Today, October 1, is National Fire Pup Day. Fido has held many different jobs throughout history. Fido has been a shepherd, hunter, tracker, guardian, therapist, and guide, to name just a few. However, fire dogs are definitely up there with the best and bravest of our canine companions. A vet shines the spotlight on these wonderful pooches in this article.
The Dalmatian is the breed most often found in firehouses. This charming spotted pup has some interesting traits. Although the breed’s exact lineage has been lost, we do know that Fido was initially a hunting dog from Dalmatia, which is part of what is now Croatia. Another fun fact about Dalmatians? They are always born white! Those iconic spots start appearing when the puppies are about two weeks old. Friendly, loyal, and intelligent, the Dalmatian is also referred to as the Carriage Dog, the English Coach Dog, and the Plum Pudding Dog.
Fido was first hired as a fire dog way back in the 1700’s. The breed was already in common use as carriage dogs, in part because they had a natural ability and inclination for befriending horses. As it turned out, these cute canines were very good at keeping their hooved buddies calm at fires. Dalmatians would run along the horse-drawn carriages, clearing a path and leading the horses to the fire. Sometimes they would even run under the carriage axles! These faithful pups were also excellent guard dogs, and were also very helpful in protecting firehouses and horses.
Needless to say, Fido’s role as a fire dog has evolved quite a bit over the centuries. His original position, as horse-companion and guardian, is no longer needed. However, Dalmatians do still serve as mascots in many firehouses, and have become very recognizable and beloved cultural icons. They also provide moral support, comfort, friendship, and companionship for firefighters.
We can’t just discuss Dalmatians without mentioning the beloved Disney movies. In addition to the original 1961 cartoon classic 101 Dalmatians, there is also a live-action version, a sequel, 102 Dalmatians, and, of course, the most recent addition, Cruella. One super cute Dalmatian, Louie Dog, was also the mascot of the rock band Sublime. The adorable pup appeared in several of their videos, and was often ‘spotted’ wandering around onstage with them during concerts. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years? Fido’s affection for horses. Dalmatians are also often found accompanying the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Do you have questions about Dalmatian care? Contact us today!