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Wanted: One Dog-must love old people. Apply within.

Binary SquidBinary Squid We all make choicesRegistered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Fairly recently my grandparents dog died and after a period of greiving, they find themselves craving canine companionship again.

The problem is they know absolutely nothing about dogs and are asking me to help them out in finding them a new one. I've put together a list of requirements that a dog of theirs should have, but I'm at a loss about what breed of dog best suits these requirements.


So far, the qualities I think a dog of theirs needs are:

Small size: since they can't lift a bigger dog easily to take it to the vet if they need to, I feel a smaller dog would make them more self sufficient regarding the needs of their canine friend.

Medium energy level or low energy level: being older, they won't be able to exercise their dog as much. I can and will help, but that's still a lot of time when the dog will not be running around.

Less fur: their last dog shed a lot, and they've pretty much said outright that they don't want that much hair on their next one.

Friendly: this one's for me also, since I'm going to be walking the dog and I value all my bits intact.


Could anyone suggest a breed or breeds that would meet these requirements? I've been looking at a few, but am open to any advice available.

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  • CreamstoutCreamstout Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    I have a Boston Terrier and she fits every qualification you have listed. They have short hair and they barely shed, I live in Arizona and dogs shed a ton out here. She lives inside 24/7 and we have no problem with pet hair. They are happy to just lay around all day, but they love to play as well. Full grown they are around 15-25 lbs. She is the sweetest dog, every Boston I've meant is just a bundle of joy. One more thing, they're smart and easy to train.

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  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    Is price an issue? By which I mean, will they be getting a purebred puppy or dog? If so, I would recommend a miniature English bulldog.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    So, I really, really don't want this to be an insensitive question, but: Dogs can live 12-18 years commonly. Are your grandparents going to be in a position to still provide a good home to the dog in 8 years? If not, maybe try for an older rescue pet. When I was growing up, we took in strays a bunch. Some of the older dogs had issues with kids because they move around so damn much, but were perfectly suited for households with older, slower paced people that didn't drive them neurotic. So, an older rescue would be an incredibly kind thing to do to the rescue dog (save it from being put down, possibly), and would also be possibly avoiding the chance that 10 years from now your grandparents aren't in a position to be caring for a dog and have to add one more system to the local shelter.

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  • SiskaSiska Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Rat Terrier or miniature Rat Terrier. Friendly, low energy, little grooming and shedding. Healthy breed.
    Japanese Chin also known as Japanese Spaniel. Low energy, quiet, very friendly and cute as a button. Don't shed much but do need regular brushing and help with keeping the folds on their face clean. Various health issues.
    Pug or Puggle. Low energy. Can be aloof with strangers. No grooming but they do shed some. Plus because of their smushy face they may snore and need help keeping the wrinkles clean. Also struggles with various health issues.
    Chihuahua. Low energy, little shedding and grooming. Can turn into territorial little shits.

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  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    I have a pug/chihuahua mix and she is seriously the greatest thing ever. She is like the best qualities from both breeds with very little of the bad stuff.

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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Up all night To get luckyRegistered User regular
    You're all forgetting the Shih-tzu, the king of apartment, low energy dogs.

    They NEVER EVER shed, they rarely bark, the love everyone, they're always close to the owner, low energy and, if the fur is kept short (it needs to be cut once every three months, tops), no brushing needed either.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    I don't know if I'd call a Pug a low energy pet, but that's just my .02 from the ones I've been around. They're small and easy to handle, but the one's I've played with have been pretty hyper.

    I'm gonna second getting an older pet from a rescue. A good 4-7 year old mutt under 40lbs is in pretty high supply at most local rescues, and from there you can find one that matches what you're looking for.

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  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 VictoriaRegistered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    So, I really, really don't want this to be an insensitive question, but: Dogs can live 12-18 years commonly. Are your grandparents going to be in a position to still provide a good home to the dog in 8 years? If not, maybe try for an older rescue pet. When I was growing up, we took in strays a bunch. Some of the older dogs had issues with kids because they move around so damn much, but were perfectly suited for households with older, slower paced people that didn't drive them neurotic. So, an older rescue would be an incredibly kind thing to do to the rescue dog (save it from being put down, possibly), and would also be possibly avoiding the chance that 10 years from now your grandparents aren't in a position to be caring for a dog and have to add one more system to the local shelter.

