Staffordshire bull terriers are given a bad press
11:01am Wednesday 18th July 2012 in Letters
I HAVE decided to write this letter due to a growing distaste toward the media representation of Staffordshire bull terriers and bull breeds in general.
I own a young Staffordshire bull terrier and an elderly Staffordshire bull terrier cross who we rescued five years ago. My personal experience of the breed has been nothing but positive, both our dogs are brilliant with other dogs, people and children.
My experiences of other bull breeds are of a similar story. Hence, I find the way in which they are portrayed in the media entirely unrepresentative of the true character of these wonderful dogs. Too much of the time, these dogs fall into the wrong hands, and here is where the problem lies. Many people who desire these powerful dogs (in both appearance and character) are buying them for just this reason; as status symbols, as protection and ultimately as a commodity.
They are consumed as an “item” which represents what they as people want to be – powerful. It is then, of little surprise that many of these dogs are of poor character, because their owners are. How likely is it that such a person would go out and buy a Labrador, or a standard poodle as a source of their identity? They are both strong dogs, who dote upon their owners, people pleasers just like any bull breed. Yet because they are not represented in such a way, they are not owned by these people mentioned. However, if they were to be, rest assured they would also be poor dogs who would have the capacity to attack, and to cause injury. I also believe that another part of this tale is that when bull breeds such as the Staffordshire bull terrier or the pit bull, do attack, they will do significantly more damage than say, a Dachshund. Yet many statistics show that Dachshunds are in fact the most aggressive of dog breeds! In addition to this, how likely is somebody to report a small bite wound? And how likely are they to report a more serious wound?
The statistics are skewed for precisely this reason. I myself have been bitten by a friend’s Jack Russell (as have others) but has this dog ever been reported? No, because it was only a small cut. If this friend’s dog was a Rottweiler who also have bad press, the damage caused will have inevitably resulted in that dog been reported and even destroyed. These dogs are entirely misrepresented and I feel it is about time, the press began to show them in their true light.
They really do deserve their nickname as the “Nanny dog” a dog who is courageous in protecting those it loves, a dog that will do anything to please an owner. A reliable and keen to please dog, whose appearance is a misfortune to its inner character. I argue the point that so many other owners of these dogs argue. These are wonderful dogs, which are attractive to the wrong people, because of their breed qualities.
Any dog can be aggressive, any dog can bite, and anyone can own one. It just so happens that when bull breeds bite, they will cause damage.
Bethany Hibbs (sent by email)