Staffs terriers most desirable dog
The RSPCA found new homes for more Staffordshire bull terriers in 2009 than any other type of dog - despite their negative image as "status dogs".
The animal welfare charity said it had rehomed hundreds of "Staffies" last year, and that in the right hands the breed can be "brilliant companions".
The charity's 13 regional centres took in 615 Staffordshire bull terriers and crosses in 2009.
According the RSPCA, the high number in need of new homes is down to their popularity as a pet, but also because the breed has become fashionable with "irresponsible owners who are more interested in their own image than their dog's welfare".
The charity managed to rehome 363 Staffies and 144 Staffie crosses, although it said the number could be higher as it is not possible to collect statistics from all its animal centres and 170 branches.
But during this week's "RSPCA Week", the charity is urging would-be dog owners who are looking for a new pet to consider taking in a Staffordshire bull terrier, as many more need good homes.
Anna White, manager of the RSPCA's Southridge Animal Centre in Potters Bar, said: "Some people think Staffies don't make good pets but when in the right hands, well cared for and properly trained, they can make brilliant companions."
The RSPCA has launched a new website, www.gettoknowadog.co.uk, to help people find out more about adopting a Staffie.
Staffordshire bull terriers were followed by Jack Russells, German shepherds, border collies and Labradors as the top breeds and crosses of dog rehomed by the RSPCA in 2009.
Hundreds of crossbreed dogs were also rehomed last year.