Look around your local animal shelter, and you’ll often notice a Staffordshire Bull Terrier staring back at you. Staffies are devoted and affectionate family dogs, as Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners lovingly call their dogs. Likewise, Staffies are renowned for being exceptionally kind and patient with children. Over the past two decades, Staffies have become increasingly popular.
Still, some unscrupulous owners have exploited them for fighting or as a status symbol. Owners like these are looking for aggressive fighting dogs, only to find this is not a Staffy’s nature. So they quickly pack the dog off to the nearest animal shelter.
Why Are There So Many Staffies in Shelters?
Understanding why Staffordshire Bull Terriers are so popular is the first step toward answering why so many of these dogs end up in rescue centres, where they are often overrepresented. Throughout its long history, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been a favourite family companion known for its calm demeanour, loyalty, tolerance, and ability to get along well with youngsters.
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As a breed, the Staffy has a devoted fan base and responsible owners who consider their dog a family member for all of the right reasons.
However, with their no-nonsense appearance and ease of training, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier has sadly gained popularity among those who give dog owners and certain dog breeds a bad name. Staffies are popular for owners who want to boost their ‘street cred’ or status. These people want to appear more intimidating, dangerous, or deserving of respect by owning a powerful-looking dog.
When a person wants to own a dog to make them feel better about themselves, this is a recipe for disaster. People who own dogs for reasons like this are almost undoubtedly ill-equipped to care for and train their dogs correctly. Unfortunately, they also have a greater risk of mistreating or neglecting their dog than those who own a dog because they choose to make the dog part of their family.
According to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the UK’s largest pet rescue and rehoming shelter, up to 80% of the dogs in their care are Staffordshire Bull Terriers. In addition to cross breeds/mixed breeds with Staffordshire Bull Terrier breeding and looks at any given time. Those types of numbers are probably representative of most shelters throughout the country.
According to Dr Thomas Fletcher, a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, “They’re one of the dog breeds that has a negative stigma attached to them, and one of those is around “chav culture.” He says, “The majority of coverage of Staffies represents them as the dog of choice among certain groups – white working-class youths – or ‘chavs’ being one of those.”
The campaigns director for the Dog’s Trust, Elvira Meucci, said dog choice and image extend beyond Staffies and ‘chav culture.’
“There’s no doubt you’re saying something about your personality (with your dog).” She continues, “Staffordshire Bull Terriers are powerful-looking dogs, and therefore they can be used to portray their owners as strong and macho, just as a Chihuahua is the choice of girls who want to look trendy.” You can read more of this BBC article here.
According to the Blue Cross, the Staffy is the most ‘unwanted’ dog in their care and takes 23% longer to rehome a Staffy than other breeds. Incredibly, some Staffies take months before they find new owners. In addition, in research by Blue Cross, they found that three-quarters of people looking to rehome a dog would not consider a Staffy because of this perceived impression the dog has developed.
Blue Cross attempt to rehome over 400 Staffies each year, which would be even higher if Blue Cross could accommodate more dogs.
How to Rescue a Staffy
Rescuing a Staffy or any dog breed is not as straightforward as popping into your local shelter and choosing a dog you like. Reputable shelters need to know Staffies they rehome are going to a loving family.
In addition, they need to ensure that every family is aware of the time, energy, cost, and commitment necessary to bring home their new Staffy.
Typical steps to rehome a Staffy, follow something similar to this:
1. You go to your shelter’s website of choice and browse the available dogs.
2. If you see a dog that appeals to you and your family, you will click on the picture to begin the rehoming process.
3. The shelter will require you to complete an application form. You will need to add your details, address, and current living circumstances.
4. The shelter will arrange an appointment for you to meet the dog at the shelter. Some shelters also arrange a home check before they allow you to meet the dog of your choice.
5. If the shelter, you, and the Staffy agree it’s a mutual match, the shelter will arrange another appointment for you to collect your Staffy and take them home.
6. Every shelter will want to keep in touch with you after the adoption process is complete.
It’s not free to rescue dogs from a shelter. Rehoming fees start at around £175 and can rise above £250 depending on the shelter and if you want a puppy.
How NOT to Rescue a Staffy
The general public frequently misunderstands animal rescues as being controlled or licenced facilities. However, the reality is that anyone can organise a rescue, regardless of their expertise, experience, or funding level.
If you want to rescue a Staffy, you should make sure the shelter provides these basics:
– Before you take home your Staffy, does the shelter vaccinate, neuter, deflea, worm and microchip all of their dogs?
– Did they assess you correctly and appropriately before approving you as an adopter. Was the person carrying out the assessment suitably qualified if they assessed you?
– How long has the Staffy been in the shelter? Reputable shelters always keep their dogs for a minimum time to assess them properly.
– Was there any sign of urgency from the shelter about the adoption? Did they try to rush you into signing the papers?
– Did they request to visit your home before accepting you?
– What level of ongoing support does the shelter offer?
– Did you meet the Staffy before any decision on adoption had to be made?
– Did you ask other rescues for information regarding the shelter you intend to adopt from?
