When the horses left, they stayed.”. It’s something we do now to make sure they keep the affinity with the horses.”. Sources: History of the Dalmatian in the Fire Service | Why are firehouse dogs usually dalmatians? https://www.akc.org/wp-admin/admin-ajax.php, https://www.akc.org/subscription/thank-you. During the 18th century, fire carts were horse drawn carriages. So during the era of horse-drawn fire apparatus, Dalmatians would run alongside the horses to make sure they weren't spooked o… Soon after the realization, they were used to run alongside horses in English stagecoaches. According to Cheryl F. Steinmetz, the historian for the Dalmatian Club of America, the breed’s evolution to fire dog began as early as the mid-1700s. In the 1700s, Dalmatians were found to have a calming effect on horses. Dalmatians were a popular breed for this job, due to their natural affinity to horses and history of being used as carriage dogs. Dalmatians were originally bred as coach dogs. Especially in crowded areas, this meant that the horses would have to often slow down or even stop due to traffic before reaching their destination. FDNY began utilizing Dals as early as the 1870s. Before there were fire pups, there were carriage dogs. Dalmatians are not fast dogs but are able to run for long periods of time without rest. Because Dalmatians are very friendly with horses, they were trained to run in front of the carriages and act as a siren to clear the path for the firefighters. The Fire Department of New York City can take some credit in making the breed famous as fire dogs. Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie Dalmatians and horses are very compatible, so the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the engines to help clear a path and guide the horses and the firefighters to the fires quickly. The station I worked at for a period in my career had a Dalmatian that was very much a local celebrity. When Twenty died in 2016, the company mourned her loss deeply. Dalmatians as therapy dogs for firefighters Another role that is more serious, and not always mentioned in the job description, is that of a therapy dog. Continue Reading Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. However, to honor their important role and heroism in the past, fire departments chose them as mascots and this is why, even today, fire stations have Dalmatians to keep company to the firefighters. “On the East Coast, there were road trial competitions and coaching competitions, to see how well the dogs would stay with the carriages,” says Steinmetz. A g… In the firehouse, Dalmatians not only became a companion to the horses, they also developed a bond with the firefighters. When the motorized fire trucks appeared in the 20th century and they were equipped with sirens, there was no need for Dalmatians to run along the carriages. This was why even when steam fire fighting equipment came into use, and horses were no longer needed, the Dalmatian continued to be a symbol of fire departments and fire fighting. Advertisements fund this website. “‘He can be broken as a pointer, he will even run a rabbit if need be. Most recently, a fire safety education Dalmatian named Molly and her owner were awarded the 2019 ACE Award in the “Exemplary Companion” category, helping to prove that the indelible bond between Dals and firefighters remains strong to this day. In … By continuing to navigate the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Dalmatians are known for their physical nature — most can run long distances without tiring — and guarding instinct. The Dalmatians are a very interesting dog breed. Long before fire trucks even existed, or any trucks at all for that matter, Dalmatians served a very different purpose in society. Dalmatians as firehouse dogs have become so common in books and movies that it’s practically a stereotype. The dalmatian’s penchant for working is its most renowned characteristic.” The dogs loyally stood guard over the coach when travelers stopped to eat or rest, and quickly developed a love for horses. Energy and motivation 3. Dalmatians were breed for endurance and stamina. Firefighters with Fire Department New York City’s Ladder 20 seem to share the same sentiment; they recently paid tribute to the life of their dog Twenty, a Dalmatian who helped the FDNY cope in the midst of the 9/11 tragedy. Dalmatians are associated with firefighting, particularly in the United States. “They were stable guards,” she says. In 1910, the Westminster Dog Show developed a category for Fire Department Dalmatians. Answer a few simple questions and find the right dog for you, Compare up to 5 different breeds side by side, Browse the AKC Marketplace to find the right puppy for you, Browse our extensive library of dog names for inspiration, Find out the best and worst foods for your dog and which to avoid, fire safety education Dalmatian named Molly. Certain national and regional competitions still evaluate carriage skills. “There are titles for coach in road trial competitions,” says Steinmetz. Dalmatians are iconic dogs, and not just because of their distinct black spots on white fur make them instantly recognizable by people of all ages. For centuries, Dalmatians have been the unofficial mascot for firefighters in the United States. The FDNY began utilizing Dalmatians are fire dogs to accompany carriages as early in the 1870s. She grew up with one, named Pepper. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, NY, gifted the FDNY Ladder 20 company a Dalmatian puppy, who was appropriately named Twenty. And the Non-Sporting spotted dogs have long been returning the favor. And they became the international symbol for firehouse dogs.” However, these spotted canines are hardly a fixture of the modern day fire safety routine. Seconds later, a group of angry men also came running through the bay. “Back then, the fire equipment was horse-drawn,” says Steinmetz. The ongoing curiosity about Dalmatians even led to a Harvard study to understand how the dogs were drawn to their coach positions. “They also ran with the carriages to guard whatever was in the carriage, whether it was passengers or goods.”. The Real Reason Why Firehouse Dogs Are Usually Dalmatians, A common legend has it that Dalmatians were chosen because they’re deaf and therefore, the loud siren won’t hurt their ears. 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