The “golden age” of life may be exciting, but it’s not easy. The children have already gone off to live on their own, and the grandchildren are in college. Life can get lonely for seniors, and having a sweet puppy around is proven to be a very useful addition to both happy and healthy living in seniors.
Dogs can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction, and even physical activity. So, let’s take a look at the best options for you when it’s time to get your senior companion!
Adopt a Mix
There are currently 70 million dogs in America looking for a home every year. Yes, some of them may be middle-aged medium-sized dogs, but there are also many well-trained older dogs as well as small breed puppy mixes that are full of love, and ready to extend that love to their new mommies and daddies.
Many seniors prefer to stay away from adoption fearing that puppies would develop unmanageable onset conditions. However, the truth of the matter is that puppies that came from a shelter are just as likely to be good dogs as those from a breeder.
The Smooth Fox Terrier
The Smooth fox terrier is perfect for the active senior; they love being loved, and want to experience every moment of their day with their owner. They have a short flat coat and are small, compact, and muscular. The fox terrier is very easy to train, and loves to play fetch!
They have one misgiving though. Fox Terriers were initially bred as a hunting dog, and if not trained correctly on the leash, will give their owners a run for their money when pulling.
The Yakutian Laika is a perfect match for anyone looking to be loved daily. They are the ideal companion, and are devoted to members of their pack! These dogs live to bond, and the last thing they want is to be left alone. They are also fierce guardians when confronted with predators. The Laika is also a perfect breed to play with your grandchildren.
They are calm, nurturing, and very loving! It’s essential to leash train your Yak Laika when they are puppies, as well as acquainting them with other animals, children, and people.
When they are puppies, Ibizan Hounds can be a bit of a nuisance, energetic and playful, and in need of many walks. However, once they reach the age of about 1 to 1 ½ years, they become quiet, gentle, and relaxed. One can even say that an Ibizan hound is quite the couch potato.
When getting an Ibizan Hound, make sure there is enough running space in the back yard, consider an early training regimen, and make sure to socialize them with other animals at a young age.
Despite being beautiful and majestic, the whippet has actually been nicknamed the “poor man’s Greyhound.” This medium-sized canine has a dense coat that varies in color. They are a crossbreed between Greyhounds, small terriers, and Italian Greyhounds. They are a very sleek, beautiful, and affectionate breed.
Whippets, if not associated with other animals at a young age, can become fearful and timid in situations that are not routine to them. Whippets are very fast and require a walk on a leash at all times. They do not get along with cats, and love chasing small prey, and have been reported to have even gone on a chase for miles until catching it.
The Havanese is a perfect small dog for seniors. They are loyal, loving lap dogs that are so loving that they are nicknamed the “Velcro dog” because of how closely they like to stick to their owner. The Havanese have had to prove themselves as more than just a lap dog.
They were initially bred in Cuba to accompany a wealthy family’s life so they can avoid symptoms of loneliness. Since then they have worked hard to prove themselves as great working dogs as well! They are very trainable, in roles of therapy, mold and termite sniffing, and even able to learn some clownish antic tricks.
Ever sit there and reminisce about the cute baby face your grandchildren used to have? Now they’re in college, they now have opinions, and smirky remarks to everything you say, and they never seem to listen. Right?
Well if you feel this way, then the Labrador Retriever is the perfect breed for you! They have the “babiest” of babyfaces, and will gladly listen to anything you tell them to do. Labs can even be trained to open the fridge and bring you a drink or help put clothes in the laundry hamper. They strive for companionship and are driven to please.
The Shiba Inu is a veteran dog breed that originated in Japan. They come in four colors; red, red sesame, black, or tan. They are almost fox-like in looks and stature, with their alert expression, and smooth stride. The Shiba is sturdy, muscular, and bold.
They have a confident personality and have a strong, affectionate bond with their owners that often translates to protective behavior as well. The first recorded Shiba was brought to America by an American Military family in 1954.
The Irish Setter has a beautiful mahogany coat and is an enthusiastic bird dog. They are bold, inquisitive, with high energy and play drive, and are a perfect family breed. It was initially bred as a “bird dog,” meaning it would be trained to retrieve birds that would be caught on the “the hunt.”
