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Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Member Name: tinkabubble
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Date: 28/05/10, updated on 24/10/10 (1037 review reads)
Advantages: In my experience, great with people, good fun, like their home comforts, very intelligent
Disadvantages: Ours was a bit of a rogue, haha!
Staffordshire Bull Terriers have received alot of negative publicity of late, and DEFRA are even considering adding them to the list of 'Dangerous Dogs', which I think is really sad.
Once upon a time, the humble Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or the Staffie as it is affectionately known, was noted for its good nature around people and especially children for which some called them 'nanny dogs', and it is so terribly sad now that we might well lose this fantastic breed through no fault of its own.
I find it so irritating that undesirable people are taking these dogs and treating them so badly as to encourage them to be vicious to other dogs and people. I have no first hand experience of this, but there are endless reports about this breed being used as status dogs, and dogs for protection for people such as drug dealers, and still people arrange dogfights in this country, with which this breed above all others is now most associated.
Of course any breed of dog can attack, but a dog's temprement must depend an awful lot on how it is raised and so it is most definitly the owners at fault in most cases rather than the dog.
Now, the Staffie has lost its good reputation and many people just associate this dog with child attacks and fear has obviously driven many owners to abandon their Staffies as rescues are now literally over-flowing with them :(
It also means that some Staffie owners are subject to abuse while out on walks with their dogs, people shouting at them for letting 'dangerous' dogs out in public, etc.
Having had a lovely Staffordshire Bull Terrier in our family, I think it's sad that they have been reduced to their current state, and some people even think that Staffies and Pit Bulls are one and the same: While walking my dog the other day, a lady in the street was kind enough to warn me that there was a stray dog on the canal which had got loose from next door. She told me it was a Pit Bull sort, and I said, doubting that it would be the rarer Pit Bull and assuming there was some confusion, "a Staffie?" to which she replied, "yes I think".
Our Staffie Marvin was fantastic. My sister bought him when I was only about three and as a puppy, he used to chase me round the coffee table trying to bite my nappy (one of my earliest memories, after our trip to visit him at his breeders!). But as he grew older, it became apparent that Marvin certainly was no fighter. Naughty? Well, yes, somewhat! Mischievous? Definitly! But aggressive? No way.
Marvin was so intelligent and used this to his best advantage, manipulating people and our other dog, Otis, in order to get what he wanted, which was basically food! He once licked all the topping off my brother's 18th birthday cake, haha! And had a side sweep for maximum in put; he would cause a distraction, often encouraging our other dog to bark at the door as though he had heard something, and while everyone was otherwise engaged, he would clear the table by sweeping his open mouth across it! Sometimes, he would just pinch food straight out of your hand too... He also quite often went toilet in bedrooms too. Usually mine actually! And I had so many toys with Marvin teeth marks in them, but now I keep them for sentimental reasons.
He was a definite people dog though, despite his naughtiness; he liked an ear massage, loved being at home with his people, being stroked on the couch or sitting on the windowsill taking in the view and barking at people who walked past and were cheeky enough to stare and point! I always had to put a book under his back leg so that it didn't burn on the radiator when it slipped from the windowsill. He wouldn't go out in the rain; he would sit in the street and refuse point blank to go any further.
He was a big softie, and when I was growing up, I was never at all scared of Marvin. I remember my dad's friend coming round once (he loved Marvin and Marvin loved visitors and would make a fuss of them and even nibble their ears affectionately!) and I was lying on the floor with Marvin, and Tom remarked how soft he was and that he'd let me do anything without batting an eye, not that I was ever rough with Marvin, that I remember anyway, but he dealt in the same relaxed way with all my neices and nephews too from them being babies and upwards.
Marvin really did love children and would change his approach when he was dealing with children, genuinly, visibly becoming much gentler and less hyper around them. And other Staffies I've known have had these exact same great qualities with regards to children; they will let themselves be messed about and patted roughly and will still be gentle around the child, seeming to sense that children are different to adults. We also saw a beautiful little Staffie at our local pound, and her little face actually lit up when she saw my little nephew, bless her.
Neither was Marvin confrontational with other dogs; he was strong, like a little tank on the end of a lead, but he definitly used his brain far more than his brawn. He was really a bit of a scardy cat unless he had to be brave. He was scared of loud bangs (so fireworks and balloons) and didn't like the cold (probably because they have such short hair). He'd shake when cold or scared.
He was great fun though, a proper little character, really did seem to think he was a human (dog food was a big no no for Marvin, he wanted what everyone else was eating!) and he was a lovely, gentle soul (one time, as a young dog, he went for a ball my brother was throwing and accidently caught his finger and looked guilt stricken when he realised he's hurt my brother; he always seemed to be able to sense when people were hurt or upset and would come to comfort you).
He loved chasing bubbles, which was really funny to watch, and he loved playing tug of war with his rope (he was particularly good at this) as well as getting under the duvet at night time and walking up the bed til his head was on the pillow too.
Unfortunately, he only lived til 9 years as he got a cancer and the Vet operated but couldn't remove all of the cancer as it was surrounding his Jugular vein. But he was so brave at the end and had real grace in his later years; we miss him terribly and his antics are legendary around here, we still find ourselves talking about him all the time.
If it hadn't been for the great experience of growing up with Marvin and Otis, I wouldn't have got my current dog; they turned me into a dog person :)
In my experience of this breed, they are fantastic, loving pets who really have a great affinity with people, especially children. They are real intelligent, but use this differently, some to their own ends and some to the ends of their owners and others (we met a Staffie guide dog and thought how terrible it would be having Marvin as a guide dog and being dragged all over the street on the trail of rogue doughnuts and kebabs!) You also seem to get some Staffies that will walk nice on a lead and come back to you on cue, where as others, like Marvin, really are just almost untrainable (Marvin could of course sit, lie and shake hands...for food...only...)
So they are a breed that I would recommend. Some say they can sometimes be tempremental with other dogs, and I have met a few who've had a go at my dog, but Marvin was never any trouble in this respect. He was just a fantastic friend, who loved his home comforts and being with his family.
Summary: A contraversial breed at the moment but don't judge a book by its cover :)