How to choose the right dog breed: The Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is certainly one of the most interesting-looking breeds, with such a distinguished-sounding name that it was used in the successful Disney movie title "101 Dalmatians". And who can imagine any breed but the Dalmatian as a fire engine mascot? With such high visibility for the breed, it may come as a surprise that the Dalmatian has a rather middle-of-the-road profile.

None of the positive or negative of this profile rate a strong warning but many of the subtleties of the Dalmatian's rankings happen not to be those customarily preferred. For example, the Dalmatian ranks medium on reactivity traits but high on snapping at children and low on demand for affection. Similarly, though it ranks in the middle on overall aggressive traits, the profile is high on aggression toward other dogs and for dominance over owner. The Dalmatian's very high rank on destructiveness and fourth-lowest rank of all breeds on ease of housebreaking might make it less troublesome in a firehouse than in a home. Keep in mind, however, that these traits are he least reliably predicted of all. And the Dalmatian's moderate ranking on obedience training might encourage you to try shaping specific traits in the direction you prefer. Also you can expect the Dalmatian to make a good contribution toward home protection.

Only one other breed, the Weimaraner, is similarly moderate on both reactivity and aggression. However, the Dalmatian has a slight edge in aggression, the Weimaraner is a bit higher in reactivity. The Boxer also tends to be moderately reactive, but it excels over the Dalmatian on territorial protection.

The Dalmatian:

Weight: 45 lbs
Height: 21 in.
Build: Solid
Coat: Short, sleek; regular grooming desirable, heavy shedding.
Color: Black spots on white.

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