Poor old Staffies have come in for some undeserved bad press over the past few years. Now the rescue homes are full of abandoned and neglected Staffordshire Bull Terriers, with around 80% of dogs rescued at some of the RSPCA's shelters being Staffies or Staffie-crosses. But the lovable breed makes a gentle and loyal pet. Here are 7 reasons Staffies are such great dogs to own.

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1. Staffies are so affectionate

Staffies are the most gentle and loving of dogs to humans, not the aggressive muscle monsters some people take them for. Though the breed was originally bred to bait bulls, for decades after this practice had been banned in the mid 19th century, breeders kept only those dogs who were non aggressive to humans – essential when the dogs were often in poor households with large families in cramped conditions. This makes the Staffie (or Staffy if you prefer!) of today a devoted, affectionate family pet. In fact, if a burglar was confronted by a pet Staffie, the pooch would be more likely to lick him into submission than attack.

Little black Staffy dog lying down

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2. They love children

The Staffie is one of only three breeds whose suitability for households with young children is mentioned in its breed characteristics by the Kennel Club because of its affectionate nature, and its nickname, earned over the years is the Nanny Dog. Though, as with any dog of any breed, it’s important to supervise a dog’s interaction with children, Staffies are exceptionally gentle, affectionate and patient with little humans.

Girl playing blowing bubbles with Staffordshire bull terrier

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3. They’re cuddle monsters

There is nothing a ‘tough-looking’ Staffie loves more than to cuddle up with its human. They crave human contact and will often stick to your side like glue, curling up at your feet or on your lap at every opportunity. Licks and snuggles are second-nature to the breed.

4. They love to chat

The Staffie is not a noisy barking dog, but they do love to communicate and vocalise in their own particular hilarious way, snorting, snoring and grumbling, snuffling and almost purring to let their owners know how they feel.

Little brown Staffy dog lying down

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5. They’re eager to learn

The intelligent Staffie is so eager to please its human owners it is highly trainable, and loves learning more commands, especially when treats are involved. However, as there is so much in the world to interest the bright and cheerful Staffie, he will often need the lessons to be repeated on a regular basis!

6. They’re very playful

Staffies love playing. Love playing tug-of-war and love finding sticks to carry and love, love, love chasing balls. They are super energetic pooches, so their ball-chasing comes in very handy when their humans feel less inclined to run about.  They take longer to reach adulthood than some breeds and their lovable, exuberant puppyish behaviour is never far from the surface.

Staffy with its nose in a chimney pot

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7. They make you happy!

Lastly, the lovely Staffie has such a huge happy grin that’s bound to make their human smile too!

Young smiling Staffordshire bull terrier lying down

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There are so many Staffies waiting for homes at many shelters, including Battersea Dogs Home, Dogs Trust and many local rehousing charities like All Dogs Matter. Contact your local shelter to find Staffies that need rehoming near you.