Dalmatians were used as fire dogs back in the late 1800’s and maybe even as early as the mid 1700s. It was the Dalmatians job as a fire dog to run in front of the horse drawn fire carriage to help clear the street. Once fire carriages became fire trucks, the Dalmatian breed remained as the loyal firehouse dog for many firehouses around the world, and can still be found in firehouses to this day.
Dalmatians protecting horse and carriage
Although not scientifically proven, Dalmatians seem to have a strong rapport with horses. They are also extremely loyal and protective making them excellent guard dogs. The ability to get along well with horses, have loyal and protective instincts along with their extreme endurance made them excellent animals to help protect horse and carriage trips containing passengers and/or goods. They had no problem with keeping up with the horses, and would protect the horses from other animals and alert to incoming threats from potential bandits. They are very alert dogs with an interest in everything happening around them, and their loyalty towards their masters is very strong.
Dalmatians job for the fire department
Dalmatians became useful for horse drawn fire carriages because of their history running alongside and protecting horse and carriage. These fire Dalmatians would protect the horses and could also be useful in clearing the streets ahead. Once at the fire, Dalmatians would guard the fire equipment and help keep the horses calm as they got closer to the fire. Because of their unique dotted appearance, they were easily identifiable by the fire fighters and the public, even through smoke.
Dalmatians as fire dogs in the modern world
In the modern world today, fire trucks and firefighters don’t require the protection they once needed from the Dalmatian. They still remain in many fire stations as mascots and help with the firefighter brand and help educate the public about fire safety. Due to the open nature of a fire station, Dalmatians are still useful today in guarding the firehouse and its equipment, and alerting to any intruders or threats due. They can be quite territorial and we already know how extremely loyal and protective they are.
Dalmatians excelled in their duties as protection for horse and carriage and then protection for fire carriages. Although horse and carriage is a thing of the past, they still make excellent guard/watch dogs and great pets for the people and families that can handle the breed.
After 9/11, firehouse FDNY Ladder 20 company was gifted a Dalmatian puppy who they named Twenty. She helped keep morale up and comfort the firefighters who lost colleagues in the attack. This tugs at the heart strings and really shows how amazing the Dalmatian breed really is.