Why are rescue centres full of staffies?

(105 Posts)
lecce Tue 09-Jul-13 21:09:34

Just that really. We are currently looking for a rescue dog and have no criteria other than that we have two dc aged 4& 6 and, having rarely sat on our own sofa together over the last 10 years grin, we would like something a fair bit smaller than the beautiful, sofa-hogging lurcher we recently had pts. We would also like a dog with more of a playful disposition than he had (he was a fantastic dog - not a criticism of him) and for the dog to be as young as possible, definitely no older than 2.

I have been ruling out staffies without really thinking about why. I suppose I had assumed they were aggressive. However, the more I look, the more it seems that we may be waiting a very long time for a dog unless we consider a staffy and I keep seeing all this stuff on websites about how unfair their reputation is.

Is it? Does anyone have any experience of this breed? Can they be great family pets?

There are so many in rescues because they're over-bred. Because they're affected by negative press, and so many people will hand them over if they start families, and not many people will rehome because of the bad press.

They are high energy dogs. They need proper training. They need to be socialised. They need to be walked. They need to be kept busy. Without those things they can be destructive, over boisterous...or worse.

There are some that will be dumped because they haven't made good fighting or guard dogs. Others may be dumped because they're past their use for breeding.

I have one. They're the only breed I would come close to trusting around children - the way they live alongside children is something I've not seen with dogs before - they are actively involved in the lives of "their" little people. They're fantastic, clever, happy dogs - but they need to be in the right hands as the potential they have for damage is larger than other smaller breeds.

shazbean Tue 09-Jul-13 21:45:21

Fad dogs -true but made me laugh.
I haven't seen a Doberman for years, where are they all?

jemstipp Tue 09-Jul-13 21:46:18

There already are lots of huskies in rescue centres due to ignorance, more because they can be destructive, blow their coats twice a year and are ultra efficient escape artists than anything else. I have a husky, as well as a German Shepherd and 3 Cairn terriers. People get huskies as they look "cool" not knowing how much exercise they need. They have a high prey drive and will kill small animals and cats if the opportunity comes along. Should be kept on a lead as they are notoriously heedless to recall (mine does albeit reluctantly lol). All these idiots buying dogs for the look are causing all the problems and for a lot of shite breeding to take place as there are unscrupulous people out there wanting to make a fast few quid. Whatever dog you go for, thoroughly research the breed where possible and ask other owners of the same type of dogs and you should be onto a winner. Still highly recommend Cairns though ;-)

KateCroydon Tue 09-Jul-13 21:48:28

the kennel club on staffies: 'with the human race he is kindness itself and his genuine love of children is well known'.

MacaYoniandCheese Tue 09-Jul-13 21:48:58

Aww, Silky. I totally agree he's lovely, but he's a puppy. Even Grizzly Bear cubs are adorable grin. Here's a picture of a smiling, grown-up Staffy. He looks like a good sort but terriers are very determined, stubborn, mercurial little creatures (we have a Westie and I grew up with JR's). Arm them with a miniature powerhouse body and a wide, strong jaw and you're asking for trouble.

expatinscotland Tue 09-Jul-13 21:49:04

I wouldn't have one, tbh.

Megsdaughter Tue 09-Jul-13 21:52:55

We have two Staffies, rescued both, one at 4 months (Little dog is 3 tomorrow) and one at 2 years old. (Big Dog is now 3)

You couldnt find a softer pair.

We have had people pull there dogs away from them, take one look at DH (with his crew cut) and say some awful things.

Our dogs are never off lead unless up on Salisbury plain away from anyone.

Oh and btw, my 'thug' DH is a Army Dog Handler.

Turniphead1 Tue 09-Jul-13 21:53:18

As an aside - I wonder what happened to the lady on here who got a "half-wolf" puppy for her young family. Dog house thread a few months back. She got some good advice here.

Megsdaughter Tue 09-Jul-13 21:54:20

Both mine are on my profile.

GertrudeMorel Tue 09-Jul-13 21:57:33

My friends lovely cat was ripped apart by a Staffie.

I wouldn't want one.

MothershipG Tue 09-Jul-13 22:00:31

I have a friend who used to show her Staffies, she loves them, but she has said that she won't get another - because the breed's (undeserved) reputation is so bad people started giving her a wide birth and not given her or her dogs a chance.

Although I have nothing against them they just don't appeal to me aesthetically.

Empress77 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:02:53

I think most rescue centres will only give you a dog that they are totally happy are safe for your children - as they dont want to cause a problem or put the dog in a home incorrect for him, so im sure they will be overcautious and careful with who they let you have. You dont always not know whats gone before as often the centre will know the dogs history - some dogs are there through no fault of their own atall. Certainly they can be fantastic pets.

