The best dog breeds for seniors and retirees must ideally be very intelligent, require low maintenance, less activity and should also be good watchdogs. They should also have a good disposition, be sociable and affectionate and like to sit on laps! Here are 10 breeds that make good companion dog breeds for seniors and retirees.
Pugs are easy dogs to take care of. They do not shed too much and as a result require very little weekly grooming. This breed also does not require too much exercise and being civilized creatures, all they need is a little fenced yard in to race about. However, behavior acquired in this dog’s early years will carry forward in later years. So it is always a good idea to train him while he is puppy so he can grow into a well behaved, social companion for assisted living.
2. Miniature Schnauzer
This dog breed is highly intelligent; of the 134 dog breeds ranked by psychologists in terms of obedience and working intelligence, the Schnauzer came in 12th. Exercise is a must for all dogs to prevent weight gain; thankfully this dog is small enough to do many indoor activities. Also exercise need not be a boring routine and that is what makes this the best dog breed for active seniors. Grooming is also important since an unkempt Schnauzer could develop problems like matted hair, fleas etc. In short, this amazingly versatile dog can make a docile pet for the elderly as well as a sporting companion for the young at heart.
Little exercise for the little dog is the mantra to follow as far as the Chihuahua is concerned. A short daily walk will keep your pet happy and seniors can also play throw and fetch with him. This pint sized animal gets all the exercise he needs by romping about in the yard or home. And just like most elderly people, they do well in warmer weather. Despite their size, they make great watchdogs and are gifted with superb hearing. They can easily distinguish between their owner’s footsteps and those of a stranger’s. Do you have a lot of time on hand? Then the Chi is ideal for you as he loves being doted upon and spending time with humans. Chis also have a long lifespan and they are great at sensing moods making them one of the best dog breeds for anxiety.
Beagles are good companion dog breeds as they are happy, friendly and extremely intelligent and love people and company. These sniffer dogs are even employed at airports to sniff out fruits, plants and other stuff that doesn’t belong in airplane luggage. Beagles make great family pets and they do not shed too much. They require moderate exercise but metal stimulation is a must for them. In general, they can be considered one of the best dog breeds for seniors and retirees.
Pomeranians are often owned by elderly people and retirees who have more free time to spend with their beloved pet. These little barkers are very affectionate to their parents and loved ones but can annoy neighbors with their barking. Proper training, moderate exercise and companionship can mostly prevent barking, nipping, biting and other unwanted behavior. This small dog makes an excellent guard dog. There is an unusual story of a Pom owned by an elderly person who became gravely ill. Throughout his illness, the little dog was quiet and reserved. However, at one point, he excitedly began to bark and run around his sick owner’s bed at which point the owner opened his eyes and smiled at the little dog. This was followed by many years of loving relationship between the dog and his owner. Relatives later narrated that they felt the little dog had sensed an improvement in its owner’s health.
Poodles and elderly make great combination however; great care must be taken before pairing a frail elderly person with a rambunctious young standard poodle. Lonely retired people will find great solace in this companion. They make loving, faithful and loyal guard dogs and many stories abound about elders who never owned a dog but became inseparable with their poodle. Retirees who lack the routine and structure of their working years can get it thanks to the care and maintenance Poodles need. Walks with the poodle are good for the arms and ankles. Brushing a poodle can keep aging hands supple.
7. Shih Tzu
A properly trained and well socialized shih tzu will have a great rapport with the elderly family member. As puppies though, their boundless energy will be overwhelming for seniors. The great thing about this good companion dog breed for active seniors is that it is happy to be as active as its owner. They love to take walks and play fetch. Regular grooming is a must for the Shih Tzu to prevent problems and also foster attachment and bonding.
8. West Highland White Terrier
A sedentary lifestyle is harmful to a dog as it is to humans. Thankfully, the West Highland white terrier is happy with short daily walks and running in the yard. Do understand that this breed requires grooming and coat maintenance. Keep him clean and well brushed and you will find it a pleasure to be in his company. The average lifespan of this breed is between 14 and 16 years.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The original Cavalier spaniel was specifically bred to be a companion lap dog for the King and aristocracy. A great companion for seniors and retirees, this dog is happy to sit on their knees or besides their feet for considerable periods of time. It is no wonder that many nursing homes and senior homes accept visits from the Cavalier Spaniel where the dogs also love to be. This elegant, affectionate and intelligent toy dog needs weekly brushing and grooming.
This dog breed is gaining popularity for its lively, cheerful and affectionate personality. The Biewer terriers make a great pet for the elderly as they need moderate exercise and shed lightly. Their loyalty and high intelligence are a delight. They do very well with older kids and love socializing.