The Dalmatian dog has a quite interesting history. We can see the photos of these dogs on the ancient tombs of the pharaohs. This dog is also popular as a family dog and as a hunting dog.
But, the far most interesting fact about the Dalmatians is that these dogs are known as the trademark of firefighters.
Yes, the energetic, athletic, and intelligent Dalmatian is an excellent fire dog. You must have seen at least a mascot of the Dalmatian as a fireman.
Why is this dog breed the one that is most often related to the fire workers? Let’s take a look at 5 main reasons why are Dalmatians fire dogs..
What Is The Story Behind Dalmatian, The Fire Dog?
Once upon a time, in the 18th century, when there were no cars, people used horse-drawn carriages. So, there were no fire trucks either back in that time, at least not as we know them today.
At that time, brave firefighters would go to put out the running fire on the carriages. The tradition of Dalmatians as assistants to firefighters in their endeavors originated from this time.
At the time we are talking about, the Dalmatian was not a very well-known breed. Moreover, he was quite exotic and unusual, especially because of the unusual color of his fur.
However, people soon realized that, in addition to having a specific appearance, the Dalmatian was also a very hardy and agile dog.
When the fire alarm sounded that the firemen had to rush to put out the fire, the Dalmatians would run outside, barking loudly to inform all the people around to move away and let the fire carriage pass.
Many horses would get afraid of the people they would meet on the way, therefore, the Dalmatian would make sure that this did not happen.
When the fire carriage headed to the scene of the fire, two Dalmatians would run alongside it.
Now, let’s go through the fundamental reasons why Dalmatians were such good fire dogs.
1. Strong Bond With Horses
Not only did this dog keep pace with the horses, but he guarded them and defended them from predators.
But the real role of the Dalmatian as a fire dog would come when the firefighters went to put out the fire.
Horses are very afraid of fire, and since the Dalmatians would stay with them, these dogs would somehow comfort the horses, and distract them from the raging fire. This is one of the situations where we really see how gentle and sensitive dogs really are.
2. Amazing Speed
The Dalmatian is among the fastest dog breeds in the world. Thanks to this trait, the Dalmatian was so good as the fire dog.
These dogs were able to run long distances for a short period of time, which was crucial for firefighters to arrive on time and put the fire under control.
After they have started using these dogs as helpers in their job, the firefighters found that the Dalmatian can run for a long time and keep up with the horses.
Even long distances were not a problem for the athletic Dalmatian. So, this dog’s amazing endurance and strength are also a reason why he was such a successful fire dog.
The Dalmatian is an intelligent and active dog that needs to have some task all the time. Also, this dog is highly obedient, and this is one more reason why he was so good as a fire dog.
Not every dog would run with horses, and take care of these large animals who were afraid of fire.
Since Dalmatians are so obedient and smart, firefighters would easily teach them their work tasks as fire dogs.
5. Protecting The Firemans’ Belongings
Dalmatians looked after the horses while the firemen put out the fire.
But, at the same time, they were also guarding and making sure that no one came close to the fire carriage and the firemen’s equipment
Is Bad Hearing Related To Dalmatians Being Fire Dogs?
Some people believe that Damlatinas are the dog breed that firefighters used as a help in the past due to their bad hearing.
The part of the Dalmatians’ bad hearing is unfortunately true. According to the Dalmatian Club of America, deafness is a common problem in Dalmatians, indeed. 22% of these dogs can hear with only one ear, while 8% of Dalmatians are completely deaf.
The myth of the connection of their bad hearing with Dalmatians working as fire dogs was created because many people believed that fire station sirens would be too loud for dogs whose hearing was perfectly fine.
But, back in time, there were no fire truck sirens, remember? Dalmatian dogs served as sirens to help firefighters. Therefore, this belief is unfounded, and there is no proven connection of the bad hearing with Dalmatians working as fire dogs.
Are Dalmatians Completely Vanished As Fire Dogs Nowadays?
I guess all of you know that Dalmatians don’t actually work as fire dogs nowadays.
Firefighters nowadays have fire engines with sirens, so there is no real reason for a dog to announce to people that a fire engine is about to pass through.
Also, horses are no longer necessary for firefighters, so the hard-working Dalmatian has no one to run with and no one to look after.
However, many fire stations love the tradition of Dalmatians as fire dogs, and still strive to nourish it.
For example, the Fire Department Sevierville in Tennessee has a very special worker – a Dalmatian named Ember.
This dog might not work in the same way its ancestors used to, but she brings a smile to the face of every human that sees her in the fire station!
Take a look at this video of the Dalmatian Ember, who might not run with horses to the place of fire, but surely brings a lot of fun for all the workers in the Sevierville Fire Department!
It was nice to walk down the memory lane and find out more about the amazing tasks Dalmatian dogs used to perform in the past.
These dogs’ endurance, speed, and obedience made them so successful as firefighters’ helpers.
You might not see Dalmatians as fire dogs nowadays, at least not in the same role they used to have when there were no fire engines.
However, Dalmatians still have all of the amazing traits that make them successful working dogs.
And, the fact that many fire stations still cherish the Dalmatians dogs as fire dogs is absolutely charming!