GENERAL BREED INFO

Best Companion Dogs: Best Breeds Suited for Families and Elderly People

Companion dog
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

The best companion dogs are really hard to choose because every individual or family is in need of a different type of dog. An active person will not think that an inactive dog is best for him or her lifestyle, just like a family with a lot of children will not be beneficial for a really small and less energetic dog.

As it follows you will learn about 20 dog breeds that are suited for any type of family and about 10 dog breeds that can bring joy in the life of elderly people. Some dog breeds make it on both lists, fact which makes them versatile.

20 family-suited dog breeds

Whether you feel it’s time to bring a new member in your family or you eventually give in to your children’s desires, you must choose wisely. Since there are so many dog breeds available, you might find it difficult to decide which breed to pick. Your children might have preferences, but you should take a few aspects in consideration. First of all, children are often unaware of their strength and they might play too rough with a small sized dog without even realizing it.

As a parent, it would be your responsibility to supervise your children while they play with their new pet and make sure no one gets hurt. Petting can become uncomfortable for a dog that is not tolerant enough and a kid who just now learns how to be gentle. For all these reasons, any family dog should be resistant enough to a child’s way of playing.

Collie companion dog

Second of all, a family dog should be patient because a little girl might want to play dress up with it or invite it to her tea party. In addition, it should also be energetic enough to withstand hours of play without causing any damage. Regardless of the fact that numerous dog breeds are great with kids, it’s important to supervise them when they play. This is because each dog has its own unique personality traits that cannot be foreseen. As it follows, you will learn more about the recommended dog breeds for keeping company to families.

  1. Golden Retriever. A Golden Retriever is an excellent choice for a family that enjoys a multitude of activities outdoors. Although they were originally bred to help during bird hunting sessions, they proved to be loyal and devoted family members as well. They like to play catch thanks to their original purpose.
  2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Weighting around 24 pounds, a dog belonging to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed is a popular pet and an amazing companion. It is characterized by a stuffed body and a short tail. It likes to exercise a lot while romping with children. However, because it might be a little authoritarian and possessive, children who play with it should be older than 7 years. You can learn more about this great breed here.
  3. West Highland White Terrier. This small sized white terrier is playful and loving, but it needs exercise in order to be happy. In addition, it is also a guard dog and a faithful friend. Its fur needs special care. Children over 10 years old get along great with such a canine specimen.
  4. Irish Setter. This marvelous reddish dog was originally bred for helping people who hunted. Right from its conception, this dog breed showed an undoubtedly natural aptitude for company. Loved by many and always eager to bring joy, an Irish Setter is among the first choices for family dogs.
  5. Schnauzer. A Schnauzer makes a wonderful companion animal for any family. It is eager to please and keep the entire family safe. It is an active dog that needs daily exercise. It thrives for human attention and it comes in 3 different sizes, so it offers flexibility of choice.
  6. Labrador Retriever. Such canine specimen is a popular choice for active families, especially for those who enjoy water sports. A Labrador Retriever seems to have unlimited energy to keep up with kids and it has natural protective instincts towards them. Although it was meant to help in the process of hunting birds, it is now loyal and devoted to ensuring company for humans.
  7. Poodle. The Poodle is an intelligent and friendly dog that craves human companionship. It feels happy when it is allowed to run and play. Although it is known as short, it does come in different colors and sizes, so this breed also offers flexibility when it comes to choosing one. Interested? Check out this great article we have on the Poodle.
  8. Bichon Frise. This white ball of fur is a happy dog. Faithful and obedient, a Bichon Frise is a wonderful addition to any family. It loves to get involved in any activity even if that means it will get its fur dirty. Keeping its fur snow white might be challenging.
  9. Airedale. A sturdy dog, the Airedale takes its job as a friend and protector of the family very seriously. It is the type of canine specimen that wants to join in the fun anytime, anywhere. However, it is always observant in case a potential danger approaches its owners. It is the largest terrier.
  10. Basset Hound. A Basset Hound has its eyes sad-looking and droopy. One might think it is a lazy dog. However, once kids are around it, this dog will jump right in and keep up with any type activity and energy level. Kids love to play with such a dog type.
  11. Beagle. The Beagle can be a very active dog breed. Therefore, it is best suited for active families. It needs a good place to sleep after playing all day, but otherwise it is not a pretentious dog. It likes to play different games and participate in all kinds of activities.
  12. Shih Tzu. Originally raised as a pet for royal families, the Shih Tzu is still enjoying a life of luxury. It is not too fond of playing in the mud and getting dirty with children, but it doesn’t love anything more than sharing its time with people, even if that means it has to step out of its comfort zone.
  13. Boxer. This dog breed may seem a little intimidating, but they are, in fact, really sweet and friendly dogs. A natural guardian, the Boxer likes to spend more time with people than with other canines. Although this dog breed might be more appropriate in quiet homes, it can manage very active and busy families as well.
  14. Cairn Terrier. Despite its small size, a Cairn Terrier is a tough dog. This breed can live in any environment, as long as there are people around. Like all terriers, this one also needs exercise. A walk through the park fits it well. The same goes with a good run through the neighborhood with kids. This may just be the breed for you, and you can find out more about the Cairn Terrier.
  15. Collie. Always associated with the famous Lassie dog, a Collie is considered by many specialists and amateurs to be one of the best family pets. Smart and patient, the Collie is loved by families around the world and makes an excellent companion thanks to its presence of mind and other qualities.
  16. Boston Terrier. The Boston Terrier is a small dog, black and white, that likes to make people laugh. After short periods of activity, this canine specimen loves to curl up on the couch while its owner is reading a book or watching TV. Obedient and loyal, it is a good guard dog and a loyal family pet. It is especially recommended for families that are not very active.
  17. Newfoundland. This gentle giant may salivate a bit too much for some people to like it, but it makes a lovely protection teddy bear for children. Its impressive size might determine some families with small children to wait a little longer before getting one.
  18. Pomeranian. This dog breed also looks like a ball of fur and it is often compared to a miniature fox. The Pomeranian is adorable and it thrives in human companionship. It requires a really small space to rest and it can play with large children despite its small size.
  19. Pug. A Pug is not pugnacious or quarrelsome. It is an affectionate, loving, tempered dog breed with great charm and dignity. Pugs love to be part of a family. They are playful companions for kids and they would also happily take a nap in their owners’ laps.
  20. Greyhounds. Greyhounds are quiet dogs with high levels of loyalty. They act too nice with strangers and even nicer with children. They should not be let unsupervised in wide spaces because they tend to wander too far away from their owners without even realizing it.

