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the fireman's friend


This easily recognizable breed is commonly associated with firemen, and the reason for that will be given a little later. Adults stand 20-24 inches high and weigh 40-60 pounds. The nose is black, brown, blue, or dark gray in color, and the round eyes are brown, blue, or a combination of both. The distinctive spots are usually black or brown, but may also be lemon, dark blue, tri-colored, brindled, or sable; puppies are born completely white, with the spots forming as they mature. Average lifespan for a dalmatian is 10-12 years.

Dalmatians are very smart dogs and are, therefore, easily trained. In fact, an untrained, undisciplined dalmatian is an unhappy one, and without proper leadership from humans a dalmatian can become become either overly active or extremely listless. Dalmatians are also very loyal to and protective of their owners, but are not known to attack people or other animals unless provoked. Because they were bred to run under or along-side horse-drawn carriages, dalmatians have lots of stamina and energy and, therefore, require plenty of exercise and room to run and play.

The exact origins of the dalmatian breed are unknown, as ancient references to spotted dogs are found across Europe, northeastern Africa, and Asia. The breed was well established in Europe by the Middle Ages, when it became known for having a natural ability to bond with horses. Owners of horse-drawn carriages began keeping dalmatians as guard dogs because of this natural bond, and this led to their association with firemen. Since early firefighting equipment was usually drawn by horses, it was only natural for firehouses to use dalmatians to guard the horses; it turned out that dalmatians also helped keep the horses calm at fire scenes, so it became common for people to see a dalmatian running along-side the firewagon as it was racing down the street. Although fire departments no longer rely on horses to pull their equipment, the dalmatian is still considered a traditional mascot for firemen.


American Kennel Club
Dog Breed Info Center

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The Robinson Library >> Dogs

This page was last updated on 09/28/2018.