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15 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors – Trainable, Low-Maintenance & Helpful

Written by Larese
Larese is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Friday 12 February 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
best dog breeds for seniors
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Age is just a number, and it should not stop you from owning the best dog breeds for seniors. However, due to some health and lifestyle factors, it is crucial to adopt a breed that is easy to train, intelligent, loving, and low maintenance.

The key to finding the best breeds of dog for seniors and retirees is to suit it according to your lifestyle, and the ability to take care of it. Living with a fido offers health and emotional benefits because the companionship of dogs is incomparable. Moreover, our furry pals have a natural way of preventing depression, anxiety, and making its owner feel loved.

15 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

From great home companions to guard dogs, we will give you the 15 dogs for seniors to adopt. For every elderly lifestyle, there is a perfect breed that would match your activity levels. No more wondering what are the best dog breeds for seniors, because there are some canines to spend your golden years with.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate and adaptable dog breed, which is perfect for the elderly who live in apartments and small houses. It usually weighs approximately 11 to 18 pounds, which is easy to handle. Due to Cavalier’s intelligence, seniors can train this breed. However, it still requires regular hair brushing, ear cleaning, and an occasional trip to a groomer in maintaining its long, soft, and beautiful coat.

These canines are not too loud and can be one of the best lap dogs for seniors. It may require some exercise, but Spaniels refer to snuggle up with their owner most of the time. Overall, it deserves a spot on the best dog breeds for seniors because of its natural playful, and loving behavior. It’s worth noting that this fido loves to chase things and even strangers, so you’ll want to have a long leash when heading out, or a fenced yard when playing outside.

2. Bichon Frise

It is a fluffy, joyful, and affectionate breed that makes an excellent dog companion, making it one of the ideal dogs for seniors to adopt. The Bichon Frise can grow up to 7 to 12 pounds, which makes it suitable for the elderly who live in small houses, and apartments. Although Bichons are easy to handle, it still requires periodic grooming at least once or twice every month. If you can do daily walks and other moderate daily exercises, this breed is ideal for you.

The Bichon Frise is an extremely intelligent, loving, playful, and obedient breed. These canines love to play with their owners or be a lapdog. Its pleasant and cheerful nature is perfect for keeping you accompanied and removing all your worries away. Even with a thick coat, you don’t have to worry too much about shedding. However, a Bichon Frise still requires brushing and grooming to avoid hair tangling.

3. French Bulldog

With a French Bulldog living with you, it is almost impossible to be sad and be anxious about everything. A simple catch-and-fetch will make both of your days happy and relaxed. Behind those compact and muscular bodies, this breed is cheerful, active, and friendly. However, it can be a little bit aggressive against strangers, especially without proper training. When appropriately bred, French Bulldogs can weigh about 19 to 28 pounds, but it is still very manageable.

Just be careful when it comes to exercise; make sure that they can handle it without pushing too much because this pup tends to lack endurance due to its short nose. Keep it to moderate daily exercise to avoid fatigue and difficulty in breathing. The best part about adopting a French Bulldog is that its grooming needs are relatively ​minimal. However, beware of common health concerns for this breed like brachycephalic syndrome and various skin issues.

4. Maltese

Here’s another tiny breed that can weigh about seven pounds, and an excellent lap dog. Maltese are bright, gentle, and playful dogs that can get along with other breeds and pets as well. You will love the attentiveness that it can offer, which makes this pup an excellent therapy canine. It doesn’t require a lot of outdoor exercise, but a Maltese would like going for short walks and running around your home.

As a gentle and fearless fido, you can easily befriend a Maltese because of its glamorous white coat. Overall, you can have a high-spirit and vigorous canine that excels as a good companion, and a therapy dog. Moreover, even with small size, these breeds love dog sports that involve agility, obedience, rally, and tracking. Best of all, Maltese love being with people, even with kids. If it is your first time adopting a pet, even novice dog owners can dwell with it.

5. Pekingese

The majestic and slow-moving Pekingese is a real charmer for all dog owners, especially for seniors. It was first bred in China to live in royal households and serenely carry themselves. Due to its cute tiny size that can grow about 6 to 9 inches, it is the ultimate lapdog. Most elderly won’t have any problems carrying this dog as it can approximately weigh up to 14 pounds. If you live in an apartment or small house, this compact toy breed is a companion that you’d love to live with.

