What breed for retired person (good with kids)

(44 Posts)
doggooggod Sun 06-Sep-20 09:44:56

Hi, my mum is thinking about getting a dog but unsure what type of dog would be best for her. Priorities would be:
- Relatively easily trainable as she's a first time dog owner
- More of a companionship type of dog that will like to cuddle up on the sofa. She's retired so at home most of the time
- A dog that doesn't need too much exercise - short walks are fine but she's not going to be going for long rambles every day.

She has thought about rehoming a rescue dog but that seems to be almost impossible with children and she looks after our children several times a week.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
doggooggod Sun 06-Sep-20 10:03:27

Sorry also forgot to say a breed that is more likely to be good with cats is a priority! As we will be helping with looking after the dog for holidays/days when mum needs to go out for the day etc and we have two cats.

OP’s posts: |
wetotter Sun 06-Sep-20 14:28:36

Small, medium or large?

How much grooming is she prepared to do (or pay for)?

My guess would be to go for one of the smaller terriers, they are very friendly, should be fine on two short walks a day, fit nicely on your knee on the sofa. But can be stubborn and can be yappy (diligent training needed)

The almost standard MN recommendation of a retired greyhound would work too, or if they want smaller, an Italian greyhound. A Labrador or a different retriever could be good choice (friendly, trainable, affectionate) but you can't skimp the walking. A shitzu perhaps?

Floralnomad Sun 06-Sep-20 14:36:37

Aside from the cat issue a greyhound would actually be just right for the rest of the criteria and has the added advantage of plenty in rescues that can go to homes with children .

vanillandhoney Sun 06-Sep-20 14:41:57

What kind of size?

Maybe something like a shih-tzu, papillon or Bichon?

HollyBollyBooBoo Sun 06-Sep-20 14:46:34

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

MrsW2603 Sun 06-Sep-20 14:52:07

OP you've just described my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Hes great with our two cats (he's v submissive and is at the bottom of the animal pecking order in our house). One 25 minute walk a day is plenty for him he then wants to spend the rest of his time asleep as close to you as possible.


doggooggod Sun 06-Sep-20 15:09:33

Thanks so much everyone! She’d probably want something not a lot larger than say a springer spaniel. Grooming isn’t a problem as she’d just pay for regular grooming.

Retired greyhound we’re a bit worried about the cats plus she’d like a smaller dog.

King Charles spaniel could be a really good choice but I’ve heard they have terrible health problems?

Thanks for all the other suggestions as well - will have a research of them.

OP’s posts: |
tabulahrasa Sun 06-Sep-20 15:46:28

Cavs do have terrible health problems, which is a shame... because they are nice wee dogs.

Whippet? They’d suit pretty much everything listed in your OP...

A lot of toy breeds were originally bred to be companions rather than work... but not always so suitable for children because of their size tbh.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sun 06-Sep-20 15:47:12

Maltese, bichon, papillon, shih tzu - all things from the general category of "small companion breeds", which is squarely where to look for her

I wouldn't go for a cavalier though - they have so many health problems it's awful (and expensive)

Darklane Sun 06-Sep-20 20:59:53

What about a miniature poodle? Or a staffie. I know their looks put some people off but don’t go by their looks, & not much grooming.
I used to show for years, Skye Terriers , a breed very much on the At Risk native British breeds list. One year I had a litter of four puppies & it was the only litter registered that year in the UK.(not a breed I’d recommend for your mum though as very dour Scots, distrustful of strangers & a LOT of grooming hmm )
But, of course we were always in attendance on terrier days at big shows or at smaller terrier club shows & the rings with the most children, even babies in prams, round them were the Staffie rings.

doggooggod Mon 07-Sep-20 08:13:52

Miniature poodle could be a good option thanks! I did wonder about a miniature schnauzer? I find the information online kind of contradictory in terms of how laid back they are or not.

OP’s posts: |
doggooggod Mon 07-Sep-20 10:04:14

Does anyone have experience of small dogs like maltese or bolognese and small children? That would be a concern of mine - information online seems to not recommend mixing the two because of how delicate small breeds like that are, although obviously we would work hard to get the children to treat it gently.

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Suzi888 Mon 07-Sep-20 10:07:55

A bichon? You’ve typed bolognese?grin my MIL has a bichon and he’s bitten my toddler on the hand, growls at her, snaps..... not good. I’m a dog lover but can’t be having that!
(She babysits in our house now)

I’d go with a rescue, housetrained, temperament already known.

