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Best Dogs for Senior Citizens – 5 Breeds

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Dogs make wonderful pets for everyone, children and senior citizens alike. If you’re in your golden years, getting a furry friend is one of the best decisions you can make. A canine companion can help you stay fit and healthy.  But which are the best dog breeds for seniors?

Past studies show that dog owners can have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In addition, you don’t have to worry about being lonely with a furry friend by your side.

One of the best dog breeds for older people
Dog Breeds for Seniors – Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Choosing the Best Dog for a Senior

Before you choose a canine companion, there are some important factors you need to consider as a senior citizen.

For instance, do you have a large yard for an active dog breed or do you live in an apartment in which case a small indoor dog would be more suitable?

Other important factors to take into consideration include:

Energy level – If you live in an apartment, you might prefer to get a less energetic dog. However, if you have the space and the energy levels to match an active dog’s exercise needs, then you could consider an active dog breed.

Grooming – Some dog breeds need regular grooming while others are okay with occasional brushing. Consider the amount of time and energy you can devote to grooming a pup before making your choice.

Temperament – Dogs have different temperaments depending on their breed and upbringing. Try to interact with the dog first to know her behaviour. You can also ask the rescue worker or the former owner about the dog’s temperament before you take her in.

Age – Most seniors prefer mature or older dogs as they’re already socialised and trained.  Puppies can be trained but they tend to be active and also require lots of attention, not to mention patience.

Complete Dog Breed Book

5 Recommended Dog Breeds for Seniors

Let’s now look at five dog breeds that come highly recommended for pet lovers who are in their golden years.

1. Poodle

Poodles – Photo by Cole Wyland on Unsplash

Breed Overview

  • Height: Toy: 10 inches or lower, Miniature: 10-15 inches, Standard: 15 inches
  • Weight Toy: 5-9 pounds, Miniature: 15-18 pounds, Standard: 45-70 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-18 years

The poodle dog breed comes in three sizes. The toy is the smallest poodle dog, the miniature poodle is the second largest, while the standard poodle is the largest of the three poodles.

Poodles make great companion dogs as they’re smart and trainable. Besides, they’re loyal, obedient, and very adaptable.

Although poodles are active dogs, their exercise needs are manageable. Ensure you take this pooch for a brisk walk or spend at least an hour with him playing fetch or any other physically stimulating game.

Poodles are also low shedding and hypoallergenic, which makes them perfect pets for seniors who are allergic to dogs. However, the poodle’s stylish coat needs professional grooming once or twice a month.

2. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu Breed
Shi Tzu – Photo by Dieny Portinanni on Unsplash

Breed Overview

  • Height: 8-11 inches
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-16 years

This fluffy, elegant pup will shower you with love and affection. This dog whose name means ‘little lion’ in Mandarin is outgoing, friendly, and sweet.

Since the Shih Tzu is a small dog, she is easy to handle and maintain. A daily walk is often enough for this lapdog. Her coat is low shedding but you may need to brush it daily to keep it looking elegant.

Something to remember about this pup is that she is brachycephalic which means she snores and also tires easily with exercise.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Photo by Kyle Bushnell on Unsplash

Breed Overview

  • Height: 12-13 inches
  • Weight: 13- 18 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years

It’s easy to see why the Cavalier comes highly recommended as an adorable companion for seniors. This pup is affectionate, gentle, and loves to cuddle. Cavaliers are also smart, outgoing and very eager to please their owners.

Something to keep in mind is that this sporting pup loves to chase small animals, so you may need to keep her on a leash during her daily walks.

This dog is low maintenance despite being long-haired. Her soft coat needs regular brushing and an occasional trim and bath. You also need to regularly clean the Cavalier ears as they have extra fur that can be a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.

4. Pug

Pug breed
Pug – Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash.com

Breed Overview

  • Height: 10-13 inches
  • Weight: 14-18 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years

If you’re looking for a pup that can curl up on the couch with you all day long then, consider getting a Pug.

Pugs make wonderful apartment pets as they love to be kept indoors. This happy-go-lucky pup is also loyal and eager to please her human.

Pugs are content with brief indoor play. If you decide to take your pug for an outdoor walk, ensure the weather isn’t too hot or too cold. It’s also important to keep the walk short as this dog isn’t built for runs or vigorous exercise.

Also, watch your Pug’s weight as this dog is a time-eating machine. Go slow on snacks and feed her the recommended food portions.

5. Greyhound

Greyhound – Photo by Possumvii Iviiss on Unsplash

Breed Overview

  • Height: 25 – 30 inches
  • Weight: 60-80 pounds
  • Life expectancy: 10-13 years

We complete our list with the fastest dog – the Greyhound. This large racing dog may seem like an unlikely addition to this list, but believe us when we say this pup makes a wonderful companion for seniors.

Despite his large size, this pooch is a low-energy dog who loves to laze around. Although your Greyhound won’t say no to an occasional run, he isn’t built for endurance. So, once he is done with his sprint, he will gladly relax on the couch.

Moreover, the Greyhound is sweet, graceful, and compassionate which makes him a great family pet. The short smooth coat of this pup doesn’t require much brushing.

Greyhounds are also perfect for seniors looking for a large easy-to-handle dog. Always walk your Greyhound on a leash or play with him in a fenced yard as these dogs are known to take off due to their high prey drive.

Dog Breed Guide: A complete reference to your best friend fur-ever


In closing, if you’re a senior looking for a companion dog you need to get one that matches your needs. Consider the dog’s size, temperament, exercise and grooming needs.

Hopefully after reading the list above, you now have an idea of dog breeds that can make wonderful companions for you and other people who are in their retirement years.

You might also like to try this quiz: Which Dog Breed Should I Get?

Remember, most dogs require regular hands-on care, exercise, grooming and attention. If you are seeking a pet companion but are a little worried about the work that might be involved you can always opt for a low-maintenance pet, such as a cat. Unlike dogs, cats are less demanding and don’t mind being left alone. They also don’t mind spending the whole day indoors. Besides, there are several known benefits of cats for older people.

But if you’re not really a cat person, don’t be shy to ask your local pet shelter if they have a loving fur ball dog that can be the perfect companion for you.

~ Emila Smith

Pampering Dogs