Ah yes, those perky spotted pups riding atop the gleaming red fire truck. How did Dalmatians become the firehouse dog of choice and why were firehouses forced to stop using them?
The first Dalmatians were taught to run next to coaches. These dogs were mostly status symbols, but also protected coaches from thieves.
See Spot run
When Benjamin Franklin wasn't playing with electricity and wearing some fabulous hats, he bred Dalmatians and asked firehouses to use the dogs. Soon, Dalmatians had a new job. Dalmatians ran ahead of horse drawn steam fire engines (called pumpers) to warn people to get out of the way.
In the 1940s and 50s, Dalmatians became an important PR mascot to support firehouses. Dalmatians are very gentle dogs (usually) and were the perfect pet to pose with children.*
Dalmatians continued to be viewed as adorable mascots until fire engines began accompanying ambulances to accidents. Unfortunately, the Dalmatians had a not-so-cute habit of devouring dead bodies. (Yes, dogs will do that and Dalmatians tend to eat faster than most.)**
Supposedly, New York City’s Ladder 20 continues to use Dalmatians. We can assume that they are trained to eat kibble only.
*According to some breeders, Dalmatians that are predominantly white can get a little crazy, but let’s not get racial here.