Staff at an Aberdeenshire animal rehoming centre will be working hard to dispel the myths about Staffordshire bull terriers next week.
As part of Staffie Awareness Week, the team at the Scottish SPCA’s centre at Drumoak will try to challenge the negative labels the breed has.
Research carried out in 2012 revealed 75% of Scots who would rehome a dog were unlikely to take in a staffie, with many believing the breed is dangerous and cannot be trusted.
But Graeme Innes, manager of the Drumoak centre, said the dogs were “real people” animals who thrived when with a companion.
There are several staffies currently at the centre, and Mr Innes urged people to head along to see them.
He said: “It’s heartbreaking that staffies have been labelled as dangerous and aggressive because, in reality, they tend to be friendly, affectionate and loyal.
“Staffies are real people dogs who thrive on human companionship, which is why it’s so sad to see them living in kennels when they could be in loving homes.”
Among the dogs looking for a home in the north-east is nine-year-old “softy” Tyson, who has been at the centre for nearly a year.
Mr Innes said: “He is such a sweet wee lad yet, sadly, we have had no interest in him at all.
“To know Tyson is to love him and all he wants to do is kiss and hug you.
“He is a true companion dog who will see himself as part of your life and part of your home.”
The centre manager said he hoped the awareness week would highlight that it is irresponsible dog owners who have given staffies a bad name – while also putting huge pressure on charities such as the Scottish SPCA.
He said: “In many cases staffies have been taken on by certain members of society as a status symbol because of the perception that they are aggressive dogs. However, once these owners realise their staffie is actually friendly and good natured, they may abandon them or attempt to sell them on to an equally unsuitable person.
“There are also far too many people who don’t make sure their staffies are under control and well behaved in public, although this can happen with any breed of dog. As we say, there is no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners.”
The Drumoak centre is open from 10am-4pm seven days a week.