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Does anyone have a staffordshire bull terrier that isn’t dog aggressive/reactive?
79

Flowerpotmen87 · 14/09/2020 14:01

Absolutely love the breed. Had a cross breed boy (with springer spaniel) years ago but he was hugely reactive to other dogs and this made for a stressful existence for both us and him. This was despite socialisation as a puppy. Perfectly well trained and affectionate dog otherwise. In hindsight, he was quite a timid puppy and we stupidly followed the advice of other people and had him castrated at about 7/8 months. I’m sure the lack of testosterone then led to the escalation in his reactivity.

We’re not in a position to get a dog now, but would love to in the future. I’ve tried asking SBT breeders their opinions on the dog aggression trait, but they’re not being direct in their answers. We would get a bitch to try and reduce the chances and would do all puppy classes/socialising as good owners should.

So, from any SBT owners, any experience of dog friendly ones? We don’t need a social butterfly, just really wouldn’t want to go down the muzzle/behaviourist/isolated walks route again.

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Dogsarebetterthanpeople · 14/09/2020 17:29

My DH had one.

He was exactly the same as my dog (totally different breed) when it came to other dogs.

That is, absolutely fine and happy in the presence of other dogs but did not actually want to interact.

Would never approach another dog but would immediately warn them off if they attempted to interact.

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petermaysawthefuture · 14/09/2020 17:37

I have, she's an absolute dream, had her since my youngest was about 8 months old, he's 13 now. She's great with kids and other dogs, my chihuahua cross on the other hand is a complete knob head!

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Tinofcurses · 14/09/2020 17:51

My current staffy is a very anxious and unpredictable rescue. She is getting much easier/less reactive, but she'll probably never be completely happy socialising with other dogs. She is the loveliest dog otherwise, and I wouldn't be without her.

I got both of my two previous staffies as puppies and they were fine with other dogs. They could exercise off lead in parks etc and we never had any problems. They lived with other dogs (border collies) which might have helped.

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages · 14/09/2020 17:53

I've come across quite a few lovely staffies in the local park - though of course there's an element of selection bias, as people with reactive dogs are unlikely to take them to a busy local park.

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Stellaris22 · 14/09/2020 17:58

The staffy in our local park is lovely and plays with other dogs. He play wrestles with my dog a lot which is great.

I'm a hound person but have a soft spot for staffies as this one is so friendly and playful, plus he's exceptionally well trained.

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Veterinari · 14/09/2020 18:04

Research shows that all bull breeds are genetically more prone to dog-dog aggression than other breeds. Sadly this has likely been selected for over the years for dog fighting Sad

My personal experience is that SBT are great with people and often great with dog's they grow up with but often reactive to other dog's outside the household - though not always - you need to find a dog friendly staff or and track down the breeder

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Flowerpotmen87 · 14/09/2020 19:57

All really interesting, thanks. Like I say, we don’t seek a dog that will happily play for hours with other dogs in the park. But we would like a dog that you can walk off lead or that a dog walker could take out on the odd occasion.

I have come across a couple of lovely off lead staffies in the park, but I always wonder if they’re like gold dust and completely unrepresentative. My sister has several good-natured dogs (lurcher, King Charles, lab), so I wonder if it would be worth ‘raising’ a new puppy with them for a few weeks.

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Flowerpotmen87 · 14/09/2020 20:03

@Veterinari we found that with our old dog - he was fine with dogs that he saw regularly from being a puppy, but if any new dogs approached he would just go for them. It quickly became impossible for him to socialise with the familiar dogs because of this risk, which then probably knocked his confidence further and made him more fearful.

I like the idea of asking for breeder info. Not thinking for another couple of years, but no reason we can’t start collecting details.

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GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman · 14/09/2020 20:19

I have met some lovely staffies but I've also had some bad experiences with them (and with bull and protection breeds in general). Dog aggression seems very common, as do very assertive personalities (that other dogs can take offence at). As Vet says, the science does indicate a tendency to dog aggression so it's not just anecdotes.

There are chill ones out there, but you'd need to do your homework very thoroughly, I think.

