Having a pet can make your lifestyle healthier regardless of your age. Taking responsibility of a dog, especially, can help you get a routine in order that can keep you active and aware. On the flip side, your furry friend will make sure that you also get that little bit of exercise, sunlight and playtime, that you and they both need. Not to mention the fact that dogs tend to mimic their owners, so if you don’t keep a smile on your face, that dog is going to sulk with you. Which makes them great companions and friends.
A dog can help to reduce your anxiety, improve your happiness and general sense of well-being. In this way, dogs can be a great new addition to the family for seniors. Most people are hesitant to bring a dog into the home at older ages, but your age doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying that companionship. It all just comes down to a question of what dog you get.
Many breeds of dogs aren’t quite as high-energy as the typical labs and retrievers. And if you’re in an assisted living facility, a smaller dog is always advisable because they are not only more compact and less destructive, but easier to train as well. It is also advisable to find an older or middle-aged dog, so you can avoid the initial hassles of potty training and teething. Older dogs also tend to be more calm and restful, even the bigger ones.
At the end of the day, this decision is made with the heart, and is out of your hands once you look into the big sweet innocent eyes of whichever little guy (or gal) is going to become your new best friend. But to help you along the way, here are the 20 best species of dogs for seniors to get.
This dog is an popular breed among new owners, partly because, well, look at how adorable that face is, but mostly because of how smart they are. Poodles are amongst the smartest breeds of dogs out there, which makes them an ideal pet for any one, but especially so for seniors.
This is because poodles also come in a variety of sizes, including small breeds like the Miniature Poodle and the Toy Poodle, that weight between 15-20 pounds and 6-10 pounds respectively. They are highly adaptable to new situations, extremely affectionate and their coats are hypoallergenic which makes grooming easier if you have any allergies to fur.
This is one small fluffy bundle of joy that is ideal for any household. Bichon’s are easy for anyone to handle and to train, making them wonderful new additions to the family. They are small and lightweight, usually weighing somewhere between 7 and 12 pounds.
This breed is largely low-maintenance, requiring only a little bit of exercise to stay healthy. However, the abundance of fur usually requires periodic grooming. But the easy fix for that is taking your Bichon to a professional groomer once a month to keep the hair out of his (or her) eyes.
Beagles are an all time favorite of not just pet owners. Two famous fictional characters, Garfield’s friend Odie and Snoopy the Dog, were both beagles. That’s because these dogs love to play and are usually very friendly. They are also extremely loyal.
Weighing in at 24 pounds, this dog is relatively small and very energetic. So a great match for any seniors that like to stay active and fit. This dogs small size also makes it a great fit at assisted living facilities.
This dog is as fluffy as they come, and a small bundle of energy. That being said, they are fairly low-maintenance and don’t require a lot of exercise or careful handling, though they do require a lot of attention. They usually weigh only somewhere between 3 and 12 pounds.
They are fiercely loyal and easily trained by the people they are most loyal to. They can be temperamental and a bit noisy, but they are also extremely intelligent and largely obedient to their owners.
This breed is friendly, compact and muscular, basically a bulldog in the smallest package possible. Their ears are probably the biggest things about them. That and their personalities.
French Bulldogs are extremely cheerful and excitable dogs. But don’t let their energy fool you, because their endurance is relatively low and they tire out easily. These 25 pound bundles of joy are the ideal lapdog.
These dogs are low-maintenance cuddle machines, which makes them great for the young and older adults. They are generally quite small, less than 10 pounds, and prefer spending time in their owners laps than running around outside.
They’re usually happy with a few short walks, and a little time in the sun. A once-a-month trip to a professional groomer is enough to keep your maltese well-groomed.
While small dogs might be easier to handle, some people just like big dogs more. If you’re a fan of big dogs, then the Greyhound might be the perfect fit for you. I know the instinct is to wonder how a dog bred for racing might be a good fit for older adults. But racing is just their profession.
These dogs are the quintessential couch-potatoes, and in fact, would pick loafing on the couch with their owners over a run around the track any day. They are also easy to train and are a largely gentle breed.
The Schnauzer and the Miniature Schnauzer are another great breed to have as a companion. These dogs can be found in a variety of sizes, weighing in at anywhere between 15 pounds and 85 pounds.
Another fiercely loyal breed of dog, schnauzers are generally eager to please, making them easy to train. This fuzzy companion is also extremely protective and has very strong guard dog instincts. But they also known to be very soft and gentle when kids are around.
Another absolute lap dog, Lhasa Apsos are loyal companions with a lot of love to give. They are also absolutely desperate for attention. This breed is easy to maintain even in smaller spaces, like apartments, and also at assisted living facilities, because it doesn’t shed too much hair.
