If you're looking for a companion dog for an older person, an Irish Terrier is a wonderful choice in breed. The Irish Terrier is not a well known dog in the United States, but is popular in Europe and is gaining popularity here, too. They are one of the best suited breeds for the elderly, so long as they are properly trained and properly handled by their owners.
Irish Terriers make great companions for the elderly in part because of their size. They typically stand about 18 inches tall and weigh no more than 25-27 pounds. They are small enough to live comfortably in an apartment or small home. They are not excessive barkers, so they don't tend to annoy neighbors when they live in close quarters. In addition, the Irish Terrier requires very little grooming, so they are easy to care for. They have a short wiry coat that sheds very little. Brushing weekly to remove dead hair is about all the grooming they require.
Irish Terriers make great companion dogs because they are so loyal and affectionate with their owners, as well. These dogs can be great company to an older person who lives alone. Both dog and owner can derive a great deal of comfort from the relationship.
Irish Terriers make great watchdogs, and are very brave in protecting their owners. An elderly person can count on the Irish Terrier to be fierce with anyone who threatens their owner. In fact, Irish Terriers have been known to be brave to a fault; taking on contenders who are much larger and stronger than they. An Irish Terrier will fight to the death for their owner's safety.
Irish Terriers do need some exercise, so their owners must have some way to provide this outlet for the dog. However, a daily walk on the leash with their owner would be sufficient, as would a short run in a fenced area. Just be certain that the fenced area is secure, as Irish Terriers are known for their ability to jump fences if they are not at least 5 feet tall.
Though Irish Terriers can be great companions for older people, it is important to note that they can also be very willful and that their bravery sometimes causes them to be daredevils. For these reasons, it is imperative that Irish Terriers receive appropriate obedience training at a young age. In fact, particularly if the owner is a novice dog owner, professional obedience training might be in order with this breed. It will take time and patience, but the Irish Terrier's willful nature can be tamed and they can become one of the best companion breeds around.