Staffies are among the most common breeds to be found in shelters and rehoming centres, and also among the hardest to rehome: according to animal charity Blue Cross, those in their care need on average more than 23 per cent longer to find a home compared to other breeds.
The charity also conducted a survey, and the result was disheartening. Nearly three quarters of people interviewed would be "unlikely" to consider rehoming one due to their bad reputation, although about 80 per cent acknowledged that said reputation was down to irresponsible owners and not 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," a Blue Cross statement reads. The charity takes in over 400 unwanted and abandoned Staffies every year, without counting those they are unable to take in due to lack of space in their rehoming centres.
In order to underline the unfairness of such assumptions, some of the Staffies waiting for a fresh start in life have been photographed behind cardboard cut-outs of more popular breeds, which hopefully will prompt more people to see past the looks.
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.”
Images by Blue Cross.