Celebrating the Staffie’s softer side

Sue Gimple, with her dog Dolly
Sue Gimple, with her dog Dolly

PROUD Staffie owner and Seaford resident Sue Gimple is backing a campaign which aims to change people’s perception of the breed.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has launched the initiative called ‘They’re softer than you think’ and is celebrating the ‘softer’ side of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Last year Battersea Dogs & Cats Home took in 6,126 stray, unwanted and abandoned dogs, and 40 per cent were Staffordshire Bull Terriers. With around 160 Staffies currently looking for a home at its three centres, the home is highlighting the wonderful temperament that the Staffie has always had.

As a proud owner of ex-Battersea Staffie Dolly, Sue believes that the breed make fantastic pets.

She said, “Dolly is a wonderful dog and she is doing a lot towards changing local people’s views on Staffies, as most people who meet her and spend any time with her just fall in love with her.

“She gets on really well with other dogs, including my Boxer, Bruno and our two elderly cats.”

A YouGov research for Battersea found that 18-24 year olds are more likely to describe Staffies as guard dogs (27 per cent) or illegal dogs (14 per cent) than family dogs (11 per cent).

However, Seaford resident Sue – who is an accredited dog trainer through the Academy of Dog Training and Behaviour and takes obedience classes at Seaford District Dog Training Club – is hoping people will change their views.

Sue, who is also a dog walker and sitter, added, “I just wish all people would look at Staffies and give them a chance. I will be caring for one lovely Staffie soon, as her owner had been turned down by four home sitters, just because the dog was a Staffie. They are wonderful dogs, who really deserve a second look.”

Ali Taylor, head of Canine Welfare Training at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said, “It’s such a shame that Staffies have been used as status symbols, as they are not aggressive or dangerous by nature.

“Hopefully we can help people understand their softer side and realise they make great family pets.”

Battersea has many Staffies looking for homes across its three sites London, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch. If you can help give a Staffie a wonderful home please visit www.battersea.org.uk/staffie