The Best Medium-Sized Watchdogs for the Elderly

Companion dogs can be a great comfort to an older person and at the same time offer a bit protection.

Companion dogs can be a great comfort to an older person and at the same time offer a bit protection.

Are you worried by a rash of recent break-ins in your grandma’s neighborhood? Hiring a body-guard is out of the question but what about suggesting that she get a dog? Nothing too big but not too small either -- just a sturdy, loyal, obedient medium-sized protection companion.

Belgian Malinois

This medium-sized German shepherd look-a-like can be counted on to protect grandma’s person and property, but he is not likely to be mean for no good reason. The American Kennel Club describes the malinois' temperament to be reserved with strangers, affectionate with his own people and responsive to owner commands. He will need to be brushed often, though.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Our friends at the AKC say this dog has a steady disposition that shows himself with an air of self-confidence. He is big enough to give bad guys pause but has a soft silky coat and a face that some would call adorable. He will need more trips to the groomer than others on the list, but otherwise he would make a fine choice as a protection dog.


As a breed, weimaraners are noted for their speed, endurance and fearlessness. If your grandma would rather spend time taking long walks than visiting dog salons, this dog would probably be a good match. His short-haired coat is low maintenance and he has a high energy level without being hyper.

Chinese Shar-pei

Though a bit odd-looking with his hippopotamus head and abundant wrinkles, the shar-pei can act as an excellent deterrent for any would be perpetrator. They are a very intelligent breed but can be very stubborn. Shar-peis are very clean dogs and require very little grooming.

German Pinscher

While Doberman pinschers are recognized as an excellent choice for protection work, they are often black-listed by insurance companies. The German pinscher is a smaller breed that looks much like the dobie but he lacks the Doberman’s fierce reputation and would probably be a better choice for grandma. German pinschers have a natural instinct to hunt vermin and will protect their home and family from two-footed rats. German pinschers are high-energy dogs that need daily exercise, but they are low maintenance in the grooming department.


A mixed-breed dog rescued from the local animal shelter may be the best choice of all. Grandma should be able to find a medium-sized dog that needs a forever home and who will likely be a fiercely loyal companion in exchange. Look for rescue dogs that are not overly frightened at your approach but are also not overly anxious for your attention. Rescue dogs are usually spayed or neutered prior to adoption, a bonus your grandma would probably greatly appreciate.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Cuteness
Brought to you by Cuteness

About the Author

Jenny Newberry, a former teacher with 25 years of experience, is a professional writer and photographer and holds a B.S. and a M.Ed. in elementary and special education from the University of South Alabama. She is also a history buff, praise and worship pianist, pet enthusiast, avid crafter and hobby gardener.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images