Many people can find themselves with a quiet house in their golden years. These days it is not uncommon for family to be spread throughout the world and while phones and the internet can help, there really is no replacement for genuine contact.
Loneliness and social isolation in senior citizens are more than an inconvenience. It has been proven to result in poorer health outcomes. In answer to this, researchers have been looking at all sorts of solutions from robots to pets.
In this article, we will look at just what a canine companion offers up for our elders. They aren’t called man’s best friend for nothing after all. In particular, we will focus in on the 10 best Poodle mixes for seniors.
The Poodle Cross is a range of hybrid, mixed breed dogs that include Poodle genetics. As a collective, they are often referred to as “Doodles”. We believe the vast array of choice, the potential for pleasant temperament, and the tendency to be lower shedding make these a surefire hit for seniors.
Poodle crossbreeds present a great option for senior owners due to the variety of smaller variations who can adapt to apartment living, have lesser exercise needs, and tendency to be loyal and affectionate. The Maltipoo comes out as the top Poodle Mix for seniors.
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What are the Benefits of Pet Ownership for Seniors
If you are a senior or you are weighing up the pros and cons of dog ownership for a senior you know it is worth understanding what benefits are associated with having a canine companion in later life.
One of the main reasons many seniors cite for getting a dog is that they provide company and companionship.
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) found that as many as one-quarter of all Americans aged 65 years or over would be considered socially isolated. Older adults are more likely to face social isolation due to greater rates of living alone, bereavements of family and/or friends, and the impact of chronic health conditions
Social isolation and loneliness go hand in hand, unfortunately. Feeling lonely is not just unpleasant, the Center for Disease Control has documented that loneliness negatively impacts the overall health of senior citizens.
There we have it, folks, dogs should be given on prescription to solve loneliness! A fact all full card-carrying dog owners could have already told you.
Encouraging Independence and Physical Activity
While it is completely natural to slow down slightly in senior years once the regular routine of the day job or the more energetic hobbies start to decline, some people can find it difficult to maintain even minimal activity.
Having a dog gives many people, not just seniors, a reason to undertake regular exercise. While it is easy to come up with reasons not to attend the gym, a persistent pooch who needs their daily walk is harder to ignore. Being responsible for interacting and caring for a dog can also help with keeping the mind active and alert.
Many seniors live alone and the presence of a dog in the house, even a small one is associated with being a deterrent for burglars. This is due to a dog often barking an alert in response to any snoopers or unexpected noises overnight allowing the homeowner to take prompt action.
Increased Overall Wellbeing
Studies have shown that many people (senior and young alike) experience a release of stress-relieving hormones when stroking a pet. Dogs in particular are known for their capacity to “tune into” their human’s emotions and temperament. Doodle hybrids, also have Poodle genetics which includes intelligence, and many are also extremely loyal in nature.
This can help not only in improving loneliness but increasing general feelings of happiness and reducing stress hormones.
What Attributes are Favorable when Considering a Dog for an Older Adult?
Individual circumstances may vary but generally speaking, older adults may be unable to commit to particularly large or energetic dogs.
When considering reduced mobility or physical frailty which some seniors face, a large dog could very easily cause an unintentional injury by knocking over their owner or pulling them off their feet.
Most seniors will be looking for a pooch with low to moderate exercise needs and a more placid nature.
Ease of Training
Having the smarts to make them amendable to training will reduce the demand on the owner further and also offers up the potential for the dog to learn assistance tasks which could actively help their owner in day-to-day life.
Many seniors have a reduced income and will be considering the cost of dog ownership. Smaller dogs mostly have smaller food bills. Additionally picking a type of dog that is generally considered healthy or is not prone to breed-specific ailments will reduce insurance premiums.
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons many seniors choose to get a dog is primarily for companionship. With this in mind loving, gentle and person-centered dogs will prove a popular choice. There is no point in getting a dog for companionship who is particularly independent-natured and doesn’t want to spend time with their human.
