been around for about 600 years. So, to understand how the dalmatian became the number-one firehouse mascot in
England and the United States, we must take a long look back in history.
dated about 1360 A.D. and because these spotted dogs were named after Dalmatia, an Adriatic coastal region, one may
assume that they originated somewhere in this area. But, it wasn't until 1780 when the name "dalmatian" was used in the
perfect size to serve as a coach dog. (In fact, in Great Britain, dalmatians are still nicknamed "English coach dogs" and
"plum pudding dogs.")
The Dalmatian also has what seems to be a natural calming effect on horses. This trait about the breed
was seen very early on, and soon the Dalmatian was identified with horses. Possibly horse mounted
warriors or hunters first used the breed in their activities. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries
when the mode of travel was by horse or by carriage, the Dalmatians became a society dog, and
trained to run along side women's carriages. They became known as Coach dogs or Ladies dogs
because of this. In fact, the term coaching is referring to how the Dalmatian will take up position just
off the side and towards the rear of a horse and run with them.
next to the horses as they pulled the coach. When other dogs tried to run out and scare the horses, the dalmatian team
would chase them away. Over the years, dalmatians formed a close bond with horses.
in a hammock strung between two stalls where they would watch for thieves. However, because of the bond between the
dalmatians and the horses, the driver could sleep in a hotel or house if he owned a dalmatian. Why? Because the dalmatians
would sleep with the horses and guard against horse theft.
fire house horses were required to spend hours at a time at a fire scene, or hours inside the fire house waiting for a call,
and despite many misbeliefs, these fire house horses were not broken down old hags, but fine spirited horses.
The Dalmatian became the horses pet as it were, to help keep them calm. There are many reports and stories
of seeing a fire team rushing to the scene of a call, with a Dalmatian or two running between the horse teams.
Once on the scene of the call, the Dalmatian took over as guard dog, insuring that nothing was
stolen from the apparatus. The Dalmatian is a very loyal breed to its owners, and an admirable
foe when challenged.
Since every firehouse had a set of fast horses to pull the pumper, it became common for each group of firefighters to keep
a dalmatian in the firehouse to guard the firehouse and horses. When the alarm came in, the dalmatian led the way for the
horse-drawn pumper. In this way, the dalmatian became the firefighters' companion and a symbol of the fire service. Today,
dalmatians are still found in many firehouses in England, Canada, and the United States.
Today, in many large cities, the Dalmatian is the guard dog of the fire truck
while at the scene of fires and rescues. In its long history in the Fire Service, there are also reports of
how the Dalmatian has rescued trapped firefighters or victims. Overall, the Dalmatian is a brave and
everyone. They are a non-stop bundle of energy, and when not given a release for this natural energy, they often
become bored and destructive. Many people have the misconception that the Dalmatian is a hyper breed.
They are not hyper, but when not given the chance for proper exercise and activity, they send their energy in other means.
When given the chance to run, exercise, and spend their natural energy, their incidence in destructive mannerisms reduce greatly.
If you are not able to give a Dalmatian the time and effort required, this breed is not for you.
Get a different breed instead. If you do though, the joys of having a Dalmatian in your life are many,
and your quality of life will be increased because of them.