10 elderly-suited dog breeds

Dogs have the amazing ability of enriching any person’s life. In general, the elderly suffer from a lack of social interaction and affection from their family members. Therefore, bringing a dog in their lives often makes them more joyful. This is why an elderly person should be encouraged to get a dog.

However, older people have a number of features that do not allow them to own just any dog. Factors such as physical recourse, possible health problems and financial issues condition their choice of dog breeds. An older person usually wants a dog that can be affectionate, devoted and also protective.

Dog and senior

In this regard, small sized dogs are the most suitable ones because most of them like to be held in their owner’s arms and spoiled, which is exactly what an elderly person wants to do. Another advantage of small sized dogs is that they can be easily lifted and taken to the veterinarian in a small cage especially made for dogs. Furthermore, they can be bathed in a sink, fact which doesn’t require too much effort from their owners. People with back problems will find washing small sized dogs a lot easier than washing medium or large sized dogs.

Older people get tired more quickly and don’t have enough energy to take long walks with their dogs, so they need a dog that does not require too much exercise. Therefore, dogs that are happy with short walks several times a day are the most suitable.

In addition, the canine pet’s age and sex are also a criterion to be taken into account. Puppies are more restless and active, so they require more attention and alertness from their owners. This doesn’t always make them the best option. An adult dog that is already educated and balanced might be the best option. On the same train of thoughts, females are more docile and affectionate than males. They are more relaxed when they go out for a walk because, unlike males, they are not tempted to sniff everything around them.

Kid with best friend

Although all the factors mentioned above have a great importance, a dog’s character should be the decisional one. It is well-known that between a dog owner and a dog there must be some sort of extrasensory connection. Each individual prefers a certain type of canine personality, so the older person in question should be able to say exactly what he or she wants from a canine companion.

In general, affectionate, silent, patient, calm, loving and docile dogs that have few health problems are the most suited ones. As it follows, you will learn more about 10 companion dogs for elderly.

