Dalmations serve as traditional mascots for modern fire houses. Dalmations were originally selected as the best dog breed to keep horses company during the days when fire wagons were pulled by a team of horses. Dalmations also guarded the horses while fire fighters put out fires or took breaks.
Dalmations were selected for fire house service based on their sociable nature and physical stamina. They are a loyal breed and, thus, they would run up to 30 miles a day alongside their horse companions. Early fire houses needed a way to keep their horse teams from getting bored and restless and Dalmation dogs are well known for their gregarious nature. The dogs made fast friends with the horses and remained in close proximity to fire horses. Dalmations ran alongside or underneath the horse-drawn fire trucks. At the fire station house, the dogs lived near the horses, guarding against horse thieves. When motorized fire trucks replaced horses, fire fighters continued the tradition of selecting Dalmations as their canine mascot. Dalmations still ride along on the fire truck once and a while, and often participate in public relations events due to their long association with fire houses.
These spotted dogs were used as stagecoach horse companions in England before they became fire dogs.