MacaYoniandCheese Tue 09-Jul-13 22:05:01

Meg. I love the picture of them 'spooning'...so cute.

imawigglyworm Tue 09-Jul-13 22:06:21

Any good rescue centre would be over cautious. We tried to rescue a cat a few years ago (already owning one) and no one would let us as my Ds's were 5 &3. most had a min age for children of 6 years if not older. Incase the cats were viscious or the kids terroised the poor cat. Finally cats protection allowed us to rehome 2 cats smile

I have two SBTs and they're both cuddly little lumps. One is now 13 and I've had him since he was five weeks old when his mother and all but one of his litter mates died. The other I've had for about three years. He was in the local pound having been picked up wandering along the A22.

Neither have ever snapped at, bitten or growled at anyone. Both are lovely well behaved dogs. Such a shame they have the reputation they have as they're very loving in the right hands.

Pics on profile.

I would be less likely to get a Staffie purely as they are often owned by young males (and gangs in my area usually have a few- and there are many stray staffie a we've called the RSPCA for- probably todo with our area) who don't give them training, or adequate care and are instead, bred to look vicious and be a dog a guy want to scare people. They are often overbred and poorly bred, with little care, inbreeding and although there are MANY exceptions (mine, to name one!) that doesn't mean that many of the rescue centre dogs are, although lovely, probably quite unsuitable for the younger family. Just like many strong dogs who could easily overpower a younger child, although, if trained and cared for properly, they can be lovely, I prefer smaller dogs who have been trained to be lap dogs (as an example) or used as family dogs, and if no that, then dogs who have a more reliable reputation and any of my children could escape or overpower if so necessary- unlikely, but necessary. So in goes a Border Terrier for example, out goes a German Shepherd.

I rescued a staffie after being told very firmly on here not to get a puppy but to rescue!!! grin He is the softest lump of pudding anyone could meet. Like any dog, I would always be aware of him around children etc, but he has had a roomful of really rambunctious boys all over him and his bed and done nothing more than grin and wag his tail round and round!

They can be a handful around other dogs/cats etc, but I never, ever let him off when we walk him for that reason, and I am happy that we have a 'little brother' for our ds. He is the soppiest, most loving thing ever. He follows me everywhere, treading on the back of my flip flops and pressing his nose on my leg whilst I peg out the washing! as long as some part of his is in contact with some part of you he is happy. They are a much misunderstood and much maligned breed - and I was the first to do this until I had one. I will never have another breed after this. Hth.

I was very nervous of staffies. Their reputation went before them, iyswim. But having met a few since we got Jas, I can only say that they're just like every other breed of dog. Some are gorgeous, soft lumps (elderly bitch that runs around with Jas like a puppy for three seconds before needing a little lie down grin), and some are out of control and worrying (beautiful blue young dog who's 'owner' doesn't agree with leads and tells everyone he thinks he has some pitbull in him hmm). We all tend to judge a book by its cover, but as the owner of an adorable looking spaniel who can be a right shit, I can safely say that its a rubbish way of judging anything. Some dogs seem to get adopted as status dogs for morons, and the breed suffers. I am seeing a ridiculous amount of Huskies, Malamutes and Akitas about at the moment sporting designer collars and leads and being posed outside pubs.

Frettchen Wed 10-Jul-13 11:07:46

It's so heart-breaking to read comments about the 'evils' done by Staffies. I do feel terrible for the few posters who have lost cats to dog attacks, but this is not a breed problem, this is an untrained, out of control dog problem. As has been mentioned, Staffies have been picked as the preferred dog of the 'tough young man', typically with more attitude than sense. They have been trained to be aggressive, but this is the individual dogs being trained, not the entire breed.

Staffies are so often in the news because they are the breed currently being abused by these bad owners. All dogs have the potential to become vicious, aggressive animals, but they also all have the potential to become wonderful, affectionate family pets.

My father has a staffie whippet cross who was previously owned by one of those attitude-filled young men, and who does have some dog aggression issues. He is happy with members of the family, but is frightened of unknown dogs and displays that though barking and lunging. He's wonderful around people, and is so affectionate.

My best friend has a staffie. She got her as a puppy last year, and has two DC (aged 1 and 4) and the dog is great with the children. She went through the usual puppy issues; jumping about and the like, but that's not a Staffie thing, it's a puppy thing.

They are wonderful family dogs if you can look past the awful, undeserved reputation.

ChestyNut Wed 10-Jul-13 11:08:07

I think it's so unfair the reputation staffys have sad

Any dog who is badly treated or trained badly can be aggressive.
The issue is with the owners not the dog.

