Blue Cross pet charity is appealing to pet lovers to take a second look at Staffordshire bull terriers – affectionately known as staffies - as the breed continues to be the most unwanted in their rehoming centres.
They believe that people are unfairly dismissing the dogs, resulting in them spending on average 23 per cent longer in rescue centres than other breeds with some taking months to find new homes.
When asked to describe the appearance of a staffie, nearly half of people surveyed (45%) by Blue Cross were quick to use negative descriptions, labelling them ‘aggressive and frightening’, ‘angry and ugly-looking’ with many also describing them as scary, brutish, intimidating, nasty and mean.
The survey also showed that nearly three quarters of people would definitely or probably not consider rehoming a staffie. However, 80 per cent of people acknowledged that the breed’s bad reputation was down to irresponsible owners, rather than the dogs themselves.
Carla Hiams, Blue Cross Rehoming Centre Manager, said: “It’s heart-breaking to see so many of these lovely dogs immediately being overlooked because they have been given an unfair label. I wonder if they were in a ‘different costume’, would they be given more of a chance to show their true personality?
“We know that people who don’t have any experience of staffies are sometimes wary of them, because of the bad reputation they have due to a minority of irresponsible owners. But we have so many sweet-natured staffies at our centres - we would urge anyone thinking of rehoming a dog to look further than skin deep and come and meet some of them. Once you get to know them you will realise they can be fantastic, loving pets.”
Blue Cross takes in over 400 unwanted and abandoned staffies every year. The charity also receives calls about many more staffies in need of new homes that they are sadly unable to help, due to lack of space at their rehoming centres.
Blue Cross is dedicated to improving the reputation of bull breeds and regularly visits schools and colleges to deliver its RespectaBULL workshops, which aim to dispel myths about bull breeds such as staffies and encourage owners to get them for the right reason and give them the proper care that they need.