Why is the Dalmatian the Official Mascot of Firefighters?
In the 1700’s Dalmatians were used to protect horses that pulled English stagecoaches. Typically, Dalmatians would run next to the horses as they pulled the coach. When other dogs tried to bite and scare the horses, the Dalmatian team would chase them away. Over the years, Dalmatians formed a close bond with horses. Because of the dog/horse bond, the Dalmatian easily adapted to the firehouse in the days of horse drawn fire wagons. 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 horses. When the alarm came in, the Dalmatian led the way for the horse-drawn pumper. Once on the fire scene, however, the dogs had other duties as well, including safeguarding the equipment from vandalism and theft.
So, it appears that Dalmatians have a variety of admirable traits that have endeared them to firefighters and secured them a permanent position in fire service history. Dalmatians are still found in many firehouses and serve as firefighter companions, and are a symbol of the fire service.