Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or "Staffies" as they’re affectionately known, have been under the spotlight for a number of years - but not in a positive way. Sadly, because of their compact, muscular build they seem to appeal to the “wannabe tough” members of society. People who don’t know Staffies usually picture an aggressive dog at the end of a chain lead, being yanked back by a thuggish-looking teenager. In reality, they’re some of the softest, sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. Every Staffy that I know and have owned would sooner lick you to death than bite!
My first Staffy
Ty was my first Staffy and the apple of my eye. He was abandoned and was very sensitive and nervous if he heard arguing or shouting. He would avoid conflict at all costs and would even run upstairs into his little “den” if the other dogs got a bit rowdy whilst playing. A lot of uneducated people picture Staffies as being dog haters and the ones who initiate fights but Ty was the complete opposite. He made me fall in love with the breed and gave the best cuddles imaginable! My friends and family used to call him a little brick because he was so solid and pure muscle, yet small and very affectionate.
An intelligent breed
Ty was also incredibly intelligent and knew if I was having a bad day as he would just sit with me, which always made me feel so much better. I lost my little Ty only a few months ago and I miss him dearly. He opened my eyes and showed me the true nature of Staffies and was the perfect example of the breed – amazing with children, cats, dogs, horses, chickens and pigs. In fact he never put a foot wrong. He will always be my number one little Staffy man.
I found Bobby roaming through a housing estate not far from where I live. He was very underweight, malnourished and didn’t smell very pleasant to put it mildly. I watched Bobby rummaging through black bin bags trying to find any morsel of food he could. My heart went out to him and I knew I wasn’t going to leave him there. I asked some of the local residents if they knew who he belonged to and unsurprisingly didn’t get very far so I took him to the vets to be scanned for a microchip.
"I'll stay here thanks"
Unfortunately Bobby didn’t have a microchip so I brought him back home, gave him a bath, a decent meal, water and a warm bed. The dog warden showed up not long after this and took pictures of him and asked if I wanted him to take Bobby to the local pound or to keep him until an owner came forward. It was as though Bobby knew what the warden was saying as he instantly sat in between my legs as if to say “I’ll stay here thanks”.
The most abandoned breed
The warden mentioned that over half of the dogs in the pound were Staffies or Staffy crosses. If they were not claimed or rehomed within a certain timescale, they would have to be put to sleep to make room for the endless number of strays that get handed in. I knew that Bobby was going nowhere so he stayed. This won’t surprise you but his owner didn’t claim him so after 30 days of holding him, Bobby legally became mine.
Making new friends
Sadly, it became apparent that Bobby didn’t understand other dogs and wasn’t able to live with them (likely due to not being socialised properly as a pup). He was also unsure of my cats at first but he now shares his space with a disabled little tabby cat called Mika, who he is great with, and totally ignores all the other cats outside! He’s even made friends with my sheep, pigs (the piglets think he’s one of them), horses, chickens and ducks!
Finally, there is Diesel. This shiny black Staffy was also a stray and had many homes before finding me. He had been hit by a car so was scared of traffic and hadn’t been walked, so was full of energy! Diesel is only young, around two or three years old, so he’s still a typical bouncy pup but he has a heart of gold and would never hurt anyone or anything intentionally. Diesel is perfect around other dogs, cats, kids, horses, chickens, pigs and sheep - just like Ty and Bobby. He’s an absolute gem and very loving and reminds me of Ty in so many ways. He has the same build as Ty, cuddles just like him and behaves just like him too. I know that Ty would have loved him! Diesel now lives the life of luxury with my parents, niece, their beautiful dog Dorla, a springer spaniel cross and four adorable cats.
One of the most forgiving breeds
Ty, Diesel and Bobby come from very different walks of life but all have one thing in common. They were let down by humans. Despite this, they still adore people and all three have a heart of pure gold. They’re one of the most forgiving breeds I’ve ever known and never fail to put a smile on my face with their silly, Staffy ways! They have the biggest smile imaginable and just want to be loved. Their coat is easy to take care of and they enjoy plenty of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and fit. They also excel at doggy sports like agility and flyball yet are equally as happy cuddled up on the sofa with you.
Britain's favourite dog breed?
Staffordshire Bull Terriers were recently voted on TV (ITV's Britain's Favourite Dogs) as Britain’s favourite dog breed yet rescue shelters up and down the country are packed full of Staffies and Staffy crosses - more than any other breed. If you ever want to get to know a Staffy's true nature, I suggest popping down to your local animal shelter and volunteering to take one or two out for a walk. You’ll fall in love with their goofy yet sweet nature just like I did.