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Staffy owners - do you get a negative response from others?

(35 Posts)
diplodocus Fri 01-Feb-13 13:45:39

Hi. We're hoping to get a rescue puppy / young dog in the next few months, and I regularly look at the websites of our local rescue charities (I'm keen to get one that's been fostered in a home rather than in kennels as think you get a better idea of suitability). I have 2 primary-aged children so obviously a dog that is good with children is our main priority. I tend to find that a lot of the dogs that are identified by the rescue homes as "suitable for young children" are staffies or staffy crosses. I wouldn't have a problem at all with a staffy - I've read a bit about them, the one's I know are lovely, gentle dogs and I feel they have an undeserved bad press. I could see the right one fitting in really well with our family and lifestyle, and we would obviously train it and not leave it alone with the children the same as we would with any dog. I was just wondering about whether owners find other people's negative reactions to them a problem? I'm thinking about other parents being wary of letting their kids coming round to play etc. because we have a "dangerous dog". Do you feel your staffy has to be "whiter than white" as normal boisterous behaviour is misconstrued as something more sinister?

ClaimedByMe Fri 01-Feb-13 14:10:35

We adopted a staffy in september, she is a staffy cross which makes her look like an over sized staffy. We also have 2 primary aged children, I have had no problem with my childrens friends coming to play as their parents know me well enough to know I wouldnt be putting their children danger, out walking is a different matter, to begin with people would cross the road to avoid me I have even been shouted at when dc has been holding the lead, my staffy is dog aggresive due to her past but with training she is now better.

She is the most lovely, loyal, docile lump of a dogand I wouldnt be with out her.

diplodocus Fri 01-Feb-13 14:14:12

Thanks claimed -she sounds lovely. I think you're right - people who know me would, I hope, trust my judgement and I don't particularly care what strangers think.

Marne Fri 01-Feb-13 14:26:41

I dont think i had noticed much until i started walking our new puppy this week (without taking our staffie with me), the lab pup gets much more attention from other dog owners, lots of strokes and lotsd of nice chit chat. When walking my Staffie i notice people try and pull their dogs away from mine or try to avoid us. There are some that are fine and will give her a stroke but not as many as the lab.

axure Fri 01-Feb-13 14:34:49

My Staffies love people, but one is unsociable with other dogs, which I think stems back to being attacked three times by neighbour's spaniel when he was young, he's been nervous ever since. So when he tells other dogs not to come near him, it looks as if he's being aggressive and I get tutted at a lot which I don't think they would do if I had a grumpy Labrador.
Staffies are great family dogs, they love being fussed and cuddled and will be a source of great pleasure to you.

Moominsarehippos Fri 01-Feb-13 14:35:21

Staffs used to be called the 'nanny dog' because they get on well with kids (no, not mauling or eating them).

Sadly, they have got a bad reputation from some owners who use them as weapons or to menace people/other dogs. These are usually ratty little scrawny blokes who have no idea how to feed and look after a god and think exercise is dragging the poor dog along by its lead behind his bmx. Although there is a frightfully naice lady near us with one which charges at any other dog snapping and snarling, bowling smaller dogs over (but it is always the fault of the other dog, according to the owner).

I would worry about a staff rescue as you don't know what has happened to it before. I would be nice to think that it was owned by a lovely lady who fell sick and couldn't look after him, but it's more likely someone who took it on, then found that lack of training has created an unruly, scary dog.

diplodocus Fri 01-Feb-13 14:40:44

Thanks all. Moomin - the dogs (and us!) will be vetted quite thoroughly, so I would hope to avoid the scenario you mention. That's one reason I'm keen to get one that's been fostered - hopefully they will know how it copes with children / other dogs /various everyday situations.

Moominsarehippos Fri 01-Feb-13 14:50:12

We once got a Labrador rescue dog. He was madder than a box of frogs and bit everyone that came near. The handler had to take him back (and kept him, r so our mum said), and said that he'd been badly treated as a guard dog. God knows why they housed him in a family with six kids,

needastrongone Fri 01-Feb-13 15:44:09


I was walking with my friends today and their dogs, between us a Vizsla, Spaniel and a cross-breed. One friend doesn't have a dog but comes for the walk.

We were walking through the fields and there was a guy there throwing a stick with his Staffie. Our friend without a dog refused to go further and we had to walk round in an opposite direction. Her reasoning was that she had read they were dangerous, you never know when they will turn on you etc, they are vicious etc. She's Russian, and stubborn so we didn't argue in the middle of a field!!

I have no particular feelings one way or another for Staffies, I wouldn't choose one myself as I am not personally keen on their look, but don't buy into the idea they are all evil, child mauling terrors! ANY breed of dog can be violent dependant on it's background.

In fact, one of our local farmers 'accidently' shot two Labs last summer after they had bitten the fourth person within a 6 month period and gone for his livestock (long story, police and RSPCA involved, why the hell they didn't act I do not know but something to do with drug dealers, I don't know the ins and outs tbh!!)

Just thought I would post that there's a lot of misconcpetions out there that might affect you should you choose a Staffie.

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 15:54:36

Sometimes ignoramuses like needa's friend avoid us or pick up their little dogs to save them from my staffie but Ireally couldn't care less. Very rarely do they ever dare say anything and if they do theyget told, politely, that they are talking nonsense.

More people actually approach yo talk about what nice dogs they are and how unfair the reputation is. As long as you are not ultra thin skinned I would go for it. Most are wonderful bundles of love and affection.

