Both Dalmatians and Labradors are undoubtedly one of the famous dog breeds in the world for how much publicity and attention they’ve gotten over the years.
However, there are crucial differences between these two breeds that are worth paying attention to if you’re interested in settling both of these breeds together.
Here’s whether or not Labradors get along well with a Dalmatian:
Labrador and Dalmatians have slightly different characteristics that generally makes it hard for both of these breeds to get along well. However, both of these breeds do stand a chance in getting along well provided that a Dalmatian puppy grows up with an existing young Labrador dog with proper socialization and training early on. The compatibility between the two also depends on other factors such as temperament, gender, age as well as their sizes.
In order to properly analyze the compatibility of both breeds, a better grasp and tips on their natural breed characteristics as well as on their individual temparaments are of utmost importance.
Amongst the factors that we’ll dive into are as follows:
- Breed history
- Level of devotion to owners/Possessiveness
- Prey drive
- Intellect and trainability
Note: Our articles are comprehensive and in-depth. Feel free to expand the table of contents below and skip ahead to sections that interest you.
These labradors rose to popularity for their extraordinary skills with water, including their diving skills. They are also well versed with waterfowl hunting given their exceptional aptitude for water. And with proper training, labs would make exceptional bird hunting dogs as well. Not only that, but labradors have also proven themselves to be exceptional companions from day one.
On the other hand, the Dalmatians’ history can be traced back to the nomadic gypsies who utilized the breed for various purposes from hunting to retrieving. It wasn’t till the 1800s when Dalmatians were deployed as coaching dogs in which they were utilized to run along horse carriages and to subsequently guard over them when it’s unsupervised.
The Dalmatians’ agility and athletic capabilities were then put to good use as firehouse dogs where they would run along the horses to the scene and to watch over the fireman’s equipment. They have proved themselves to be excellent watchdogs and companions to this day.
Considering how both of these breeds have been bred to bond well with their human companions, they possess great social skills and will get along well with each other under the right circumstances and with proper training.
Labradors are well known for their good-natured amiability with just about everybody as it’s in their DNA to be loving, affectionate. Hence, they are a top choice for first time owners for how laid back and easy-going labs are for the most part.
Labs are generally extremely sociable dogs as they are highly adaptable and obedient, as long as they were trained well. Any incompatibility with other breeds are rare as it’s in their genes to be predisposed for socialization and bondings with both humans and dogs alike.
Dalmatians, however, are not as friendly to strangers as labs are. These Disney dogs do have an innate sense to please people and in turn seek their approval but that is always the case with their parent owners — not with strangers. They may also initially seem standoffish with strangers due to their reservedness and they typically take time to get familiarized with another person or dog.
Also, Dalmatians don’t usually get along too well with other dog breeds of a different size thanks to their fearless nature. But this negative tendencies can be corrected with proper training and socialization early on.
With that said, there is every bit of hope that Dalmatians and Labradors would get along well provided that the former is properly socialized early on. Hence it would be ideal to get a second Dalmatian puppy a pet to an existing well-trained Labrador for a higher success rate of them getting along with each other.
Loyalty to owner & each other
Both Labradors and Dalmatians are immensely loyal to their parent owners as they are natural pleasers and affectionate by nature. Their ease of bonding coupled with their ingrained lively, energetic and bubbly tendencies do make them easily devoted to their owners. And that alone facilitates the compatibility of these two breeds together provided that the Dalmatian had been properly socialized early on.
Both breeds almost always tend to have a favourite person who dedicates the most time with it, though they may appear devoted to every family members on a surface level.
Also, they will be able to stand each other if left to their own devices for hours given how energetic and playful both of them are once they are comfortable with each other’s presence.
As for the Labradors, it’s important to note that their casual interactions and exceeding friendliness with strangers should never be taken as a sign of their dissatisfaction or disloyalty because they’re social butterflies by nature. They’ll only follow your commands and stick by your side after all.
With that said, both of these breeds will usually perceive each each other as a part of the pack when settled together and will in turn be loyal to one another and to the family as a whole. Thus, these two breeds will get along exceptionally well as long as the Dalmatians are properly socialized and trained.
Recommended reading: Why Are Labradors So Loyal? (Explained)
Labradors have an overall higher prey drive than a Dalmatian does. However, labradors have a relatively dormant high prey drive because they require an extensive training to be efficient in hunting.
These polarizing characteristics are generally a perfect match for both Labs and Dalmatians as they won’t be fighting each other for dominance.
However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that both of these breeds require an extensive amount of daily exercise to burn off their excess energy and to keep their stamina up. Walking them together, for instance, would also help in bonding them even closer in this regard.
Intellect and Trainability
Labs are generally smarter and sharper than Dalmatians because of their superb innate instinctual intelligence which is contingent upon their obedience, as well as their brilliant adaptability skills.
Meanwhile, Dalmatians are known to be extremely tenacious, hard-headed and lacks a much longer attention span than a Labrador.
