Why Are Dalmatians So Rare?

Our Dalmatian dog up close

Lately, you’ve been considering adopting or buying a Dalmatian, A.K.A. the firehouse dog, but you’re surprised by how rare they are. In today’s article, I’ll tell you why that is.

Why are Dalmatians so rare? Dalmatians are considered rare since they’re a less popular breed. Thus, there aren’t as many of them to go around as a designer dog that everyone wants to own. This can make buying a Dalmatian more expensive. 

If you want to learn more about why Dalmatians are so rare as well as whether tor not a Dalmation dog could be the perfect dog for you, then I advise you to keep reading. I have lots of great information to share ahead! 

Here’s Why Dalmatians Are Considered Rare

Is a Dalmatian the rarest dog breed? Not even close, as that distinction belongs to the Norwegian Lundehund.

That said, it’s impossible to deny that you don’t see many Dalmatians around. 

And that alone explains their rarity. Dalmatians just haven’t been very popular for a long time.

This American Kennel Club list showcases the popularity of various dog breeds between 2014 and 2018. The data is a bit old by now but having four years of data is helpful.

Labrador Retrievers ranked number one for all four years in a row while German Shepherds held tight onto the number-two spot for the four years as well. Golden Retrievers were also ranked the third most popular dog for three years running.

Where is the Dalmatian on the list?

Way, way down closer to the bottom.

In 2014, the Dalmatian was the 66th most popular dog. In 2015 and 2016, it was the 62nd most popular. 

By 2017, the pup got bumped down to the 63rd spot. Then, in 2018, the Dalmatian was the most popular it had been in a long time at spot 56.

Has much changed in the 2020s? The AKC has a new list of the most popular dogs in 2020. 

Labs were still the top dog, followed by the Frenchie in the second spot and German Shepherds in third. 

As for the Dalmatian? The Dalmatian breed ranked 51st. That’s five spots better than in 2018, but it goes to show that time has not made the Dalmatian that much more popular.

Dog breeders, just like any other retailer, follow the laws of supply and demand. The demand for Dalmatians is nowhere near as high as say, for a Labrador Retriever or even a Golden Retriever (which humbly ranked fourth in the 2020 AKC list).

Therefore, breeders will have fewer Dalmatians, or perhaps even none. This perpetuates the breed’s rarity. 

Why Are Dalmatians So Expensive?

Despite that Dalmatians are rarer dogs than most, you persevered and continued looking for the perfect four-legged friend for your home. 

When you finally found a Dalmatian or two for purchase, you were gobsmacked. 

How much are Dalmatians? While the price of a Dalmation often varies from one breeder or pet store to another, the cost of Dalmatians often ranges from as low as $400. up to, and more than $2,000 per dalmation puppy.. 

That’s quite a lot of money to spend on a dog that’s not uber-popular nor a designer breed.

So how is it that Dalmatians can be so expensive?

Breeders are aware that not everyone wants a Dalmatian, which contributes to the dog’s rare status (as mentioned). Since Dalmatians are perceived that way, they can be sold for more money.

How Many Dalmatians Are Left in the World?

If you wanted to and bring a Dalmatian home, just how feasible is it? Are there a lot of Dalmatians to go around?

Well, there are certainly more than 101, but as for how many Dalmatians may exist worldwide, that’s a lot harder to say.

The conservative estimate is at least 100,000 Dalmation dogs as of this writing. 

This may sound like a lot, but you’d be surprised.

For example, it’s estimated that there are as many as 78 million Golden Retrievers in the world as of 2021. You can see then how the Dalmatian is grossly outnumbered. 

Are Dalmatians Good Dogs? 

Of course, the deciding factors that determine which dog breed you adopt should not come down to rarity alone. 

You want a dog that’s going to be dependable and mesh well with the family. Could that be a Dalmatian?

Yes, it very well could be. Between their traits and their specific care needs, Dalmations are considered very good dogs to own as pet.