Why Poodle Mixes are a Great Choice for Senior Owners?
Poodle mixes hit so many of the desirable attributes listed for seniors. Doodle’s enhance a whole range of common companion dogs such as the Maltese, the Shih Tzu, and the Lhaso Apso.
By crossing these types of smaller dogs with Poodles, the purebred versions benefit from the phenomena of “hybrid vigor”. This means by mixing two different pure breeds we can dilute any health conditions common in the parent breeds making for a healthy hybrid.
Personality-wise, a well-bred Poodle cross has the potential to be an absolute delight and is the reason for the ongoing and ever-developing members of Doodle owners’ groups and fan pages.
The Poodle genetics add in the brains and is part of the reason Doodle hybrids are increasingly being selected to undertake assistance and therapy dog duties. Many Doodle owners will attest to the good-natured mischief their dogs can get up to which only serves to make them more endearing and part of the family.
As Doodles have the potential to be low shedding this can be beneficial for seniors with any breathing conditions which may be exacerbated by dog hair and dander.
Doodle Options for Senior Owners at a Glance
|Cavapoo||9” to 14”||12lbs to 15lbs|
|Corgipoo||10” to 12”||12lbs to 28lbs|
|Pomapoo||8” to 9”||5lbs to 14lbs|
|Shipoo||8” to 13”||8lbs to 18lbs|
|Lhasapoo||9” to 13”||10lbs to 20lbs|
|Chi-Poo||5” to 14”||5lbs to 20lbs|
|Bidoodle||9” to 14”||6lbs to 12lbs|
|Pugapoo||8” to 15”||10lbs to 30lbs|
|Toy Goldendoodle||11” to 16”||10lbs to 18lbs|
|Maltipoo||8” to 13”||5lbs to 20lbs|
Top 10 Best Poodle Mixes for Seniors
At last count, there are estimated to be over 60 different types of intentional Poodle crosses. But, not every Doodle will be a good choice for a senior owner. For example, some of the largest variations such as the NewfyPoo (New Foundland x Poodle) or Danadoole (Great Dane X Poodle) are unlikely to be a good match.
We have trawled both the internet and our own sources to identify 10 of the most compatible Doodles for seniors. It has been tricky to pick a clear winner but considering the needs of the majority of seniors, we have ranked them 1 to 10. Read on to see if you agree:
Number 10 – Cavapoo
A Cavapoo is a popular option for seniors and younger owners alike. A Cavapoo is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. While the Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle) may be more common, the fact that the Cavapoo is often smaller, and if well bred can be calmer than their Cockapoo sibling makes them the better option for seniors. The bonus is they retain that instantly recognizable round-eyed, teddy bear like Doodle coat and their desire to please means they are a great choice.
They can be prone to some nervousness/anxiety so senior owners may want to take them to a puppy class or regularly mix with others outside to tackle this early. They fit easily into apartment, or smaller home living and are known to have a lively level of spunk to endear themselves to their owners.
Number 9 – Corgipoo
The Corgipoo is a short but sturdy member of the Doodle clan. They occur as a mix of a Corgi and, normally, a Miniature Poodle. They are instantly recognizable as are usually Corgi-like in build. Often coloring will also be representative of those Corgi genes, but they will also most likely adopt the curlier coat of the Poodle, which for for senior owners is preferable as will shed considerably less than a purebred Corgi.
The fact the Corgipoo is curly means they will need regular brushing but the good news is a Corgipoo can be easily trained to enjoy this with some tasty treats as bribery. This can then become a great opportunity to spend time and pamper your Corgipoo.
Corgipoos are often associated with senior owners due to their generally placid nature and their leaning towards the couch potato scale of exercise desire. Corgipoo’s food fascination can be a double-edged sword though. If they live with a senior who is fond of treats and not exercising too much their Corgipoo may become decidedly chunky.