It is a sophisticated canine with undying loyalty and subtle delights. However, you should be ready for regular groomer visits and daily brushing because of its long and thick hair. Fortunately, since it is small, you can do it conveniently while the dog is sleeping on your lap or cuddling with you. Seniors need a dog that is independent, willful, and loyal like a Pekingese.

6. Greyhound

If you prefer owning large dog breeds, but you’re in doubt of being able to take care of it properly, try considering a Greyhound. Some say that it is one of the best guard dogs for the elderly, but it is more of a racing dog; so how can it be suitable for older adults? First of all, these canines are not high-energy dogs. It doesn’t require extensive exercise, but it will enjoy daily walks and occasional runs. Greyhounds, although prominent in size, prefer to be couch potatoes and loaf around with their owners.

Another reason why this fido is ideal for seniors is because of its impressive responsiveness in training. Therefore, they become easy to teach. With their long and slender legs, Greyhounds are one of the fattest dogs around. However, note that they can also have a strong drive to chase prey, especially without proper training. So, as much as possible, avoid putting off the leash in public and an unconfined area.

greyhounds for seniors
Greyhounds are great pets for seniors.

7. Pomeranian

If you are leaning towards tiny dogs, Pomeranians are another dog for seniors to adopt. At an average weight of 3 to 7 pounds, this breed is another easy-to-handle pooch that you can even put in your shopping bag, assuming of course that it is well-ventilated and open. Seniors will feel ease with all their stresses having this affectionate and happy companion around them. This fido loves to nap on your lap, play with toys, and run a little bit around your home.

Even small in size, Pomeranians are excellent companions due to its intelligence, affectionate, and lively attitude. Moreover, it is very curious and loves attention, which makes it a good option for older adults. Like other long-haired small breeds, you should be ready to brush its hair a couple of times a week and regular visits to a professional groomer to keep their fluffy coats healthy and shiny. However, you should also be ready to train this dog to when to be quiet as it may tend to be loud.

8. Chihuahua

There are a lot of reasons why small dog breeds are suitable for seniors; for one, they have personalities and requirements that match most elderly lifestyles. Chihuahuas are another small fidos that are quirky and entertaining in all aspects, from their innocent looks, tiny body, to their playful personality. Moreover, these breeds are one of the most loyal companions who love to sit on their human parent’s laps.

Due to Chihuahua’s small size, it makes the right apartment animal. However, you have to invest time in training your dog, especially when dealing with strangers and children. You may find it challenging to do housetraining, but it is essential to avoid being too aggressive. It may not require a specific amount of exercise, but Chihuahuas also enjoy short walks and basking in the sun.

However, beware that they have little tolerance for cold weather. During winter, you can put on the best Chihuahua clothes to add warmth on its body. Overall, this lively, loyal, and proud pooch is an excellent lapdog which makes it a wonderful companion.

9. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

You’ve probably seen this breed in several online videos with their cute and squishy butt dancing to several lively tunes. It is just a part of its playful traits. Some of the best features of a Corgi are being smart, loyal, loving, and being easy to train. If you are looking for small to medium dogs to adopt, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi makes an excellent companion. With an approximate weight of about 24 to 30 pounds, this breed is still an ideal size for seniors who want small dogs.

You will find its short little legs adorable, but know that it requires a routine exercise being a natural herding dog. It can be daily short walks or just let it run around your home. Another convenient factor to consider is that the fido only requires minimal grooming needs. Overall, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are lively, intelligent, and high-energy dogs that love gaining human attention. They try so hard to please their owners. Moreover, this breed also has a protective nature and makes good watchdogs.

10. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are another popular toy breed worldwide. With an approximate weight of around 9 to 16 pounds, this breed is easy to handle. You may find some breeds that are stubborn and high-tempered; it is still possible to train these fidos without too much trouble. Like other dogs, Shih Tzus also need regular exercise even through short walks, quick runs, and by simply roaming around the house. Periodic grooming and brushing its hair every day is essential.

Shih Tzus are loving, loyal, and playful with their owners. Be sure to take some time to cuddle, pet, and give your attention when adopting this pup. It always wants to be by your side, which makes it one of the best dog breeds for seniors. However, know that this breed is somehow prone to skin issues and brachycephalic syndrome. Fortunately, it is to a lesser degree than of French Bulldogs.

