Firehouse Dog History
What do Firehouse Dogs do?
These days Dalmatians are often the firehouse mascot but in the old days, their job was very important. Firehouse or fire dogs were strong, brave working dogs.
They were a friend and protector to firehouse horses that pulled the old fire rigs. The horses cared about the dogs too. Sometimes a mommie dog would have her baby pups in the horses' stall and the horses were very careful not to step on the puppies.
They were leaders who ran in front of the fire rig to clear a path for the horses. Other dogs running loose would chase and nip at the horse's legs, just like some dogs chase cars and bite the tires today. The fire dogs would chase off these dogs as the horses ran to the fire.
The acted as guard dogs who defended the equipment and horses against being stolen. The fire dogs were loyal and would challenge any stranger that entered the firehouse.
Dogs and horses lost their jobs In the 1920's fire departments changed from horse drawn fire wagons to fire engines with a motor, like today. But this meant there was no more work for the horses that pulled the fire rigs or the dogs who cleared the path for the horses.
New jobs for the dogs
Today fire dogs are on duty in some fire stations as watch dogs, as station mascots, and as a buddy for the firefighters.