Top 10 Best Dogs for Seniors (2022)

Depending on the stage of life you're in, there are certain breeds that will fit you, or someone you know, better. The best dogs for seniors will be more calm, less demanding, low maintenance and affectionate. They can also serve as semi-therapy dogs.

Benefits of Dog Ownership for Seniors

When children leave home, and grandchildren start growing up and getting busy with their own lives, senior adults can experience loneliness, isolation and boredom. A dog will make a great companion and friend to alleviate these negative symptoms.

Moreover, studies show that dogs improve health of elderly people as well. They keep senior citizens more fit, mentally stimulated and improve their quality of life. Owning a dog can also prevent cardiovascular disease in seniors.

Other benefits of dog ownership for seniors include a better organized day, making seniors more social and providing companionship.

How to Find the Best Dogs for Senior Citizens

Even though adopting a dog for a senior citizen could be beneficial, there are also some drawbacks. To make this relationship between an elderly and a dog the most fruitful and least complicated, it's crucial to pick the right breed and the right individual dog.

Ask the below questions before adopting a dog yourself or a senior you know.

Do they have any disabilities? For someone with limited mobility, a dog can become burdensome, especially more active breeds or those that need tons of attention. In such cases, a cat may be a better choice than a dog.

Do they have experience in dog ownership? It's better to be familiar with caring for a dog, but not essential. If the future owner is inexperienced, some breeds might be better than others (for example, dogs that require less training).

Are they good with changes? Seniors who are completely set in their own ways and refuse to change their daily lives are unlikely to be good candidates for pet ownership. A dog will require many adjustments, which is part of the benefit dogs provide to seniors, but the new owner must be comfortable with this.

(Video) Top 10 Dogs For Seniors

What's their temperament and personality? Some dogs will gel better with certain personalities. If an elderly person is a homebody, spending most of their time reading books, a puppy or a hyperactive dog like Jack Russell Terrier aren't going to be a good choice. Lazy breeds will make a better fit.

Will finances become a problem? Owning a dog will add an additional strain on a new owner's wallet. It's crucial to discuss this aspect and budget wisely before adopting a dog. Take a look at a dog's lifelong care costs and calculate whether this can be covered by the new elderly dog owner.

Do you have a “Plan B” in place? Just as it is important to plan for the elderly person's care and lifestyle, it's also crucial to consider the same for pets. When the senior citizen needs to be hospitalized for a long-term period, or if they pass away, do you have backup plan for what happens to the dog?

Many of the best dogs for seniors listed below will make for perfect companions. They are also very affordable, especially if you're adopting them from a shelter rather than buying from a breeder.

1. Havanese

The Havanese is a great dog for seniors. They are playful and social, and will make any lonely person's day much brighter. A small breed, they are easy to care for and maintain. Havanese love to get attention and are great for stay at home seniors.

They are peaceful and gentle dogs, providing great companionship for those who maybe can’t get out as much for walks. Considered to be a pretty healthy dog, this breed makes a great all around house pet and is certainly one of the best dogs for seniors.

2. Papillon

Papillons are small breeds, making them easy for elderly people to care for, bathe and transport. They are intelligent which makes them easy to train. Papillons have a silly personality that will entertain their human companions.

(Video) Top 12 Dog Breeds For Seniors & Elderly

This breed isvery energetic. They need to be in a home with adults that are still active, willing to play and take their dogs for walks. They can be possessive with their owner, so it is best to have this dog as the only one in the house.

3. Poodle

Poodles are still a very popular breed among senior adults, even though many might consider them high maintenance due to their famous haircuts. But these elaborate cuts aren't necessary at all. They are very regal looking. Their intelligence makes them easy to train. You will never be bored when you own a poodle.

Their playfulness and energy make them a very entertaining dog. They are one of the best dogs for seniors because Poodlesare clean dogsand have minimal shedding. Theycome in 3 varieties: standard, miniature, and toy. You are sure to find one that fits your situation.

4. Bassett Hound

Although Bassett Hounds are larger dogs than the above three mentioned, they are still perfect for seniors. This breed is very intelligent. Many will say they are the most pleasant dogs in terms of attitude. Laid back and calm, they just go with the flow.

Bassett Hounds can be very lazy dogs and great for the person who likes to stay in. These hounds were bred to be hunting dogs, so their keen senses make them perfect watch dogs. If you don’t mind taking a little more time to train, this dog may be the perfect one for you.

5. Maltese

Maltese were bred specifically to be a companion to people and a good house dog. They are gentle and loving. Their small size makes them one of the best dogs for seniors who may be lacking in strength. Maltese shed little, which makes for quick cleanup.