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tabulahrasa · 14/09/2020 21:27

Reactivity in general seems to be mostly genetics...

Thing is, a good breeder should know the lines of their dogs inside out and be able to tell you about issues with behaviour.

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Dogsarebetterthanpeople · 14/09/2020 21:44

Reactivity in general seems to be mostly genetics...
I’m not sure I agree with that entirely.

I think nervousness is often genetic, which then can lead to dog reactivity if experiences with other dogs are often negative.

And I think a super confident, assertive personality is often genetic, and some dogs can take offence to that super confident personality leading to reactivity.

But I don’t think ‘reactivity’ itself is genetic.

And I also think that a lot of what we think of as ‘reactivity/aggression’ isn’t really.

People are very quick to think of a dog that growls at rude, over the top behaviour for example as ‘aggressive’ or a dog that growls at any approaching dog but is fine ‘around’ the same dog as ‘aggressive’ but are they really, truly aggressive?

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BananaPop2020 · 14/09/2020 21:49

I have had a Staff and a Staff Cross, neither of them even interested in other dogs, let alone reactive.

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freddiethegreat · 14/09/2020 21:51

My gorgeous SBT is bouncy, but easily spooked (anxious). He was a rescue & I admit not through a rescue centre (yes, Fbook ad, the shame!) so we have been lucky, it could be worse. He is very submissive with bigger dogs or really anything confident, but you do have to keep him away from anything (especially smaller dogs) who seem afraid. Not brilliant with other SBTs either. So ok-ish, sometimes a dream, but you can’t let your guard down too much. (He was awful after neutering but it settled after a couple of months).

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Veterinari · 14/09/2020 21:53

@Dogsarebetterthanpeople

Reactivity in general seems to be mostly genetics...
I’m not sure I agree with that entirely.

I think nervousness is often genetic, which then can lead to dog reactivity if experiences with other dogs are often negative.

And I think a super confident, assertive personality is often genetic, and some dogs can take offence to that super confident personality leading to reactivity.

But I don’t think ‘reactivity’ itself is genetic.

And I also think that a lot of what we think of as ‘reactivity/aggression’ isn’t really.

People are very quick to think of a dog that growls at rude, over the top behaviour for example as ‘aggressive’ or a dog that growls at any approaching dog but is fine ‘around’ the same dog as ‘aggressive’ but are they really, truly aggressive?

Reactivity to what?
Reactivity is in itself not necessarily a helpful term.

Bull breeds are generally more likely to show dog-dog aggression die to their genetics - that's supported by evidence.

Reactivity is often a general and unhelpful term and is not what the OP is asking about. Bull breeds are not more likely to suffer from generalised anxiety disorder or other syndromes which may put them at greater risk of being reactive to stressors.
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Staringpoodleplottingrottie · 14/09/2020 21:54

Not me but there are a few staffies that come to my local park and happily run around and play with other dogs - one lovely girl staff even had a gentle play with my chihuahua!

Depends not just on genetics but how they’re raised - early socialisation and consistent, positive training should definitely help.

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Dogsarebetterthanpeople · 14/09/2020 22:23

Reactivity to what?
Reactivity is in itself not necessarily a helpful term

To dogs.
A PP said reactivity was often genetic.
And I was saying that I don’t think reactivity/aggression to dogs is genetic but that a nervous temperament (which can lead to dog reactivity/aggression) often is genetic and a super confident, assertive temperament (which other dogs can react badly to leading to reactivity/aggression towards other dogs in future) often is genetic.

So, imo, what I am saying is I think some of the factors behind dog aggression, like nervousness, are genetic but I’m not sure I believe in dog aggression, as a entire stand alone trait with no other contributing factors, is inherited.

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mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork · 14/09/2020 22:27

My staffy cross rescue is pretty good. She home boards with various other dogs when I go away, which has helped her socially too. She is off lead for most of our off road walks and I only put her on a lead if the other dog is on lead or if it is much bigger or darker than her as she can get a bit daunted and not want them too near her. Quite often, she has no interest in the other dog and just walks past, ignoring it. Lots of placid friendly staffies in my area.