Number 8 – Pomapoo
The Pomapoo is a cross between a Pomeranian and a Toy Poodle. This diminutive little pooch is an ideal couch companion. As both Pomeranians and Toy Poodles have a long history as lap dogs this makes this mix incredibly loyal.
The Pomapoo has an adorable appearance coming in shades of brown, black, red, fawn, sable, or white which is usually topped off with a black button nose and black shiny eyes. Their affectionate and intelligent nature makes them ideal for seniors as they are eager to please and easy to train. Their smaller size means they have lower exercise needs making them ideal for less physically active owners.
The only reason they are not higher on our list is that they are rarer and harder to come by than some of the others we have placed.
Number 7 – Shih-Poo
Purebred Shih Tzus have been popular with senior owners. Just when we thought this pup couldn’t get better, a bright spark decided to cross this little scamp with a Toy Poodle, and voila you get the perfect low-shedding, playful companion dog.
The reason the Shih-Poo works for senior owners is that while they are fairly energetic, their small stature means they can be easily amused with indoor games and do not need lengthy outdoor exercise. They naturally calm down as they come out of puppyhood and are never happier than when snuggled on their owner’s lap.
There can be a stubborn streak in a Shih-Poo though which can make tasks like toilet training a bit more of a battle of wills than with some other breeds. With this in mind, it is suggested that a Shi-Poo is best for senior owners who will have had prior experience with dogs.
Number 6 – Lhasapoo
Combining another already popular lap dog, the Lhaso Apso, with a Toy Poodle gets you the rather adorable Lhasapoo.
Another small dog on the list who will happily lend itself to apartment living but what this little pup lacks in size it will more than comfortably makeup in sass. This little hybrid is incredibly agile and will make hopping from floor to sofa look easy.
The Lhasapoo may be one of the more territorial dogs on the list, owning to their Lhaso Apso’s heritage as a guard dog. This can make them a little on the “yappy” side but this can be a benefit for Seniors who live alone and would feel reassured by a little furry sentry.
This can be also comforting for elders who walk their dog alone, there is little to no chance of anyone sneaking up on you unawares with this little watchdog on a leash.
Number 5 – Chi-Poo
It’s normal for older adults’ appetites to change and they may start to prefer eating smaller meals more often. The Chi-Poo, a cross between the tiny Chihuahua and a Toy Poodle, is already a major fan of this approach and makes them a match made in heaven.
As the Chi-Poo is so small it eats much smaller amounts than its bigger counterparts, but it is also equally active. To avoid this little guy having bouts of low blood sugar it is recommended that they are fed small meals three or more times a day.
But matching up mealtimes is not the only benefit to this little guy. Where the purebred Chihuahua can sometimes be a little stubborn or headstrong, adding Toy Poodle genetics softens this hybrid up and makes them ultimately more affectionate.
The ultimate result is a loving, affectionate, pint-sized, low-shedding canine companion which is absolutely perfect for the older owner.
Number 4 – Bidoodle
One of the less recognizable names on our list is the Bidoodle. This hybrid mixes the Toy Poodle and the impossibly cute Bichon Frise.
A Bichon Frise is recognizable for its fluffy, often cloudlike appearance. Mixing in Poodle genetics makes this pup take on a slightly shaggier, softly curled appearance while still remaining low shedding.
If you are looking for a dog who wears its little heart on its sleeve, the Bidoodle is it. Anecdotally owners remark that these little dogs consider every stranger a friend they just haven’t met yet. Having such a confident and outgoing little dog can be a great icebreaker for older owners who may be attending the dog park alone and looking to engage in some chit-chat.
They are ideal for seniors as the Bidoodle would not do well in busy family homes where they may be left while owners go out to work. Having an older owner who is unlikely to leave them alone or take extended trips is just what the doctor ordered as otherwise, these dogs can be predisposed to separation anxiety. If you want a dog who will be your literal shadow, this is the pup for you.
