For over 15,000 years, humans and dogs have enjoyed a cordial relationship. Our canine friends provide companionship, love, affection and add a sense of fun into our lives, often becoming part of our families themselves.

As we age in place, owning a dog can greatly enhance our physical and mental wellbeing, with myriad benefits to be gleaned from the four-legged, waggy-tailed barking bundles of fur.

For example, walking a dog can provide a form of exercise, and often provides a talking point when you meet fellow dog owners, allowing you to meet new people on a daily basis. What's more, several studies have found that those diagnosed with Alzheimer's feel far less anxious if there is a dog about the house, according to Dr. Lynette Hart, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

If you're on the lookout for a dog, here are three breeds perfect for those in senior living:

Cocker spaniel

A hugely popular small dog for all ages, the cocker spaniel makes an excellent, faithful companion, and is almost eternally cheerful. With soft, floppy ears, and an easy, outgoing disposition, the cocker spaniel is the perfect choice for senior citizens. Living up to 15 years of age, this breed comes in a broad range of colours, so take your pick and take one home!

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer represents everything that is good about dogs in one package of boundless energy. A supremely intelligent little fellow, coupled with endless affection, the Miniature Schnauzer also looks as though he was born to make people laugh. That big moustache, oversized eyebrows and limitless enthusiasm lend to a dog that will give unconditional companionship to everyone he encounters.

Scottish Terrier

This tiny tartan warrior is perfect for those looking for an unwavering watchdog. A smart breed, the Scottish Terrier only has little legs, so he doesn't need to go for very long walks, making him ideal for older people.

For a dog so small, you wouldn't expect such a booming bark from this faithful guardian, but it's sure to make any burglar think twice about breaking into your property! 

FAQ: Which dog breeds are best for senior citizens?