One of the most common questions Dogs Trust staff get asked is, “what is the most common breed of dog you get?”. This can be hard to answer, as sometimes we get a flurry of lab crosses, and other times it seems like we are full of collies and lurchers. But a breed that we consistently see come through our doors is the staffie, so we thought we’d use today’s blog piece to highlight the sturdy and reliable breed that is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Sidney the stunning Staffie, is currently waiting for her forever home in Dogs Trust
The staffie is a very misunderstood fellow. Often regarded as a dangerous breed, yet for many years the staffie’s nickname was the nanny dog, due to their good reputation around children (it is worth noting that Dogs Trust insist no dog should be left unsupervised around children). The breed came about sometime after the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835, which was also called the Humane Act. The act was brought in to put a stop to Bear and Bull Baiting-a horrifically cruel pastime of the era, and the act also forbade dog fighting.
Up until this point, the dog most commonly used for these activities were bulldogs. We all recognise the distinct appearance of the Winston Churchill bulldog, but back in the 17th and 18th century, the bulldog was a completely different animal; much larger and stronger. Once the Cruelty to Animals Act came into being, it became harder to stage these activities as they were pushed underground, so the bulldog was bred with the smaller terrier, and this is where the Staffordshire Bull terrier is believed to have come about. Yet it soon became apparent that these dogs were more lovers than fighters, and after years of campaigning, the breed was officially recognised in 1935 by the kennel club of Great Britain. Today they are one of the most popular pets in the UK, however they have never quite escaped their unwarranted reputation.
Full of energy and affection, there are few creatures more sweet and loveable than a staffie puppy. Though they are a restricted breed, and Irish law states that they must wear a muzzle when going out for walks, in Dogs Trust we have a saying, that it is the deed, not the breed, and it is important to remain safe around all dogs.
They are also extremely agile, and have been known to scale fences of six foot, or higher.
And then there’s those jaws. Those massive, powerful jaws that love little more than chewing a shoe/slipper/skirting board until it no longer resembles its former self. Make sure if you have a staffie in your house, you provide them with lots of sturdy chew toys to keep them busy.
And keep them busy you must, because the staffie just loves to learn. They are highly intelligent and adore being trained-especially when food is involved.
Like all dogs, they take a lot of time, money and space (see last weeks post) to keep happy and healthy, but staffies make very rewarding and lovable pets. Perhaps we have one waiting for you to rehome them today?
Lexi is another Staffie at Dogs Trust, who is waiting for her forever home
And this is Tyson, the Staffie cross, who is also looking for a loving family