Guide To The Best Dogs For Seniors: Considerations In Picking A Pup


Last Updated: November 30, 2023 | 5 min read | Leave a Comment

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Old woman holding a small brown puppy (Caption: Best Dog Breeds For Seniors)

The later years of life can be lonely for some people. Finding a furry companion may be just the thing to help you enjoy life at this stage a little more. However, it’s crucial to consider which type of dog is best suited for a senior lifestyle and your specific situation.

Article Overview

What Makes A Dog Good For Seniors?

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Here are a few characteristics you may find in the best dog breeds for seniors and retirees:


Many older adults have an established lifestyle. It’s helpful for a pup to adapt to the lifestyle the owner has in place.

Low To Moderate Energy Level

Getting a dog with a low to moderate energy level will fit better in a senior’s life so they can easily keep up with the new pup’s needs.


A dog that makes a good companion can help ease loneliness and increase the bonding between the owner and pup.

What To Consider Before Picking A Dog

Old man walking with a cane in the park with a rescue mutt dog

Just because a dog breed suits a senior lifestyle doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for you. You’ll still need to consider which breeds you like and how they’ll fit your life and needs. Here are a few major factors to consider.

Activity Level

Your activity level should help you determine how active you want your pup to be. Do you want a dog that can go on long walks through the woods with you or a dog that wants to hang out on your lap and cuddle?


Some dog breeds can be more likely than others to have healthcare concerns. If issues arise, they can be costly and time-consuming. It’s essential to consider the cost of care and how you will cover it. Be sure to consider pet insurance and a wellness plan to increase the affordability of caring for your pup.

Living Situation

Where you live is an essential factor to consider before bringing a pup home. How much space will your new dog need, and can you provide that? Looking at your current living situation and thinking about upcoming changes will help you ensure that you can care for the dog you want.

Best Dog Breeds For Seniors

Want to know which are the best dogs for older people? We review our top choices to help you decide what might work best for you.

Bichon Frise

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These playful pups are gentle and friendly. They make great companions and are relatively low maintenance, making them one of the best dog breeds for seniors. Bichons are a small breed that love a lot of attention and get along well with other pets and children. Their activity level is moderate, and a few short walks are plenty to keep them happy.,

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Being eager to please and easy to train makes this pup a gem for seniors. Other attributes include a moderate activity level and being a great lap dog. This breed has a long coat that requires frequent brushing, but you can’t help but fall in love with its sweet temperament, big eyes, and long ears.

French Bulldog

This low-energy breed has a lovable personality and easy temperament, making it one of the best dogs for the elderly. The bonus is that French Bulldogs are adorable and will want to spend a lot of time cuddling up to you and getting cozy.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are the biggest dog on our list of the best dogs for seniors. This medium-sized breed has a gentle, loyal heart that makes them an excellent companion, and their moderate energy level makes them more manageable for older people.


Havanese pups are super friendly, love affection, and will want to spend every second they can with you. This breed is fine in a smaller space like an apartment, but they do like to get out for a walk since they are very social and want to greet everyone along the way.


The loyal Maltese was bred to be a companion. The small size of this type of pup makes them ideal if you live in a smaller space. If you’re an older person, you’ll also enjoy the calm temperament of the Maltese and their adaptability.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzer

Small, sturdy, and affectionate are just a few of the things that make Miniature Schnauzers good dogs for old people. This breed is also very adaptable. They can easily fit into various lifestyles, which can be very helpful if you’re set in your ways.


Pugs are lovely companions, and older adults easily fall for this sweet face pup. This breed loves to snuggle, has an eager playfulness, and doesn’t require a ton of exercise.

Shih Tzu

Look no further than the Shih Tzu if you want a loyal companion. But that isn’t the only reason this breed is a good dog for seniors. Shih Tzu’s tend to be less yappy than other small breeds, have low to moderate energy, and are very easy-going.

Frequently Asked Questions

Old man holding a pug

If you have more specific questions about which dogs are best for elder adults, here are some of the most common questions (and answers) we see from our readers about the best dogs for seniors.

What Is The Best Small Dog Breed For Seniors?

We think the best small dogs for seniors are Shih Tzus.  From personality to temperament, they’re an excellent fit for older people.

What Is The Best Lap Dog For Seniors?

French Bulldogs have the low energy level and temperament to make them the best lap dog for seniors.

How Are Senior Dogs For Seniors?

Adopting a senior dog can be an excellent choice for an older adult. They have an established personality, so you know what you’re getting, and they tend to have less energy.

What Is The Best Guard Dog For The Elderly?

Beagles have a protective nature and an alerting bark that can work for a guard dog. Their size and energy level make them a more manageable choice for older people.

What Are The Best Medium-Sized Dogs For Seniors?

Golden Retrievers are excellent companions, and they’re wonderfully loyal. If you want a medium-sized dog and are elderly, this is our pick.

What Is The Best Companion Dogs For Seniors?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born to be a companion. You can’t go wrong choosing this breed if that is what you want.

What Is The Best Dog For Elderly Widows?

If you are a widow and dealing with loneliness, a Bichon Frise will be by your side and enjoy your affection.

What Are The Best Puppies For Seniors?

We don’t recommend a specific breed of puppy for seniors. Instead, we think it’s essential to consider how much time and care a puppy requires before choosing that over a slightly older dog.

What Is The Best Small Short-Haired Dog For Seniors?

The Shih Tzu breed is an almost perfect fit for older people and an excellent short-haired dog too.

What Is The Best Dog For An Elderly Woman?

The honest answer here is that it depends on the woman. Everyone is different, so each person should consider the critical factors and decide which breed will meet their needs.

What Are The Best Small Hypoallergenic Dogs For Seniors?

The Toy Poodle is an excellent choice for the best small hypoallergenic dog for seniors. Keep in mind, though, no dog is truly hypoallergenic. Some are just less likely to cause an allergic response than others.

Puppies Provide Pandemic Relief For Seniors

This two-minute video from CBS Evening News tells the story of how pups help relieve the loneliness of seniors in a nursing home in Wisconsin.

Adopt Don’t Shop For Your New Pup

Getting a dog can be a wonderful experience that brings joy and love into your home. However, you can give that same joy and love to a dog that could really use it. Adopting from a rescue organization or shelter can provide both you and your new pup with a renewed sense of meaning. You can save a life and money when you choose to adopt and not shop for your new furry friend.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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