How to Choose the Right Dog for a Senior Citizen

The Best Dog for You is the Dog Most like You

Dogs add so much to our lives. They are our companions, our best friends and our guardians. We return the favor by being the same to them. The best dog for you is the dog who is most likely to live happily within your current lifestyle.


For senior citizens, a dog can ease loneliness, provide protection and be a source of comfort. No matter what the breed, the best dog for an elderly person is a mature dog.


Older dogs are less likely to get adopted and there are thousands of them in need of homes at animal shelters and rescues across the country. Senior dogs and their behaviors, needs, desires and energy levels are also best suited to the lifestyle of senior people.


The second most important component in choosing a dog for a senior is to ensure the dog is well-trained, or you should be willing to spend the time to take the dog to obedience school.


The last dog a senior needs is a puppy who is fully of energy, tugging at his or her leash, and yapping throughout the night.


I believe a mixed-breed dog is always best. I find mixed breeds tend to be healthier, smarter and have better behavior than their purebred counterparts. However, if you are set on having a purebred dog, adopt one from a rescue or animal shelter. Ensure the dog is spayed/neutered and ensure it’s the right dog for you.


If you’re choosing a purebred or a mix, here are 10 breeds that are especially suited for seniors. If you choose a mixed breed, you can look for one who has some of his or her parentage from one of the breeds below.


A great place to start your search is Petfinder, where thousands and thousands of rescued dogs’ pictures and profiles are available.


The Welsh Corgi weighs in at about 25 pounds and is sometimes described as a large dog in a small dog’s body. Corgi’s are a stocky breed who do need daily exercise, but do not require a large living space. They tend to be very loyal to their person and form a fast bond with the one individual they call their own.


The Chihuahua weighs only about 5 pounds and stands under nine inches tall. They are small enough to make for handling easy for seniors. They will bark their little heads off to let you know if anyone is around. They tend to bond quickly with their one and only person.


The Greyhound, despite its history as a racing dog, doesn’t really move around that much. They do need a run everyday, but after that they’re happy to nap the day away. They are devoted to their companions and require little grooming.


The Dachshund, with its short legs and long body, is a lovable and playful dog that requires only moderate exercise. The bond quickly to their person and tend to be highly intelligent companions.


The Pit Bull, despite its bad reputation, is a great indoor dog with the right caretaker and the right dog. Pit Bull dogs are loyal and lazy and will protect their person. While this dog isn’t right for every senior citizen, there are some for whom it would be the perfect companion. It is most important that if this is the dog you choose, he or she go through obedience training and you learn about how to properly control him or her.


The Cocker Spaniel with his or her curly hair and big eyes doesn’t need a lot of exercise beyond a daily walk. They like to spend their days lounging around and cuddling with their person.

The American Eskimo guards his person and tends to bond tightly. The American Eskimo ranges in size from small to medium and is usually an easy dog for seniors to handle.


The Boston Terrier is a true American breed. Muscular and compact, the Boston Terrier tends to be protective of his person and his home, and will take the best of care of his senior guardian.


The Maltese is a small dog that is affectionate and loves his or her person. The Maltese does need daily care for his or her long flowing white coat.


The Poodle loves his or her person and is a person’s dog and not a dog’s dog. Poodles do require their owner’s attention and love to be made to feel special.

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