Thus, they have a much lower intelligence than a lab does due to their stubbornness which explains their substandard trainability track record. Training these Disney dogs require patience, consistency and firmness.
They also do have a knack for thinking independently and aren’t as susceptible to adaptability as labs are. Hence why it can be hard to obedience-train these Dalmatians, but it’s doable with patience and persistence.
Thus, their breed intelligence levels are complementary and conducive for a harmonious home. The last thing you’ll ever want is two highly intelligent dogs trying to constantly outsmart one another for attention and treats. With proper training and socialization of the Dalmatian early on, coupled with patience; they will get along just fine over time when you introduce a second Labrador.
Upon affirming each of the breed’s general characteristics compatibility, further scrutiny on the factors of individual temperament and personalities are of paramount importance.
This is due to the fact that are outliers within a breed, and a dog may or may not bond well with other suitable breeds based on their:
- Individual temperament
- Gender of the breeds
I’ll also incorporate multiple tips and useful guidelines in the factors mentioned above that helps further in making these breeds get along well.
Temperament & Energy Levels
Adult Dalmatians are typically averse to bonding with dogs of other breeds, especially with dogs that are of different size than them. But with proper socialization and training early on as a puppy alongside an existing dog at home, it can be manageable.
Labradors on the other hand are laid back and sociable with just about any breed thanks to their exceptional adaptability skill, and hence it wouldn’t be a hassle in training labs for a faster bonding. Labs are hands-down a neutral compatible breed for the most part.
It’s advisable to only pair up a Dalmatian puppy with an already existing properly trained and socialized Labrador. One of the metrics you can use to determine the compatibility of a future Dalmatian together with an existing Labrador is to observe the Dalmatian puppy behavior in its litter.
Be sure to pick the middle-of-the-road pup that is neither aggressive or weak in its litter.
Also it does help a lot in observing the behavior of its mother dog just to get a rough idea on how it will turn out as an adult later.
Nevertheless, these breeds will bond quickly if they are properly socialized and well trained together with patience in accordance to your labrador’s temparament. The temparament of any kind of puppy can easily be molded from an early age and it’s advisable to train the pups to complement the behavior of the existing Labrador.
That is because Labradors thrive on having a company dog that is well-mannered as well as with the one that shares the same vibe as it does — rather than having mismatched energy levels where they wouldn’t enjoy each other’s presence.
As far as the genders are concerned, Labradors and Dalmatians of the opposite sexes are your best bet for a harmonious home.
According to the experts and from my anecdotal experiences, neutered breeds of the opposite sexes tend to get along much better compared to breeds of the same gender. A combination of two female would incite more violence compared to two males.
The presence of two males would inevitably lead to the need of forming a stable pack order — an establishment of dominance and submissiveness between the two.
Fights will always erupt if neither one decides to cave in, and it may permanently change their personalities. This is because your pooch may become more overtly dominant than it could have otherwise been, and the same applies vice versa in terms of submission. This may lead to distress over time.
On the other hand, two female dogs would lead to a much more brutal fight that would sometimes lead to death. This is due to the fact that neither female dogs would usually compromise to form a stable pack order as they are slightly more independent in nature.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some female dogs have formed amicable life-long bonds with one another but exceptions aren’t the norm.
As for the size, you’ll have to keep in mind what size of a dog your pooch naturally gravitates to. Most Labradors are familiar with their own breed of any size, but they can form extremely close bonds with other breeds of the same size as well.
Labradors and Dalmatians stand at roughly the same height in their prime years. This in turn facilitates a closer bond between the two as you don’t have to necessarily supervise their playtime for fear of either party getting hurt or knocked down due to size disparity.
Given how energetic and playful both of these breeds are, coupled with a similitude in height and weight — they will make a life-long close companion for each other provided that the Dalmatian has been properly socialized early on.
Speaking of accidental knocks, you might want to check out this article on why Labradors in particular can be clumsy at times.
It’s highly advisable for you to get a second Dalmatian puppy once your current Labrador is fully grown at minimum 2~3 years of age. This is because this is the age when your existing pooch is physically mature and coincides well with the development of dog selectivity, reactivity and aggression.
That way you’ll know your current dog’s temperament like the back of your hand and you’d be wise enough to pick a second companion that matches your dog’s breed and personality. Or you could easily train a second puppy to get along well with your current dog which always works out great.
Hence, you shouldn't get both Labs and Dalmatians as puppies as they might grow up to be total opposites and not get along despite being close as puppies. They may also suffer from littermate syndrome if raised as puppies together.
Furthermore, it will be best for you to fully train and socialize your current dog in order for it to be well mannered and friendly for a second dog(Dalmatian) later.
Fully trained dogs are more likely to bond well with other dogs of different breeds, and plus they have many more good habits to teach young dogs. As a result, that is little less high maintenance if you ever decide to get a second puppy.
However, you should never introduce a second young dog/puppy to a current old Labrador that has past its prime years. Senior dogs and young puppies don’t get along well in the slightest. Those rambunctious pups will be too much for an old dog with health issues to handle.
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