The Association With Firemen
Particularly in the United States, the use of Dalmatians as carriage dogs was transferred to horse-drawn fire engines, although it is unclear why this link was not made in other countries. Today the Dalmatian serves as a firehouse mascot but, back in the days of horse-drawn fire carts, they provided a valuable service. Dalmatians and horses are very compatible, so the dogs were easily trained to run in front of the carriages to help clear a path and quickly guide the horses and firefighters to the fires. The dogs were sometimes also used as rescue dogs to locate victims in burning structures.
Dalmatians are often considered to make good watchdogs and it is believed that Dalmatians may have been useful to fire brigades as guard dogs to protect a firehouse and its equipment. Fire engines used to be drawn by fast and powerful horses, a tempting target for thieves. So, Dalmatians were kept in the firehouse as deterrence to theft. The horses have long since gone, but the Dalmatians, by tradition, have stayed. As a result, in the U.S., Dalmatians are commonly known as firehouse dogs.
Dalmatians are still chosen by many firefighters as pets, in honor of their heroism in the past
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