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Labrador vs. Dalmatian

Black lab and a dalmation on a black background with the letters VS in the middle in white

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Labrador is the favorite (out of 196 recognized dog breeds) dog in the country. On the other hand, Dalmatian is not that popular (ranked between 50th and 60th place), but it will also make a suitable family companion. However, the decision of the best choice will come down to your family (and needs). Keep reading to get a detailed comparison between Labrador and Dalmatian and make an informed decision.


Labradors (also known as Labs or Labrador Retrievers) originated in the 18th century in Newfoundland, Canada. Traditionally, they were great waterdogs and bred to retrieve fish and ducks for their master. Labradors were quite famous for their hunting skills, especially in England. But as time passes, they become family dogs because of their love for humans, especially for kids.

These pooches are quite attractive especially because of their coat. They have a medium-sized dense double-layered coat with three different coat colors (black, yellow, and chocolate). They are loyal, friendly, and loving toward their owners. These large-size dogs are quite energetic and athletic with a well-built physique. This means they need daily exercise and walks to stay fit and healthy.

Are Labrador Retrievers the same as a Labrador? Read our article “Labrador Retriever vs Labrador” to learn more.


Dalmatian standing in a field with trees with red leaves in the background

The history of Dalmatians (also known as Dals) was not as clear compared to the Labradors as they were believed to be a century older than the Labs in the 17th century. These dogs originated from the region of Dalmatia which was later named Croatia. They were originally used as war dogs to guard the borders of Dalmatia. But in recent times they were used to guard families. They have a high guarding instinct and loyalty which makes them great family companions.

They have a straight single or smooth coat and come in multicolor. The coat color of Dals consists of a combination of white with assorted colors (black, tan, Liver brown, orange, and lemon). They are also quite energetic and will need plenty of exercise to burn excess energy and stay fit.

Differences Between a Labrador and a Dalmatian

The following table shows some major differences between these two dog breeds.

IntelligenceHighAbove average
CoatDouble layered coatSingle smooth coat
ColorBlack, yellow, and chocolateMulticolor combination with white
Top Running Speed20 mph35 mph

Similarities Between a Labrador and a Dalmatian

Dalmatian sitting on a wooded trail

Some of the key similarities between Labradors and Dalmatians are discussed below.

Purebred – Both dog breeds are purebred.

Hypoallergenic – Both these canines are not hypoallergenic which means that they both shed. However, Labradors shed more hair than the Dalmatians.

Size – Mostly, both have quite comparable sizes (height and weight). The height of Labs is 21-24 inches while their weight ranges between 55 and 80 pounds. On the other hand, Dals are 19-24 inches high and weigh around 45-70 pounds.

Lifespan – Both Labradors and Dalmatians have very much similar lifespans. Labs have a 10 to 12-year average lifespan whereas Dals have a 10 to 13-year average lifespan.

Exercise – Both of these pooches have high energy levels and to burn the excess energy they require high–levels of exercise. Not only exercise, but they also want regular walks and playing time.

Temperament – Even temperament wise both are the same as they are quite loving and affectionate dogs, especially for humans. But staying alone can make Dalmatians more stubborn.

Ease of Training – Both are even-tempered dogs and always want to learn new things. This will help the dog owner to train their dogs quite easily, even if they are new or inexperienced owners.

Purebred – Both are great family dogs as they gel quite well with humans, especially with kids.

Adaptability – Dogs of these breeds are quite adaptable to every environment and weather condition. Although they prefer backyard living, these dogs can adjust to apartment living if the owners fulfill their regular needs.

Just how different are Labradors and Poodles? Check out our post “Labrador VS Poodle” to find out.

What is Better about a Labrador?

Yellow labrador sitting outdoors in grass

Labs are loyal, even-tempered, and highly intelligent dogs. Because of their intelligence, they can be good guarding dogs for families. They can live in any environment because of their prominent level of adaptability. So, they can survive in small places too if and only if the owner is fulfilling their needs and giving proper training to them. But they always prefer large places like backyards. They can stay alone for some time and do not get stubborn just like the Dalmatians.

What is Better about a Dalmatian?

portrait of a dalmatian looking to one side

They are better than Labs when it comes to guarding someone or something. This is because guarding is in their genes as their ancestors do the job from the very beginning. They bark quite a bit only in case of any emergency which makes them a great companion for families. They shed less hair than the Labs and are quite easy to groom. Dalmatians are fast runners and can chase better due to their 35-mph running speed.

Which dog is the better pet? Blue heeler of Labrador? Click here to learn more.

Who Should Get a Labrador?

5 yellow and black labs sitting outdoors in  a wooded area

People who have a backyard in their houses and want to have a dog should get Labradors as they prefer the yards more. Even apartment-living dog lovers can also get them but for that, they must make more efforts in fulfilling their needs. They can survive if they stay alone for a few hours. So, the owners or families who have a busy schedule in their day or nighttime should get these canines.

Who Should Get a Dalmatian?

Young dalmatian standing in tall grass and dandilions

People with yards or apartments who are willing to provide them with all their needs should get these canines. Also, if the owners want to groom more quickly should get these canines as they shed less than the Labs. If families want to have companions as well as guard dogs, then they should take Dalmatians to their homes. People who hate loud noises should get these dogs as they bark quite less than Labs.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.