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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How did dalmatians become fire dogs?

: maltese cross dalmatian

: Eric said he wants a tattoo of the "Maltese cross," which is a symbol of firefighters (but not really; see below). Maltese = Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Dalmatians (fire) come from Dalmatia, which is a region in Croatia. Why all the Europe?
Answer: Dalmatians have been working with firefighting crews since the fire department used horses. They were bred:
  • For endurance and stamina! While not particularly fast, they can run for long periods without rest.
  • To escort horse-drawn fire engines to the scene of the fire!
  • To prevent stray dogs from interfering!
  • To protect the horses, with whom they formed tight bonds!
  • To protect the contents of the coach from highwaymen!
Not because:
  • They could see through smoke!
  • They liked the color red!
  • They were fireproof!
Source: Firefighting History

The More You Know: According to Wikipedia, this is a Maltese cross or Amalfi cross, with 8 points at the ends of 4 Vs. It was a symbol associated with an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights of Malta, and is now one of the national symbols of Malta.
But this - the fireman's cross - is the cross of Saint Florian, the Patron Saint of Firefighters (and of chimney sweeps and of Poland). His cross looks like this or this:

(His feast day is May 4th, by the way, which is today. Let's go into Tosche Station and pick up some power converters.)

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