Adopting a dog is an exciting time for anyone but can be especially exciting for a senior since they likely have an unlimited amount of time to spend with the dog. After years of hustle and bustle, seniors that are retired finally have ample amount of time to spend with a dog, therefore it’s important for seniors to adopt the dog that is ideal for their personal situation. 

Similarly, it’s crucial that seniors adopt a dog that they can handle so that the dog and the senior himself get the best quality out of life. If you are a senior that is looking for a dog, it’s crucial that you find the dog that is right for you. Here are some characteristics that you as a senior should think about as you look into what kind of dog to adopt.

What Seniors Should Look For Before Adopting a Dog

Whether you have a specific kind of dog in mind, or you are open to any breed, it will be worth your while to do some research to find the kind of dog that is perfect for you and your lifestyle. Below are some questions to ask when it comes to looking at certain characteristics when adopting your new furry friend. 

How Active Is This Dog Going to Be?

Seniors need to pay special attention to this aspect of adopting a dog. It’s common for seniors to not be able to get around as easily as they used to be able to; this could be because of a surgery, an illness, or simply because of age. No matter the case, if a senior has a hard time getting around, he or she should get a dog that does not have high activity levels.

Most seniors should consider adopting a dog that isn’t going to want to be super active, as the seniors will not be able to care for it properly. Some low-activity dogs for seniors to consider are:

  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzus
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Basset Hounds

The breeds above are low-energy and will be content with a daily walk and lounging around the house.

However, if you are a senior that gets around great and is looking for a dog that will be active, perhaps to take on outdoor activities, consider one of these breeds:

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Border Collies
  • Dalmations
  • Australian Shepards

Is My Living Situation Ideal for This Dog?

Seniors need to think about their living situations before adopting a dog. The place in which senior lives will have a direct impact on the kind of dog that he or she will be able to get. An employee from a retirement community in PA pointed out that seniors that live in a retirement home or are planning to relocate to one should think about getting a smaller dog that will live comfortably in the retirement home. 

Similarly, if a senior lives in an apartment, he or she should consider getting a small dog that is low energy since there isn’t much room for the dog to run around and play.

If you are a senior that has a yard, you have more options when it comes to choosing a dog since you have a place for the dog to run and play. 

How Big or Small Will This Dog Get?

This characteristic goes hand in hand with a senior’s living situation. However, to build off of this point, seniors need to consider the size of a dog in order to make sure they can manage to care for it properly. If a senior has some sort of injury or illness, a large dog isn’t ideal because they can quickly become stronger than the senior or can pull the senior when on a walk.

On the other hand, if a senior is healthy and is simply looking for a companion, the size of a dog should be solely based on the senior’s living situation. 

How Friendly is This Dog?

Some dog breeds are more friendly than others and this is an important characteristic for seniors to think about, especially if they have friends or family that visit frequently. Every person wants a dog that is friendly, however, there are some dog breeds that are known to be less friendly than others, and seniors should avoid getting those dogs. Seniors should aim to adopt a dog breed that is friendly and known to be good around kids and other dogs because not only will they be kinder, they will also be easier to train. 

Seniors that have an unfriendly dog put themself at risk of the dog biting, being hard to train, and misbehaving. 

Find the Dog Breed That is Right For You

As you look for the dog breed this is right for you, make sure to do research on various breeds to see what kind fits your criteria and will improve your all-around quality of life. Adopting a dog is an extremely happy time in one’s life, no matter how old you are; preserve those feelings of joy by adopting the kind of dog that is perfect for you. 


About the Author: Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about things that can help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.