    This. Dogs / cats / etc. breed like animals (pardon the pun). Rescues already would have a full vet checkup, shots, etc. As well places like the SPCA always have more supply than room in their shelters. As well, since they live with a shelter/foster home, some of the questions you are asking can be answered like temperment, energy level, etc.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    also Bichon Friese

    or any sort of mini poodle mix

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  • hamdingershamdingers Registered User regular
    You're all forgetting the Shih-tzu, the king of apartment, low energy dogs.

    They NEVER EVER shed, they rarely bark, the love everyone, they're always close to the owner, low energy and, if the fur is kept short (it needs to be cut once every three months, tops), no brushing needed either.

    This Shih Tzu must not be related to my Shih Tzu. I love her, and she is VERY smart and friendly. She barks A TON though, demands a good amount of play time and that beard needs grooming often.

    For small, low energy and loves you - hard to beat a Peke. They do need grooming though and they will only love you unless you socialize them a lot.

  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Up all night To get luckyRegistered User regular
    Whoa, barking shih-tzus. Mine never ever barks. As most others I've met.
    His face fur is kept a bit short too.

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  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    No pugs unless they're older. Oh my goodness so excited about EVERYTHING

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  • Binary SquidBinary Squid We all make choices Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    So, I really, really don't want this to be an insensitive question, but: Dogs can live 12-18 years commonly. Are your grandparents going to be in a position to still provide a good home to the dog in 8 years? If not, maybe try for an older rescue pet. When I was growing up, we took in strays a bunch. Some of the older dogs had issues with kids because they move around so damn much, but were perfectly suited for households with older, slower paced people that didn't drive them neurotic. So, an older rescue would be an incredibly kind thing to do to the rescue dog (save it from being put down, possibly), and would also be possibly avoiding the chance that 10 years from now your grandparents aren't in a position to be caring for a dog and have to add one more system to the local shelter.

    Already considered. When things (hopefully not soon) are at that stage, I'm going to take over and make sure their dog has the best life possible. And it's going to be a shelter dog. I don't like puppy mills and like you said, older dogs need homes more than the younger ones who are more adoptable. I suppose I should have mentioned that, but I wouldn't worry about me not doing the responsible thing here. When I was asked to do this, I started listing all the things I should be considering. But, since I was just asking about breeds, I neglected to put it here.

    I hang my metaphorical tentacles in shame. ;)

    Price likely isn't a huge issue, as every rescue dog org and animal shelter is well within their means.

    Hmm, terriers do seem like a good choice for them. I had considered looking at those breeds, but I thought they were a high energy dog. If there are terriers that are comfortable with less activity, but being doted on by two very nice people, it would be ideal. I'm less confident about Chihuahuas, however. I have heard they can be quite aggressive sometimes.

    Thanks for the advice so far. It looks like I'm going to be checking out terrier varieties first, and seeing who is up for adoption. Any other breeds that anyone would suggest?

  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    My girlfriend worked many years as an adoption counselor for a major metropolitan shelter. Over the years, she taught me quite a few tips for matching up dogs with people.

    As it applies to your situation: Focus on the dog more than the breed. I have an American Bulldog, a banned breed in many areas, that is gentler and better with kids than my "family friendly" Labrador. While breeds can certainly imply specific traits, it's a guide, not a rule. You could find a very chilled and relaxed terrier, particularly if they are older and have been socially balanced. Or you could get the terrier from hell. Make sure you put your attention into finding the correct dog, not the correct breed. Calling shelters and rescue groups and inquiring about your specific needs for a dog is truly the best option. The caregivers of these animals, often they may be fostered, will know all of their quirks and traits. You cannot get a good read on a dog from a 30 minute visit at the shelter - dogs that get comfortable in a home respond very differently.

    So have a very explicit list of questions to ask about a dog when you call or visit. The shelter/rescue workers will be more than happy to assist you, as one of their biggest "pet peeves" is when people return a dog for very commonly avoided issues. A trained adoption counselor should be able to target you in the correct direction - it's their job!

