♥ What attracted you to the Dalmatians? Have you always wanted to own one?
When I was a child, my first exposure to Dalmatians was obviously like most every other child in the 1990s when 101 Dalmatians came out – and I was OBSESSED immediately! But unlike my friends, my infatuation with their beauty never faded and I knew that one day I would own one of these magical creatures! I didn’t meet my first Dalmatian until my 20s and I cannot tell you how unreal it felt to pet those aesthetically pleasing spots and put a reality to my long desired dream of being near one! It took another 10 years before my life was conducive to owning a dal and the puppy search was on!
♥ How did you get your besties?
When I first started my puppy search, it seemed impossible to find any results for rescues or even breeders within an eight-hour drive to me. So I started prepping for a 12-hour road trip if needed to travel to Texas to meet some pups! Then a few weeks into my inquiries to breeders and rescues all over the US, a Facebook recommendation popped up for a breeder in Nashville, TN which was only an hour drive from me! It felt like fate! I reached out to them immediately and they had a year long waiting list so I decided not to put my name on it since I wanted to find my forever child sooner than that
At this point, I was getting a little discouraged and paused my search for a week to really contemplate if my timing was right, since things were not falling easily into place. Then like a fairy tale one Thursday morning, I woke up to a 6am Facebook message from the Nashville breeder with a picture of a 9 week old female puppy whose original family had to back out and she was available to pick up THAT day! I was in shock and felt so many big emotions I did not expect! I cannot begin to explain how quickly I jumped out of bed to shower and hop in the car to go get her. I got there within 3 hours of that message to meet baby Prim and since I have yet to have any 2 legged children of my own (yet!). I can honestly say, second to my wedding day, that my first day with her was the most magical of my life. A bit extreme of a statement to a non dal enthusiast, but I can assure you, to those who have a definitive heart breed, it is a real thing! She met every expectation I ever had of owning my dream dog and then some! The breed is not for everyone, but for me she was absolute perfection.
♥ You have not one, but two dalmatians! Why did you decide on getting two?
I knew two months after having her that I wanted a second baby to grow up with her and fulfil our little family. So to add to the magic, I decided to put a deposit down on a long coat dal puppy that was not born yet and the entire four-month wait to get her was full of excitement at the thought of her as well. I was distracted with puppy training to get Prim prepped and ready to be a big sister, and by six months old she was such a good influence on Paislee when she finally came home at eight weeks old! I wish I could say that her breeder experience was just as pleasant as Prim’s but unfortunately we were exposed to the ugly world of breeding and even though we should have backed out and not given them any support in their money making, I had to rescue that baby I already loved from such a horrible environment. So she came home with a few more challenges from poor breeding, but with a lot of work, she hit the same milestones as Prim in time! And I would not trade either of my girls for the world!
♥ What is the best thing about having two dogs?
Having two pups to entertain each other and play together probably helped me more than I realized! I loved watching them together because they always had a friend to explore the world with and found so much comfort in one another! But they also would chew and bite on each other instead of me or my things, like so many other puppy owners experience!
♥ Describe their personalities! Were they easy to train?
Both of my girls have a lot of the “typical dal” personality traits, such as being super needy and ‘velcro dogs’! They must be touching you at all times unless they’re on a hike or at a dog park when they’re just excited to be exploring and playing with fur friends! Both girls were very motivated learners and their training came easy (Prim was faster than Paislee, because she is just a slightly smarter pup due to better breeding), but their recall was a very important part of training since we took them EVERYWHERE with us! Most vacations include stops at many off leash places such as dog beaches and dog friendly hiking spots that required me to be able to trust them to return to me with the first recall. This was the only training that came easier to Paislee than Prim! Due to Prim’s bigger confidence level and more independent personality than Paislee, she did not need to “check in” with me and needed more consistent training to come back when asked. Now both pups know the same number of tricks and love to show off for all our friends and family! We have only touched the surface of what they are capable of learning and plan to do more advanced trick training in the future!
♥ What are your tips for a first-time dog owner who wants a dalmatian? Are there specific challenges with the breed?
I would not usually recommend a Dalmatian to a first time dog owner for two main reasons. Most people getting their first dog are young adults with too many responsibilities elsewhere that keep them from committing the proper time to training a Dal puppy and setting them up for success. Without proper exposure to all types of environments/people/other dogs within the first four months of their life, they have a tendency to be fearful or reactive as adults. This is not breed specific, because I’ve seen this happen in many other breeds as well. This is just part of a simple puppy success checklist that should be considered when owning any dog, but with Dals it is not just a suggestion, but a MUST! The breed can get a bad reputation based upon poor breeding and uneducated families taking on more than they expected in a breed that doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Dalmatians can be unruly if you do not show them that they have to listen. When the dog isn’t given the best opportunity to succeed, it is the failure of the parents, not the dog.
