So you’ve settled on a Dalmatian but just can’t decide whether you want to adopt a male or a female Dalmatian.
While neither of the genders is outright better than the other, they are likely to develop individual character traits depending on their sex which may or may not be better suited to your personality or living situation.
If you prefer a dog that’s more affectionate and tends to stick to your side, then a male Dalmatian may be right up your alley. But if you’re after a Dalmatian that’s easier to train and a bit more on the independent side, then you’re better off with a female Dalmatian.
The purpose of this article is to help potential adopters figure out which Dalmatian gender would be best for them and their homes.
There’s a laundry list of factors you should consider before you can make an informed decision, so let’s get started on learning all there is to know about male and female Dalmatians.
Similar to most dog breeds, male Dalmatians are usually larger and a bit taller than most females.
They also tend to be more muscular on account of the testosterone, leading them to have wider chests and a bulkier physique as a whole. This is a bit more noticeable on Dalmatians since the breed’s fur is quite short.
Speaking of short fur, this also makes it easier to spot their genitals so you can quickly tell the sexes apart from closer up.
But the main difference between the two really lies in height and stature, with males growing up to 23 to 24 inches tall from the shoulders down and weighing anywhere between 40 and 70 pounds.
Female Dalmatians, on the other hand, are usually just a tad shorter than males at 22 to 23 inches tall, though they are often markedly lighter, weighing between 35 and 52 pounds.
This noticeably smaller size and weight makes them a fair bit easier to handle than their male counterparts, but make no mistake, female Dals are still plenty strong in their own right.
Female Dals are also more slender overall, with the slimness in their hips being more prominent than males.
Their difference in size and weight isn’t exactly enormous, so it can be a bit difficult to distinguish the gender of a Dalmatian from far away.
But upon closer inspection, a male Dalmatian’s larger size and stockier build can easily be identified when compared to a female’s slimmer and smaller overall frame.
Take a look at the physical features of a female Dal in this video:
Most Dal owners agree that the males of the breed are usually more warmhearted and are likely to seek constant attention from their handlers. They can also be quite protective which is a plus for a lot of people.
On the flip side, they’re liable to be fairly obstinate, leading to them sometimes ignoring commands.
Add that to their exceptionally high levels of energy and muscular bodies and they may prove a little too much for novice dog owners.
A common trait in male dogs is their aggression towards other dogs of the same gender. This is usually present in male Dalmatians as well, but it can definitely be managed through early training and socialization with other canines.
You can also choose to neuter your Dal when he’s of age in order to significantly reduce his aggression and improve his overall demeanor.
Otherwise, males are normally great with other family members and pretty good with strangers too.
While female Dalmatians aren’t known for being the big softies that males are, they are often the sharper of the genders, boasting a better learning prowess and a tendency to enjoy being independent.
This means that they’re usually the better choice when it comes to training since they’re better listeners and have a slightly smaller frame.
Female Dalmatians are, however, prone to mood swings on account of them coming into heat twice a year, so you might have to deal with some attitude every now and then.
Having your female Dal spayed can help with her temperament issues, though you will have to wait until she’s around 15 to 18 months old before she can undergo that procedure.
Given that male Dalmatians are the more hard-headed of the two genders, it tends to be a bit tougher to keep them focused and under control, especially considering how energetic the breed is in general.
The fact that they’re a little taller and larger in size means that they’re more difficult to train than females. Male dogs also mature slower, so they’ll be stuck in a juvenile mindset for a longer period of time.
Moreover, there’s the matter of male-to-male aggression that Dals may exhibit, as well a general wariness they may have towards strangers, so it’s important that you have them socialize with other dogs and people from an early age.
Of the two sexes, males are a lot more likely to give you a harder time when it comes to training.
Since female Dalmatians reach the peak of maturity faster than males, their training efficiency is higher because they can absorb instructions better at an early age.
Their sharper intellect also allows them to grasp commands quicker. Plus, their slightly smaller and less muscular build makes female Dals a bit easier to manage.
They may be more unpredictable while they’re in heat, but it shouldn’t affect the training process all that much.
Overall, the size difference and brighter nature of female Dalmatians make them the easier choice for training but make no mistake, they’re still exceedingly energetic and require some serious effort to discipline.
Males Dalmatians are actually far more likely to form bladder stones and around one-third of them will develop this in their lifetime. This is due to the breed having trouble breaking down uric acid in general.
The major issue is that bladder stones can be a potentially lethal problem for male Dals since their urinary tracts are longer and narrower than those found in females. This makes it more susceptible to blockage and often requires surgery to clear.
Stemming from the same uric acid problem, male Dals are also susceptible to developing gout, which often causes severe pain and swelling in the joints.
Therefore, it is incredibly important for owners to keep a close watch over their male Dalmatian’s diet and urination habits.
While hip dysplasia isn’t particularly common in Dalmatians, males are slightly more likely to develop the condition given their marginally larger build, which also makes them a bit more prone to aggravating the disease.
The urinary tract of a female Dalmatian is wider and shorter than that of a male, allowing them to pass bladder stones more easily.
There are still cases where the female has to undergo surgery to have the stones removed, though the chances are significantly lower compared to a male and they’re far less likely to form stones in the first place.
Based on a study by E. J. Cargill, it was also found that almost a third of the Dalmatians in the US were born with congenital deafness in one or both of their ears.
Blue-eyed Dals and those with more white in their coats were deemed to be at higher risk for deafness, though females were also found to be more prone toward hearing issues than males.
Bladder stones and deafness aside, Dalmatians, in general, have a history of developing certain skin conditions like skin cancer and Dalmatian Bronzing Syndrome, as well as some eye problems, including cataracts and corneal dystrophy.
