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How Did Dalmatians Become Synonymous With Fire Stations?

New York City Fire Fighters Commemorate 10th Anniversary Of Sept. 11th Attacks
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

It seems that every fire house in the country has a dalmatian. Even fire stations in the movies and TV shows have the black and white spotted beauty running around somewhere. So how did this staple of firefighter-dom get started?

According to Mental Floss Magazine, this tradition dates back to the 1800s. Back then, fire houses kept horses in the station to pull their carriages on fire calls. Some of the poorer neighborhoods where fires were more likely were often the victim of rampant thefts. Thieves could easily steal the horses and firefighters grew tired of chasing after them.

So they needed someone or something to watch after their horses that wouldn’t spook them and could keep them company. Dalmatians made for the perfect watchdog.

They could keep pestering thieves from stealing their prized stallions and they could also keep the horses from going stir crazy. For some reason, the horses seemed more calm and collected with dalmatians and the dogs would develop a strong bond to their horse friends, making it that much harder for anyone to steal them. Since then, they have become a regular fixture at fire stations long after firefighters stopped using the horse drawn carriages to fight fires.

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