The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a very misunderstood breed of dog. In recent years these animals have been bred for dog fighting and have been used as so called ‘status’ dogs among gangs of youths. I know them as the Nanny dog.
It is a shame that there has been so much media coverage about the poorer side of the nature of these dogs. As a result, there has a been a massive increase in kennels and rescue centres, where Staffordshire Bull Terriers are being taken in and not given the chance of a decent family home. People have no patience and will not take time to settle a rescue dog before they surrender it back into charity care. A dog needs time and patience, just like children.
I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier X who is a rescue dog. Marley wasn’t abused as a puppy (at least, not that I know of), and while we rehomed him via Warrington Animal Welfare, he never actually spent time in kennels. He has been a huge challenge to us because we soon discovered he has behavioural issues and he needed training to establish boundaries. Marley is a very cuddly dog who loves to snuggle in your arms like a baby. He can also appear to be vicious when he snarls at other dogs. But this is all a matter of taking time to work with him, socialize him, and teach him what is acceptable and to show him that he is safe and loved. All of his bad behaviour comes from a place of fear and insecurity. We can get past that and he is a loving, protective, valuable member of our family.
Before Marley we had Baxter, who died in 2019. He was the most adorable, soft and loving animal we could ever find. He was very playful, he loved cuddles, and he was best friends with both our daughters from the moment they were born. He helped them learn to walk, he played with them gently, and he tolerated their boisterous behaviour towards him. Before Baxter I had a Yorkshire Terrier, who while I loved him dearly, he had a terrible temperament and I wouldn’t trust him in the presence of young children. I trusted Baxter implicitly.
Apparently, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier was known as the ‘nanny’ dog many years ago, because they were brought into families as playmates and protectors. I would like to see this good, healthy, family reputation reinstated. That is why I am in full support of re-homing these dogs wherever possible. My brother has a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is also incredibly playful, although she is slightly more territorial. But she, too is adorable and loves a cuddle.
Ultimately what I am saying is, if you are reading this post and you are considering getting a dog, please give the Staffordshire Bull Terrier a chance. These dogs are full of love, they will always protect their families, and they will always offer comfort. Baxter knew when a member of our family was upset or under stress. He would bring us his favourite toys, he would cuddle in close to us, he would give us kisses, and he would do anything to make us smile and laugh. Marley is exactly the same and throws himself into my arms when I cry.
I did find it difficult to rehome a rescue dog when Baxter died in 2019. There are strict requirements in place with rescue centres and dogs’ homes, where most will not allow a family with young children to rehome a potentially dangerous dog. I would say that if you are serious about rehoming a rescue dog do your research, choose a breed that you think you can handle, and persevere. I recommend Warrington Animal Welfare because they listened to us and believed us when we said we could handle a Staffy X. I am glad they did, because I would never have made it through this year without my little Marley-Mischief.
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