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 16:01:29

BTW I have volunteered with rescue staffs and some of them were untrained and unruly but definitely not scary. Not training them properly leads to undesirable behaviours as with any breed, but they are not naturally scary dogs that need aggression trained out of them to make good pets. Plus many of them did have basic training but the owners then just gave up once the whole dog ownership thing got too boring, inconvenient or expensive. It is a myth that most dpgs are in rescue because they are aggreasive.

needastrongone Fri 01-Feb-13 16:06:05

Agree Spicy - just posted to give an example of how some people view Staffies. Probably a really bad example (!!!!) but I suspect if you say the place name Benidorm or Ibiza a certain image springs to mind that is likely far from the truth.

Interesting re whether it would bother me or not got me thinking... one of the reasons we got a dog was for me to be out and about meeting lots of interesting dog owners, I am amazed how many people stop because I have a puppy I walk with a different person now every day and at different times of day - it's fab, I love it. Might be a thought for the OP to consider, I would HATE people to cross the street if I had a Staffie.

It's a horrible thought actually sad, poor Staffies.

In 3 years time it will be Huskies...

LadyTurmoil Fri 01-Feb-13 16:19:28

I have a friend with a lovely, small black (entire) Staff. He is the soppiest lump and very sweet and was ace at dribbling a football in the garden! However, when we went for a walk together, she couldn't let him off the lead, said that he seems to be a magnet for other dogs to have a go at, sure enough a very enthusiastic big DDB puppy/youngster came up and had a bit of a go which was a bit hairy for a minute! The staff, although small, is also very strong and I can't imagine you'd be able to let children take it for walk even when they get a bit older, and she was struggling a bit as well. Just doesn't seem much fun to have a dog like that...

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 16:21:49

I walk with various people too. It's actually quite helpful because people who will walk with us are the real dog lovers rather than the people who have a pretty dog iyswim. Plus my girl is winning over others all the time smile

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 16:27:35

No offence LadyT but that's entirely your friend's fault for not training proper lead walking. SpicyDog doesn't attract aggression from other dogs either.

needastrongone Fri 01-Feb-13 16:28:19

That's good then. Never had a dog before until 6 weeks ago - I love them now and will get another next year, probably another Springer tbh at this stage, to make a (Spicy) pair smilesmile

LadyTurmoil does make a good point that I had forgotten, another reason we didn't choose a Staffie, or similar or large breed was because I would like the kids to be able to walk him/her and also that I am 5ft and 7 stone wet through, somebody did mention this as a consideration, although there is training of course (looks at Springer puupy and glares.... this bit ain't sinking in...)

needastrongone Fri 01-Feb-13 16:35:06

I meant pulling on the lead, sorry I am multi taking and failing!

needastrongone Fri 01-Feb-13 16:35:48

x post, I 'll be off..... smile

diplodocus Fri 01-Feb-13 16:45:40

Some interesting posts - thanks. Think I'll look at whatever dogs are available on their respective merits when the time comes for us to get Diplodog. As you say, Staffies are strong, but to be honest we wouldn't want a very small dog (and it would have to be pretty small for my 5 yo to manage it), so we would have the same issue until it's trained (I have vivid memories of being hauled down the road by my Granddad's collie when I was small).

MadCap Fri 01-Feb-13 16:46:14

I was verbally attacked by a staffie owner recently. She was standing with her dog just outside a shop when I came out with my 2 dc's (aged 2&3). I said to the kids not to pet the dog as I could tell they were about to run up to it. I don'twant them running up to any strange dogs not just staffies.

This lady just went mental at me. Going on and on about them not being dangerous dogs. Really shouting, etc. I just gave her a hmm and walked away.

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 16:59:45

Oh well she sounds like a complete fool. SpicyDog is fine with children but if they approach I always say to them that they should check first with the owner because not all dogs are friendly. It's the only time I interfere with other people's parenting because it's really important.

LadyTurmoil Fri 01-Feb-13 17:24:25

Spicy - completely agree with you about the lead training BUT the sheer physical muscle these dogs have (hers is really small, well below knee height and v compact) just makes it physically more difficult than, say, a Cavalier, Westie, poodle or some other smaller mixed breed.

SpicyPear Fri 01-Feb-13 17:33:56

Let's agree to disagree on that one LadyT. SpicyDog was easy to lead train as once she stopped trying to use her power to get ahead or change direction etc, it's was like walking any small size dog. SpicyPup on the other hand, little terrier a third of her weight but an absolute terror, prancing and po-going around on the end of the lead like a loon smile

paddythepooch Fri 01-Feb-13 21:24:53

@spicey working on the lead training but hard to stop prancing if another off lead dog is asking to play.

OP I would think carefully about where you live - I know that sounds mad but - in some areas there is much more tolerance of staffies than others. Also, they are very nickable in some areas. You could try asking a couple down the local park what the atmosphere is like.

Personally I love them - esp Ron down the pub. I also like their owners as they have usually rescued them as opposed to gone for latest variation on poo plus they are usually more relaxed about mad loony lurcher play unlike sanctimonious lab owners who say all lurchers steal sticks Even if you don't go for a staff do go for a rescue. Loads of amazing pooches out there.

CatelynStark Fri 01-Feb-13 21:34:45

Most people who stop and have a chat will tell ^me^all about how Staffs are misunderstood, like I don't bloody know smile

The minority will drag their snapping hounds away because most dogs want to have a go at my boy, while he's prancing around, trying to lick them to death. He is thick as mince when it comes to reading doggy signals <sigh>

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