Their hair is long, but most people keep their coat short so it is manageable. If you don’t mind daily brushing, you can let your pet's glorious mane flow. Good health is one of the Maltese's strongest features. These lap dogs also love learning tricks and pleasing their owners.

(Video) Top 10 Calmest Dog Breeds That Don't Shed Or Smell Much

6. Shih Tzu

Another popular lap dog, the Shih Tzu is the perfect size for people who may be lacking in arm strength. Shih Tzus are intelligent and easy to train. Like the Maltese, they have long, luxurious coats that you will want to keep trimmed if you do not want the hassle of almost daily brushing.

They shed less and have less dander than other dogs, so the Shih Tzu is one of the best dogsfor seniors with allergies. They are generally healthy, so require fewer trips to the vet. They make excellent companions. The Shih Tzu is happy on their owner’s lap, or playing with some toys.

7. Shar-Pei

This is a great dog for an older adult who doesn’t want the typical lap dog. They are medium size. Shar-Peis are one of the easiest dogs to housetrain. They usually do not like strangers and make excellent watch dogs.

Shar-Peis are very independent and they also make for good watch dogs, which makes them a great choice for senior pet owners who may not be home all the time. If you still enjoy getting out and taking walks often, a Shar-Pei is the perfect companion for you. They have short hair, so grooming is kept at a minimum.

8. Labrador Retriever

If you have a good size yard for your dog to run around in, the Labrador Retriever maybe for you. They have short, easy to care for fur.Labradors are very intelligent breeds, meaning they train fast, which is perfect for senior citizens. They are gentle and loving, making for excellent companion dogs for seniors.

They are active and will keep their owner busy playing fetch. Labradors are one of the most popular breeds in America, so they are readily available and easy to find. Labs are great working dogs and perfect for seniors who have retired to the country.

9. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are virtually scent-less. Due to this reason, these dogs make excellent indoor pets. They are affectionate and docile. Pomeranians do need brushing a couple times a week. These dogs do well with seniors who live in apartments.

(Video) Top 10 Dog Breeds That Don't shed or smell | Small Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

Although they are active, they do fine with no yard as long as they get frequent walks. If you need a motivator to exercise, this little dog could be for you. Pomeranians are a toy breed meaning they are small and easy to pick up and handle. They are very lively and inquisitive and provide good entertainment to lonely seniors.

10. Beagle

Although Beagles are traditionally hunting dogs, they can make excellent companions for seniors. Beagles are a healthy breed with easy to care for coats. Their short fur means brushing can be kept to a minimum.

Beagles are fun and affectionate. They are friendly and loyal to their owners. Beagles are energetic and need a small yard and toys for playing. If no yard is available, they will need daily walks.

Dogs can make excellent companions. If you take your time and do a little bit of research, you can make sure and find one of the best dogs for seniors. Dogs can motivate you to get exercise, and provide lively company for nights spent alone.

You can also make sure to find a breed that will be a companion to you while still being a friendly dog to the grandkids. Talk to your local vet if you have any questions or concerns about the dog breeds you are interested in.

READ NEXT:25 Most Affordable Low-Cost Dog Breeds

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What is the most low maintenance dog? ›

Best Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds
  • Chihuahua.
  • Dachshund.
  • French Bulldog.
  • Havanese.
  • Maltese.
  • Pug.
  • Shih Tzu.
  • Whippet.
4 May 2021

Is 70 too old to get a dog? ›

With some careful choices and a little planning, you can and should have a dog at any time in your life. As it turns out, when you are not a kid any longer, that may be when you want a dog most.

Should an elderly person get a dog? ›

Having a pet helps elderly get out of the house, exercise, meet new people, reduce stress, etc. For elderly pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.

Why seniors should get a dog? ›

They Make You Healthier

Studies show that dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than their petless peers. Having a dog also reduces the risk of heart attack — and boosts your chances of long-term survival if you have one.

When am I too old for a dog? ›

Small dogs are considered senior citizens of the canine community when they reach 11-12 years of age. Their medium-sized friends become seniors at 10 years of age. Their larger-sized colleagues are seniors at 8 years of age. And, finally, their giant-breed counterparts are seniors at 7 years old.

