shame your boys did. :dogsad:
  10. l_l_a New Member

    Lovely picture Dakotamom, and Tx-Cowgirl thank you for the opening post on this wonderful breed!

    I had a dalmatian when I was growing up, when I was going through my sullen rebellious teenager phase she seemed at many times to be the only family member I could get along with! :) we got her from a backyard breeder, at that time we didn't know the difference. She was the last of the litter to get sold, I think because she had the fewest spots and they were not very solid. (she later developed more spots as she matured even though they still were not very solid looking.) It was my responsibility to feed her, exercise her, clean up after her, bathe her, train her. We were best pals, and my friends all loved her.

    However when we emigrated to the United states my parents were unwilling to take the dog with us, I was upset but now as an adult I understand and don't fault their decision at all. We ended up giving the dog to my mom's friend who was an avid dog lover and experienced owner so at least we knew she was in good hands. My last memory of my dalmatian was when the lady came to collect her, then the car driving away and my dog staring out the back window at me as I waved goodbye to her...*sob*....my mom's friend kept in touch and we learned that a couple years later she emigrated to Australia and brought the dog with her!! That's how dedicated an owner she was, I couldn't have asked for a better new home for my dog even though it was still a real bummer at the time.
  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Glad your dog found such a good home!! That's a sweet story, |_|_a. Where did you and your family immigrate from, if you don't mind me asking?
  12. milissa New Member

    'popularity' stinks like crap on my shoe

    I don't know alot about Dallies in particular, but it seems like the same thing that happened with them, Collies, Weimeriners, in the 70s it was Dobermans, 80's German Shepherds, 90's Rotties and now Pits.
    It's always been prestigious to own a 'pure bred'. When a breed becomes overly popular in a given area, it becomes more accessible to inexperienced owners. Dogs bites generally occur in low-income areas, and generally, the majority of bite victims are children.
    These are HIGH energy breeds-- people love the soft, cuddly puppies, but are not prepared for gangly, clumsy, seeming crazy-hyper BIG dogs that they rapidly become.
    It's the same scenario every time. The dogs are not spayed/neutered. Mutt puppies abound. The lucky ones end up in shelters. Shelters are over-crowded and dogs are euthanized by the millions. Precious few are adopted into good homes. The unlucky ones roam the streets, starve, catch and spread diseases, die of exposure, or worse-- end up as bait for illegal fighting dog rings.

    It makes my heart hurt.
    God bless rescue organizations and Humane Officers.
    And God bless breed advocates like you, for standing up for your breed. I have been bitten by 2 different Dallies, but I am confident that it was due to their particular situations, not because the breed is bad. (Or, it could be that they knew I was going to give them shots....):dognowink:
  13. l_l_a New Member

    thanks Tx-Cowgirl! well, I was born and raised in Singapore, which is in southeast asia that's where my family's from, so I can understand why my parents were unwilling to bring our dog with us! :)

    Milissa you are very right that Dalmatians are very high energy!! Ours used to run laps around the garden, this was despite going on walks and jogs and playing ball every day. she wore down a dirt patch around the perimeter!

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