The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an incredibly popular breed of dog in the UK, as are many related “Bully Breeds” all over the world. They were voted the most popular dog in the UK in 2019, and despite this they are a dog that still has an awful reputation with people who have never owned one or spent any serious time with one.
The reputation comes from a few sources. Firstly, there is no denying that they are a very powerful dog. They are about the most powerful dog you can own in the UK without applying for a licence through a court. And this alone can scare people.
Also, they are often owned by idiotic people, used in hideous ways (attack dogs, status dogs, fighting dogs), and then cast away to be picked up by shelters. The ones in shelters then often tend to be dogs with huge behavioural issues.
Finally, when a Staffie bites someone, because of their power that person tends to end up in hospital, and the papers often pick up on the story and perpetuate the myth that they are aggressive dogs. Other dogs who bite people often don’t send them to hospital, and the story often doesn’t end up in the local newspaper.
The truth is that Staffies are very intelligent dogs, so training them for unspeakable things is easy to do. But, like any other dog, they are not naturally aggressive dogs. Treated correctly, or purchased as a puppy, the Staffie can be the most wonderful family dog. They are easy to train, energetic, and very loving and loyal members of the family.
This writer’s Staffie, Bruno is the perfect example of how wonderful they can be. He was a rescue, mistreated, and yet is still the softest and most loving dog you could ask for, and a dog I would trust implicitly in front of any child. But still, when we are walking out together people cross the street in fear, and recoil in horror when we enter our local coffee shop for a large Latte and a Puppycino. I always ask these people to meet Bruno, cuddle him, and see that just like any other breed the Staffie is simply awesome.