Dogs are beneficial pets for seniors. They help older adults stay mentally and physically active while providing comfort and companionship. But not all dogs meet seniors’ unique needs. The ideal dog breed for senior citizens is one that is easy to care for, has a friendly disposition, and isn’t too big. When choosing a dog, you’ll also want to take into account your personality and activity level. Here are ten dog breeds that meet the bill.
1. Boston Terrier
Boston terriers are easy to care for–but it’s their amusing expressions and antics that will warm your heart. These dogs have short fur and require very little grooming. They’re relatively small, weighing less than 25 pounds. Boston terriers bark very little if at all, making them a good choice for seniors who live close to others. They are also friendly to other people and animals, including grandchildren. One caveat is that housebreaking a Boston terrier puppy can be more difficult than other breeds. Fortunately, an indoor dog potty such as Bark Potty can make the potty training process less difficult for both owner and dog.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles spaniels are good dogs for the elderly who want companionship. These dogs want to be where you are as much as possible–including your lap! Luckily, they’re small enough to make lap cuddles comfortable, weighing between 13 and 18 pounds. King Charles spaniels love to take walks, so this breed is best for active seniors. Their long fur doesn’t need to be trimmed, but you will need to brush it regularly.
3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
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Seniors who are looking for an active dog should consider the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. They are considered herding dogs by the American Kennel Club, and they are happiest when they are exercised often. Corgis are immediately recognizable by their short legs. This breed is known for its intelligence and friendliness. Corgis are a good choice for older adults because they are generally healthy dogs, their coats require little grooming, and they are kind and affectionate.
4. Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless)
Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced show-low-itz-queent-li), also called xolos, are a rare breed native to Mexico and Central America. Xolos are smart dogs that need very little grooming. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, xolos are hypoallergenic, which makes them a great choice for seniors with allergic family members. They come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy, with weights ranging from 10 to 50 pounds. These dogs can be active, but don’t require a lot of exercise. They are also good with children and make excellent guard dogs.
5. Bichon Frise
Bichon frises are small, white dogs who don’t tend to shed. Seniors love bichons because of their friendly, affectionate demeanor. They are very smart and can be easy to train–except when it comes to housebreaking. Bichon puppies need extra attention when it comes to potty training, so an adult bichon who is already housebroken may be a good choice for seniors. Bichons need moderate exercise, such as regular walks.
The name lowchen means “little lion”. Historically, this breed was often groomed to look like a lion. Modern lowchen owners also say their small dogs have a lion’s bravery. Lowchens make great pets for seniors because they are friendly, and don’t need much exercise aside from a brief daily walk. They love their humans and want to be around them as much as possible, making this breed an excellent companion. Lowchens do require regular trimming of their regal coats. Seniors who are not up to this task will need to take their pet to a professional groomer.
Maltese dogs are very small, usually weighing less than seven pounds. Their small size makes these dogs easy for seniors to pick up, if necessary. Maltese dogs love to sit on their owners’ laps, simply keeping them company. They have a lot of energy for their size and enjoy taking walks. Their long, white fur should be brushed regularly. Seniors with very young grandchildren will need to keep a close eye on their Maltese dog when children are present. Because of Maltese dogs’ size, they could easily be injured by a child.
8. American Cocker Spaniel
There are many reasons American cocker spaniels are one of the most popular dog breeds. They make great walking companions and gentle family pets. They also love cuddling with their humans! Cocker spaniels are a good choice for seniors who want a medium-sized dog. They weigh between 15 and 30 pounds and are fairly active. Cocker spaniels have long coats and will need regular brushing and grooming.
9. French Bulldog
The French bulldog, also known as a Frenchie, is a very popular breed, and a good one for seniors. These dogs don’t often bark. They also have short coats that don’t need much grooming, and their exercise requirements are minimal. French bulldogs have happy, playful personalities. Martha Stewart has had several French bulldogs and counts the breed as one of her favorites.
Pugs are toy dogs that will always keep you entertained. They weigh less than 20 pounds, and they’re not very active, especially when they’re indoors. Pugs are great pets for seniors because they are loyal lapdog companions. They also normally get along well with children and other animals. Pugs have short coats that don’t need much grooming. However, they are known for shedding.
There are many benefits to bringing a dog into your family as a senior. Thoroughly research any breed you’re considering before finding a dog. The ideal canine friend will help you to stay active and enjoy your golden years.