Before I became a dog-walker at the RSPCA Southridge, I had exactly the same perception as much of you about the Saffordshire Bull Terrier breed! Oh how wrong I was!
They are given this label and perception of being menacing and unfriendly dogs which couldn't be more wrong. Unfortunately breeders are over-breeding them for money and rehoming them often to the wrong types of people. They are also advertised online at a low-cost making them easy to purchase and trained to be these 'status' dogs then abandoned once they're done with.
They are often abused and mis-treated for absolutely no fault of their own. This means that over 80% of dogs put into rehoming centres are Staffie Bull Terriers. They end up staying there for longer than most other breeds and people then start to wonder why have they been in there so long and hence they are less likely to get them. It's an extremely sad and vicious circle which must end now!
People must start viewing and perceiving them the same as any other dog. They have the same desires, needs and wants as any other breed out there. They are so mis-understood and mis-interpreted and I wish this could change.
I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that two of my favourite dogs at the RSPCA Southridge are two Staffie Bull Terriers: Alfie and Poppy! They are simply gorgeous and very loving dogs. Unfortunately they get very stressed in their kennels and are often seen to be getting very agitated in there hence making people less likely to warm to them. An absolute shame. Each time I walk them, I always have a lovely and fun time. Especially with Alfie who is the most friendly, energetic,fun-loving and sweet boy! He loves to chase the ball and we have such a great time playing! He is always so happy when some-one comes to his kennel, wagging his tail like mad. It just proves that all he really wants is love and affection. He can get stressed in his kennel especially being there for such a long time, just like any other dog! Imagine spending so much time in a kennel when all you want to do is run around and be cared for! He desperately needs some love from a caring family!
There's also this other problem with families not thinking twice about getting a Staffie Bull Terrier because they are perhaps looking more towards what is seen as a 'family' breed in modern society, maybe a purebred dog. They are missing out on getting such a wonderful dog by over-seeing them. Having been a dog-walker for quite a few months, I definitely see a lot of other breeds come and go yet the Staffie Bull Terriers seem to stay much longer. I know a lot of families think they don't look as appealing or they are going to be a threat to their young children but if they looked into the right one for them, they could be in for such a treat.
Often Staffie Bull Terriers aren't one shade of the same colour. Quite a few of them have large patches of other colour shades over their fur. A lot of people, even if they don't admit it, would prefer a dog which is the same colour or who at least has the majority of one colour. They would perhaps prefer a breed who in their eyes is more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. People also maybe get scared of thinking 'outside the box' when all their friends have these lovely purebred dogs, what would they think if they brought home a Staffie Bull Terrier? Would people judge them or think it was odd to bring home this breed? Would they stand out for walking a Staffie Bull Terrier in the park instead of another breed?
These may be presumptions but there could be truth behind them too. All I know is that every dog deserves love and a home. I fear for this particular breed as I often think, what are their future prospects? Will they ever get a home? At this rate, I worry they won't. But it just takes one person to change their perception and give them a chance to perhaps start a knock on effect. If people were perhaps more open-minded and even came along to walk a few once in a while,then maybe, just maybe they would think differently! They are so amazing and such beautiful animals on the inside and out.
I would so love the image and perception to change on this particular breed and for them to be given a chance in life to prove how fantastic they really are. The RSPCA Southridge is a great place to start!