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mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork · 14/09/2020 22:30

She was 4 when I got her and had a rough life previously seemingly, picked up on the streets of inner London in a bad state. Lucky for her, she has had good treatment ever since and bears no grudges.

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catsvdogs · 14/09/2020 22:35

Yes have a staffy and he's a big soft lump. Frightened of his own shadow. Terrified of cats and other dogs apart from black Labradors 😳.
Loves kids and is really gentle.
Lovely dog, crap house protector lol.

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Branleuse · 14/09/2020 22:36

ive had 2 and neither have been dog aggressive. The one i have now is a bit too quick to defend, but not actually aggressive amd definitely not fearful.

Known several others actually who arent aggressive too. All bitches. Maybe dogs are harder?

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ThankGodItsThursday · 14/09/2020 22:39

I've got a rescue staffie. He's nearly 4 years old and I've had him for nearly 2 years. He's nervous of other dogs but very friendly. I think he struggles to read other dogs (probably because of a lack of socialisation when he was a puppy) so he always waits to see if they want to say hello. If they don't say hello to him he will carry on with his walk. If they stop he is happy to say hello. He will run around and play with other dogs over the park but I always have him on a lead until I'm sure that the other dogs owners are ok with him playing with their dog. Some people can be wary of staffies.
I'm happier with him playing with similar sized dogs or larger dogs just because he is obviously quite powerful and I would worry about him inadvertently hurting a small dog jumping around etc.
He's the third staffie I've had (love the breed) but the only one who has been friendly with other dogs.

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GrowThroughWhatYouGoThrough · 14/09/2020 22:42

I have a staffie she's well behaved dosent need to be on a lead when out as she sticks with me. Does as she's asked. She's been there for both my children being born and is the typical nanny dog

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GrowThroughWhatYouGoThrough · 14/09/2020 22:44

She also lives with our 2 year old Dalmatian so puts up with a lot 😂

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tabulahrasa · 14/09/2020 22:55

“So, imo, what I am saying is I think some of the factors behind dog aggression, like nervousness, are genetic but I’m not sure I believe in dog aggression, as a entire stand alone trait with no other contributing factors, is inherited.“

Nervousness doesn’t even with bad experiences necessarily develop into aggression.

And by reactivity I definitely didn’t mean growling or completely within normal grumpiness.

There’s a fair amount of research on the hereditary nature of reactivity or if you want to use aggression fine, but either way... it does seem to be mostly inherited, much more so than most people assume. But of course it has other factors - but it does seem to be why some dogs react to experiences by developing it and some can have similar experiences and not.

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SchadenfreudePersonified · 15/09/2020 06:21

I've had four staffies - two were totally reliable with other dogs and two weren't - but both of the ones that weren't had bed experiences around the 6 month mark on off-lead walks.

The first was chased by two other off lead (and much larger dogs) and pinned against a fence so she couldn't run any further - obviously she responded by defending herself and she was pretty much unhurt, as the other owner finally got her dogs under control. However it left her very mistrustful of other dogs, particularly large ones, and after she was spayed this got worse and I only let her exercise off-lead when I knew she was with dogs she knew and was comfortable with.

The other was again attacked as a pup by two wire-haired terriers. Again she defended herself (these dogs were adult dogs the same size as she was - and to be frank she did them a lot of damage - the were a bit taller than her but she was much more powerful - it was also a difficult fight to stop as all three dogs were in there hell for leather). Again, it made her wary of other dogs which sadly translated into fear aggression and we couldn't trust her, particularly if she was aware that another dog was coming up behind her (she had been running with her frisbee when these other dogs chased and bit her). Again - lead walks only.

In the house, all four were wonderful, not just with visitors and children, but with our other family dogs and our cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Amazingly gentle - a staffie washing a guinea pig as the pig nibbles carrots is a beautiful sight to behold!

I love staffies- they are one of the two breeds which call to my heart.

Almost all of the ones I have know have been wonderful - those that haven't have either had early bad experiences, like ours, or been actively encouraged to attack other dogs.

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