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There are many misconceptions about Staffordshire bull terriers, also known as Staffies, and confusion about their characteristics and suitability as family pets. While they may be perceived as rough and tough, in reality, with the right owners Staffies can be wonderfully behaved dogs.
In the past Staffies have been very popular, loving family pets thanks to their affinity with people and gentle behaviour, often earning them the nickname 'nanny dog'. In fact, the Kennel Club has stated that "With the human race, he is kindness itself, and his genuine love of children is well known.”
Staffies are highly intelligent, affectionate and eager to please, giving you a lifetime of devotion. Sadly people don’t always associate the breed with these qualities.
Through no fault of its own, the Staffie has suffered bad press in recent years due to an aggressive reputation and popularity as a status symbol. This negative image has arisen from irresponsible ownership – those seeking a macho looking dog, training it especially to be aggressive or owners with good intentions but without the lifestyle to suit the breed or knowledge to train them effectively. Any dog can be aggressive or difficult to control in the wrong hands.
The National RSPCA chief vet stated: "Staffies have had a terrible press, but this is not of their own making - in fact they're wonderful dogs. If people think that Staffies have problems, they're looking at the wrong end of the dog lead!"
"When well cared for and properly trained they can make brilliant companions. Our experience suggests that problems occur when bad owners exploit the Staffie's desire to please by training them to show aggression.”
Sadly due to overbreeding and bad press, across the country, animal centres like ours have become overwhelmed by unwanted Staffies. On average, over half of the dogs in our care are Staffordshire bull terriers.
We are therefore launching an appeal to help raise awareness of the plight of the Staffordshire bull terrier and help people understand their true, happy nature.
The Make a Staffie Smile Appeal aims to raise funds to enable us to:
· Offer an affordable neutering scheme – helping to tackle irresponsible breeding of Staffies and reduce the number of unwanted dogs in Bristol.
· Rehabilitate and ultimately rehome the many unwanted Staffies in our care.
Like any of our dogs, they would be far more comfortable sharing your home (or indeed your lap) than spending long periods of time on their own in a kennel. These affectionate and playful dogs are desperate to find a home where they will be a cherished member of the family, providing years of love and affection.
· Introduce ‘Staffie Saturdays’ – an opportunity for the public to meet and learn more about Staffies, understanding how soft they actually are.
You can help Make a Staffie Smile by supporting our appeal today.
Every penny counts and we hope that with your support, we can reduce the number of these misunderstood dogs that find themselves calling a kennel ‘home’.
Make a Staffie Smile!
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