11. Poodle

One of the smartest dogs and most popular breeds of all time is the Poodle. Due to Poodle mixes, this canine comes in different sizes and characteristics. You can choose whether you want the miniature Poodle or the larger standard poodle, this dog will never fail you. It is an extremely loyal and affectionate companion that can learn fast when it comes to training.

Due to its size, Poodles also adapt well in various households. Regular short walks are enough for exercise, and it is essential to bring them to a professional groomer once or twice every month.

Aside from being intelligent, Poodles are loyal and energetic. However, this breed can be a little bit nervous towards other pets and strangers. So, it requires a fair amount of socialization and interaction. If you have pet-related allergies, it is even the perfect companion for you since it has hypoallergenic fur. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about other medical costs as these canines are often healthy.

12. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier may not be standard among other households, but you can never deny its cuteness overload. It can be an excellent companion and a loyal friend who will never leave you. With about 13 to 20 pounds, seniors can carry it easily and put it on your lap. Moreover, this dog requires some grooming, but not as much as other long-haired fidos.

Westies can weigh up to 15 pounds and have great deals of personality in a small package. Another reason why it is one of the best dog breeds for seniors is its hyper-intelligence. Overall, the West Highland White Terrier is a friendly and reasonably low-maintenance dog that you can live with at home. It is one of the very social and loyal pets. However, you should beware of how much cold can small dogs tolerate to protect them from the chilly seasons.

13. Havanese

It may look like a Shih Tzu or a Maltese, but Havanese has a distinct set of personalities. If you love to have a dog that likes to spend a lot of time around its owners, this breed is especially for you. Havanese are excellent when it comes to blending in with the characteristics of people. However, you must leave something that it will play with when you are not around. It is because this pup is not great when left alone.

The good thing is that you can train it efficiently, and it doesn’t require tons of exercise. Like other toy breeds, daily short walks are sufficient to burn some energy and avoid being too aggressive. Since Havanese has long coats, regular trimming, and daily brushing is essential to prevent tangling.

This breed is the best dog for seniors to adopt because of being bright, trainable, loyal, and easy to handle. Moreover, it is incredibly social that can get along with adults and even children. You’d be lucky to have his fido around especially if you live in an apartment because it doesn’t bark too much, but can still be an effective watchdog.

14. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apsos are famous for their long, shiny, and beautiful coats just like those that you can see in TV commercials. If you can’t maintain these hair lengths, you can choose to trim it, but it still requires daily brushing. Compared to other small breeds, Lhasas are more energetic. You should be ready for some brisk walking or let them run around your home to burn off excess energy. Breeding Lhasa Apsos properly is crucial to prolong its life and prevent any severe conditions.

Lhasa Apsos are very intelligent canines, and some even used it as therapy dogs. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, these canines can be a certified therapy dog that can work in hospitals and nursing homes. With proper training, they can ease all your worries and make you feel loved. Moreover, due to its independence and smartness, this breed is ideal for seniors.

15. Pug

If you don’t like daily brushing and regular trips to a professional groomer, Pug is the best small short-haired dog for seniors. By merely looking at its adorable squishy face, you will put that smile on your face. This breed is easy to groom, but it shed quite heavily, which is not ideal for elderly who have pet-related allergies. It possesses an excellent temperament, but you should avoid extreme temperatures as they get a little more sensitive with that.

Pugs are one of the best dog breeds for seniors who would be there when they want to cuddle or take a short walk outside. Moreover, this fido will never fail to be sweet towards its owners, although its face doesn’t say so. Being a childlike, loyal, and affectionate pet, a Pug will always devote themselves to their owners. It loves to take naps and tends to snore at times.

pugs for seniors
Pugs are one of the best dog breeds for seniors

Usually, large and active canines are some of the worst dog breeds for seniors because it requires a lot of exercise. Nonetheless, furry companions are a gift to people in every stage of our life. These fidos provide companionship that no other pet and even human can match. However, in choosing the best dog breeds for seniors, you should always consider your lifestyle and whether or not you can take care of its needs.

Dogs are excellent friends because owning one helps in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Moreover, it improves mental health by raising levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain when playing with a pet. In the end, most seniors would do better adopting a smaller, trained, and highly-intelligent dog breed.

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