The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a popular breed in Britain with thousands of them up and down the country. Sadly, one of the most common breeds of dog that are found in rescue is the staffie because these dogs are being overbred and kept for the wrong reasons. The staffie is commonly seen as a status dog and portrayed by the media in a negative light. For staffie lovers such as myself, it is not only heartbreaking seeing all these unwanted dogs in rescue, but also just as sad to hear the negative comments people make about the breed. Staffies make great pets and it’s sad that they are so misunderstood. Examples of common misconceptions that are made are as follows;
All staffies are dangerous. Any staffie can turn at any minute.
False! ANY breed of dog brought up the wrong way can be dangerous. It is vital to socialise your dog from a young age so it gets used to new scenarios such as car journeys, strangers, children and other dogs. They are actually a sensitive breed and like any dog should be treated with kindness. Staffies, unfortunately, are popular and can end up in the wrong hands meaning some may have fear aggression, but this certainly isn’t a trait of the breed. They also have lots of negative media coverage which gives them a bad reputation as a breed, however, it isn’t fair to tar all staffies or bull breeds with the same brush as they are generally a loving breed who are eager to please!
Staffies are untrainable and ruthless.
False! Staffies are actually very intelligent dogs who are just as capable as any other breed to learn commands and are very keen to please their handler. You get out what you put in for any breed.
All staffies fight with other dogs.
False! We regularly get in very sociable staffies in that love to play with our other dogs.
Staffies are hyper and destructive.
Staffies are energetic dogs when young. They love to run and play, however other breeds such as Border Collies are very active. Any dog can be destructive if not trained correctly or if it is bored. Training and stimulation is the key to a happy dog!
Staffies have a locking jaw
False! This is quite a common belief, however, staffies jaws do not lock. Staffies do, however, have strong muscles around their jaw and they are pretty determined which could be where this myth has come from. They were bred to have strong jaws to hold on to bulls when bull baiting.
Staffies cannot be trusted around children
Again, all individual dogs are different. Some staffies are great with kids, whilst others are better in a home without them, but this could be said about any breed. Staffies are known as nanny dogs because they are known to be good around kids. Please remember that no young child should be left unattended with any dog.
Staffies are a banned breed
False! It is legal to own a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in England. There four breeds that are listed on the Dangerous Dogs Act which are the Pit Bull, Japanese Tosa, Brazilian Fila and the Dogo Argentino.
Sadly we live in a disposable society, where some people feel as though a dog’s life isn’t important and can be thrown away. Dogs are surrendered to rescue for reasons such as people who want to get rid of their older dog to get a puppy, or they get fed up with their puppy and do not realise how much work and expense is involved with keeping and bringing up a young dog. As staffies are so overbred, it is relatively easy to buy a pup, however, a lot of these young dogs end up in the wrong hands. Due to their tough look and desire to please, this once loved nanny dog is falling into the wrong hands leaving thousands of them being abused and abandoned.
So how can you help the staffie plight? Here are a few suggestions;
1) Spread the word! Tell people that staffies aren’t a bad breed. The main problem is people are not educated well enough as the media uses scaremongering techniques to cause a stir. Share this article and help educate more people.
2) Neuter your dog! We have a high volume of calls every day from people wanting to get rid of their dog and a lot of them we have to turn away. A lot of rescues won’t take staffies in because there are so many out there and they can be difficult to home. There are too many dogs in the world already – please don’t add to the population.
3) Keep your dog’s microchip details up to date. If your dog gets out from the garden, bolts after a squirrel on a walk or charges out the front door, s/he could end up in the pound. Your dog will only have seven days to be claimed and if a rescue does not take it after that, they will be euthanised. Microchipping is now compulsory.
4) Thinking of getting a dog? Rescue a staffie! Talk to your local rescue to help you find your new companion.
Got a Staffie? Tell me about them in the comments below!