– Is the rescue a registered charity?
– Is the rescue a member of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes?
9 Amazing Staffy Shelters
Best Staffy Rescue Centres in the UK
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Animal rescue organisation, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, has been around since the mid-1800s. It has helped stray dogs and cats find new loving homes for more than a century and a half.
After finding new homes for more than three million animals, Battersea has a unique understanding of rescue animal placement.
They boast an enviable record of achieving excellent matches 99 per cent of the time.
Happy Staffie is an independent charity in Kidderminster, Midlands. Although the charity is based in Kidderminster, they rehome Staffies from all over the UK. They have no government funding and rely solely on charitable donations from the public.
The charity was founded in June 2009 and is a registered charity in England and Wales. They are not the largest charity but specialise in rescuing, caring and rehoming Staffordshire Bull Terriers and their crossbreeds.
The Dogs Trust is one of the UK’s leading dog welfare charities and came into existence in the 1900s. It became the Dogs Trust in 2003 and has branches all around the country. They have even launched their dog training school, and if you adopt a puppy from them, you must attend four weeks of puppy training classes.
Over the years, the Dogs Trust has been instrumental in changing many laws around dog ownership and welfare.
More Staffy Rescue Centres
- Staffie & Stray Rescue
- The Senior Staffy Club
- Staffie Smiles Rescues – Edinburgh & Lothians
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier Welfare
- Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue
Best Staffy Rescue Centers in the USA
It’s A Pittie Rescue
It’s a Pittie Rescue is a volunteer-based no-kill rescue that is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming any of the Pit Bull type breeds. You can find them in Peotone, Illinois.
This rescue is a non-profit corporation registered with the State of Illinois and licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare.
Angel City Pit Bulls
Angel City Pit Bulls take Pit Bull type dogs from other shelters in and around Los Angeles. Most of the dogs they rehome live in multi-dog foster homes where they seem to settle more quickly and are the happiest.
ACPB have dogs with a range of temperaments and is confident they can match the best dog to the potential parents, whether as a jogging partner or a therapy dog.
The Love Pit Dog Rescue
You will find the Love Pit Rescue in Dallas, Texas. This company focus on foster-based rescue. All dogs available are cared for by foster parents until they meet their forever parents and go home with them.
TLP work hard to save Pit Bull type dogs through rescue, education, training and rehabilitation.
They currently have 65 dogs available for rescue, and in 2021, they saved 1,138 Pit Bull lives. They have a very active Instagram account where they advertise dogs for adoption; currently, they have over 17K followers.
More Staffy Rescue Centres
- Bobbie’s Pit Bull Rescue & Sanctuary – Spotsylvania, Virginia
- Best Friends – Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Northwest Arkansas
- SPCA International – New York
- New York Bully Crew – New York
- Animal House Shelter – Huntley, Illinois
Best Staffy Rescue Centers in Australia
Staffy Rescue covers New South Wales and Sydney; their shelter is in north-western Sydney. Staffy Rescue takes dogs from death row at different dog pounds across NSW.
Staffy Rescue is a no-kill dog rescue; it doesn’t matter how long it takes to rehome a dog, they are never put down. The rescue pays for all costs, including vet bills, from donations.
The centre doesn’t accept surrender dogs and focuses only on death row dogs.
You will find Saving Staffies, a not-for-profit charity based in Penrith, NSW. Their focus is rescuing Staffordshire Bull Terriers, rehabilitation, rehoming and responsible ownership.
The volunteer-only organisation rescues Staffies from local council pounds. The rescue brings the dogs into a home environment, and time is spent trying to find the perfect home.
All rehomed Staffies are vaccinated, wormed, micro-chipped and neutered.
Queensland Staffy & Amstaff Rescue
Qld. Staffy & Amstaff Rescue covers most of the Queensland area. When they began, they only had a couple of dogs in foster care. The number has now grown to 100 dogs in care.
Currently, they don’t have a purpose-built shelter and rely solely on their foster cares around the state. Now they provide temporary kennels and boarding kennels for emergencies.
Despite this, they are well known in the area and have a household name. They survive solely by generous public donations and their small army of foster parents.
More Staffy Rescue Centres
- All Over Staffy Rescue – Melbourne
- SABBR – Perth
- Stafford Rescue Victoria – Victoria
Staffy Rescue Charities
Even if you cannot adopt a rescue Staffy, you can still help. The best way is to donate to one of the Staffy charities. Most charities will accept donations in two ways. First, you can make a single donation, or you can make a regular monthly contribution. The monthly figure for donations is typically £2 a month, which will also entitle you to receive the charity’s monthly newsletters.
All of the Staffy rescue centres above accept donations from the public. In fact, for most of them, if not all, it’s their only source of funding.
Volunteer at a Staffy Shelter
Finally, you can help Staffy charities by volunteering. Volunteers have plenty of opportunities to help from working in the charity shops, assisting in the rehoming centres, regular dog walking and even foster care.
The only qualifications you require are a positive mindset and a love of dogs. Charities will offer any necessary training to suitable people.