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Last Updated: Friday December 05 2008 08:35 GMT

Ricky looks into Staffie problem

Ricky and Ali with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Animal rescue centres around the UK say they're being inundated with Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

They're a certain type of dog that have come under fire for being vicious and tough.

But Ricky found out from animal experts that Staffies can be just as good a pet as any other family dog...


I've always wanted a pet dog. Ever since I was really young I remember asking my parents for one.

A dog
Ricky's always wanted a dog!
I wanted a Labrador, they're some of the most popular breeds of dogs, but it was never meant to be.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out I was going to be doing a report on dogs for Newsround.

I went to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London to find out more about Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

They are a certain breed of dog, and it seems more of them are ending up in animal rescue centres across the UK after being rejected by their owners.

New homes

In fact, at this very minute the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has well over 250 Staffordshire Bull Terriers, that's more than any other breed of dog.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Lots of Staffies are ending up in rescue centres
In other parts of the UK there have been reports of rescue homes being inundated with this particular breed of dog.

Dog lovers say they are getting a bit worried.

Experts at the Battersea rescue centre say they have noticed a rise in the number of Staffordshire Terriers ending up on their doorsteps and they are trying to put an end to it.

They say the rise is down to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier gaining more popularity over the last couple of years.

Tough

But experts told me that very few people understand how to look after them and lots of people think they are violent dogs because of the way they look.

That is making it much harder to re-home them.

Ali with a dog
Ali Taylor with Squirt the Staffie at Battersea
I have to admit that Staffies do look really tough and macho, but as I found out that doesn't mean they are violent.

Animal experts from Battersea told me that lots of young men and gang members buy Staffordshire Bull Terriers as a status symbol.

They don't train or care for them properly, and that's why some of these dogs end up in rescue centres looking for new homes.

Fantastic

I met eight-year-old Billy, who's the proud owner of Mason, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

He told me that Staffies can be fantastic pets, especially if they are trained properly.

Ricky met Billy
Billy said Staffies can be fantastic pets
Billy told me that Mason has become part of the family, and he hopes more and more people decide to give a home to Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

It's hard to tell if experts can change the bad reputation that Staffordshire Terriers have.

They don't want people to see these dogs as "hard" or "aggressive", instead they hope lots of people will give them a home and care for them in the best way possible.

Ricky