Emily Maltese

Are you looking to adopt a dog for your senior loved one? Maybe you are interested in adopting one for yourself! Pets offer many benefits to elderly people. They are wonderful companions that decrease loneliness, depression and isolation. But, animals are a lot of work, too. You want the relationship between you and this new pet to be a positive one, so take time choosing the right breed.

There are countless dog breeds that make excellent companions for seniors. Here are four of our favorite small breeds that are loveable and compatible for older adults.

1. Maltese

The Maltese is cuddly and loves its human owners. You can often find these dogs sitting on their owners’ laps. If you spend a lot of time indoors, a Maltese is the perfect fit. They aren’t overly energetic, and they tend to be well-mannered and healthy. The Maltese breed is commonly found in nursing homes and other therapy programs because of their sweet personalities and hypoallergenic fur.

2. Havanese

The Havanese is a small breed that is playful and social. Like the Maltese, this breed is also a popular pick for assisted living homes. The nice thing about a Havanese pup is that he or she will likely attach to you and even be litter box trained! Havanese are smart, peaceful and gentle. They also tend to be a healthier breed.

3. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are popular because of their alert personalities and loyalty. They are the ultimate lap dogs and perfect for seniors who love to cuddle. Though Shih Tzus are small, they are sturdy. Just be sure that you’re ready to take on some grooming responsibility. You can either have this breed cut short, or you can brush their hair regularly to avoid tangles.

4. Poodle

Poodles range in size from miniature to standard. This breed is intelligent and beautiful, and they are known to be very clean as well. If you don’t want a lot of upkeep with your pet, you will appreciate the simplicity that poodles offer. They have minimal shedding and distinct personalities. Expect to be fast friends with a poodle pet.

Dogs are wonderful companions for older adults. The key is choosing the right breed. These four breeds are some of our favorites, but there are plenty more out there to fall in love with!