They love to help out, and when they have learned something new, they never forget it. They have a very disciplined temperament which makes them the perfect therapy dog that bides its time quietly in attention and waits for orders.
The Peekapoo is what’s called a “designer dog.” It is not a purebred, but a crossbreed between a Pekingese and a Miniature Toy Poodle. They are perfect if there are allergies in the family, as they are hypoallergenic due to their Poodle ancestry.
They’re friendly and very affectionate. They also live very long so you will have between 13 to 15 years to enjoy a life of love and companionship with this very sweet, very cute, and equally baby-faced puppy dog!
The Rat Terrier has a smooth, shiny coat that comes in a variety of patterns. These dogs are adorable, and love to eat! So, make sure you are disciplined when feeding them, as they are very prone to weight gain.
They are not called Rat Terriers because they are similar looking to one. Actually, they were bred to hunt them and were very effective pest control during WWI. This role was also significant in early farm life as rodent infestation could mean the difference between having enough food and grain to last the winter.
A labradoodle is another perfect example of the ideal dog for a person who just wants somebody to love without the hassles of a driven working breed. This breed is the ideal companion as they too are hypoallergenic, and do not shed.
This all comes with the hard-working pride and intelligence of a Lab that’s present, loving, and ready to please. They also get along great with children and other dogs. In other words, this little pup does not have one bad bone in her body.
The origin is in the name, and the name carries much honor with it from the homeland of Japan. These dogs are brilliant, easy to train, low-maintenance, and ideal with children! These dogs have little grooming needs, and their thick majestic coat repels most dirt.
Another bonus to this breed is that they don’t have any odor, meaning grooming and cleaning expenses are meager. If you spend a lot of time at home, this is the perfect breed for you as they don’t like to be left alone!
This noble Scottish sheepdog was bred by farmers to guard farms in the Shetland Islands from predatory birds and keep sheep out of the gardens of farmers. They also doubled their role as magnificent herding animals.
Today they are dog sport superstars and magical obedient family dogs! The Shetland, or “Sheltie” as it’s known, is an intelligent dog. They have a high willingness to please and a very athletic ability to do all types of things both at home and outside.
Hounds, in general, are a significant human achievement in the world of working breeds. They were bred carefully for the role of tracking and hunting. Their lips fall far past their face towards the ground, and their long ears are long and floppy.
The reason for these facial features is so that they can scoop up dirt from the forest floor, through their ears and lips, and keep the scent close to their nose. This ability to quickly pick up scent made them the most accurate tracking dog in the world.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Welsh Corgi is an animal literally fit for a queen! However, train wisely as they have a high tendency to bark! The Pembroke Welsh Corgi originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and are an enchanting breed with a background steeped in folklore.
They are small and loyal to their family; they love to play with children and will even herd them back to you if they go too far in the park! Queen Elizabeth II got her first of many Corgis from her father King George VI in 1933.
The Papillion is a tiny canine! Their height is only 8 to 11 inches, with a max weight of ten pounds, and an expected weight of 5 to 7. They come from what’s called the “Toy Group” of dogs.
Despite how small they are, this breed cannot be mistaken even from a mile away due to their wing-shaped ears. This ear shape is actually where their name comes from as Papillion means “butterfly” in French. If you like em’ small, and adorable, this is the perfect breed for you!
The Welsh Terrier is useful whether you live in an apartment or a house! This breed is a virtual non-shedder and perfect for people with allergies! They are a very independent breed and are not prone to anxious attributes like most working dogs of their stature when left alone.
If not socialized from a young age the Welsh Terrier can be combative with other dogs. So, make sure to make new friends! To help cope with their high energy, get a lot of toys, as they are very good at entertaining themselves.
Pugs should be considered their own species of animal. They have an attitude to life that is pleasing to any human who comes across one. These small breeds have breathing problems and are very short-sighted.
They are also a little dumb. Despite all these misgivings, these cute little guys are some of the most positive, fun-loving dogs in the world that spread joy and compassion to anyone they meet. They can be protective around strangers and other dogs, but their size and cuteness render them pretty harmless!
The Maltese are the classic senior breed. Also originating from the “toy breed” category, these little things are loving, calm, and joyful companions. They require grooming at least twice a year, to keep their coat out of their eyes.
