7 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

Dogs make wonderful companions for seniors because they’re friendly, energetic, and protective. Whether senior citizens live in their own home or in a retirement community, having a dog companion will only help them enjoy their retirement more. Some dog breeds are better than others for seniors because of their size, temperament, and other factors. Here are seven of the best dog breeds for seniors and the reasons why they make such great companions.


Maltese dogs make excellent companions for seniors for a few reasons. First of all, they are very easy to keep neat and groomed. Although they are long-haired, they don’t shed very much if their hair is kept cut short. They are very small, which makes them easier for seniors to take care of in many respects, and they do well in smaller living spaces. They also have been bred specifically to be companion dogs, which means they don’t need too much exercise and they’re very affectionate. It is important to note that they can be somewhat fragile, so you’ll need to keep an eye on their health, but they’re not particularly demanding.

Cavalier Spaniel

These sweet spaniels have wonderful temperaments that make them great senior companions. They love snuggling and make great lap dogs, and they maintain a puppy-like innocence throughout their lives. They require some grooming, but they don’t require much activity because of their small size. They’re also very adaptable to new situations, which is great for seniors.


Unlike the rest of the dogs on this list, the greyhound is very large. However, they still work well as dogs for seniors because they are incredibly lazy. Many seniors will do well to adopt an older greyhound who was a former racing dog, because they need very little exercise and are great couch companions. They’re also polite and get along well with humans and other dogs. They’re a great choice for seniors who want a larger dog.


Poodles are a very popular dog among seniors, and it’s easy to see why they make such great companions for older adults. Poodles are very funny, smart, and easy to train, and they’ll keep you entertained without wearing you out. They do require regular grooming, but they don’t shed much when their hair is cut short, which makes it easy to keep them clean. Poodles are often crossbred with other types of dogs, and so they come in a variety of different sizes and temperaments.

French Bulldog

These medium-sized dogs are great for seniors for a number of reasons. They have an incredibly friendly and relaxed temperament, so they’re very pleasant to have around and easy to take care of. They love to be active, but they only need a moderate amount of exercise. This is perfect for seniors, because it will encourage you to get outside without wearing you out. They also don’t require any grooming and are typically quite strong and healthy, although are prone to brachycephalic syndrome.

Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dogs are a very unique breed, and although they can be difficult to find, they make great companions for seniors. They have exposed skin, so they need very minimal grooming, although you will have to take precautions to keep their skin healthy. They’re also quite small, which makes them easy to handle and walk. They are lively and do need exercise, but are also content to curl up on the couch with you.

Shih Tzu

This is another adorable breed of small dog that is great for seniors. They are very small, which is ideal if you’re living in an apartment or other small space. They can be somewhat stubborn, but they’re also very sweet and entertaining, and with a little bit of patience they can be easily trained. They do need to be groomed regularly, however, so it’s important to keep that in mind when searching for one.

If you choose to own a dog, there are a few general things to keep in mind for seniors before beginning your search. The first is that, for older adults, it is better to look for an adult dog instead of a puppy, as it can be difficult to train a puppy and deal with that excess energy as a senior. It’s also important to get the dog’s health checked before deciding on one, as it can be difficult for senior citizens to care for a dog with serious health issues. Finally, seniors should keep in mind that if they are considering pet-friendly senior living options in the near future, they need to make sure they find a smaller dog that they can take with them to any retirement community, so that they can live happily with their new furry companion.

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