Facing an empty nest or learning to live alone after a spouse has passed away is difficult and often very lonely. There is a reason dogs have the reputation of being a best friend. Seniors who still live with their spouse or are now living alone can find great company, companionship and love when welcoming a dog into the home. Even greater benefits for golden aged dog owners are health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, an increase in activity level and exercise, opportunities to make new friends and increase social activities, and most recently some breeds are being trained to assist those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Not every breed is a good match for senior citizens so it’s important to choose a breed that is best suited for senior owners’ lifestyle. If travel is a pleasure, owning a dog can be a burden and not a pleasure. The most common considerations are the size of the breed, energy level, grooming needs and health considerations. Smaller dogs are easier to walk and manage, low energy dogs require less activities to avoid boredom and some breeds are known to be effected by certain health problems. It is not recommended that a dog be given to senior citizens or any family without their permission. All breeds requires time, attention and are an expense to a budget.
Top breeds for seniors by weight according to Petbreeds.com:
Biewer, average weight 7 pounds, is courageous and does not shed much.
American Eskimo Dog, toy variation, average weight is 8 pounds, is small and affectionate.
Tibetan Spaniel, average weight 12 pounds, is quiet and does not require much exercise.
Lowchen, average weight is 13 pounds, is alert and moderately easy to train.
Lhasa Apso, average weight 14 pounds, does not require much exercise.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, average weight 16 pounds, is moderately easy to train and good with children.
American Eskimo Dog, is just a few pounds heavier than the toy variation, average weight is 16 pounds, is lively and protective.
Welsh Terrier, average weight 18 pounds, is friendly and moderately easy to train.
Shiba Inu average weight is 18 pounds, is alert and moderately easy to train.
Japanese Spitz, average weight is 19 pounds, is loyal and requires low maintenance.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier, average weight 21 pounds, is affectionate and has minimal shedding.
Scottish Terrier, average weight 21 pounds is good with kids and doesn’t shed much.
Beagle, average weight 24 pounds requires little maintenance and is good with kids.
Sealyham Terrier, average weight 24 pounds, is cheerful and loyal.
Icelandic Sheepdog, average weight 25 pounds, is friendly and moderately easy to train.
Irish Terrier, average weight is 25 pounds, is cheerful and does not shed much.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi, average weight 27 pounds, is loving and low-maintenance.
American Eskimo Dog, average weight is 30 pounds, is independent and good with kids.
Xoloitzcuintli, average weight 30 pounds, is friendly, intelligent and requires little maintenance.
Rat Terrier, average weight 31 pounds, is affectionate and talented at a variety of activities, including agility, herding, hunting, and guiding.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi, average weight 34 pounds, is easy to train and does not require much exercise.
Keeshond, average weight 34 pounds, is playful and easy to train.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier, average weight 38 pounds, is low-maintenance and would likely be friendly with young grandchildren.
Glen of Imaal Terrier, average weight 38 pounds, is quiet and moderately easy to train.
Otterhound, average weight 46 pounds, makes for a great watchdog but is also good with kids.
For some, dog ownership can overwhelm the elderly. If a senior family member mentions they would like to get a dog, make sure the companion is a pleasure and enhancement to their life. It’s as important to factor in the average life expectancy of a breed in relation to the age of the pending owner. If something occurs, there should be a plan in place ahead of time so the dog is not dumped in a shelter, left lost, confused and grieving for their two-legged best friend.
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