Beamur Mon 07-Sep-20 10:11:08

A rescue might be a challenge as they are often full of big dogs. My dog was a rescue and would fit your requirements perfectly though. So it might be worth looking. With an older dog it should be toilet trained and you skip the puppy stage. However, my last 2 dogs have been rescues and have had issues I have not been able to resolve. Both were good with kids though.
The problem with kids and small dogs is accidents. Kids forget very easily about being calm and still - depends on the child though. My DD struggled with this until recently but my neighbours boy has been fab with all animals from a very young age..
Not all greyhounds will chase cats, but you do need to get the right dog. Otherwise they are very low maintenance dogs.

tabulahrasa Mon 07-Sep-20 10:11:57

A Bolognese is a little bichon type dog...

I’ve known some bichons and a Maltese, sweet wee things, not really my thing tbh, lol, but pleasant enough, not as delicate as some toy breeds, but hardly sturdy... their coats look like hard work though.

RuthW Mon 07-Sep-20 12:27:14

Grey hound would be perfect as long as you can get a cat friendly one. There are a few about.

bunnygeek Mon 07-Sep-20 13:02:15

Rescues do get kid-friendly dogs in BUT they are in such hot demand they usually fly out the door. At the moment dogs used to smaller kids can get over 500 applications, for just the one dog.

A dog from a breeder will only be used to kids if she trains it to be, not for the fainthearted either and she could still end up with a dog which is anxious around small children if the children are a bit "handsy" with it, as others have mentioned. That's the issue with toy sized breeds.

You mentioned Toy or Mini Poodle, please note how many competed in agility at Crufts, they do enjoy a good race around and may not necessarily be a "lap dog".

Schnauzers can be good if trained well, they are known for liking the sound of their own voice though.

I met a rescue Coton de Tulear puppy who was very lively, cheeky but like a friendly white cloud. A bit larger than other toy breeds and still with grooming requirements.

Wolfiefan Mon 07-Sep-20 13:07:04

How old are your kids? No puppy is a good idea with pre schoolers.
How short is a short walk? Few dogs would be happy at much less than an hour a day.

Viviennemary Mon 07-Sep-20 13:09:05

I agree with these little King Charles Spaniels. They're really cute. But can often have health problems I've heard.

DobbinReturns Mon 07-Sep-20 14:34:15

Coton de Tulear ticks a lot of the boxes. I couldn't convince my husband on them though

doggooggod Mon 07-Sep-20 14:34:19


How old are your kids? No puppy is a good idea with pre schoolers.
How short is a short walk? Few dogs would be happy at much less than an hour a day.

Our kids are 2 and 4, they tend to be on their own with her two days a week and then we spend time together at the weekend.

She tends to go on an hour's walk most days, so ideally we'd probably be looking at a dog that doesn't need much more than an hour's walk a day or say two half hour walks .

Thanks so much for everyone's suggestions. Feels like a King Charles Spaniel could work really well if it wasn't for the health problems.

OP’s posts: |
Ellmau Mon 07-Sep-20 16:29:49

Bichon would be perfect imo. Coton de Tulears seem quite similar, I met some cute ones once in a car park, but they're quite a rare breed here so might be expensive/hard to find.

The toddler in particular (but also the 4 yo) will need to be closely supervised whatever the breed. No grabbing or poking to be allowed.

tabulahrasa Mon 07-Sep-20 16:39:28

“Our kids are 2 and 4, they tend to be on their own with her two days a week and then we spend time together at the weekend.”

Ooh... a 4 year old and a puppy is hard work, a 2 year old and a puppy is a bit of a nightmare tbh...

It’s like having another, faster, bitier toddler there - who needs to be rushed outside every 20 minutes or so and you’ve no clue whether you’re going to be out there 2 minutes or 15.

vanillandhoney Mon 07-Sep-20 16:44:25

Our kids are 2 and 4, they tend to be on their own with her two days a week and then we spend time together at the weekend.

Until your 2yo is older, I would say any puppy is a no-go, to be honest. Puppies are hard work - add in two young children and the whole situation could end up being extremely stressful.

What happens when she needs to leave the room to take the 2yo to the toilet, for example? She can't leave the dog unattended with the 4yo, so there needs to be a secure space the dog can be be left. What if the 2yo has an accident - could she stop the puppy from trying to eat the contents of the nappy? Is her house set-up in a way that the puppy will have it's own safe space?

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