Staffies at Blue Cross rehoming centres have been ‘posing’ as different dogs in the hope prospective owners will see past their breed’s unfair reputation.
Despite their lovable personalities, the dogs remain the most unwanted in our care and it takes us – on average – more than 23 per cent longer to find them a home compared to other breeds. Some take months and months to find a new family.
Worryingly, new Blue Cross research has also shown that nearly three quarters of people would be unlikely to consider rehoming a Staffordshire bull terrier due to the undeserved negative labels attached to them.
As part of our appeal asking pet lovers to take a second look at the breed, some of the staffies waiting with us for a fresh start in life have been photographed behind cardboard cut outs of different, more popular, breeds. They hope it might help new owner see past their looks to their winning personalities.
Blue Cross believes that people are unfairly dismissing the dogs. When asked to describe the appearance of a staffie, nearly half of people surveyed by us were quick to use negative descriptions, labelling them ‘aggressive and frightening’, ‘angry and ugly-looking’ with many also describing them as scary, brutish, intimidating, nasty and mean.
The survey also showed that nearly three quarters of people would definitely or probably not consider rehoming a staffie.
But, 80 per cent of people acknowledged that the breed’s bad reputation was down to irresponsible owners, rather than the dogs themselves.
Jay Cruikshanks, Rehoming Centre manager for Blue Cross in Tiverton, says: “It’s heart-breaking to see so many of these lovely dogs immediately being overlooked because they have been given an unfair label. I wonder if they were in a ‘different costume’, would they be given more of a chance to show their true personality?
“We know that people who don’t have any experience of staffies are sometimes wary of them, because of the bad reputation they have due to a minority of irresponsible owners.
“But we have so many sweet-natured staffies at our centres - we would urge anyone thinking of rehoming a dog to look further than skin deep and come and meet some of them. Once you get to know them you will realise they can be fantastic, loving pets.”
Blue Cross takes in over 400 unwanted and abandoned staffies every year. We also receive calls about many more staffies in need of new homes that we are sadly unable to help, due to lack of space at their rehoming centres.