Dogs can be high-maintenance, but they are excellent for seniors in that they provide ample opportunities for socialization and exercise. Pets are associated with certain health benefits too.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular walking or playing with pets can decrease levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, as well as decrease blood pressure. The companionship provided by pets may also help alleviate loneliness and depression in people of all-ages, and encourage more walking and exercise.
However, dog breeds aren’t equal when it comes to energy levels,;exercise and grooming needs; trainability; and family-friendliness.
When choosing a dog breed, one needs to take into account his or her own schedule, needs, preferences, and past experience with dogs. Seniors should be even pickier because of potential health and mobility issues. However, we can all agree that dog ownership is a wonderful thing!
As a result, if you are looking to adopt a dog to enliven your home, here are the 10 best dog breeds for seniors. These breeds are very distinct from each other, but they all have features that make them appealing to seniors!
10 Best Dog Breeds For Seniors
1. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog is among the most playful and cheerful dog breeds, and it’s next to impossible to get bored with them. French Bulldogs need daily walks, but they don’t need too much exercise – they get tired fairly quickly.
Some seniors will also appreciate the quietness of French Bulldogs – they don’t tend to bark a lot. This makes them well-adapted to apartment living, in particular.
Frenchies are affectionate toward humans and other pets too. They are rather easy to groom and train as well, though they do require a confident hand for successful training.
On the other hand, Frenchies sometimes have poor health and are prone to conditions like hip dysplasia or brachycephalic syndrome. To minimize the risk of health issues, buy a French Bulldog from a responsible breeder.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are adorable little dogs with an affectionate and friendly attitude. They are great family dogs and bond easily with their owners, children, and other pets.
However, Cavaliers’ fluffy coat requires regular grooming, especially in the spring and fall. These dogs also require more exercise than Frenchies, but a small backyard should be more than enough for their needs.
Greyhounds might not seem a good fit for seniors, particularly due to their relatively high energy level and prey drive. However, they are actually docile and do very well in apartments and homes with small backyards. Greyhounds like to lie on the couch and nap all day too, though they still need regular exercise.
What many seniors will particularly love about Greyhounds is that they shed very little thanks to their light coat. However, the lightness of their coats makes Greyhounds very sensitive to cold, so they won’t do well in low-temperature areas.
Greyhounds have made a name as racing dogs, and you can find many retired adults in shelters or rescue groups. Do strongly consider adopting a Greyhound – these dogs are often abandoned or euthanized once they become unfit for racing due to age.
Poodles are remarkably intelligent and require frequent mental stimulation. Obedience training is a must for Poodles – they get bored and destructive if neglected or if they don’t face any challenge throughout the day. But thankfully, Poodles are obedient and easy to train.
Poodles are some of the most gorgeous dogs out there as well, but they require heavy grooming. Daily brushing is a must to keep their coat shiny and healthy. Many Poodle owners have their dogs clipped and trimmed by professional groomers, but some learn to take care of their magnificent coats themselves.
Despite being relatively high-maintenance dogs, Poodles can be great for seniors thanks to their trainability.
Weighing just 3 to 7 pounds, Pomeranians are among the easiest-to-handle dogs out there. But in spite of what their small size may suggest, Pomeranians have a commanding attitude. They are lively and often chase dogs far larger than them. This playfulness can be problematic and should be kept under control at all times, but it does make Pomeranians fun and distinct.
Pomeranians have moderate grooming and exercise needs and are pretty easy to take care of. These dogs make for great watchdogs too since they tend to bark at strangers. But they are also prone to excessive barking and should be trained to stop barking on command.
Maltese dogs are world-famous for their glorious floor-length coat. This dog breed is strongly associated with aristocratic circles, but you don’t have to be swimming in luxury in order to adopt a Maltese.
When it comes to exercise and energy levels, Maltese dogs are easily manageable for seniors. They do love to play, but a small backyard area is usually sufficient for their daily exercise needs.
Grooming is a whole another story, however – if you want to maintain the lush appearance of a Maltese’s coat, daily brushing and regular baths are not optional.
Pugs are easy to groom, even though they shed quite heavily. Weekly brushing suffices for these dogs, and they don’t really need to be bathed, unless they make a mess or start stinking.
Pugs are also playful but may spend the entire day on the sofa. They are greedy eaters though, so lack of play and exercise is very likely to lead to obesity in them. Don’t let your pug become a couch potato!
Pugs are easy-going and are highly trainable too, but they can be stubborn. You should not train them harshly or shout at them though – Pugs are very sensitive and affectionate toward their owners and don’t like to be mistreated or neglected.
A big dog demeanor trapped in a small frame – this perfectly characterizes Chihuahuas. Experts consider Chihuahuas to be among the 10 best watchdogs, and they do well in dog sports too.
Chihuahuas are low-maintenance and require minimum exercise. They strongly bond with their owners as well, but they can be unfriendly toward other dogs unless socialized from youth. And due to their stubbornness, they don’t back down even when encountering much larger dogs, which might spell a disaster if you do not supervise your Chihuahua.
9. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu has a rich Chinese ancestry and is a prized companion among nobles. It’s perhaps less known to Westerners than the Maltese, but it’s certainly a no less proud or luxurious breed.
Shih Tzu dogs require daily brushing and occasional bathing to maintain the grandeur of their coat. If you want your Shih Tzu to be at the peak beauty-wise, you may want to address a professional dog groomer as well.
The grooming needs of Shih Tzu dogs may be high, but the same, fortunately, can’t be said about exercise. Shih Tzus require minimal exercise, and short outdoor walks and indoor play will be enough for them.
10. Boston Terrier
Originally bred as fighting dogs, Boston Terriers are today affectionate and gentle pets. Nicknamed “American Gentleman” due to their tuxedo-like coat pattern, Boston Terriers are excellent family dogs and are well-adapted to apartment living.
Boston Terrier dogs are generally quiet and calm, but they are high-energy and need a good amount of exercise. A walk one or two times a day should suffice, though some Boston Terriers are more energetic than others. But do note that these dogs are greedy eaters, so you need to find a perfect balance between exercise and diet to avoid obesity.
Training a Boston Terrier is also not difficult, but they need consistency and a firm hand. Don’t punish a Boston Terrier though – this breed is sensitive and can be hugely demotivated by shouting.
Dogs can provide tremendous support to seniors, but definitely take time and attention as well! Dogs can be high-maintenance, so before adopting a pup, make sure you pick a breed that works for your needs!
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