The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors: Companion for Life

What are the best dog breeds for seniors? Find out what factors to consider when choosing a dog and the benefits of owning a dog.

As we get older, relationships get more and more important. Some of our friends pass away and relatives close to us move to farther places. Maintaining good relationships as we age with the special people in our lives becomes more and more challenging.

If you are heading towards your senior years and looking for constant companionship, you may want to adopt or buy a new dog. Heading towards our senior years can be very lonely, but establishing a beautiful relationship with lovely animals like dogs can be beneficial to our health. No matter your age, there are many benefits to owning a dog.

small brown dog - best dog breeds for seniors

Benefits to owning a dog

A strong dog-human bond comes with some powerful health benefits. According to a study by HABRI Central, interacting with dogs can lessen cortisol levels, the hormone released when we are stressed out.

The research also shows that caring for dogs helps lower blood pressure, reduce loneliness, boost our mood and improve feelings of social support. In short, dogs are good for our overall well being!

If you are a senior with no steady fitness routine, maybe caring for a dog that requires a bit of exercise can help you move more and be healthier. 

Age shouldn’t play a factor in good pet ownership, but there are health- and lifestyle-related factors that can impact our ability to properly care for certain kinds of dogs. 

Factors to consider:


Big breeds can easily knock you over when they get super excited. Smaller dog breeds are easier to handle, especially during bath, grooming, and walking time. 

Energy Level

Different dog breeds have different energy requirements. Those who live in small apartments should look for less energetic pups that require less exercise time. Contemplate on which activities you want to participate in. Then, choose a dog with similar physical needs.

Grooming Needs

Specific dog breeds require a more meticulous grooming routine. Some of them can be bathed every few weeks, while others need frequent haircuts and brushing. Consider whether you will take care of your dog’s grooming or have to pay for help.


Just like us, different dogs have different personalities. Some are known for their easy-going dispositions, while others can be stubborn, making them hard for older people to manage. Ask questions about the breed, and if you are adopting, find out as much as you can from the foster family.

The Dog’s Age

Whether you are adopting from a shelter or buying from a breeder, the dog’s age can impact choosing the best dog breeds for seniors. Since you are older now and are in search of amazing companionship, an older dog is a better option. 

Your Budget

Realize that dog ownership has a monthly cost in addition to your initial adoption or purchase expenses. Based on the above factors like grooming needs, age, etc. your dog may require a special diet or expensive vet services. 

Yorkie dog up close

Ready to choose the best dog breed for you? This is the most exciting part. Here are your best options.  

Best Dog Breeds for Seniors and Retirees

French Bulldog

Frenchies are good-natured dogs that love spending time with their humans the entire day. These dogs adore cuddles and will climb into your lap while you’re busy enjoying a meal or watching television.

They are perfect for seniors who live in small apartments and want to care for less energetic pooches. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Queen Elizabeth II is probably the most popular corgi owner in the world right now. Are these dogs only fit for royals? You can have one, too, of course. 

While they can be a bit heavy and energetic, corgis are great for older people who love physical activities. You can run or brisk walk with them around the neighborhood. 


This dog breed is prone to separation anxiety, so you leaving every single day will break its heart into pieces. Love staying at home? Go adopt or buy a Havanese! 

At home, you can watch television the whole day with your Havanese! They don’t need lots of exercise – just a short trip to the nearest park is good enough for them. 

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises don’t demand much, just lots of love, short walks, and indoor playtime. This makes them an excellent breed for seniors living in small homes. They also get along well with other pets and are friendly with other people. 

The only aspect you need to focus on is their coat. While their beautiful curly white hair doesn’t shed, regular grooming is important. 


Poodles are excellent companion dogs not just for seniors but also for younger people. They are highly trainable and loving animals. Exercise is still needed, but these dogs are content with just playing inside the house with awesome toys.

For seniors, a toy breed is highly recommended, but the miniature and standard ones are also good options. 


The Chihuahua may be the smallest dog breed on the list, but they are the ones with the biggest, most unique personalities. These lively and high-spirited dogs love hugs and wouldn’t mind resting next to you after a long day. 

Caring for chihuahuas is so convenient! They’re so small, so their exercise needs can be fulfilled even when indoors. 

West Highland Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is another popular dog breed for seniors. They can be expressive and vocal, but no worries. Barking is just their special way of communicating with their loving owners. 

Commonly referred to as Westies, they weigh about 15 pounds and are less than one foot tall. Just like the Chihuahua, these dogs are small but come with wonderfully huge personalities. They are independent yet affectionate and loyal.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs are some of the best lap dogs for seniors. Probably the only downside is their immense love for chasing things. Older people with mobility issues may have a hard time keeping up with that. 

These dogs are perfect for those who are patient enough to control them using a long leash, and for those who have a fenced yard. 


Playful, affectionate, and smart, Maltese dogs are super attentive to their pet parent’s moods. They are considered the original lap dogs, but owning these cute pooches comes with some responsibilities. Their white coat doesn’t shed but does require weekly bathing and daily brushing.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are small, hypoallergenic, and moderately active dogs. They may look like overly energetic dogs that require spacious yards, but they can be very happy even in small spaces. 

Do you know that a lot of Miniature Schnauzers are trained as therapy dogs?! Bella, a member of the AKC Therapy Dog Program, is just one of the many therapy Schnauzers out there! They can be a bit stubborn but are intelligent enough to learn new skills even as adults and seniors. 

gray miniature schnauzer standing in the grass

Dogs contribute to overall health and happiness

For caregivers and family members, it can be difficult to watch older loved ones endure the challenges of sorrow as they age. A lot of seniors long for emotional connection and companionship to overcome isolation. Caring for a sweet dog as you enjoy your golden years can be a fulfilling, delightful experience. 

As you gravitate towards your senior years, getting a dog bestie can provide a new sense of purpose and fill in the void in your lives. They are wonderful companions and can help us live our lives to the fullest. Whether you want to adopt or buy a pup, make sure you find your perfect match in the vast canine world. 

More about choosing a dog

black dog with older womans arms around it

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