Despite their love for attention and affection, Lhasa Apsos are also very independent dogs and can usually keep themselves occupied, making them easier to handle. This breed is extremely small, usually weighing only about 10-15 pounds.
10.Pembroke Welsh Corgi
These little guys have been a long time favorite of the Royal Family and a few of its kind have had the pleasure of enjoying a plush life within the walls of Buckingham Palace. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an extremely energetic and intelligent breed, which usually means they’re fun but not too troublesome.
They weigh between 25 and 30 pounds, and are small enough to live comfortably anywhere. With their tiny legs and massive ears, these furry friends will make you smile just by looking at them.
This breed is perfect for you if you are generally prone to allergies or sensitive to dog hair, because they shed minimally, like the Maltese and Lhasa Apsos. However, this type of Terrier has a higher level of intelligence than most other small dogs. This makes them more obedient and easier to train.
These dogs can be prone to health problems, like low blood sugar and trick knees, so you will have to vigilant. But they are small dogs, weighing only up to 15 pounds, though show dogs of this breed usually weight only 4 pounds.
In case the name wasn’t a give-away, this breed is a mix between Golden Retrievers and Poodles. With a Goldendoodle, you get the adaptability of the poodle with the excitability of a golden retriever.
Both are also intelligent breeds that are obedient and easily trained, a quality also shared by the goldendoodle. This dog is usually mid-sized and weighs between 35 to 45 pounds.
These cute cuddly creatures can be small enough to fit in your purse and carry around with you. Some dogs of this breed weigh only 4 pounds, though some can weigh up to 15 pounds. They are generally a quiet breed that loves company and affection.
Small excursions to the backyard or a nearby park are enough exercise to keep this dog happy, and keep you happy, too! They may look furry but they are easily groomed, needing only to be brushed once a week to stay neat.
With their squishy faces, and tiny scrunched up noses, Pugs are fun to have around just to look at sometimes. They can be extremely adaptable animals if they have to be, but the thing they like most is curling up on the couch with their owner and lazing. That makes this breed ideal for anyone who isn’t able to go out or exercise as much.
Pugs tend to bond with their owners quickly, and are so small they usually weigh only around 15 pounds. Their short coats are easily groomed and do not shed too much.
This dog shares traits with most other dogs on this list, with a preference for their owners laps and a happy demeanour. These dogs are generally calm and helpful, and extremely affectionate. It also shares a number of traits with bulldogs, another species that’s very friendly despite its gruff appearance.
It is another small species, usually weighing only up to 15 pounds. However, one key element that makes this dog preferable for seniors is that these dogs enjoy the company of older adults more than that of kids and young adults.
Basset hounds are very intelligent and generally calm and sweet dogs. One look at this droopy eared friend will tell you that their grooming needs are absolutely minimal. This breed has a tendency to put on weight, and a preference towards laziness, so you will need to make sure they get some exercise.
These dogs also tend to be quite stubborn about things, but are very loyal and affectionate, so they’ll follow you like a shadow. These dogs are medium to small sized, and weigh around 30 to 40 pounds.
17.Cavelier King Charles Spaniel
Another tea-cup sized pup that looks like a mix between the Japanese Chin and the Cocker Spaniel. This species, much like the Welsh Corgi, is a lap dog that has been another favorite of Royalty for many, many years.
They only need to be bathed and brushed once a week to keep them well groomed, and that’s a relatively easily task given their size, as they usually weigh only about 15 pounds. They are extremely adaptable dogs and the perfect companion if you love to snuggle.
Shih Tzus are usually big personalities in small and fluffy packages. With their long and difficult-to-tame hair, they are also known as the “lion dog”. They are extremely loyal dogs, and very adaptable. Most of the time they are content being couch potatoes, but they have another side too.
They are extremely protective dogs with a strong instinct to guard. And despite their small size, they make excellent guard dogs and are quick and loud to warn of any intrusions. With only few exercise needs, this diminutive dog can be comfortable in houses, apartments and assisted living facilities.
This is another great breed for the big-dog lovers out there. There originate from Britain and are fairly rare, with only approximately 600 of their kind left world over. If you can find one, they make for fantastic companions, and are faithful and loving.
This breed is also highly intelligent and independent, which makes them great at keeping themselves occupied when you’re busy. And despite their big size, they need only moderate amounts of exercise a day. These dogs are perfect if you’ve got a lot of space in your life and want someone to share it with.
Despite what you may hear, mixed breeds are actually ideal companions to have. And by mixed breeds I’m including stray-type dogs, whose breeds couldn’t be identified by anything less than an expert. That’s because these dogs tend to be extremely affectionate, fiercely loyal and with a street-smartness you just can’t teach.
They are also highly adaptable, resilient and eager to please. And mixed breeds can come in all kinds of sizes, so it’s just about opening your mind and your heart, so you can choose the best friend for you.