To wrap up, let’s go over some of the Dalmatian’s most desirable traits so you can decide if owning a Dalmation dog is the right dog for you. 


Okay, so I wanted to start with this one to get it out of the way.

Most people will expect to see you walking a Frenchie or a Golden Retriever, but a Dalmatian? Not so much.

Dalmatians already had a unique look, what with their white bodies and black spots throughout. 

When you add their rarity to that, you have a dog that’s going to be a reliable conversation starter no matter where you two go. 

I hope you’re ready for the extra attention, as you’ll certainly get it doled out in spades! 


Some people like a dog that’s everybody’s best friend whereas others want a dog that’s staunchly loyal to the family and few others. 

The Dalmatian fits into the latter category much better than the former. The Dalmatian breed loves its people fiercely and is incredibly loyal.

As for strangers, the Dalmatian will be on-guard, which you’ll understand more of why that is momentarily. 

However, a Dalmatian can warm up to a person if they spend enough time with them and deem them trustworthy. 


How about a dog with a sensitive side? If that’s what you’re looking for, the Dalmatian is quite the sensitive pup. 

The dog’s sensitivity means that human attention and companionship is a must for the Dalmatian’s day-to-day routine. 

You’ll have ample opportunities to give your dog plenty of snuggles, head pats, and belly rubs. 


The Dalmatian is quite playful and spirited, which is sure to make every day you two spend together quite memorable. 

You’ll find yourself embracing your mischievous side in a way that perhaps you haven’t done since you were a kid once you have a Dalmatian in the house! 


The Dalmatian is not a super-chill dog, so you won’t have a lump on the log, don’t worry about that.

Combining well with its playful streak is a Dalmatian’s seemingly boundless energy. 

Expending the dog’s energy through indoor and/or outdoor play sessions is best, as the Dalmatian can get rather destructive if it doesn’t have an outlet for its energy. 


Are Dalmatians protective? Yes, Dalmatians are widely known to be protective dogs. 

Of all the traits people mention when referring to their Dalmatian, being protective comes up almost more than all others.

Dalmatians are natural watchdogs, which means their inclination is to keep a careful eye on what’s going on in and around the house. 

That’s why Dalmatians are rather prickly around strangers at first. They don’t know who this person is, and their hackles immediately go up. 

Whether it’s the pizza guy, the plumber, or a legitimate threat, you can rely on your Dalmatian to let you know that something could be amiss. 

Good with Kids 

Perhaps not if you have very young children. Dalmatians dogs generally grow to be large dogs that are energetic that can unintentionally knock over and step on small children.

For slightly older kids though, Dalmatians are a natural addition to the family. You’ll finally have a companion with enough energy and playfulness to keep up with your kids.

You may just find that your dog and the children tire each other out, which is a win-win for you!

All that said, proper socialization between the kids and the dog is still required, and playtimes should be supervised. 

Easily Trainable 

Do you want to teach or train your Dalmatian a behaviour or trick? Dalmatians are willing to listen, especially if treats are the reward. Dalmatians are incredibly intelligent and food driven. This combination makes them prime candidates for being easier to train than many other breeds.

That translates to a canine companion who’s easy to train. Whether you want to start with the basics like fetch or lie down or move on to more advanced commands, your Dalmatian should be up for the challenge.

Of course, please do use positive reinforcement to drive points home, including verbal praise and even some treats from time to time. 

Simple Grooming 

I would personally classify an average Dalmations grooming regiment between easy and simple. Especially compared to many other dog breeds that are comparable in size.

That said, I’m not going to gloss over the fact that the Dalmatian is rather high-shedding due to its short coat. 

At least that short, glossy coat is easy to maintain. You should brush the dog at least once a week using a rubber brush or a stiff bristle brush to greatly reduce the amount of stray fur on your furniture. 

Combing the Dalmatian’s short fur will be fast and easy, as debris can’t get stuck in fur that short, and tangles and knots are unlikely as well. 

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