Need your input for an article about how attitudes to Staffies have changed

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Need your input for an article about how attitudes to Staffies have changed

Post by Rupertsbooks on Thu Nov 01 2018, 14:44

Hello everyone - I've been asked to write a piece about how attitudes to Staffies have changed in the last ten years from my own perspective and also from the perspective of other Staffy owners/lovers/actual Staffies. I'm also covering the fact that Staffy owners come from all walks of life now - there is no "typical" Staffy owner.

I would love your input on any of these questions. Or thoughts in general.

- When exactly did attitudes towards Staffies start to change? And why?
- What is your experience of changing attitudes?
- Do you know of any Staffies who have 'jobs' (i.e. sniffer dog, assistance dog, blind dog etc)?
- What are the signs of attitudinal changes? (I even see them in adverts nowadays, which was unheard of a decade ago).
- Is there any cool Staffy news that you've read or know of?
- What is the role of rescue charities in having changed the reputation of Staffies (for me it was forcing a Staffy on me when I thought I wanted a Viszla - how wrong I was.)

Thank you.
Stefanie
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Re: Need your input for an article about how attitudes to Staffies have changed

Post by Mistys Mum on Thu Nov 01 2018, 15:23

Hi Stefanie,

The are lots of Staffies in the news now with jobs. I've listed several links in the 'news' section so you can see some of the articles in there. There are several staffs in the police, Stella the police Staffy and pd Cooper. They both have their own FB pages too. There was a recent article about a school who has a Staffy as their therapy dog.
I'm my experience, where I live, when I'm out with Misty we get a lot of older ladies who come up to us as they have Staffies too. They have told me that they never thought they wanted a Staffy as they wanted a lap dog and one who wanted lots of affection.. They go to the shelters and the shelter staff recommend staffs for them. Obviously they are glad the made the choice!
Misty is very popular with children and teenagers, I think the majority of people don't judge her whatsoever and we get a great reaction when we do our fun runs. Sometimes I think we actually get a better reaction from people because of her breed, for example if she was say a lab doing our runs people wouldn't think anything but as she is a staff we get so many nice comments. We did the Poppy Run on the weekend and a man came to to us and said I had the best dog! I didn't argue obviously!! It does feel that people are rooting for Staffies.

I also think that people are much more vocal in their support of the breed. For example we have a calendar competition on our trainers website at the moment and someone has commented on Mistys picture saying how lovely staffs are and how they don't deserve a bad rep etc. I think that previously if you did support the breed there would always be someone to comment negatively.

i think the rescue charities have done a fantastic job of showing the public what amazing dogs they are. I think business's know that Staffy owners spend huge amounts of money on their dogs and toys. I bought myself a scarf with staffy print on it and it was constantly sold out due to high demand so businesses know if they have staffs in adverts etc this is good business sense.



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Re: Need your input for an article about how attitudes to Staffies have changed

Post by LizP on Fri Nov 02 2018, 08:31

I'll confess I've not been 'into' staffies for long enough (only 9 years!) but for what it's worth...

In my experience, views on staffies have become more polarised. Some adore them, some hate them and there are fewer in between. I would also say that those who are negative are more and more likely to be so due to indirect information, mainly the press, and will have had no direct contact with even one dog. In other words, the media and especially the tabloids have 'created' a perception of the staffie that has established itself in the mind of many.

I personally now avoid walking where there may be conflict. I have had too many people in the UK telling me my dog is a banned breed and should be shot. If Millie (a staffie cross but not staffie looking) barks at another dog people will either ignore her or laugh, if Chaos even looks worried people give you black looks and yank their dogs away. For me, it's not worth the hassel so I avoid.

On thing that I've found interesting recently is the attitude when we meet people in France. They also have an equivalent of the Dangerous Dogs Act, with the American Staffordshire Terrier being on the list as a pitbull. Staffies aren't common in the part of France we are in so the few people we've met out and about have noticed him. 'Is he a pit?' they ask. I reply that no, he's an English staffie cross. 'Oh,' they answer' 'well he's cute anyway.' (Chaos does take issue with being called 'mignon' or 'cute' Laughing ).

With respect to rescue organisations, they are doing great work but it does feel like an uphill battle sometimes. People who come looking for dogs with big prejudices will probably leave with them (and without a dog!).

Back to the media... there have been some positive stories recently (Emma's great for finding them!), and it does sometimes feel like the tide could be on the verge of turning. For me, that's the biggest key to changing overall attitudes, so the more positive articles the better!




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Re: Need your input for an article about how attitudes to Staffies have changed

Post by Rupertsbooks on Sun Nov 04 2018, 20:48

Hi guys - thank you for these answers so far. It's really interesting how different perspectives are. I feel optimistic but then I was talking to a friend today who said she felt there had been no change in the media which still reports "violent killer staffy" stories, not even pointing out the role of owners.

My feeling is that the following has changed:
- there's now a really broad range of people who have staffies - as Misty's mum points out: older people have found they are excellent companion dogs, I've also heard of quite a few people who have suffered from anxiety or depression find Staffies, and their full on affectionate natures, really life-changing as pets. The change in the types of people who have Staffies (I think) is the result of charities sort of "recycling" or "selling" the breed to a wide range of people. So it's quite common for someone wanting a dog to go to a rescue with a labrador etc in mind and come out with a Staffy cross.
- The Battersea Softer than you Think campaign - I think this must have had an impact but I don't have any proof of this. What do you think?
- More Staffy service dogs
- I think Staffies now more involved in Crufts competitions??
- Changes in attitudes towards rescue dogs in general. Again, that is a hunch. I don't know if that's actually true.

LizP - I am really sorry about your experiences with other people regarding their attitudes. This must be actually really stressful. Do you have any idea why attitudes might have worsened?

Also - does anyone have any ideas about whether attitudes are different according to where in the UK you live? I live in London where there are thousands of Staffies but, definitely, posher people are often really snobby about Staffies. I feel this is a class thing and some people use their dogs as status symbols .Just like annoying irresponsible teens will get a Staffy they can't look after properly to show how hard they are, wealthier people will get a Labradoodle or Cockapoo or whatever to say something about their social class. It's all very boring. I think there must also be something about having paid £££ for a dog that makes some people feel validated.

I also find this mania for pugs and French bulldogs on every Topshop T-shirt or children's stationary really annoying. Has anyone seen any similar things with Staffies on them?

Finally - I have noticed far fewer people dressing their Staffies in metal breast plates and spike collars. I think this really makes a difference.
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