They do not expect too much outdoor exercise and can play catch from the couch if you’d like even. Maltese are known for the teardrop stain under their eyes that build up after they cry. So, keep yours happy to keep its eyes clean!
The Golden Retriever is the most accomplished therapeutic working dog in history! They love to please, and can learn virtually any task they are challenged with. Goldens are used for many working roles across the board.
They can detect and treat humans during seizures. For the right price, you can get the perfect companion who will do just about anything you need them to. Oh, and they have a baby face that easily competes with the grandchildren!
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
These little guys are actually part of the Terrier group and not the Toy Group breed. They have silky white hair, long pendulous ears, and feathered tips across their coat. They come in either bluish-black or silvery gray, and even a reddish-brown to pale fawn color.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier can be traced all the way back to the year 1700, and was described as a “rough native terrier owned by border hunters in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland.” In the 19th-century, King Louis Philippe of France kept the breed around him as part of his royal entourage.
Greyhounds are known as one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. Despite their high drive and ability to travel long distances. This breed is very easy to train, and even easier to love!
They are very calm and submissive to their owners, and quiet and not too standoffish with other dogs in the neighborhood. They have a silky soft coat and very long noses. If you take your Greyhound on a 20-minute walk each day, you’ll do just fine!
The Pekingese is one of the most famous house breeds in America; their trademark fluffy coat hides inside off its light and small body. They are very lovable and affectionate to their family and enjoy attention from strangers as well
However, they grow up to be very independent little creatures who cherish personal space and have been known to develop a biting habit in later age. So, please make sure the grandchildren know to play gentle and give them space when they need some.
The Dachshund breed was created in Germany and were known as the Badger Dog. Illustrations of the breed date all the way back to the 15th century. Throughout their existence, Dachshund’s developed to be fearless, elongated canines that could dig into badger burrows, and then go into the tunnels to fight the badger if necessary, as well.
Crate-training is recommended in the breed as they can be very stubborn and difficult to housebreak. These medium dogs are independent with a playful spirit, and are sure to keep you moving throughout the day!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been a symbol of nobility since the 17th century. King Charles I and his son Charles II were known to be very devoted owners of the breed. Feed your Cavalier high-quality, healthy dog food, and make sure not to overfeed as they are very prone to weight gain.
Despite being bred to be a lap dog, the Cav can get a bit rowdy if not given enough exercise, so get a ball and throw it around the house every now and again.
This playful house dog is full of love and devotion to their owners. They have a one of a kind coat that requires grooming two to three times a week. They are high maintenance to keep pretty and also need bathing and clipping at least once a month as well.
The Bichon as well is relatively hypoallergenic. Despite being frequently active, you can also expect from the breed long stretches of relaxation. They love obedience training and do great in agility and rally competitions.
Russell Terrier Jack
The Russell Terrier Jack is sure to get you out of the house, as they are a very fun-loving energetic breed. They require a mild grooming regiment and occasionally shed. They have a very high “prey drive” and require a leash outdoors at all times.
They love a long walk in the woods and even enjoy a dip with you in the ocean. If you’re looking for a dog that can stay calm at home without a long walk, then this breed is not right for you.
The Cairn Terrier is generally an easy to keep dog. Weekly brushing and combing are recommended as they do have a slight shed. The Cairn Terrier is very adaptable to many types of biomes, and only require daily outings to be happy.
The breed loves training in obedience, tracking, herding, agility, and ability tests. Cairn Terriers, despite their love and devotion to family, still get a kick out of testing their limits. Need not to worry though as they are very easily trained, and learn quickly.
The Chinese Crested canine looks very odd and has the most unique look in the K-9 Kingdom. These little guys are very affectionate, alert, and lively! Their trademark coat is called the “powderpuff” look.
No one really knows about the origins of this ancient breed. It was said in that it was brought over from Africa as a hairless breed, and was miniaturized in China. Even though the breed is virtually hairless, it does require grooming since it is prone to skin infections, irritations, allergies, and even sunburn!
The Schipperke stands no taller than 13 inches, and resembles a little wolf with cartoon eyes! The Schipperke was actually birthed in medieval Belgium earning its fame as a shipboard exterminator on the crisscrossing canals of the “low countries.”
