THE Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been revealed as Sunderland’s most popular dog breed – and hailed as “loving family pets” when in the right hands.
The controversial hounds have suffered from bad press and over-breeding in recent years.
However, data released by pet registration services Petlog and Animalcare shows the stocky hounds are the most popular canines in Wearside, with 1,600 tagged in the city in the past decade.
The RSPCA reports the dogs make great pets in the right homes, but often end up in animal shelters through irresponsible ownership.
Aimee Everest, the manager of West Hall Kennels, in Cleadon Lane, Sunderland, echoes that view, and bases that on her own experiences at home.
She said: “They are a very, very common dog because of the size of the litter they have. They often have eight-plus puppies. They get a lot of flak, but it isn’t about the breed of dog – it’s the person behind the lead.
“I have two staffies and they are best friends with my seven-year-old nephew. They cherish the ground he walks on.
“It’s all about whose hands they are in, because they are a loving family pet when in the right hands.
“The way staffies are portrayed often affects people who come into the kennels looking to take a dog home, as the first thing 75 per cent of them say is that they don’t want a staffie.
“A few people have come in wanting another breed, though, and have ended up falling in love with a staffie.”
The Labrador was shown to be the nation’s favourite pooch, with 509,000 chipped nationally, and comes in a close second in Sunderland.
Most popular dogs in Sunderland by number tagged
1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 1,600
2. Labrador Retriever – 1,500
3. Jack Russell Terrier – 1,400
4. Shih Tzu – 1,200
5. German Shepherd – 800
Most popular in the UK by number tagged
1. Labrador Retriever – 509,500
2. Jack Russell Terrier – 376,300
3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 356,000
4. Border Collie – 233,700
5. Cocker Spaniel – 224,400