Tuesday, December 18, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered how Dalmatians got that coveted spot on the fire truck, you’re about to find out...

Dalmatians are synonymous with firefighting and that tradition dates back more than a century. 

While their role has transitioned into more mascot and companion, they played a vital role in past. In the 1700s, dalmatians were the preferred breed for aristocrats, serving as carriage dogs. Because dalmatians get along swimmingly with horses and form strong bonds, they were used to keep pace, running alongside or closely behind the horses on long carriage rides. In the days of horse-drawn firefighting wagons, dalmatians were well suited for the job. Horses are afraid of fire and were less likely to be spooked or distracted when escorted by one or more of their canine buddies into a chaotic fire zone. 

If you’ve ever heard dalmatians are kept at firehouses because they’re deaf and unaffected by sirens, that’s an old wive’s tale. According to Chris Benoit, president of the Chicagoland Dalmatian Club, there are some hearing issues associated with the breed but it’s their loyalty, gentle disposition and proud history that has earned them a spot at the station or on the truck.