National Fire Dog Day is celebrated annually on October 1st.  This yearly dog holiday is to honor the canine members of America’s fire fighting teams of men and women.  Some dogs have had the high honor of living and working alongside some of the bravest members of local fire departments.

A History Lesson

fire station

It started in the 1700’s when noblemen used carriage dogs to protect themselves and their worldly belongings during long trips through bandit infested territories.  The dog breed that proved most adept at this was the Dalmation.  In the 1800’s when fire crews began using horse drawn carriages to travel to fires, the Dalmations proved to be worthy co-pilots as they ran alongside the horses and kept them calm.  While the firefighters battled, the Dalmation would stay with the horses to ease their stress. Then in the 2000’s, as firefighting modernized, the fire teams used the Dalmations as the resident mascot.  In addition to be companion dogs, they also helped to guard the fire stations.

Why Dalmations?

Dalmation puppy

This dog is uncommonly strong and can run for long periods of time.  Their long longs and stout body made them a natural to keep up with the carriages. The Dalmation is also naturally good around horses, which as you can guess was important for their job role in the 1700’s.

The Dalmation spots that are so unique to the breed made them easy to spot during nighttime, smokey situations.  But did you know that Dalmation puppies are born pure white?  Their spots don’t start to show until about four weeks of age. A Dalmation with brown spots always has a brown nose.  A Dalmation with black spots always has a black nose.

21st Century Fire Dogs

fireman dog

On October 1st, we celebrate all the breeds on National Fire Dog Day.  In the 21st century, the fire dog has evolved into not only Dalmations, but German Shepherds, Border Collies and Labrador retrievers.  In addition, local rescue dogs are also making quite the jump from shelter dog to fire house dog.  Some lucky dogs even get adopted by the fire fighters aka dog lovers who have rescued them at fire scenes.

Check out this unlikely but brave hero dog living his best life in New York:


Dog Resume

dog nose

Not only are fire house dogs mascots, but they also have very important jobs, too.  Arson dogs are trained specifically to sniff out traces of accelerants to prove if a fire was caused by arson.  The most common arson dog is a Labrador.  Their noses can detect even the faintest amounts of gasoline or lighter fluid. There are 200 highly trained arson dogs living and working in the US today.