It is for this reason that these little guys earned the nickname in Flemish of “little captain,” or Schipperke! The little captain is very active and energetic. They love to play and explore, but even daily walks and some yard time is enough to keep them happy.
This little Italian monster is playful, easy-going, and devoted to its owners. This small toy breed was brought around in Bologna, Italy, in the early 11th century, and was a favorite of King Umberto who gifted one to his beloved Princess Jose of Belgium on her birthday.
However, as nobility began to die out, the breed had almost become extinct. Their coat is soft and fluffy like cotton, and despite its appearance, the breed does not shed whatsoever. So, enjoy the curtness!
Both the miniature and standard poodles are active, proud, and very smart! Despite having the stereotype of a “sissy dog,” poodles are eager, athletic, very versatile, and smart! Poodles are very trainable, and an ideal family dog! They’re not big shedders.
But they do need to be brushed daily unless you are clipping their coat. Poodles are very active dogs, but good listeners off-leash and if there are no roads around, don’t be scared to lose the leash!
Boston Terriers were bred in Liverpool England in early 1860, and are a crossbreed with bulldogs, and the now-extinct white English Terrier. This crossbreeding resulted in a tough, muscular dog. For nearly 100 years now, the Terrier has been the mascot of Boston University, and in 1979 was named the official dog of Massachusetts.
The Boston Terrier’s existing drive varies individually in the breed. A short walk once or twice a day, should be enough to keep the little boxer mix happy!
The Miniature Schnauzer is a robust breed that was bred down from its larger cousin the “Standard Schnauzer.” They have a charming old man expression with their bushy eyebrows and fun beard. The Mini variation is bright and very friendly!
They enjoy vigorous play with children, making them fantastic family dogs. They are very alert and can differentiate danger from casual strangers very well, making them ideal watchdogs! Most Schnauzer owners prefer to have their dogs’ coats clipped to reduce the amount of upkeep needed when their coats are kept natural. Its fur is double-layered with a wiry topcoat, and a soft undercoat is requiring frequent brushing and combing with the little breeds.
With a max weight of seven pounds and a height of just 8 inches at most, this is one of the smallest dogs on the list. This affectionate little fur baby can be very sprightly. The Toy-Group canine sports a floor-length, silky coat of steel blue accompanied by a rich golden tan!
These little pups may look like harmless, cute little babies, but they have the heart of a beast, and tend to be tenacious, brave, and sometimes even bossy! But just look at it; how can you not love them?
The Chihuahua was first brought to the modern limelight with the tea-cup variant, made famous by reality heiress Paris Hilton. Historians can’t be sure of the origins of the breed, but it is thought to be a cousin of a larger variant from Mexico called the Techcihi from about 1,000 years ago.
The Chihuahua varies in two coat types, with slightly different grooming needs. There is the smooth coat or short-haired variant, and the longhaired breed that requires a bit more work both with brushing and bathing.
The Chinese are known for their exceptional ability to miniaturize breeds of all statures and origins. The Shih Tzu is a perfect example of their craft and the flag breed of Chinese dog enthusiasts. They are adorable and playful! They love getting affection and love, and can be very outgoing!
They also live a very long time stretching their age in many cases to almost 18 years! The Shih Tzu was bred as a house companion, so they do not require too much exercise, and are very happy to play indoors and enjoy a rainy day!
The Pomeranian, or little “pompoms” as they are often referred to, have little tiny bodies hidden behind a layer of what can only be described as fluff. They are also virtually weightless with a max weight of seven pounds.
They are great with all dogs, considering those dogs know the difference between a “toy dog” and a dog that’s a toy. Pomeranians also enjoy indoor play very much and are happy to be inside and on your lap for as long as you need!
Beagles can easily hold the fort on their own, but we will try to cram all the info into a small paragraph for you! Beagles are not for very every senior, but if you’re ready to welcome a new face in the house that wants to learn, they are the perfect dog to keep you active and on your toes!
These little guys require a lot of training and attention at a young age, and also very much need to be crate trained. They are a friendly, curious, and merry hunting breed, that always wants to help and has a howl that can’t be mimicked.