With Dogs and Other Pets
Since male Dalmatians are known for developing same-sex aggression, you’ll want to have your Dal consistently socialize with other dogs at a very young age, especially if you have another male canine at home.
When it comes to female dogs, on the other hand, a male Dal shouldn’t give you much trouble.
Being territorial is also more prevalent in male Dals, so they may be on alert in front of other pets and animals, like cats or ferrets.
If you want him to really get along with your kitty or other furbabies, your best bet is to introduce them to one another while they’re still young and raise them in the same environment.
Neutering your male Dalmatian when he reaches the right age is also a good way to curb his aggression in general.
Female Dalmatians aren’t as susceptible to being aggressive towards other dogs and animals as males, though they may still exhibit same-sex aggression if there’s another female canine in the household.
Just like with male Dals, it remains best if you introduce your female Dalmatians to one another during infancy and the same idea applies to other pets in your home.
On the other hand, the more intelligent nature of female Dalmatians tends to make them more receptive to commands, which could make it easier to control them in the presence of other dogs and animals.
Dalmatians may not be the largest dogs around, but males still manage to grow up to 24 inches tall from the shoulders down and can weigh as heavy as 70 pounds.
Now, factor in how playful, energetic, and clingy males are and you have a pretty sizable pooch running around your house that may inadvertently knock a younger child down and cause them harm.
Younger male Dals are also more likely to exhibit play-biting especially when overly excited, which happens a lot more than you may realize.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you devote ample time and effort to training them in order to effectively temper their agitation and create a safe space for your kids.
Since female Dalmatians aren’t usually quite as affectionate or as large as their male counterparts, they’re significantly less likely to hurt your kids out of excitement.
The fact that they’re easier to train also means that you have a better chance of eliminating a nipping habit if they ever develop one.
In contrast, a female Dalmatian’s more independent nature could lead to them preferring to play on their own terms, so they may not always be itching to frolic around with the kids.
Either way, Dalmatians, in general, are wonderful family dogs that require a bit of training to make their life with kids a safe and enjoyable one.
Are Male or Female Dalmatians Better Guard Dogs?
Dalmatians were originally bred as hunting dogs that were also used to protect traveling carriages on the road.
So it comes as no surprise that their high levels of energy mixed with their exceptional intelligence would make them great guard dogs in this day and age, no matter their gender.
That being said, there are a few differences between the sexes that could deem one more effective than the other in specific scenarios, though proper training remains the most important factor in a Dalmatian’s success as a guard dog.
Advantages of male Dalmatian guard dogs:
- Male Dalmatians are physically more powerful due to their larger frames and more muscular builds.
- They have a stronger territorial instinct which, when combined with their clingier nature, can help make them more effective at guarding people.
- Males tend to be warier towards strangers and other dogs.
Advantages of female Dalmatian guard dogs:
- Female Dalmatians generally reach maturity sooner than males and can therefore be trained earlier.
- They are often more independent in nature, making them better suited for guarding property.
- They tend to be more intelligent than males so they’re often easier to command.
As guard dogs, choosing between a male and female Dalmatian all boils down to what you intend for them to guard.
If you’re looking for a canine that can act as a bodyguard while you’re out on walks, a male Dal’s tendency to stick close to his owners and his general wariness towards unknown dogs and individuals make it the better option.
But if you’re in the market for a dog that can protect your property against intruders, then you’ll probably want to go with a female Dalmatian on account of their independent personality and better trainability.
Are Male or Female Dalmatians Better Family Companions?
Male and female Dalmatians each have specific traits that could stand to make one more advantageous than the other depending on your living situation.
A male’s clinginess, for example, may cause them to channel their energy towards playing with their owners, which is great for households with older kids.
Meanwhile, a female Dal’s easiness to train and more independent personality are some of the things that could make them better suited for homes with younger children.
Advantages of male Dalmatians in a family environment:
- They’re more likely to enjoy family activities and playtime with the kids.
- They get along with female dogs better.
- They usually bond more closely with the family.
- They’re generally more affectionate than female Dalmatians.
Advantages of female Dalmatians in a family environment:
- Their ability to mature faster makes them easier to train and housebreak.
- Their independent personality is a better fit for homes with smaller children.
- They get along with male dogs better.
- They tend to be less suspicious of other people and animals.
Whichever gender you end up choosing, one of the most important things to remember is to have your pooch consistently socialize with other members of the household, be it people or other pets.
That way, they’ll grow up to be a loving companion whether they’re male or female.
Which Gender Should You Choose?
Choosing between a male or female Dalmatian really all comes down to your personality and lifestyle.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the biggest differences between both genders in hopes that it’ll make your decision a bit easier:
Male Dalmatians are better suited for:
- More active households with older kids.
- Personal protection when you’re out on walks or trips.
- Homes that have a female dog/dogs.
- Owners looking for a more affectionate canine.
Female Dalmatians are better suited for:
- Quieter homes with smaller children.
- Guarding houses or property.
- Homes that have a male dog/dogs.
- Owners in search of a pooch that’s easier to manage and train.
The majority of the character traits mentioned in this article are generalized and may or may not be exhibited by your male or female Dalmatian.
The main factor behind your dog’s behavior and temperament remains how they were raised and the effort you put into training them.
Any legitimate dog lover knows that every pupper has a unique personality and is bound to have a few adorable quirks here and there.
Sure, the physical and mental differences between the genders outlined above can give you an idea about what to expect, but a dog’s upbringing makes the biggest impact on its demeanor.