  1. Pug. Pugs are funny dogs that like to play and that crave for their owner’s attention. Innate clowns, they are always present in the family life. They love to be spoiled and be kept in their owners’ laps. Pugs are the types of dogs that have a lot of love and affection to offer.
  2. Chihuahua. The smallest dog breed, Chihuahua, certainly doesn’t require physical strength from its owner when it must be lifted. It is the type of dog that only gets attached to a single person. Therefore, it is ideal for lonely people. Such dog is vigilant and has a shrill barking style that announces the fact that someone approaches. It loves to be petted.
  3. English Cocker. This type of dog is docile and calm too. It is often the number one choice of older people. English Cockers don’t require much exercise. A brisk walk twice a day would suffice for them. They are known to be very loyal companions.
  4. Dwarf Schnauzer. The Dwarf Schnauzer adores human presence and it is capable of creating meaningful bonds with them. They are protective and will always thank their owners for taking good care of them. These dog types are obedient, easy to handle and easy to please with short walks.
  5. Yorkshire Terrier. The Yorkshire Terrier is a small dog that prefers to lay for a really long time. However, they can also be energetic if there is something that stimulates their attention. They behave according to their owners’ character and life style.
  6. Poodle. A Poodle is a very intelligent and balanced dog that prefers more human interaction compared to other dogs. It likes to thank its owner for everything and it doesn’t tend to ignore its owner even when it’s tired.
  7. Bichon Maltese. This is a small type of dog with a high level of affection that gets very attached to its owner. A Bichon Maltese is easy to train and it can adapt to any living environment.
  8. Shih Tzu. This canine specimen is alert and curious. It basically worships its owner. Because it is short-haired, any older person can easily take care of its hygiene without too much hassle.
  9. Pomeranian. The Pomeranian dog looks like a bear that has a fluffy fur. It is docile, agile and present. It makes a good companion for any elderly person.
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi. This particular dog type is a very intelligent one that does not require much space. It is a cumbersome and slow dog, but it can become very energetic if needed.

If you already have a dog, you might wonder how to make your dog a companion dog and, moreover, how to make it a companion dog suited for elderly people? The answer is fairly simple. Any type of dog can be trained to become an excellent companion dog. After several dressage sessions, a dog learns how to obey and how to respond to different commands. A trained dog is a happier dog. This is because during training a deeper bond is created between a dog and an owner. Thus, communication becomes clearer and much more effective.

Companion dogs infogrpahic

As discussed, there is no such thing as an ideal companion dog that is suited for everyone. Since there are so many different dog breeds, you have the liberty to choose one for yourself or for your family that can be a perfect match. Compatibility is not something easy to find between humans, not to mention between humans and dogs, but, at the same time, it is not something impossible to achieve.

Therefore, pay attention to each dog breed’s characteristics and take a decision that satisfies all your requirements. The same conclusions apply in case of older people who need a companion pet.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Hilary Reddy

    My Mom is 75 and has a precocious Beagle who is quite a handful. However, Mom is so pleased with the little angel even if the dog is so active all day. Dogs are really great companions, even for the elderly.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Beagles are amazing companion dogs and will complement your mother’s needs to have a cute fur baby by her side. If she still got the vigor, this can help her to be as active as her dog.

  • Anna Tomson

    What’s the best dog for an elderly uncle who lives alone by himself, but is otherwise a couch potato. He knows how bad puppy mills are and he doesn’t want to go and adopt in any shelter. He fears dogs in shelters might have been abused by previous owners and he can’t deal with re-training.
    Any suggestions on where he can find a great dog for his temperament and lifestyle?

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Chihuahuas are great companion dogs for the solitary owner. If he doesn’t mind a little more time on the grooming side, a Maltese or Lhasa Apso can be a great option.

  • Carrie Phelps

    We have a golden retriever and I am so happy that I decided on such a wonderful breed! Such a wonderful and amazing dog. Best companion a man could ask for. Good at running little tasks around the house, fetching items and a wonderful swimmer.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Golden Retrievers are definitely fun to be around with. They are a bundle of sunshine and are very smart too! They are great with kids which is absolutely fantastic for families. Wish you well and your pooch!

  • Iris Cohen

    Got a poodle for my grandma as a birthday gift and I must say, she’s been happier since then. Little poodle doesn’t leave her side and generally keeps her company! I was happy to see a poodle on this list. Nice info.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      How are you Iris? I hope all is well with you and your grandmother. Poodles are smart and are people pleasers, I am glad your grandmother is happier now with her new companion.

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