One of the best things a person can do at any age is to adopt a dog. Dogs can provide a tremendous amount of love and joy, and are a great way to overcome loneliness or boredom, which sometimes can affect seniors in their retirement. There are so many different breeds that sometimes it can be difficult to decide which dog is best for you. Seniors need to think about how much exercise certain types of dogs need, and whether they can provide it. For example, working breeds like Border Collies need a lot of exercise, both physically and mentally.
Owning a pet has it's pros and cons, and you have to really think what type of pet, whether a cat or dog, and what type of breed is right for you. For example, you have to factor in if you will have the time and energy for a larger dog, or whether a small lap dog is more your speed. There are an almost infinite amount of sizes and temperaments when it comes to dogs. If you do choose to adopt a furry friend, they quickly become a loving and wonderful addition to any family. Below our list of the top 10 specific dog breeds that are ideal for seniors and the elderly.
10. Greyhound: When one thinks of a Greyhound you might picture a dog racing around a dog track, however the breed is actually very mild mannered and does not require a tremendous amount of exercise. There are also a lot of rescue programs for retired racing dogs; they make for a truly wonderful pet and seeing even an older one run is a thing of beauty
9. Golden Retriever: This breed might be the classic American breed, although their ancestry can be traced back to the UK. They are an amazing breed for loyalty and companionship and will provide their owners with unlimited love. They do require frequent exercise because they have a tendency to gain weight especially as they get older. Their history as companion dogs also speaks to a breed that can be ideal for an active, older adult.
8. Golden Doodle: This is a hybrid breed, a cross between Poodles and Golden Retrievers, and often possess the best traits of both breeds. They are hypoallergenic, which is great for anyone looking to adopt but have allergies to pet dander. They require a bit more exercise than the other dogs on the list, but nothing that a tennis ball and a park can’t rectify. Any active senior would enjoy this bright and charming dog.
7. French Bulldog: There is something so classic about the look of the French Bulldog. The ears, the personality, make for an ideal companion dog. They can be stubborn to train, so if you’re adopting a puppy you should ideally have a little experience with training. They are very playful and loving and are great around grandchildren.
6. King Charles Spaniel: Also called the Cavalier Terrier, this is a dog with a sweet temperament who love being lap dogs. They are very affectionate and thrive in an environment where they can spend a lot of time with their owners. They inspire a very vocal fan base that often recommends adopting at least two of them. They make a perfect companion for older adults.
5. Welsh Terrier: This European Terrier might be the most charming, playful terrier of them all. The Welsh Terrier made the list due to its minimal shedding, medium build (20-25lbs), and most importantly, affectionate personality that provides endless love and loyalty to its owners. The Welsh Terrier is perfect for active seniors who love taking walks. These terriers are "prey breeds", meaning they live to hunt bunnies, squirrels, and small animals, so take a ball to the park to play fetch in order to mitigate their rambunctiousness. The Welsh Terrier is not a lap dog, but your grandchildren will love rolling on the floor playing with these friendly pups!
4. Shih Tzu: Hailing from Tibet, this Chinese breed is a happy, little dog weighing no more than 10-18 pounds. Even with an infamous underbite, the Shih Tzu is adorable with its short snout, puffy face, and silky coat. Seniors will love the Shih Tzu's mild temperament and snuggly personality, although this Asian breed still requires short walks. That's ok though, as it forces senior citizen dog owners to get up, get out, and get some exercise. Please note, you will have to brush your Shih Tzu at least once a week.
3. Poodle: There is something so quintessentially French about Poodles. They are by far the most intelligent breed on this list, which is very desirable in a breed but also means their owner must stay on top of them. They require a moderate amount of exercise but can become bored and frustrated if they are left alone too much. They excel at games, and you can see their hunting origins when they fetch or swim. They are hypoallergenic, and come in a variety of sizes from the large “Standard” to very small “Toy”.
2. Bichon Frise: This is a playful and affectionate breed that is very popular among seniors as a companion. They are bright and outgoing and do very well around other dogs as well as children. They are hypoallergenic, although their coat does require regular grooming as well as brushing. Anyone who has spent time with their very sweet temperament would recommend them.
1. West Highland Terrier: Hailing from Scotland, Westies are a wonderfully intelligent breed with a lot of personality. They are very calm for a terrier breed, although a squirrel might disagree with that assessment. They are ideal dogs for apartments and are very loving and loyal to their owners. They require a moderate amount of exercise, and are very intellectually curious so they don’t do well being left for long stretches at home with no companionship.