There are many breeds of dog available for sale or adoption. People considering becoming dog owners have many choices, and can hand pick a companion based on qualities such as the dog's personality and the owner's life needs. Handicapped and elderly individuals have needs differing from other dog owners, and choose dogs geared toward unique needs.
Small Dogs for the Elderly
Elderly dog owners may choose a small dog as a companion. Smaller breeds tend to be lapdogs who love attention. While large dogs may be intimitating to intruders, the small dogs are fiercely devoted to their owners. Small dogs may require less exercise, which will fit into the possible physical limitations of an older owner. Small dog varieties include Yorkshire Terriers, toy poodles, Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus or Maltese.
The Labrador Retriever, or lab, is a breed with an even temper and high intelligence. These dogs are easy to please, which escalates their training capability. Labs are often used as working dogs for assistance to handicapped individuals. This breed is suitable for the elderly if the senior is accustomed to taking care of a medium-sized dog, and is physically able to handle a high-energy dog. Labs are very energetic and need exercise, which makes them suitable to assist handicapped people but may not make them suitable for all seniors.
The Golden Retriever has a personality and intelligence to match the lab, but the temperament is calmer. This breed often works with handicapped people as there is a deep desire to please humans. The dog has longer hair than the lab, and does require more grooming. The calm temper, friendly attitude and devotion to the master makes this breed good for handicapped and elderly people, but the size and grooming needs are drawbacks for senior ownership.
German Shepherds are not recommended for seniors, but they make great working dogs for handicapped individuals. The dog is loyal and dedicated to its owner and will protect his owner fiercely. Intelligence is high as is self-confidence. These dogs are easily trained as seeing eye dogs, who will protect and direct blind humans faithfully.