30 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
Is there any greater love than that of our furry friends? Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds, which means there’s likely a dog for everyone, even seniors. Having a dog in the home can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress levels, and improve happiness. Why wouldn’t you have a dog if you were able? Take a look at this list of 30 best dog breeds for seniors if you want to know what furry friend should be added to your space!
1. Italian Greyhound
Greyhounds are quite large dogs, but if you love the look of a greyhound and want something more manageable, the Italian Greyhound might be just the breed. Italian Greyhounds are affectionately referred to as “Iggies” and have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. The friendly dogs are ideal for apartments or small homes as they only need an hour of exercise each day.
2. Shih Tzu
Known as the “Lion Dog,” the Shih Tzu is great for seniors because of its loyal disposition, friendly nature, and easy-going nature. This dog breed is a perfect lap dog with little exercise needs, as they’re just content to curl up with you on the couch. Make no mistake though, the Shih Tzu is an excellent watchdog despite its small size. Whether you live in an apartment or home, you’ll find the Shih Tzu is a lively lovable breed for your lifestyle.
The Bolognese is a great breed for seniors. Cuddly and like a teddy bear, the breed has little grooming requirements. Owners like the Bolognese because it has low shedding properties, is intelligent and isn’t hard to train. The quiet and calm nature of the breed makes it well-suited for apartments and other small spaces, especially where noise can be a concern.
The Goldendoodle is a dog breed created from two popular and affectionate breeds, the poodle and the Golden Retriever. If you want a dog that will get you outside and moving around, the Goldendoodle is a good pick, as it needs exercise daily. With intelligence and a lively playful nature, this dog breed will be your your faithful loving companion.
Beagles have a reputation for being loud, but many senior care experts have ranked these friendly dogs as one of the best dog breeds for seniors. The breed loves to play, which will keep you active, and has relatively low grooming needs. The beagle is also great with kids, so you don’t have to worry about it not getting along with your grandchildren.
Pomeranians are lively affectionate dogs who are small in size, big in heart. The Pomeranian lives well in an apartment or another small space, and are fiercely devoted to their owners. Although fluffy, they don’t need to be groomed thoroughly, and only require a regular brushing. If training is needed, the breed’s intelligence should have them picking up your commands quickly.
The pug has been described as the perfect couch potato dog, so the breed is well-suited for seniors who aren’t able to get out and exercise as much as they’d like. Pugs are very quick to adapt to most situations, and they require little grooming. These happy little dogs are ideal lap dogs, and some rescues even give discounts to seniors who want to add a pug to their home.
8. Mixed Breed
You don’t have to adopt or purchase a purebred dog to find the perfect companion. Many dog experts have recommended that seniors check out the local shelter to see if there’s a suitable mixed breed dog. When dogs come into the shelter, they’re screened for personality, care needs, and other qualities, and the handlers will be looking to place the dog with the right person. Best of all, you won’t need to do the training that a puppy would require.
9. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are sweet tiny dogs who live 13 to 20 years on average.. You can often find this dog breed living in apartments or assisted living centers because they are low-maintenance — they only need a daily brushing. Exercise isn’t really a need with the Yorkie, and their favorite place will likely be your lap.
10. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are adorable with big ears and even bigger personalities. Dog experts advise you might have some trouble training this breed, but they’re lively and worth it to have a loving companion. French Bulldogs are great lapdogs and they’re good with smaller spaces like apartments. The breed has a low activity level and is very easy when it comes to grooming.
11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
If you’re a senior and want a lively little dog that isn’t trouble, consider a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Not only are these dogs adorable with their squat bodies and giant ears, but they’re also easy-going, and perfect for apartment dwellers. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is intelligent and has been a favorite of royalty for years. Be aware that they are active dogs, so they need frequent exercise outside.
The Otterhound isn’t as well known as the other dogs on this list, but that’s no matter, because this is a great dog breed for seniors. The breed has a life expectancy of about 12 years, and needs moderate amounts of exercise regularly. You’ll get a faithful companion that is loving, smart and independent in this breed.
Poodles are great dogs for anyone, and are especially popular with seniors. The breed is one of the most intelligent and will provide you yours of faithful companionship. A gentle loving nature and ability to adapt to any space makes them great choices for any senior. If you have allergies, you can appreciate the low-maintenance needs of the breed’s coat, thanks to its hypoallergenic nature.
14. Lhasa Apso
A low-shed coat makes the Lhasa Apso good for apartments and small spaces, especially if you’re concerned about grooming needs. The dog breed has an average lifespan of 14 years, and is a complete lap dog. Like other small dogs on our list, the breed is a loyal and loving dog you’ll love. The breed’s personality is ideal for a senior because it’s independent but wants your attention, so you get the best of both worlds.
15. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin doesn’t have excessive activity needs, and is easy to groom, requiring just a brush weekly. The breed has served as a companion dog for years and is a less “yappy” toy dog compared to other breeds. You can let your Japanese Chin romp in the yard or park for a bit, and he’ll be happy but he also loves to come right back to your lap.
16. West Highland Terrier
Terriers are ever popular with seniors, and among them is the West Highland Terrier. The breed has a nice temperament and is a nice lap dog. Suited for apartment living, the breed only needs one hour of exercise a day. Despite that soft coat, you won’t have many grooming tasks either, just some regular brushing.
17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been a favorite of royalty for centuries and today, they’re still sweet lap dogs. They often don’t grow beyond 18 pounds and they can adapt to most living situations with ease. You only need to bathe them weekly and brush them carefully to keep up with that beautiful soft coat.
18. Cocker Spaniel
Another Spaniel type, the Cocker Spaniel has a great temperment for seniors. You will need to groom them a bit, however, but they have a personality that you’ll love, plus they fit in well with apartment living.
19. Scottish Terrier
If you want a dog that needs moderate exercise so you can stay active, the Scottish Terrier may be the perfect fit as he just needs regular walks, not excessive running. The breed acclimates well to apartment living, and is generally quiet, with a loud bark rather than a yap. His personality is affectionate and he will be a faithful guard dog.
Like the Maltese, the Havanese is a great dog for seniors. Playful and loving, they’re a small breed that has moderate exercise needs. They become devoted to their owners and love to spend time with them, making them great companions. They have a coat that is easy to maintain with a regular brushing, and they’re sweet gentle dogs that aren’t high-strung.
The Maltese breed is good for seniors because they have minor exercise needs, don’t require excessive grooming, and love to be your companion. The breed can adapt well to small spaces or apartments, and will just love to be in your lap. Maltese are often used as therapy dogs thanks to their calm nature.
22. Basset Hound
The easy loving nature of this breed makes it a fantastic pet for seniors. The Basset Hound can be a bit stubborn but is very affectionate. Some fans of the breed say that they shadow you closely. You’ll need to make sure you give this breed exercise regularly as they have a tendency to put on weight. Luckily, the grooming requirements for the Basset Hound are minimal.
23. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are best described as couch potatoes, because they love to spend time with you. They have a great size and personality for any senior to manage. The breed is a loving companion for anyone, but they’re known to be popular for seniors because of their ease in grooming and relaxed nature.
Fondly referred to as “wiener dogs,” the Dachshund is a happy little dog with a big personality. The breed is very fond of his family, and you’ll love laughing at his silly antics. Dachshunds need low-maintenance grooming to ensure their coat is healthy. Popular in apartments, the breed likes going on walks and playing games like fetch or catch to get its exercise.
Tiny but mighty should be the slogan for this breed. Chihuahua’s date back to 500 B.C. and have been a faithful companion for centuries. They love to be in your lap and are very devoted to their owners. Even the long-coated version of the breed doesn’t need much grooming, and their exercise needs are minimal; take your pup for a quick walk, and he’ll be fine.
26. Brussels Griffon
A Brussels Griffon will love to be in your lap and you’ll likely have trouble keeping him out of it! The breed has some of the characteristics of the bulldog. A Brussels Griffon will tend to prefer the company of older people, as they’re not comfortable around children. These dogs have a relaxed and sweet personality making them great for a senior’s home.
The breed may have a shorter lifespan than others on our list, but the bulldog still makes a fantastic companion for all ages. Stout and stocky, the bulldog is a friendly dog despite its gruff appearance. They love to be with their owner, and they don’t really need a lot of exercise. You will need to keep an eye on their diet because they don’t run around much.
28. Labrador Retriever
Labs are known to be friendly, intelligent dogs, and yes, the assumption is true. These qualities make them great for seniors, provided they can get the exercise they crave. It may not be fair to coop these large dogs in an apartment, but if you have a nice yard, they’ll be very happy. This breed is loving and loyal, and makes a great watch dog.
29. Miniature Schnauzer
A dog breed that you’ll often find in a city, the Miniature Schnauzer is well-suited for seniors. The breed needs plenty of exercise, so be prepared to be active with this dog. Despite its energy, it’s a gentle sweet dog. You’ll need to do some routine grooming to make sure that the coat stays healthy and clean.
The Schipperke has a lifetime span of about 15 years and is a great pet for an active senior. Lively and playful, the breed is similar to a fox. You’ll fall in love with their inquisitive nature and confident streak, but you may need to devote some time to training. The breed only gets to 12 to 18 lbs, however, so it’s a good size for an apartment, provided you give the dog plenty of chance to roam.