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The Complete Exercise Guide For Dalmatians: ALL FAQS

We should think of Dalmatians as the athletes of the dog world, as exercise is one of the most important areas of their life.

If you own a Dalmatian you most certainly know this! But it’s essential to know just how much exercise your Dalmatian really needs.

I’ll explain everything owners need to know about exercising their Dalmatian correctly and safely. I’ll also include information of properly exercising Dalmatian puppies, as it’s quite different from adults.


How Much Exercise Does Your Dalmatian Actually Need?

The AKC recommends 1-2 hours of dedicated daily exercise for healthy adult Dalmatians. This is enough to satisfy their physical exercise needs, and it will keep them healthy.

Dalmatians are known as carriage dogs, originally bred to accompany horses and coaches across the country. They would be required to run or gently jog for many miles without stopping.

The vast majority of the breed population lived this hard-working life for generations. That is why today, Dalmatians still have such a large desire to exercise.

It’s typically seen in breeds that require this level of physical exercise to become very hard to train, disobedient, and badly behaved when they don’t receive adequate exercise.

Good To Know: Dalmatians are perfect for active families and will happily accompany you on hikes, runs, walk, swims, and anything physical you enjoy doing. Taking part in the physical activity alongside your dalmatian will also help to create a stronger bond between you and them.

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How Much Exercise Do Dalmatian PUPPIES Need?

We’ve covered adults, but what about puppies, how much exercise should they receive?

During a puppy’s growth and development stage, their physical body is still fragile and injury-prone. This means it’s crucial not to put too much stress on their joints and bones before they’ve properly developed.

Too much physical stress early on, could cause damage and even weaken their joints and bones as they develop. This can many health issues in their adult life.

A well-accepted exercise routine for puppies is called the 5-minute method. This involves giving your puppy 5 minutes of dedicated exercise, twice per day, per month of age they have.

At 2 months old, it will be 10 minutes twice a day, so 20 minutes total.

3 months old will be 15 minutes, twice every day, and so on. To be safe, many owners follow this for several months.

At around 1 to 1 and a half years old you can start exercising your Dalmatian as you would an adult.

7 Great Exercise Ideas For Dalmatians

It goes without saying that a classic game of fetch is always an easy winner. But it helps to have some other games and exercise ideas up your sleeve to keep things interesting for your Dalmatian and you!

Let’s run through The Puppy Mag’s top 7 exercise ideas for Dalmatians:

1. Backyard Agility Training

Agility training is one of our favorites because not only is it super fun and physically challenging, it will also satisfy your Dalmatian’s mental exercise requirements (which I will explain in the next section).

It may take some time before your Dalmatian understands how to go through hoops and that he should jump over small hurdles, but with a little training and consistency, he’ll be well on his way to the Olympics!

Unfortunately, agility sets have never been cheap to buy. A set like this is one of the best offers we have seen. Fortunately, you can make your own DIY agility set if you have the appropriate items laying around your house, and you’re handy with some tools.

2. Hiking and General Exploring

If you live somewhere with outdoor trails, hiking is a great way to get your Dalmatian’s daily exercise in. Hikes are filled with fun pathways to explore, different terrains and the difficulty can vary.

This will provide excellent physical exercise and it will be absolutely awesome for mental stimulation too. With all the different smells, sounds, and sights, your Dalmatian will be in his element.

Hiking is a guaranteed winner for any active dog out there.

3. Swimming Sessions

Most Dalmatians are natural swimmers and love playing in the water. If you live near the coast and your weather allows for it, going for a swim when the water is calm is an awesome exercise.

One of the main reasons swimming is so great is because it’s strenuous yet completely non-impactful on his joints, tendons, and bones. Your dalmatian can get a seriously good workout in, without risking injury. This is perfect for dalmatians that have existing joint issues or are reaching their senior years.

If you don’t have a calm ocean nearby, you may find dedicated doggy swimming pools. These are not very common, but depending on where you live, it’s worth Googling it to find out!

4. Frisbee

Frisbee is another great way to exercise your Dalmatian. Frisbee is better than standard ball chasing for a couple of reasons, although it will take some time for your Dalmatian to get a grasp of it.

Frisbee encourages your Dalmatian to jump more which will be great for working his muscles and keeping him strong. It also improves his coordination which will act as great mental stimulation too.

For most dogs, it proves to be more fun and interesting catching a frisbee mid-air than chasing a ball on the ground. But as I said, it will take some time for him to learn how.

Recommended Dog Frisbee

5. Chasing a Laser Pointer

Yep, you gotta be careful of the eyes! I thought I would get that out of the way first! I admit, when I first heard of this I was a little skeptical too, but you should try it!

