Today, October 1st, is National Fire Pup Day. Man’s Best Friend has held many different jobs throughout history. Fido has been a shepherd, guardian, tracker, and guide, to name just a few. However, fire dogs definitely rank up there with the best and bravest of our canine companions. A vet shines the spotlight on fire dogs in this article.
As you probably know, the Dalmatian is the breed most often found in firehouses. This iconic spotted pup has some interesting traits. Although the breed’s exact lineage is unknown, 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’re born white! Their iconic spots start appearing when the puppies are about two weeks old. Friendly, loyal, and intelligent, the Dalmatian is also referred to as the English Coach Dog, the Carriage Dog, and the Plum Pudding Dog.
Fido began working as a fire dog back in the 1700’s. The breed was already in common use as carriage dogs, in part because they had an unusual, natural affinity to horses. Because these cute canines formed such strong bonds with their hooved buddies, they were good at keeping them 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 could often be found protecting firehouses and horses.
Needless to say, Fido’s current role as a fire dog has evolved quite a bit. His original position, as horse-companion and guardian, is no longer needed. However, fire dogs do still serve as mascots, and are very recognizable and beloved cultural icons. They also provide moral support, comfort, and companionship for firefighters.
Dalmatians In Media
One can’t discuss Dalmatians without mentioning the beloved Disney movies. In addition to the original cartoon classic 101 Dalmatians, there have been a live-action version, a sequel, 102 Dalmatians, and, of course, the most recent addition, Cruella. One Dalmatian, Louie Dog, was also the mascot of the rock band Sublime. Louie Dog appeared in several of their videos, and was often ‘spotted’ wandering around onstage with them during concerts. Last but not least, Dalmatians are also often found accompanying the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Do you have questions about Dalmatian care? Contact us, your local animal clinic in West Greenwich, RI!