A bohemian family of instrument makers entstammend, he received in early youth music lessons. In the years 1874-1879 he studied at the music school in Prague and later at the Prague Conservatory. Here he received, among other lessons in piano with Julius Pisarowitz.
After completing his musical education he joined in 1880 to a position as a clarinetist in Brno. In parallel, he resigned after proper training to the function of Kapellmeister at the theater in Brno. In its role as Kapellmeister he was in the following years in Passau, Eger, Prague and Salzburg. In 1883 he went to Hamburg, where he worked at the local Carl Schultze Theatre. Here was his first operetta, which also saw its world premiere in Hamburg. 1893 Rudolf Dellinger was appointed as Kapellmeister at the Residenz Theater in Dresden, where he was to work until his death. He died in 1910 in the medical and nursing home in Dresden and was buried at St. John's Cemetery.
Rudolf Dellinger composed almost exclusively operettas and was regarded as one of the outstanding composers of this genre of his time.