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  • mcpmcp Registered User regular
    Siska wrote: »
    Japanese Chin also known as Japanese Spaniel. Low energy, quiet, very friendly and cute as a button. Don't shed much but do need regular brushing and help with keeping the folds on their face clean. Various health issues.

    My chin is a lunatic, and sheds like a motherfucker.

    That said, he's the best dog ever.

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  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    mcp wrote: »
    Siska wrote: »
    Japanese Chin also known as Japanese Spaniel. Low energy, quiet, very friendly and cute as a button. Don't shed much but do need regular brushing and help with keeping the folds on their face clean. Various health issues.

    My chin is a lunatic, and sheds like a motherfucker.

    That said, he's the best dog ever.

    I'm glad you posted this. This plays exactly into what I said: It's the dog, not the breed. Volunteering at shelters myself, I've met all kinds.

    The only real time I find a person needs a specific breed (outside of size constraints) is if they have specific activities planned. Agility training, for example. Or hunting. Situations like that lend themselves to searching for a more refined skill set.

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  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    French Bulldog. Literally bred for Parisian apartments. They just want to hang out with you.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Siska wrote: »
    Rat Terrier or miniature Rat Terrier. Friendly, low energy, little grooming and shedding. Healthy breed.
    Japanese Chin also known as Japanese Spaniel. Low energy, quiet, very friendly and cute as a button. Don't shed much but do need regular brushing and help with keeping the folds on their face clean. Various health issues.
    Pug or Puggle. Low energy. Can be aloof with strangers. No grooming but they do shed some. Plus because of their smushy face they may snore and need help keeping the wrinkles clean. Also struggles with various health issues.
    Chihuahua. Low energy, little shedding and grooming. Can turn into territorial little shits.
    Oh God, pugs are NOT low energy. And they shed piles and piles of hair every day. And they are way strong for their size. It took 3 people to do a blood draw on my pug at the vet. And 2 professional groomers to cut her nails. They also snore and fart constantly. I love and adore my pug but damn.

    Actually, let me qualify. Pugs are high energy *when they are awake*. They will sleep/lay in your lap/in their beds for a lot of the day. But when they wake up they are hellions, pug rocketing all over, tearing up toys, getting into shit, and barking at everything. Serious, look up pug rocket on youtube.

    I would call rescues and tell them what you want. Since a lot of rescues work through foster networks they should have a good idea of the dog personalities. Also, some rescues offer discounts for the elderly.

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  • godmodegodmode Registered User regular
    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: They've got some fur on them, but they meet the other criteria. Very relaxed dogs.

  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    Creamstout wrote: »
    I have a Boston Terrier and she fits every qualification you have listed. They have short hair and they barely shed, I live in Arizona and dogs shed a ton out here. She lives inside 24/7 and we have no problem with pet hair. They are happy to just lay around all day, but they love to play as well. Full grown they are around 15-25 lbs. She is the sweetest dog, every Boston I've meant is just a bundle of joy. One more thing, they're smart and easy to train.

    These are great dogs. They can be a bit pricey, but they're just wonderful. They're not geniuses, but they're really eager to please so it's easy to train them. And they snore, and it's really cute.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Ego wrote: »
    Creamstout wrote: »
    I have a Boston Terrier and she fits every qualification you have listed. They have short hair and they barely shed, I live in Arizona and dogs shed a ton out here. She lives inside 24/7 and we have no problem with pet hair. They are happy to just lay around all day, but they love to play as well. Full grown they are around 15-25 lbs. She is the sweetest dog, every Boston I've meant is just a bundle of joy. One more thing, they're smart and easy to train.

    These are great dogs. They can be a bit pricey, but they're just wonderful. They're not geniuses, but they're really eager to please so it's easy to train them. And they snore, and it's really cute.

    They also fart a ridiculous amount, get allergies and sometimes have respiratory problems. They are one of the best dogs ever, but many of the families have some health problems.

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  • LankyseanLankysean Registered User regular
    My Grand Parents got a Havanese a few years ago, and other then the howling he picked up from the neighbors Beagle, he's an amazing little dog. He loves to sit in their laps or on the couch next to them for days on end, he's low energy other then these running fits he gets into after dinner. He's not much of a barker other then the a welcome home howl, which is actually pretty cute and inviting. He does shed but not terribly so anything he does shed can easily be taken off with a lint roller and takes awhile to accumulate. I'd recommend a Havanese to anyone who wants a small dog.