♥ Do Prim & Paislee get along with other dogs?
I think since I own a dog daycare, this question is less breed specific than the individual dog and how it was raised. If any puppy is properly exposed to other dogs at an early age it will play well with others as an adult. There can be hormone issues with unneutered males sometimes they can become aggressive as they hit the year mark in any breed and then there are some that stay as sweet as sugar! So nature versus nurture still applies here. Long story short, my girls LOVE to play with other dogs, but they play super rough together! Sisterly love and all! Most every Dalmatian I have ever met has done great around other dogs at our daycare and parks we have frequented. But I have met a handful of dog aggressive ones. Usually this is just from a lack of discipline in training methods in my opinion, but some is probably bad breeding related, since many breeders don’t breed for good temperaments. So my best advice is to do your research before choosing from where to acquire your Dal!
♥ How much exercise do dalmatians require?
I have so many friends who own dalmatians all over the world, (thanks to Instagram!) and they all need varying degrees of exercise. I think this all depends on your expectations and your lifestyle. I own a doggie daycare and see all breeds of dogs on a daily basis. I can honestly say that my girls are calmer than most dogs that attend our daycare. Doodles, Labs, Weimaraners, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers etc all seem to have higher energy levels from my personal experience. On the flip side, I have met some dalmatians that are much higher energy than my girls.
So I think the best way to answer this is to say that my girls have a lot of energy when we are away from home…they can go all day at the park, the beach, on hikes, swimming and never stop! But currently as I type this, they’re both laying with a head in my lap and will sleep all day if we leave them home alone for any reason. They were never chewers, so can be fully trusted loose in the house when unattended, unlike many breeds I have owned in the past. But is this typical of all Dalmatians? I cannot speak for them, but I hear of the opposite happening with some Dal owners, so I guess I just got really lucky they responded so well to their
♥ Do Dalmatians shed a lot?
Dalmatians are constantly leaving their glitter everywhere! But it is so worth it to own one for me! If I happen to have some dal hair on my clothes 24 hours a day, no biggie! If that kind of thing bothers you, then reconsider the breed! There is nothing you can do about it!
♥ What is the most common question you get asked about your besties?
The most common question we get is about Paislee’s long hair! They will say they have never heard of Dalmatians with long hair and wonder if she is mixed with anything! So we explain the recessive gene thing A LOT!
♥ What’s the most rewarding thing about having an Instagram for your besties?
When I started Prim’s Instagram, it was strictly just so I would not overwhelm my friends with puppy pics on my personal accounts! Someone recommended it and I gave it a try! I never knew I would make so many friends and find a community of obsessed dog moms just like me!
♥ Do you have a favourite post on Instagram?
I post most everyday so I cannot say I have a favorite, but I try to keep our account fun and diverse and show the world how great living with dalmatians can be!
♥ How do you get them to pose for the pawfect pic?
My girls have been so used to posing for pics ever since they were 9-10 weeks old! Teaching dogs to hold a sit and stay until released makes for easy photo ops! We use treats if we need their ears to perk up, because without them, my girls hate having to pose just like any other child! They get bored and just wait for the release. I would recommend teaching the command, “look”, for better focus. Prim likes to avert her eyes during photo sessions sometimes, so I should have done more work on that as a puppy!
♥ Do you have a favorite dog Instagram account?
There are SO many awesome instagram accounts out there! It would be impossible to name all of our favorites! We have so many accounts we follow that range from 200 followers to 160k followers! So I will give honorable mention to a few accounts that have a lot of creative posts that are worth following:
- @charlie.the.dalmatian and soooo many more!
We have a highlight on our page with all our siblings who are definitely worth a follow as well! Just too many to mention!
♥ What is the best thing in owning a dalmatian?
- Loyal – Having a lifelong companion who will be your little shadow! If you want a cuddle bug anytime you are on the couch or laying in bed, they will bring you so much comfort and companionship!
- Fun – They are super funny and entertaining to watch! They have their own little quirks and personalities and there will never be another dull moment!
- Exploration buddy – You will never have to go on another adventure alone! You will have the perfect hiking pal that will never tire out and will last as long as you will!
♥ What is the most challenging thing in owning a dalmatian?
- Never being able to go anywhere quickly! – You will get stopped every 5 steps you take with people wanting to pet them or take pictures of them! Haha This is not always a con…just if you are in a hurry!
- Being perceived as an obsessive dog mom – Dal owners tend to be slightly more obsessed with their dogs than some people. Be prepared to live for your dog more than yourself!
- Uneducated comments will make you mad – I have had people on the street pass us and start a conversation about how aggressive or mean dalmatians are, even as they observe my girls sitting nicely for strange children to pet them or kiss their faces 🙄