Chestydog is the most placid, loving dog I've ever met.
I wouldn't have another breed now, he's luffly smile

Google staffy and nanny dog.

meg your brindle staffy looks just like mine.

TotallyBursar Thu 11-Jul-13 14:54:17

The staffies I've had have been no harder to turn around than the labs or spaniels. If they can be - that is not a breed fault, it is an abusive owner fault.

I would pick a staffy to be by my side a hundred times over. Lovely dogs. Little lad we had would have walked over hot coals for me. Most that have come through our hands have gone on to be wonderful companions, much loved.
Judging by breed average is different to judging by rescue average - far fewer people will get a poodle or Goldie as a status dog (unless it's like Monty Python's Bad Nanas) than will get a bull breed or a large breed like Rotties etc. Often cross breeding to make them bigger.

Any rescue dog is a risk, however calculated. Unfortunately staffies are more likely to have been encouraged to pull, lunge, be very vocal at the least and all the other stuff at worst.
Many staffs I've been involved with are a real risk around other dogs. This has not been a problem with the responsibily bred and owned dogs I've known (apart from the statistical outliers every breed has). Unfortunately one aspect people seem to forget when bashing responsible breeders is the behavioural impact a bitch and environs will have on a litter - unless you hand rear from birth you never start with a blank slate, it's just varying degrees of difficulty.

I don't know what the next breed will be - here is cross bred Huskies, Malamutes and a worryingly increasing trend for Boerbels. Staffies are reliable though and I doubt will ever truely go out of fashion just because they have the potential to cause more damage with bites, are intuitive and eager to please their handler (generally) and not the most difficult dog in the world to train.
I feel the potential is what keeps a lot of staffies in rescue (they are over represented in being given up but also take longer to home here) there can potentially be a disaster with an inexperienced owner and, quite rightly, it's not a risk they are willing to take. Once the hard work is done by a rescue or foster carer you then have to find a home for an adult or older dog of an unpopular breed that may or may not need an experienced owner - not going to happen every day.

As a slight aside the cats I've had to pts/were killed by dog attacks were all caused by Greyhounds. Also small furries - but you won't find many that don't recommend a (retired) G'hound as an excellent dog.

TotallyBursar Thu 11-Jul-13 15:14:19

Ha, shit sorry rantingly killed your thread blush.

I am waiting for someone to come and tell me I'm a bellend so hopeful we will be back on track soon.

ShesADreamer Thu 11-Jul-13 16:02:18

I have 2 retired greyhounds (would never let them near a cat!) who had never met other breeds of dog or learned to play before coming to us.

In both cases it was lovely exuberant staffies who first helped them see it was ok to play and that other dogs were great!

Lovely dogs in the right hands.

Twattybollocks Sun 14-Jul-13 00:28:52

Staffs are generally lovely dogs, if you train them and treat them right as others have said. I have 3dc, 8yo,7yo and 5mo. I have no concerns at all about the dog and the kids. Of course I always supervise, but the dog actually joins in the games rather than just watching or putting up with it (except the dog grooming game where she has to have a bath, she's not overly keen on that one but puts up with it as there are treats if she sits still)
She is a bit over friendly with visitors, not many folk like a dogs tongue in their ear but she is well trained, well socialised and an all round happy lovely dog.

carly183 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:21:38

I work in rescue. 95% of our dogs here are staffies and staffie crosses. The reason is because of most of the opinions that people who have no experience of them as shown above - that they are "aggressive" and out for blood. The newspapers will print a story about a dog attack and automatically print a picture of a SBT - whether it was a SBT or not that was actually involved! I have seen a Lab rip a 3 1/2yr old boy apart - yet Labs are considered family dogs. I have witnessed Cocker Spaniels puncturing their lifelong owners from no where - but again spaniels are seen as "soft and scatty". As soon as the media report a story, we have an influx of SBTs who have been with a family for 10yrs+, never shown an ounce of aggression and always been great with the kids - but thanks to the papers scaring these people, they turf out their well trained and peaceful SBT because of idiotic comments and opinions from people who have never actually owned nor dealt with one. If the media reported that all black people were aggressive and will "switch" at the slightest provocation, there would be outcry and complaints of "not every black person is the same". Same thing.
A lot of the SBTs that end up in rescue are here because they are NOT what they were bought for - they refuse to fight or bite. So think about that first. SBTs are two a penny at the mo and therefore if a young person loses his or he cannot work it up enough to be aggressive for him, its easier for him to pay £30 to the bloke down the road for a new pup rather than spend however much looking for his dog - again, one of the main reasons they end up here.
Staffies are incredibly gentle and fantastic family dogs - they were bred to be PEOPLE friendly. A lot of SBTs are PTS in kennels because they slowly go insane due to the lack of human contact - more so than any other breed.

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