After breeding Rotts and Dobies, if I were to get back into the breeding program, I would breed dalmatians. I owned one for 11 years, and she was one of the finest dogs I ever owned. She was always gentle with children, and could sense when someone was up to no good. She loved to ride the apparatus, however because of the hearing sensitivity of the breed I wouldn't take her along while running emergency. The link provided by Engineco913 is the most common and is believed the most accurate history of the breed.
Dalmations have the instinct for coaching bred, born and trained into them. This breed takes to horses like ducks to water. It has been known to lead, follow, or coach from under the axle.
Yes dalmations lead the horse teams in the 1800's. The dalmations were bread for the fire depts like NYFD and then hand picked for the work only the best were picked and the rest were given away. Starting the mix breeding. As many of them were killed in action you can only imagine the demand for these great dogs. It is greaat histroy of the fire service and one that I have studied many time as I trained my own dalmation for service in the fire dept in my home town. Won many contests for marching to coach running. Oh by the way
once that the scene the dalmations would stand in the wagons and make sure the horse would stay in place.
Out of curiosity, Captain, how would the dalmation keep the horses in line on a fire scene. I know that breed can be pretty tenacious and stubborn, but how does a 60-70 pound dog control a 1200-1800 pound draft horse of the type that were used to pull horse-drawn fire engines.
I have also been told that they have a natural affinity for horses and that horses seem to like the dalmies. At the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis they have a huge stable for the Anheuser Clydesdales that used to be such a big part of that companies advertising. The horses themselves stay in a stable that looks more like a ballroom complete with a black and white tiled floor and a chandelier, all immaculately clean and well kept. The dalmations actually sleep right in the stall with many of the horses. We were also told while take the tour with the fellow that maintains both the horses and dogs, that the dalmations have a pretty good talent for not getting themselves kicked by a grumpy horse.
I was curious, does anyone know if NFPA or the other safety and governing organizations allow a dog of any sort on modern fire apparatus. I read what a previous poster said about being concerned about the dog's hearing with all the noise, but I can also see a well-trained dog of any breed that could be relied on to stay on the truck on the fire ground would be a great moral boost and provide an added sense of esprit d'corps. I can imagine the company officers of my company wanting an animal on board, but I can see that it would be a great boost to the spirits of tired, weary firefighters during rehab or while riding back to the house after a particularly rough call.
As a sub-topic: do many of you out there keep dogs or cats in your station? I think it would be nice to do, especially when the firefighters are staying in the barracks rooms away from families for few days at a time. An animal can be quite a comforting companion
The Dalmation was bred to be a coach dog, ie: run with horses pulling coachs in eastern europe (hungary I believe) BY nature , being pack animals dogs have been assimilated into other types of Packs (sheep) etc. and eventuallythe breed was brought over and was found to enjoy (Living for) doing they're job, When running withthe horses Pulling Heavy steamers the Dalmation ran In front of the the rigs Barking and clearing the way for the rigs ...(IN europe, the coach animals tended to run in between the horses and under the coach "telling the horses " they were doing Good) Naturally , the dogs on the scene Kept the horses "protected "
after arrival and having been unhitched and led off to a safearea, blanketed and watered the dog would help watch the "flock" .. Around the house, of course the dog kept the horses and the men company and also"watched "and "protected the Firehouse" This is not to Take away anything from the hundreds of NON dalmation Firehouse dogs... even today They seem to know when they are down and out theymight get lucky at the firehouse...
Here is a link to answer your question, it explains how the breed got it's name and why the fire Departments started adopting them! One other thing, the correct spelling of the breed is "Dalmatian"
As a dalmatian owner I can tell you from experience they are by no means a mean dog by breed, but they require attention and are actually very afectionate. As long as they are brought up in a loving home they are very good protectors.
To my knowledge NFPA doesn't mention animals on board an apparatus, but I'd suggest getting it approved at a company meeting. As well as making the dog an honorary member. (for insurance reasons)
For saftey reasons I would recomend purchasing a dog harness that works with the seat belts!