If you were to form an opinion of Staffordshire Bull Terriers from what you read and see in the media, what would you say about them? You would *probably* picture a snarling dog with bared teeth, foaming at the mouth – because that is what they show us. You might then describe them as the dog that attacks anything that crosses their path – because that is what they tell us.
You couldn’t be further from the truth. Did you know that they are one of the only breeds to be described as a ‘Nanny dog’ by The Kennel Club because of how good they are with children and they actually come below Labradors on the list of dogs most likely to bite?
Although more often than not they are presented to us via the media as vicious killers, causing people to roll their eyes and exclaim “of course, it would be a Staffie.” Sometimes, just sometimes, we are shown the breed for what they really are – loyal, loving and far, far softer than you think.
Stella the Sniffer Dog
Did you know that, at any given time, 80% of the dogs in Battersea are Staffies or Staffie-crosses? Like too many, Stella was abandoned and ended up in a Somerset rescue centre. But this Staffie wasn’t just re-homed, she was taken in by PC Claire Todd and assigned to the Gloucestershire Police section of the ‘Tri-Force’ specialist operations unit and became an award winning sniffer dog. After sniffing out £25,000 of laundered cash, drugs and guns – Stella was named the winner of the Public Service Animal of the Year Award at the Animal Hero Awards in 2015.
PC Todd said, “I was a bit sceptical when I first met her because she isn’t a usual breed for a police dog so I tested her vigorously both inside and outside. When I saw her working she just blew me away.
She isn’t fazed or scared of anything and she never gives up – that is what makes her a great police dog. We go round schools together talking about her work and she is great with the children when they want to stroke her and pet her…It just goes to show that in the right hands Staffordshire Bull Terriers are amazing dogs with so much potential”
She even has her own Twitter account and you can follow her here: @PdStellaGlosPol
Romeo the Blood Donor
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) January 7, 2017
Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Romeo, has been awarded the Blue Cross Medal due to a huge range of good deeds he does for both people and other animals. He has donated blood every three to four months for the last two years to help save lives – and that is just for starters. He is also a qualified ‘Pets as Therapy’ dog – visiting stroke patients and dementia sufferers – at hospitals and care homes. And,if that is not enough, he helps children to overcome their fear of dogs.
TV presenter, Chris Packham, who was also one of the judges, said “Staffies sadly do suffer from a bad reputation and Romeo completely transforms the stereotype for this lovely breed with all the incredible ways he helps out people and other dogs.”
Buzz the Guide Dog
How cute? Glenn the Jack Russell and Buzz the Staffie need to find a new home together… Buzz is Glenn’s guide dog! pic.twitter.com/2v0CyblHST
— Heart North West (@HeartNorthWest) June 23, 2015
Elderly and blind Jack Russell Glenn was found abandoned in a sea tunnel in Hartlepool, Durham with his Staffie guide dog, Buzz. They were both rescued by the Stray Aid Centre.
Glenn gets disorientated without Buzz and so the Staffie acts as his eyes directing him to his food and helping him to his bed. The pair are inseparable, becoming distressed when apart for even a few minutes.
Centre Manager John said, “They stay together at all times and Glenn follows Buzz wherever he goes. Wherever one goes the other one follows.”
Lola the Loyal Pooch
A mum-of-three was just a few minutes from her home in Northern Ireland when a man pulled her into the dark, covered her mouth and attempted to pull down her trousers.
Her screams were muffled but her pet Staffie Lola began to growl at the man. She then sunk her teeth into his arm, causing him to flee. If it hadn’t been for Lola’s loyalty and her natural instinct to protect, this story could have had a very different ending.
The woman, who has not been named, said “I have no doubt as to what his intentions were, he was definitely out to rape me…
I am so thankful I had Lola with me. She is a two-year-old Staffie and she is just so gentle normally. She is such a placid dog at home but I can’t even bare to think what would have happened if she hadn’t been with me.
Her instinct to protect kicked in and if it wasn’t for her I have no doubt what would have happened, she is our hero.”
Leala the Lifesaver
Nine-year-old Staffie Leala saved her two-year-old owner’s life after finding him face down in a dam next to their home in Australia. She jumped in and tried to help him before racing back to the house to bark at the boy’s father.
The boy made an unexpected full recovery which was put down to the dogs quick-thinking instincts.
“Without Leala we wouldn’t have our little boy with us today” the boy’s mother wrote on Facebook.
Freya the Hollywood Actress
Britain’s ‘loneliest dog,’ who had spent her whole life in an animal shelter after being rejected more than 18,000 times by potential owners, landed a top role in the fifth Transformers movie – ‘The Last Knight,’ alongside Anthony Hopkins.
Six-year-old Staffie Freya who has epilepsy, was noticed by movie director Michael Bay when staff at Freshfields Animal Rescue Centre set up a Facebook campaign for fear she would never find a home.
The director tweeted that she would not only join the cast of Transformers, but that he would find a new home for her, potentially one of his own.
So, before you judge Staffordshire Bull Terriers remember, they are not inherently bad dogs – the problem is with the person holding their lead not the Staffie at the end of it.