Number 3 – Pugapoo
It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to guess the combinations of purebred dogs that constitute the Pugapoo. This delightful dog is the result of mixing the comical little Pug with a Toy Poodle.
While some seniors may be put off the prospect of a Pug due to the health issues associated with the breed as a result of its short muzzle and flat face, the Pugapoo hybrid offers up a generally healthier option.
The Pugapoo retains the friendly, clown-like demeanor of the Pug while displaying loyalty and affection associated with the Poodle. Their short stature and stocky build mean they are low on exercise needs and one low-intensity walk a day would be sufficient.
They can be overly fond of food thought and senior owners should be mindful not to spoil their Pugapoo too much lest they become seriously overweight which is easily done given their small stature.
Fortunately, the Pugapoo is often a people pleaser meaning they can be trained equally well with affection and play rather than relying solely on food rewards.
Number 2 – Toy Goldendoodle
One of the larger dogs on our list, even though it is considered a Toy Goldendoodle, this hybrid can still reach around 16″ in height which is considerably taller than some of the pooches on our list. They still can adjust to apartment, and smaller space living though.
Being slightly bigger means the Toy Goldendoodle may need a bit more exercising and entertaining than some of our other options. However, their gentle and loving nature means they can be trained to go at the pace of older owners or those with mobility needs.
A Toy Goldendoodle is a mix that has grown in popularity steadily since the late 1990s and comprises a mix of Golden Retriever and Toy Poodle. However, due to size difference this mix needs to be established over generations by first using the smaller dogs. Once breeders begin to use the Toy Poodle with the already proven smaller Goldendoodle then hybrid vigor will no longer offer any advantage to their health.
However, the blend of the Golden Retriever and the Poodle makes the Toy Goldendoodle ideal as an assistance/support dog due to their intelligence and people-orientated nature.
Thiese attributes make them ideal for Seniors as not only can they provide companionship they can also pick up tricks and training to actually assist their owners. Think of tasks like retrieving items from the floor, helping to pull off socks/shoes, and even alerting to medical conditions. With specialist training, the sky really is the limit with these little dogs.
Even if you don’t require your Toy Goldendoodle to physically assist, their loving and gentle demeanor means they make great companion dogs. Their ease of socializing with both people and other dogs means they are easy to take into a variety of different settings and they will be a surefire hit with any visiting grandchildren due to their ability to tolerate children well.
Number 1 – Maltipoo
The Toy Goldendoodle is a hard dog to beat when it comes to matching up a dog for a potential older owner, in our opinion it is only marginally exceeded by the positively adorable Maltipoo.
Cute and cuddly, the Maltipoo is extremely popular with a whole variety of senior owners. This doodle is a cross between the snow-white Maltese and a Toy Poodle and makes for a spunky little dog that will provide hours of entertainment.
The Maltipoo is particularly appealing to senior owners due to their ease of small space living combined with their affable nature. While each dog’s temperament will be individual, for the most part these little dogs are not particularly disposed to any particularly undesirable traits. They are not known to be destructive, and their happy demeanor means they are less prone than some of the other small dogs on our list to develop anxiety.
While some of the hybrids on this list are more obscure and may be harder to find, the Maltipoo is popular across many owner groups. This means finding a reputable and established breeder shouldn’t be too difficult. The fact that the Maltipoo is an established Doodle means that fine-tuning has been acheived with many breeders, inceasing the chances of consistency across the breed. This in turn makes for a more reliable option.
You can read more about Maltipoos in our dedicated Maltipoo section of the website.
So, there we have it, if you are a senior looking for a dog, or perhaps a family member considering picking a pooch for an older relative, you really cannot go wrong with anyone of the Doodles who have made our top 10.
As always, we suggest checking shelters first as these delightful little dogs sometimes find themselves there. The opportunity to match an older dog who might otherwise be overlooked might just be the perfect match for an older adult. There are charities that actively promote this approach and allow dogs to be matched to older adults so they can both enjoy their golden years together!