Why Are Dalmatians So Rare? – How Many of Them Out There?

Dalmatians have been very popular since the cartoon 101 Dalmatians. With that popularity, dalmatians should have been loved by many people, bred, and increased their population. But the reality is the opposite, we almost never see a dalmatian on the street, even in the places that are supposed to have the most dogs. So, are dalmatians rare dogs? Not a chance! Keep reading and you will know why.

Why Are Dalmatians So Rare?

why are dalmatians not common

Dalmatians are not rare, they are simply not as common as other breeds. One reason for this unpopularity is their rather difficult temperament.

Dalmatians are believed to have come from a coastline region in Australia called Dalmatia. This breed was once known as fire dogs who worked for the fire department. These dogs are responsible for protecting horses and carriages or fire wagons from enemies and dangerous elements. 

Due to the appearance of engines, horses were replaced, and many fire departments no longer used dalmatians, leading to a decrease in the number of this breed.

As a working dog, the Dalmatian has a lot of energy and requires 30-60 minutes of exercise a day which is not suitable for busy families. In addition, Dals are prone to separation anxiety so they cannot tolerate being left alone for a long period of time. 

Nutritionally, dalmatians need a high-protein diet to maintain energy. But these proteins must be low in purine which develops urinary stones in dalmatians. This causes owners to spend a lot of time looking for the right food for this breed. Many people are unwilling to do that, so they give up dalmatians.

Speaking of raising Dalmatians, they will be very lovable and obedient if properly trained. Otherwise, they will be quite aggressive and destructive. 

These are the reasons why the number of Dalmatians is decreasing and not as popular as other breeds. 

How many Dalmatians are there in the World?

The number of Dalmatians is quite low. There are about 100,000 Dalmatians in the world. It sounds like a lot, but can’t compare to the 78 million Golden Retrievers in the world in 2021.

why are dalmatians rare

We also found dalmatian popularity rankings conducted by the AKC for the past 7 years (see table below).:

Year AKC Rank
2014 66
2015 62
2016 62
2017 63
2018 56
2019 60
2020 51

Although we can see some positive moves in the ranking table, dalmatians are still uncommon to see and own.

Will Dalmatians become more popular?

I have been a huge fan of Dalmatians since the movie 101 Dalmatians. Like many people, I look forward to seeing more of these dogs around. But seeing how few registrations of Dals each year, I guess it is unlikely for this breed to gain significant popularity again. 

In addition, since the popularity of Dalmatians a few decades ago, many breeders have raised the price of dalmatians to unimaginable heights. If the price of this breed doesn’t drop, the popularity of these spotted guys will be much harder to see.

What Is The Rarest Dalmatian?

It is a fact that some Dals are rarer than others. That’s because of their mutated coat color. The most common color in this breed is black or liver spots on a white coat. Some rarer variations include white & lemon, white & orange, tri-color dalmatians, or the ones with different eye colors. These special Dalmatians number less than 100 worldwide.

why are dalmatians uncommon

Interesting Facts about Dalmatians

Not only have a special coat, but Dalmatians also have a lot of interesting things around them.

Dalmatians are born spotless

Although adult dogs have a lot of spots, they have a completely white coat when they are young, and then develop spots as they grow up. We have a detailed article explaining dalmatian spots that you can read here.

There are long-haired Dalmatian dogs

Short-haired Dals are extremely rare. They are so rare that people don’t think they exist. If you have a chance to meet a Dalmatian in person, it will be a short-haired one. Dalmatians with long hair are not due to crossbreeding, but because of recessive genes which means two short-haired parents can produce a long-haired pup. 

@archibald_lotaspots on Instagram is the owner of this rare long-haired dalmatian. If you are interested and want to admire the dog, then start looking.

Dalmatians are often born deaf

About 12% of Dalmatians are deaf from birth. This is because the gene that produces the mottled pattern causes hearing problems. Dogs with little or no melanocytes (melanin-generating cells) in the inner ears are more likely to be deaf.


In general, dalmatians are not easy to see often in reality because their number is less than other species. Since this breed is not suitable for most families who are busy, registration is low every year, and that explains why are dalmatians not common. If you plan to adopt a dog of this breed, you need to prepare money and a lot of free time to raise a Dalmatian to become a good canine. When properly trained, Dals are wonderful and loving dogs.

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