The number of unwanted Staffordshire Bull Terriers being cared for at an animal rescue centre has more than doubled in the past decade.

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH) has joined forces with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to try to change perceptions of Staffies, commonly thought to be aggressive, fighter dogs.

The Staffies. They're Softer Than You Think appeal launches today and will see dog owners and pets gather outside the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of this "increasingly shunned" breed.

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EDCH said it took in 231 Staffies and Staffie crosses last year, a 272% increase on 10 years ago.

It currently has 50 of the dogs – 30% of all the animals there – and said people tend to be reluctant to rehome them because of their negative reputation.

According to EDCH, Staffies were once known as "nanny dogs" because of their gentle nature and affinity with children, and it hopes to encourage potential owners to think again about having one as a pet.

Centre manager David Ewing said: "It's time we gave our Staffies a chance and got to know them for the lovely, friendly dogs they really are."