Are Dalmatians Good With Kids?

Are Dalmatians Good With Kids?

With children’s movies like 101 Dalmatians, it’s no surprise that your kids might want one of the lovely, loyal spotted pups! But not all dog breeds are good with children, so you might be wondering whether bringing that breed into your life is a good idea.

Are Dalmatians good with kids? Read on to find out. 

Are Dalmatians Good With Kids? 

Dalmatians are great family dogs, and their energetic playfulness and loyalty make them relatively good with kids. They’re affectionate pack animals who will enjoy playing with children. When well-trained, they can be good child-friendly dogs.

Are Dalmatians Good With Babies/Toddlers?

Dalmatians are relatively wonderful dogs for babies and toddlers, especially if they get to grow up alongside them.

They can, however, be a bit overly rambunctious and energetic, which may be a bit too much for kids of this age.

However, it’s worth noting that Dalmatians can be jealous of new babies, especially if they’ve been in the family long before any kids came along.

As a general rule, you should never leave a Dalmatian unsupervised in a room alone with a baby or toddler for the sake of safety.

One notable upside for Dalmatians with babies and toddlers is that they’re relatively quiet dogs. This means they’re unlikely to bark too loudly, waking up a baby you spend a long time trying to get to go to sleep.

Their quieter nature makes them ideal for the peace of younger children.

Are Dalmatians Good With Older Kids?

Dalmatians are great dogs for older kids. This is the point where their high energy is no longer too destructive or overwhelming, as older children can keep up and even reinforce training given by parents. 

Dalmatians are loyal, protective, and extremely affectionate. If they form a close bond with older children, they’ll be the best friends that your kids could hope for!

3 Reasons A Dalmatian May Not be Good With Kids

1.   Kids Don’t Respect The Dalmatian’s Boundaries

A lot of pet owners make the mistake of putting all the pressure on their dogs to be perfect angels to everyone.

But the fact is that dogs have feelings and instincts too, and they deserve respect as well! They have boundaries and will become very uncomfortable when those boundaries are crossed.

Older children will usually not have so much trouble with this if they know to be kind to people and animals. But younger children can struggle to understand this necessity.

They may not be able to read a dog’s body language and therefore push a dog too far. Or they might think a dog’s panicked or negative reactions are funny because they don’t understand them.

A Dalmatian – and any dog – cannot tolerate excessive boundary-crossing. When the dog feels sufficiently threatened, it will escalate to barking or, if even that goes unheeded, outright physical aggression.

2.   The Dalmatian Plays Too Rough

Dalmatians have a lot of energy and are fairly big when compared to the size of a young child.

With all the energy that comes with excitement, affection, and a love of play, Dalmatians can get a little rowdy!

Dalmatian playing tug of war outside

With that rowdiness comes the risk of a Dalmatian accidentally hurting a child by knocking them over or jumping on them.

Dogs tend to play rough with other dogs, so it can be hard for them to regulate their behavior since they don’t understand why they can’t do that with kids.

3.   The Dalmatian Isn’t Sufficiently Trained

An untrained dog of any breed can be a potential danger to those around young kids. Dalmatians are no exceptions to this rule.

The danger comes from the fact that dogs can act with excessive force when feeling excited, threatened, or otherwise instinctually triggered. If you can’t get that dog under control, they could unwittingly hurt someone.

A trained Dalmatian can be mostly trusted to sit, stay, or get down from someone when told to. Around children, this is extremely necessary.

Without sufficient training, they may accidentally hurt young kids and it’ll be difficult to stop them from doing so.

How To Teach Your Dog To Be Gentle With Kids

1.   Start Socialization at a Young Age

Socializing dogs is an extremely crucial step in their growth and development. A lack of this exposure can completely shape how your Dalmatian views and interacts with people and other dogs.

Dalmatians exposed to children as part of their socialization will be much better at gently interacting with them as they grow.

The best age for socialization is between 8 and 16 weeks, which is when most puppies experience rapid development. This is when they will need to be introduced to many kinds of situations and people.

They’ll learn to be comfortable in those environments and to be more accepting of other living beings.

If your Dalmatian is an adult, socialization can be harder if not already done. You’ll need to go slowly and gently, taking your time with each step and process.

Regardless of age, make sure that you introduce your dog to children in a positive way across different situations to form a positive association with them.

2.   Train Your Dog

The easiest way to teach a dog is simple – train them! Dalmatians benefit from obedience training just as much as any other dog.

These lessons will make them easier to manage, control, and direct when they’re around children. It also encourages them to listen to commands given by children too, which may be necessary for some interactions.

3.   Do Not Allow Jumping Up

As part of regular obedience training, a useful concept to teach a Dalmatian for the safety of children is not to jump up onto people.

Many dogs get carried away by excitement and leap up onto people, which can knock full-grown adults over!

Teach your dog not to do this and make sure they learn commands such as “down” to redirect them if they ‌exhibit the undesired behavior.

4.   Ensure Positive Interactions

When you supervise your Dalmatian’s time around your kids, ensure that the interactions are positive. Give your dog toys or treats the first few times they spend around your kids so they form a good association with them.

Your Dalmatian will start to like children naturally, as a result!

How To Teach Your Kids To Be Gentle/Respectful With the Dog

1.   Teach Kids About Canine Body Language

Canine body language may not be easy for kids to interpret. It has to be taught, almost akin to a second language so that your kids can better understand your Dalmatian’s behaviors. 

Whenever you can, point out your dog’s body language and ask your children what they think it means. Then, explain what it really means and how they should interact with it.

For example, you might say, “When the dog is showing its teeth, it’s not smiling. It’s furious, so don’t bother it then!”. 

Whenever your kids approach the dog, interact with them and ask them to do a verbal body language check.

For example, they might have to tell you a few body language signs that show that the dog is happy for them to approach now. Eventually, they’ll be able to do this on their own!

2.   Teach Kids About Boundaries

Learning about canine body language will help children understand when a certain, normal behavior is unwanted by a dog.

But some boundaries should never be crossed at all. These are rules that must be learned!

Examples of this are things like “never pull a dog’s tail”, “don’t hit the dog”, or “don’t put your hands in the dog’s mouth”. This should also include stopping any play if they hear noises of distress from the dog.

These rules are ones your kids should learn and commit to memory!

3.   Create a Sanctuary for Your Dalmatian

Dalmatians, and any breed of dog, should have a special space that is reserved just for them. For some dogs, this is an outdoor dog house.

For others, it’s their crate – and do consider crate training your Dalmatian if you can. Some dogs might have a special room in the house or even just a comfy bed in a quiet corner.

This special spot is your Dalmatian’s safe space. When your dog goes there, children should not disturb it.

Teach your kids that when they see the dog in their special spot, they must not disturb the dog.

This creates a physical space your dog can run to if things get too overwhelming, and it ensures they have the privacy and boundaries they need.

4.   Let Them Help

Children naturally want to help ‌around the house, and if they like the dog, they’ll probably want to help take care of it, too. Take advantage of that desire and use these moments as learning experiences.

Reiterate previous lessons about respecting and being gentle with the dog and encourage them to interpret body language and be mindful around the Dalmatian!


Dalmatians can be wonderful family dogs. They’re best suited for older children, but with proper training for both your kids and the Dalmatian, they can get along with kids of all ages!