  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Ego wrote: »
    Creamstout wrote: »
    I have a Boston Terrier and she fits every qualification you have listed. They have short hair and they barely shed, I live in Arizona and dogs shed a ton out here. She lives inside 24/7 and we have no problem with pet hair. They are happy to just lay around all day, but they love to play as well. Full grown they are around 15-25 lbs. She is the sweetest dog, every Boston I've meant is just a bundle of joy. One more thing, they're smart and easy to train.

    These are great dogs. They can be a bit pricey, but they're just wonderful. They're not geniuses, but they're really eager to please so it's easy to train them. And they snore, and it's really cute.

    They also fart a ridiculous amount, get allergies and sometimes have respiratory problems. They are one of the best dogs ever, but many of the families have some health problems.

    Most old people I've met have the same three issues - so I'd say that's a perfect fit! I would just go to a few shelters and discuss with them and see what they have. One dog that I've always found to be really relaxed and content to be lazy has been basset hounds - they're strong as heck to walk if they don't want to go where you do, but otherwise they're great "flop around the house" kind of dogs.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    French Bulldogs are awesome, i've never met one i didn't like.

    Yeah, Pugs and Puggles are NOT low energy from what i've seen.

  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard Registered User regular
    Would a Cocker Spaniel be too big?
    Their only issue is that, as they age, they get more and more stubborn. No fur, they need haircuts, they're pretty small, I guess. Well, larger than most of the ones mentioned in the thread. That might be a possibility.

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  • Officer 1BDIOfficer 1BDI Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Siska wrote: »
    Rat Terrier or miniature Rat Terrier. Friendly, low energy, little grooming and shedding. Healthy breed.
    ...
    Chihuahua. Low energy, little shedding and grooming. Can turn into territorial little shits.

    Just to add to the "my dog does not fit the standard description" chorus, I have a rat terrier/min. pin./possible chihuahua mix and aside from the grooming and the territorial notes I'd hesitate to agree with any of those traits. He's friendly to members of my family, but he's very cautious around strangers and is unfortunately leash aggressive with other dogs. He is anything but low-energy, and he has a thyroid condition that I have to give him daily medication for. I love him to death, but he's not the easiest dog to live with.

    As others have suggested, I think focusing on specific qualities rather than breeds is your best bet.

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  • TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
    yeah my friend has a pug, toshiro the goblin warlord is his full title, that dog usually spends its time running around the warhammer table at full speed for at least 2 hours whenever I'm over there. but I was going to mention, my bosses have a cockapoo and I have fallen in love with the crossbreed, while they are designer dogs they are still fairly common from what I've seen so you may see a few at a shelter, this dog though is super relaxed around lower energy people, when you want to chill out he is right there ready to just hang out with you. they should only get about 15-25lbs, since they are part poodle shedding won't be an issue.

    I'm not sure how everyone else feels about designer dogs but a rescue is a rescue, and a cockapoo should meet your requirements (of course the dog's personality DOES play a huge part in how they will act)

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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Up all night To get luckyRegistered User regular
    Would a Cocker Spaniel be too big?
    Their only issue is that, as they age, they get more and more stubborn. No fur, they need haircuts, they're pretty small, I guess. Well, larger than most of the ones mentioned in the thread. That might be a possibility.

    Cockers bark a LOT, have lots of energy, lots of hair, they get pretty smelly, they eat and gnaw all the things you have...
    I'd never ever recommend one of them in this context. Cockers are great for kids with yards.

    And yeah, look at the dog, not the breed is right, but... Some breeds have tendencies, so even though not all cockers are barking sheding smelly gnawing devils, most of them are. If you narrow down the number of possible breeds and then check the individual dogs, I guess that would be the best bet.

    My sister has a french bulldog, he's huge, and jealous of her, and brutish, and somewhat aggresive, and really full of energy.

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  • Binary SquidBinary Squid We all make choices Registered User regular

    Oh I'm certainly going to make sure the personality is compatible as well, but as far as I can tell, the breed seems to have some impact on behavior, doesn't it? I know some dogs were basically made to do jobs like herding sheep or fighting bears, and I was under the impression that there were a few tendencies among breeds.

