Looking Back




National Fire Pup Day on October 1st recognizes the canine firefighters that have long been members of fire departments across the country.

While the Dalmation’s origin is unknown, their use in firehouses began during the 1700s. Trained as a carriage dog, the Dalmatian’s agility transferred quickly to horse-drawn fire engines. Even though Dalmations weren’t the only dogs fit for carriage work, they were the ones who mostly filled the role of fire dogs. They were also easily identified by their spotted and speckled coats.

In the days of the horse-drawn fire carts, they provided a valuable service, having a natural affinity to horses. The Dalmatian’s duty was to run alongside the horses. They ran in front of or beneath the wagon axles clearing the way.

Long after the red engines replaced horse-drawn wagons, the Dalmatian remains a recognizable tradition in fire stations across the country. These energetic firehouse mascots serve to educate the public about fire safety. They also represent past fire pups in honor of their heroism.   

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFirePupDay

Learn more about fire pup history. Visit rover.com to learn more. Use #NationalFirePupDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar® continues researching the origin of this fire-fighting heritage day.

Fire Pub FAQ

Q. What other kinds of jobs can dogs do?
A. A working dog is nothing new. Dogs have been aiding humans for centuries. Some of their first jobs were aiding humans in hunting and war. In the modern world, dogs still play vital roles in society.

  • Search and Rescue – Those canine ears and noses detect the scent of a missing person and hear sounds human ears can’t. Their ability to find a missing person is invaluable to search teams.
  • Herding – Not only are these dogs trained to herd livestock but some breeds are also born with an innate ability to bring a flock together.
  • Service – Dogs trained to help those with disabilities also help people to live more independent lives. They aid people with a variety of conditions including blindness and seizures.
  • Therapy – Many dogs just know how to brighten someone’s day. Therapy dogs are trained to be calm and attentive so they can visit people who live alone or in nursing homes. Their visits reduce stress and improve daily life.
  • Detection – The powerful noses of some breeds mean they can be trained to detect drugs, bombs or even cancer.

Q. Are all Dalmatians deaf?
A. No. However, the breed is prone to deafness in either one or both ears. The Dalmatian isn’t the only breed with reports of deafness. Though dogs with white pigmentation tend to have a high frequency of congenital deafness.