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As a result of their history as coach dogs, the dalmation is very active and needs plenty of exercise. They are very fast runners, with a great deal of stamina and self-reliance. Given freedom to roam the wild, they will take multi-day trips on their own across the countryside. In today's urban environment, they will not likely survive such excursions and must be contained.
Their energetic and playful nature makes them good companions for children and they have an instinctive fondness for humans and horses. These qualities make them somewhat unbreakable, and forgiving of rough handling by children. However, it is imperative that they are socialized with children while still puppies, and also that children be taught the correct way to play with animals.
They have very sensitive natures but respond favourably to calm assertive leadership by the pack leader. Their rambunctious and playful personalities necessitate constant supervision around very small children, whom they may accidentally knock over and hurt.
Dalmatians are extremely people-oriented dogs, and will get very lonely if left by themselves, and should be trained to accept their owner's absence if they must be left alone as otherwise they will pine severely. A better option is to provide companions.
These dogs crave human companionship and do poorly if left alone in a backyard or basement. Dalmatians are famed for their intelligence, and survival instincts. In general they have good memories and are usually kind natured (though individual specimens may vary).
Originally bred to defend carriages and horses, these dogs can become territorial if not trained otherwise.