On days where you aren’t able to leave the house for whatever reason, or you just want to try something different, shining a laser pointer on the ground and moving it around will send your Dalmatians bonkers (in a good way).

The first time I tried this with my friend’s husky I was blown away, he absolutely loved it and he was running around like crazy after it. It soon became apparent this is an excellent way to get in some high-intensity exercise, at a moment’s notice.

You’ll need it to be slightly dark or overcast in order to see the laser pointer. And be sure not to point the laser too close to you or someone else, or your dalmatian will go straight through them!

6. Joining You On Runs

If you are a keen runner then bring your Dalmatian with you! After all, dalmatians were bred to run alongside and accompany people on coaches and horses for miles at a time.

As well as being an awesome exercise, it could even create a strong bond between you and your Dalmatian. As mentioned earlier, it’s always better if you are able to be a part of the activity with your dog. It’s more rewarding and it will provide valuable mental stimulation.

But it’s not advised to just start running as if you would normally. You’ll need to begin by training your Dalmatian to run alongside you and it’s preferable to start using a hands-free waist belt as your leash. It’s important to introduce this slowly to your Dalmatian and you’ll need to plan a safe route that avoids roads and cars until he’s very competent.

7. Doggy Playgroups or Dog Park Meet Ups

Last but certainly not least, doggy meetups are super important to incorporate into your current routine.

Socializing is a huge part of any dog’s life and it plays a fundamental role in their overall happiness and behavior. A well-socialized dog will be much more friendly to strangers and new dogs and this will make your life so much easier.

So how does this help with their exercise? Well, as soon as you get a few dogs that like each other, they instantly start playing. This will constitute valuable physical exercise but it still shouldn’t replace dedicated exercise like running or swimming.

This is designed to be more mentally exhausting than physically exhausting, and that’s important too. Mental stimulation is often forgotten about when it comes to dogs, but it’s just as necessary! This leads me nicely on to the next section about mental exercise.

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Mental Stimulation Just As Important!

The focus of this article is on physical exercise, but Dalmatians need mental exercise, just as much. In order to feel truly satisfied, happy, and content, dogs need their mind to be worked, just like they do their physical body. Related article: When do dalmatians calm down

Some of the exercise ideas given above do have some level of mental stimulation involved, especially frisbee and visiting doggy playgroups, but there are still other ways out there.

Mental stimulation should not replace physical stimulation, your Dalmatian needs both.

Some good examples of mental stimulation:

Using interactive toys that require solving simple puzzles
Running through training exercises (with rewards) on a daily basis (sit, stay, leave it, come here)
Spending time taking part in activities with your dog
Socializing your dog with new people and new dogs
Taking your Dalmatian to new environments

How much mental stimulation does your dalmatian need? Well, it’s not like physical exercise and there’s no commonly accepted number of hours for me to tell you. But you should definitely try to incorporate mental stimulation on a daily basis.

Issues Caused By a Lack of Exercise

A lack of exercise can cause a range of issues for Dalmatians:

Disobedience and bad behavior
Increased difficulty with training sessions
Destructive behavior
Anxious or jittery
Bored, unsatisfied, and generally unhappy

If you’re not confident that your current exercise routine is sufficient, then it’s recommended to adjust it before you experience any of these issues.

You may even be experiencing an issue like bad behavior or disobedience that could be rectified with increased exercise.


Adult dalmatians need 1-2 hours of moderate to intensive exercise per day. Dalmatian puppies should be exercised for 5 minutes per day, per month of age they have until 10-12 months old.

Dalmatians love most forms of exercise as long as it’s challenging. Simple fetch is always loved by most dalmatians, other than this, swimming, hiking or joining you on runs are perfect forms of exercise for a Dalmatian.

While your Dalmatian is a puppy it’s easy to overexercise them. This should be avoided to prevent joint and bone injuries. Dalmatian adults can likely exercise for multiple hours in a single session and be fine. However, we must always consider their joints and allow rest.

Without sufficient mental stimulation being given, most dalmatians will not be truly tired even after a lot of physical exercise. Both physical and mental stimulation need to be provided in order to wear a Dalmatian out.

Senior dalmatians will not need as much exercise as their younger adult counterparts. Seniors (over 8) will be fine with around 60 minutes of daily exercise. It’s important we preserve our dog’s joints as they reach old age.


So you now know just how much exercise your Dalmatian needs, and you have some great exercise ideas to try. If you have any additions, please use the contact page to send us your comments.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.