I Spot Trouble

Why I think "The 101 Dalmatians Musical" is a bad idea.
By Julia Lane, October 2009, Updated June 2021

When I first heard about "The 101 Dalmatians Musical," my first thought was, "Does everything have to be turned into a musical?" On a more serious note, I worry that there will be a surge in popularity for this breed just like what happened in the late '90s when Disney's live-action remake of "101 Dalmatians" came out followed by a popular sequel, "102 Dalmatians." Backyard breeders quickly took advantage of the demand, creating too many Dalmatians for too few appropriate homes. Also, since they were breeding indiscriminantly, aggression and health issues became increasingly common in the breed.

As the owner of two rescue Dalmatians and a member of the Dalmatian Club of America, I'll be the first to admit that these high-energy spotted dogs are not for everyone, especially families with young children. And yet, the "101 Dalmatians" franchise is geared toward kids. If you ever want to attract a child's attention, try walking a Dalmatian past him or her. All the kids in my neighborhood know my two Dalmatians by name but never fawn over my other three dogs (two mixes and a Catahoula). I try to use it as an opportunity to educate them about the breed's need for lots of physical and mental exercise. 

Do you think popular films and stage productions starring a specific breed encourage people to get a dog like that?

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Photo: Julia Lane

Julia Lane owns Spot On K9 Sports, a training facility in the Chicago area, and offers online dog-sport coaching. She is the author of several travel books, and her byline has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers and elsewhere.