    And, while I like pugs (and I'm pretty sure my grandma loves em too), they do present a problem of being prone to respiratory difficulties, if they were capable of taking care of a larger dog, I'd be looking for a breed that isn't prone to hip displacia. Even just something big like a basset hound, regardless of energy level is pretty much right out because they won't be able to walk it, nor will they be able to get it to the vet easily if something happens.

    I'm definitely not going to just be choosing a dog by breed, though, but due to the fact that certain breeds are more or less vulnerable to breed specific problems, and there is a general personality trend that certain breeds are noted for, I'm using that as a guideline to make this search a bit quicker. However I would definitely not exclude a dog based on what the breed personality type is supposed to be if I have people telling me that the specific dog behaves in a way that would integrate with their household successfully. As for breeds with noted medical problems go, though, I am being more careful, as I don't want to get a dog that they will have constant difficulty with.
    yeah my friend has a pug, toshiro the goblin warlord is his full title, that dog usually spends its time running around the warhammer table at full speed for at least 2 hours whenever I'm over there. but I was going to mention, my bosses have a cockapoo and I have fallen in love with the crossbreed, while they are designer dogs they are still fairly common from what I've seen so you may see a few at a shelter, this dog though is super relaxed around lower energy people, when you want to chill out he is right there ready to just hang out with you. they should only get about 15-25lbs, since they are part poodle shedding won't be an issue.

    I'm not sure how everyone else feels about designer dogs but a rescue is a rescue, and a cockapoo should meet your requirements (of course the dog's personality DOES play a huge part in how they will act)

    Yup, a rescue is a rescue, and I'll check out those as well.

  • MalgarasMalgaras Registered User regular
    godmode wrote: »
    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: They've got some fur on them, but they meet the other criteria. Very relaxed dogs.

    I'm gonna go ahead and second this. Be on the lookout for heart disease, though.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    If not for the fur, I'd recommend a Pembroke Welsh Corgi in a heart beat. They can be high energy, but trained correctly, they are super chill, and ridiculously smart. Mine have always been my best buds. When my older male passed away, I was devastated beyond belief. They are just great, great dogs. They are crazy loyal, and very much "people dogs". They love their people, and they love to be around them...but just laying by you is enough, they don't need to be constantly played with.

    They are also some of the best agility dogs in the world, so they are fun as hell to play with outside, because they can do some crazy things. They are so low to the ground, they can change direction startling fast. It's fun to go play catch with them...though I'm not sure if that means a damn thing to your grandparents, hehe.

    If your grand parents are willing to do any amount of grooming (I furminated Kodi once a week), they are life long companion dogs you will never regret getting.

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  • Binary SquidBinary Squid We all make choices Registered User regular
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    If not for the fur, I'd recommend a Pembroke Welsh Corgi in a heart beat. They can be high energy, but trained correctly, they are super chill, and ridiculously smart. Mine have always been my best buds. When my older male passed away, I was devastated beyond belief. They are just great, great dogs. They are crazy loyal, and very much "people dogs". They love their people, and they love to be around them...but just laying by you is enough, they don't need to be constantly played with.

    They are also some of the best agility dogs in the world, so they are fun as hell to play with outside, because they can do some crazy things. They are so low to the ground, they can change direction startling fast. It's fun to go play catch with them...though I'm not sure if that means a damn thing to your grandparents, hehe.

    If your grand parents are willing to do any amount of grooming (I furminated Kodi once a week), they are life long companion dogs you will never regret getting.

    No...that's actually not bad. I'm sure they won't mind some brushing. They've got a garden, so I already know they like to putter around, and brushing weekly is probably easier than pulling weeds.

    I just want to thank everyone so far who's taken the time to give me your advice. I really appreciate it.

  • R0land1188R0land1188 Registered User regular
    We had a chinese crested and little dude got hyper and had some energy but expended it on his own and didn't weigh more than 8 lbs or so? He also loved to just jump in our laps and be pet and was real easy to train and hang out with. He was very good with other animals.

    Also there are 2 kinds, hairless and 'powder puff' which have a full coat but doesn't shed very much.

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