For any animal lover out there, the mention of firefighters usually conjures up the image of loyal firefighter dogs. Most often these dogs are Dalmatians. But have you ever stopped to think about the relationship between Dalmatians and firefighters? Why are Dalmatians linked to fire fighting in the first place? To find our answer, we have to travel back to 18th century America.
Why Are Dalmatians Linked to Fire Fighting?
Long before fire trucks even existed, or any trucks at all for that matter, Dalmatians served a very different purpose in society. In fact, their original role in helping the public was as carriage dogs, who would run alongside horse-drawn carriages and protect the horses from any possible threats.
After a while, firefighters realized that they could use this ability to their benefit by getting these Dalmations to protect their service horses as they raced to the scene of a fire. So firefighters began integrating these dogs into the business. They would run outside once the fire alarm sounded and bark to make any pedestrians nearby aware that a firefighter carriage was about to leave the station. Then once the carriage exited the firehouse, they would run alongside it like they had been trained to do. Who’s a good puppy?
Once they arrived at the scene of the fire, the Dalmatians would go into guard mode. They would help settle down the horses who would often be timid around the close proximity of the flames. And they would also help guard the carriage against potential thieves while the firefighters took care of battling the fierce flames.
Fire Fighting Dalmatians Today
In the past, Dalmatians helped serve as an alarm, protector, and theft deterrent all in one. Over time, they would become extremely useful to firefighters. Once automobiles, specifically fire trucks, came into existence however, the role of Dalmations kind of simmered down. But since many firefighters had already formed strong connections to these nobel dogs, many were not willing to part with them. So from then on Dalmations became more of a status symbol or remnant of an older time, rather than practical companions.
That is not to say that Dalmations are not still very present in firehouses today, because they definitely still are. Many firehouses still have these beloved animals hanging around. However, these Dalmatians now serve as a comforting firehouse presence and occasional rodent hunters for the building.
Despite them not really being needed anymore, many people still closely link Dalmatians to firefighters. It’s a partnership that doesn’t seem like it will be changing anytime soon.