There are many breeds of dogs that you may be considering to have as an older owner, of varying sizes, personalities and traits. Then there’s the decision of whether to have a rescue dog or find a reputable breeder and collect a puppy. There are many suitable for an older owner and important aspects to consider are the exercise required by the breed, the temperament, the grooming and healthcare requirements and whether it will fit with your lifestyle.
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Smaller breed dogs generally need less exercise than a large breed, so may be better for people who cannot walk as far or only wish to go on short walks. Breeds such as the King Charles spaniel, Bichon Frise or Yorkshire Terriers all only need about a 30 minute walk a day plus playtime at home so can be ideal. Greyhounds also don’t need masses of exercise and make great companions. Larger breeds such as Labradors and German Shepherds require a couple of hours each day and are also incredibly strong dogs so not ideal for an older owner if they begin to pull.
Longer haired breeds such as Lhasa Apso and Pekingese will require much more grooming so again may not be ideal unless you are happy to book regular slots with a dog groomer. All dogs require grooming but some such as a chihuahua require far less and so are better for older owners.
Location, location, location
Depending on where you live may affect the type of dog, a large mastiff is not ideal in a flat nor for an older person with health issues who may be weaker.
All puppies will require basic training, whereas a rescue dog may not (depending on its age/ health) and this is very important to consider. Some breeders will start the training for you so do ask if they have learnt any commands or if they have started toilet training.
Small breeds for older owners
West Highland White Terriers, Bichon Frise and Shih Tzus all make wonderful pets for older owners who would like a small breed that doesn’t require too much exercise and have lovely outgoing personalities. Terriers in general were bred for hunting so can have a strong instinct, so important to be aware of if considering a Westie. They are known to be good companions and require some grooming either at home or with a registered groomer. They are usually less than 10kg, so it’s easier to pick up if needed by an older person.
Medium sized dogs
King Charles Spaniels and Poodles make great medium sized pets. Poodles are easy to train and intelligent, so are good if you would like something that is not as hard work. There are three types of poodle; toy, miniature and standard and none of them drop significant amounts of fur which is also ideal if you have allergies. King Charles Spaniels are affectionate and enjoy spending time with humans.
Larger breeds for older owners
Greyhounds are very loyal and love spending time snoozing on the sofa! They are happy to go for moderate walks but are actually quite a lazy breed so ideal for older owners who would prefer a larger sized dog with moderate walking ability and very little grooming requirements. However they can be destructive if left as they prefer to have company, so can be ideal for an older retired owner. Standard poodles as mentioned before would be an ideal larger breed. Do remember that large breeds will take up more room in your house and your car, which is another important issue to think about.
Another breed to consider is a crossbreed. They come in all different sizes and can make wonderful pets, but can have health issues like any dog.
Before adopting or buying a dog it is always worth discussing with your vet what breeds may be suitable and also registering with them ready for your new pets routine healthcare and in case of any emergencies. There is more information on breeds of dog here.
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