What is the easiest small dog to own? ›

6 popular small dog breeds that are fairly low-maintenance
  1. Dachshund. This small dog breed is known first for bravery, and second for stubbornness. ...
  2. Boston Terrier. ...
  3. French Bulldog. ...
  4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. ...
  5. Maltese. ...
  6. Short-coat chihuahua.
22 Jun 2022

What's the most affectionate dog breed? ›

The 16 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds
  • 01 of 16. Bulldogs. John Fedele/Getty Images. ...
  • 02 of 16. Labrador Retrievers. sanjagrujic/Getty Images. ...
  • 03 of 16. Brussels Griffon. ...
  • 04 of 16. Staffordshire and Pit Bull Terriers. ...
  • 05 of 16. Newfoundland. ...
  • 06 of 16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. ...
  • 07 of 16. Chihuahuas. ...
  • 08 of 16. Bichon Frisé
21 Jun 2022

Should a 75 year old get a puppy? ›

Dogs can live up to 14 years (some even longer) and are considered seniors at age 7. Smaller dogs typically have longer lifespans than larger dogs. Puppies are not a great choice for most seniors because they need to be housebroken and can be destructive, requiring continuous monitoring.

What breed of dog is quiet and calm? ›

Which dog breed is the quietest? The quietest dog breeds include the Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bernese Mountain Dog, French Bulldog, Borzoi, Basenji, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Scottish Deerhound.

Is 80 too old to adopt a dog? ›

The RSPCA website says that while there is no age limit to adopting dogs, each individual's circumstances will be taken into consideration when looking at whether they can rehome a dog. The full statement reads: "There are many cases where animals can be perfectly suited to more senior adopters.

What dogs have the most separation anxiety? ›

Dog Breeds With Separation Anxiety
  • The Border Collie. Border Collies are extremely intelligent. ...
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. ...
  • Jack Russell Terrier. ...
  • German Shepherd. ...
  • Australian Shepherd. ...
  • Bichon Frise. ...
  • Vizsla. ...
  • German Shorthaired Pointer.
27 Jul 2022

What dog breed does not have separation anxiety? ›

Boston Terrier

One of the few terrier breeds that do not suffer from separation anxiety, the Boston Terrier (actually part of the “Non-Sporting” group in AKC) with its distinctive “tuxedo” markings are intelligent and independent dogs that are no longer used for their fighting origins.

Why do elderly people with pets live longer? ›

Studies suggest that pets can positively influence factors that contribute to longevity, including reducing stress, facilitating resiliency against cardiovascular disease, and connecting us to a network of social support.

Are cats or dogs better for seniors? ›

Although dogs can also make great pets for some seniors and provide the same benefits as cat ownership, careful consideration should be given to the care, training and exercise requirements of a dog. Many older owners simply can't keep up with a dog's needs, which makes adopting a cat a much better choice.

Is a Chihuahua a good dog for seniors? ›

Chihuahuas are in the top 25 of the most popular dog breeds, and they are a great dog choice for seniors because they don't need a lot of space. They are of course the world's smallest dog breed, and this makes them really easy to handle – you don't need to be strong to control them on a lead.

Should a 90 year old get a dog? ›

Think Ahead. The benefits of pet ownership for an older person, whose world may be getting a little smaller every day, are fabulous. Companionship, affection, stimulation, joy! Not to mention true health benefits such as lowering stress, blood pressure and increasing mental acuity.

Do dogs help people with dementia? ›

Their very presence can help reduce the effects of dementia—anxiety, agitation, irritability, depression, and loneliness. By their friendliness and non-threatening way, pets can help a dementia patient be more interactive, when sometimes they are not able to do so in social settings with other adults.

Are Labs good dogs for seniors? ›

Labradors are good for seniors because they can be easily trained to fit a senior's lifestyle. They're even-tempered and have a friendly and eager-to-please temperament. Besides, the Lab's outgoing nature can enhance a senior's social life and provide moments of playful relaxation.

How far should you walk a 10 year old dog? ›

Experts recommend at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day for adult dogs (and many dogs do better with even more). And while your senior may not be up for the half-day hikes they used to do, if they're mobile, keep to a regular schedule of physical activity, including at least a half hour of daily walks.

When should you euthanize an old dog? ›

He has lost interest in all or most of his favorite activities, such as going for walks, playing with toys or other pets, eating treats or soliciting attention and petting from family members. He cannot stand on his own or falls down when trying to walk. He has chronic labored breathing or coughing.

What is 14 years in dog years? ›

Medium size dogs: Up to 50 lbs.
Dog AgeHuman Age
14 more rows

What is the best behaved small dog? ›

Try watching this video on, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.
  • #1 Maltese. The Maltese is a gentle and amiable little fellow. ...
  • #2 Pomeranian. ...
  • #4 Pug. ...
  • #5 Shih Tzu. ...
  • #6 Boston Terrier. ...
  • #7 Bichon Frise. ...
  • #8 Pekingese. ...
  • #9 Skye Terrier.

