Many senior citizens these days live independently even into their late 80s and 90s. For those who live alone, a dog can provide not only a great deal of companionship and purpose, but also can act as a deterrent or watch dog alerting their owners to potential threats.
There are a lot of things to consider when getting a dog for a senior. First of all, the dog should have the right temperament to match the energy level and stability of the potential owner. An active senior who enjoys long walks or even a morning jog should not be paired with a sluggish dog with little energy such as an English bulldog. By the same token, a mature person who uses a walker and is tethered to an oxygen tank probably wouldn’t want to deal with a blue heeler who likes nothing better than a morning run.
Medium sized dogs with even temperaments such as the Chinese shar-pei, Weimaraner or Wheaton terrier are a good place to start when looking a pet companion for a senior, and as always, you can find some really great mixed breeds at animal shelters and through animal rescue sites. The rescue sites have the added benefit of being able to tell you a good bit about each dog’s personality.
For more information on animals to consider when choosing a dog for a senior, check out this article I wrote for the Nest, Medium Sized Watchdogs for the Elderly .