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History of the fire dog

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fire dog
When you follow the history of fire and the firefighting profession, you will be surprised by the connection between Dalmatian dogs and firefighters. But how did the Dalmatian become part of the fire service? The answer to this question may surprise you.

History of the fire dog


The image of a spotted Dalmatian in a fire truck is indelible in American history and culture, but the story of how they got there is less well known. From sled dogs of the 17th century to today’s firefighting dogs, these brave and beautiful dogs are symbols of heroic deeds, sometimes even acting themselves. Dalmatians are iconic dogs and because of the distinctive black spots on their skin, they are instantly recognizable by people of all ages. Dalmatians are known for their physical nature, in fact most of them can run long distances without tiring. This breed was sled dogs before they were fire dogs. A few hundred years ago, these dogs were trained to accompany horse-drawn carriages and protect their occupants (and the horses) from harm. In the 1700s, it was discovered that Dalmatians had a calming effect on horses. So while the firefighters were fighting a fire, the fire dogs could relieve their stress by being with the horses. A sled dog has several main features:

  • Long legs and strong body
  • Energy and motivation
  • Endurance to continue the long journey
  • Good temperament and high obedience

So in the era when horses were used instead of fire trucks, Dalmatians ran alongside the horses. It has been said that they acted like “alarms” and barked to alert pedestrians that the fire brigade was on the way. It didn’t take long for them to become a favorite carriage dog among the wealthy citizens of England and America. Among the duties of a firefighter dog:

  • Serve as a companion for firefighters
  • Protecting belongings in the fireplace (and hunting vermin too!)
  • Ride to the fire destination and stand on the truck

By being on the scene, they prevented the equipment from being stolen. Gradually, Dalmatians, this lovely breed, became a symbol of the fire service. During the 20th century, Dalmatians and other firefighting puppies also played an important role in education, helping firefighters demonstrate fire safety and emergency preparedness to school and community groups. In fact, even today, Dalmatians often enter schools to teach fire safety. This loyal breed will follow its master after a long walk or run after the carriage and will be interested in everything that happens, this lively breed is insatiable.

Obviously, the horse-drawn apparatus were eventually replaced by motorized fire engines. Dalmatians no longer needed to calm horses or run ahead of trucks to alert pedestrians. In fact, other Dalmatians were not useful in this regard. But at that time, people were used to seeing Dalmatians next to firefighters. Firefighter dogs needed new job descriptions to suit the modern era. However, their characteristics as firefighter puppies are still listed:

In California, Bella, a 10-year-old Dalmatian, started barking when the washing machine caught fire in her owner’s garage, and even more often, there are stories of firefighters saving dogs from a fire or who are freed by the vagrants, take them to the fire station to serve.

Today, Dalmatians can be seen riding a fire truck, serving alongside firefighters to teach children about fire safety and protect firefighter property.

“Bist,” a Dalmatian given to FDNY firefighters after 9/11, was repeatedly seen riding in the front, sticking his head out the window and barking as crews headed to the scene of the fire. slow This breed is not suitable for living with everyone because this lovely breed has endless energy and needs time to rest. Otherwise, they can become exhausted and downright destructive. They require a lot of attention and are very hardworking – something firefighters are known for and expected of a firefighter.

Dalmatian dog characteristics

Among the other names of this hardworking and loyal breed, we can mention the names of the carriage dog, spotted guard dog, Dal and fireman’s dog. The lifespan of this breed is 10 to 13 years and they are classified in the group of tool and working dogs. The height of the male of this breed is 58-61 cm and the female is 56-58 cm. Also, the weight of male and female of this breed is 25-23 kg. It should be noted that this breed needs a lot of exercise and they need a lot of daily exercise and mental activity. Hair loss in spring and autumn is also high in them. He has a very low tolerance for loneliness and is very intelligent, so your job in training is very easy. As mentioned, these dogs are highly social and have a natural bond with horses.

Even today, some national and regional competitions still evaluate transportation skills. Even today, in such competitions, Dalmatians are famous for their speed, endurance and love for horses.

History of the fire dog

The New York City Fire Department can take a lot of credit for making this breed famous as firefighting dogs. Given their expertise as sled dogs, it made sense that Dalmatians would work well with firefighting sleds. More than a century has passed since Dalmatians, even without the need for special training skills for Dalmatians, firefighters still embrace and refer to Dalmatians as their brave companions. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, New York, donated a Dalmatian puppy to the FDNY Ladder Company 20, named “Twenty.” The puppy was a comfort to the firefighters who lost seven members of the company. When Bist passed away in 2016, the company deeply mourned his loss. “He really helped build morale in the years after 9/11 and I can’t say enough about what he did to help us,” FDNY Lt. Gary Urio said on Facebook twenty years later.

Fire survivors in fire stations

These days, many firefighters have Dalmatians as pets, and firefighters around the world still use Dalmatians as station dogs. It is common for firefighters (and sometimes entire firefighting teams) to adopt dogs rescued from fires. These lucky puppies, whatever their breed, become a symbol of the resilience, courage and resilience of firefighters and the people who help them.

Smokey, pictured above, serves as a fire dog in the Jacksonville, Illinois, department. He passed out due to a house fire and was resuscitated by a member of the JFD team and has been living with the firefighters ever since. He even acted in the TV show Chicago Fire!

Fire dogs of the 21st century

Other dogs perform important fire safety work outside of the fire station, dogs that have a high degree of agility. According to the State Farm Arson Dog Program, fire dogs are specially trained to sniff out even “small amounts of accelerants (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) that may be sufficient to start a fire.” These dogs are trained and work alongside firefighters or law enforcement officers to investigate a fire scene after the fire is out.

Fire dogs have come a long way from running alongside horse-drawn wagons. These days, a fire dog can be any size, shape or breed. Of course, because of their centuries-old reputation as the perfect fire dog, Dalmatians are still the most popular firefighter. But firefighting dogs are man’s best friend in the advancement of firefighting technology, the rescue work of firefighters, and in loyalty.

History of the fire dog

Even your pet dog can be a hero

By training dogs to alert you when they smell smoke, there is an effective way to prevent the spread of fire with the help of dogs. When Swedish dog psychologist Anders Hallgren first developed smoke alarm dog training in 2000, he compared the performance of a trained dog to a commercial smoke detector with the help of a firefighter he worked with.

Guess who won?! Dog

So try to get help from your dog as your savior and the residents of your home by studying various methods to train your pet dog. In fact, teach your dog to quickly find and alert you when there is smoke or fire. Interestingly, your dog can even learn the difference between cigarette smoke, candles or fire in the fireplace and a dangerous house fire.

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