What's a good dog for an older woman? ›

Golden retrievers are a large breed with an even larger heart. For seniors looking for gentle dog breeds, golden retrievers are loyal, friendly, intelligent, people-pleasers. They are easy to train, famous for their patience and great with the grandkids.

What's the smartest dog? ›

Border collie

According to The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks 131 dog breeds in terms of their relative intelligence, the border collie is the smartest dog breed known to man.

Who is no 1 dog in world? ›

Every year the American Kennel Club releases our ranking of the most popular dog breeds based on AKC registration statistics for the previous year. The Labrador Retriever holds the top spot, and this friendly favorite has been No. 1 since 1991.

What dog lives the longest? ›

Australian Cattle Dog

An Australian Cattle Dog called Bluey holds the record for the longest-lived dog - reaching an incredible 29 years of age. The breed normally lives for around 15 years.

What is the most difficult dog to own? ›

So let's talk about the top 10 hardest dogs to train:
  • Rottweilers.
  • American Pit Bull Terriers.
  • Siberian Huskies.
  • Bullmastiffs.
  • Chinese Shar-Pei.
  • Afghan Hounds.
  • Basset Hounds.
  • Beagles.
2 Mar 2022

What dog doesn't smell or shed? ›

Whippets are truly the least smelly of dogs, and are practically odorless. Their short coat means minimal shedding and grooming. Similar to Greyhounds, Whippets are a popular racing breed, and were once used for hunting rabbits.

What is the laziest hypoallergenic dog? ›

Italian Greyhound

Italian greyhounds are compact as well, with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic, perfect for those with pet allergies. Known for being intelligent, sweet, and very affectionate, Italian Greyhounds are great companion dogs and will gladly spend hours curled up on a warm lap.

What is the easiest dog to own? ›

Top 10 Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
  • Golden Retriever. ...
  • Labrador Retriever. ...
  • German Shepherd Dogs. ...
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi. ...
  • Papillon. ...
  • Shetland Sheepdog. ...
  • Swedish Vallhund. This breed is similar to a Corgi. ...
  • Border Terrier. This breed has some naturally-stubborn qualities, but they are affectionate dogs.
15 Jan 2019

What breed of dog is quiet and calm? ›

Which dog breed is the quietest? The quietest dog breeds include the Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bernese Mountain Dog, French Bulldog, Borzoi, Basenji, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Scottish Deerhound.

What is the hardest dog to own? ›

Some of the toughest dog breeds are also the hardest to train, including Rottweilers, Siberian huskies, and American pit bull terriers. What's the most aggressive dog breed? Some of the most aggressive breeds include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and American pit bull terriers.

What is the friendliest non shedding dog? ›

13 Friendly Dog Breeds That Don't Shed
  • Xoloitzcuintli. ...
  • Poodle. ...
  • German Pointers. ...
  • Lagotto Romagnolo. ...
  • Bichon Frise. Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images. ...
  • Redbone Coonhound. Giphy. ...
  • Shar-Pei. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images News/Getty Images. ...
  • Papillon. Desiree Navarro/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images.
27 Oct 2018

What is a low energy dog? ›

Low-energy dogs also tend to be more relaxed, laid back, and quieter. If you're looking for a low-energy dog breed, these are a few breeds worth considering: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This dog has a friendly, welcoming personality that often makes them a great therapy dog.

What breed of dog rarely barks? ›


The Basenji or Africa's “Barkless Dog” is a unique breed and contender for the title of oldest AKC breed. While it's true the Basenji doesn't bark, when they express themselves they make a unique sound that is something between a chortle and a yodel.

Which dog is best for home? ›

Family dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Irish Setters are playful and protective.
Find Labrador Retriever puppies on the AKC Marketplace and start shopping for everything you'll need.
  • Bulldog. ...
  • Golden Retriever. ...
  • Beagle. ...
  • Pug. ...
  • Irish Setter. ...
  • Brussels Griffon. ...
  • Newfoundland. ...
  • French Bulldog.

What's the hardest dog to train? ›

So let's talk about the top 10 hardest dogs to train:
  • Rottweilers.
  • American Pit Bull Terriers.
  • Siberian Huskies.
  • Bullmastiffs.
  • Chinese Shar-Pei.
  • Afghan Hounds.
  • Basset Hounds.
  • Beagles.
2 Mar 2022


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