Loneliness, social isolation, and boredom are among the most significant social issues senior people share. But having one of the best dogs for seniors around might be an excellent way to beat negative feelings. 

The latest National Poll on Healthy Aging shows that pets helped 88% of their senior owners enjoy life. Out of those, 68% are dog owners.

If you’re a senior looking for a pet to brighten up your days, we’ve selected the top breed choices in different categories for you.

Best Dogs for Seniors

Before you see the adorable list of dogs below, answer a few questions about your lifestyle:

Are you leading a more active or passive life? What’s your daily routine like — full of long walks or indoor activities? Are you looking for a small or bigger dog?

Regardless of the breed you choose, rest assured that your new furry friend will bring you emotional and health benefits. Here are some of the remarkable positives you can count on:

  • Boost physical and mental health
  • Lower the blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Prevent loneliness, stress, and anxiety
  • Help with depression
  • Promote socializing 
  • Keep you active

Now, here’s a list of the best dogs for older people to choose from.

Best Small Dogs for Seniors 

If you’re looking for a dog that’s not very active, a small dog is the way to go. But not all of them count among the best dogs for retirees. Here are the most highly recommended small breeds for elderly people.

shih tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu was bred to be the owner’s companion and is one of the best house dogs for seniors. These outgoing and happy little dogs get along great with kids and other pets. Depending on their owner’s mood, the Shih Tzu can enjoy a short daily walk outside, but it’ll be just as good with indoor activities.

These are low maintenance dogs, which is another plus for senior people. They don’t shed a lot, but it’s good to give them a daily brushing for a glowy and beautiful coat. We also recommend regular dental care, as they tend to develop severe teeth problems. 

Pomeranian

Aside from their sweet, lovable face, Pomeranians are also easy to handle. They’re popular as low maintenance dogs for seniors. You can train them with no trouble, and they usually make fine watch dogs. What’s more, Poms are active little creatures but can be pretty content with indoor activities. Although they seek the owner’s attention, they’re not as clingy as other small toy dogs. When it comes to grooming, they shed a lot, so it’s advisable to brush their coat several times a week. 

Pugs

Pugs are bred to be the best lap dogs for seniors. These adorable flat-faced puppies are excellent companions for anyone who wants a little bundle of joy. These so-called little “shadows” follow their owner anywhere around the house or outside. Also, they aren’t aggressive and rarely bark, bite and chew. Although they also count as low maintenance dogs, the pug dog breed has breathing difficulties, so you should be careful not to over exercise or overheat them.

Best Medium to Large Sized Dogs for Seniors

Here are a few medium to large-sized dogs that can make your time as a retiree enjoyable and happy. Just like the small dogs, some of these adapt quickly and make good apartment pets. 

poodle dog breed

Standard Poodles

Poodles are among the best medium-sized dogs for seniors, as they’re easy to train and brilliant pets. On top of that, they’re hypoallergenic, making them the best dogs for seniors with allergies. Although their hair looks long, they don’t shed. 

If you’re worried about dog training, a Poodle could make it a breeze as this pup can learn simply by observing. Since they almost don’t need training, you could even install an automatic dog door and let your Poodle find its way outside without your help. If you’re looking for an active pet that still likes to cuddle at night, the Poodle can be an excellent choice.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have countless positive characteristics that put them among the most popular dogs. Their loyal and affectionate nature makes them the best companion dogs for seniors and animal assisted-therapy. These furry pets can be family pals, field pets, blind people’s assistants, or an addition to law enforcement teams. In any case, Golden Retrievers are devoted and intelligent friends.   

Greyhounds

Although they’re known for their speed, Greyhounds rank as one of the best large dog breeds for seniors. What makes them an excellent choice is their friendly attitude and low maintenance coat. An older person and an older Greyhound are the perfect match. Just like people, Greyhounds become calm, gentle, and affectionate pals as they grow old. Although big, these dogs aren’t aggressive, and they get along with other medium and large dogs. 

Best Guard Dogs for Seniors

Do you want to get a dog for security? Everyone deserves to feel protected at all times, and you know dogs are great guard buddies. But not all breeds are suitable for watch dogs. If you’re looking for a furry guard, these three breeds are the best:

boston terrier dog playing with a ball in the grass

Boston Terrier

These super friendly, lovable, and low maintenance dogs are often recommended as guard dogs for seniors. They love spending time with their owner and following them everywhere. This breed rarely barks but has super hearing. Plus, it’s pretty protective, which makes the Boston Terrier a great watchdog. They might be a bit clingy, so they’re among the best dogs for seniors with dementia.

When it comes to grooming, Boston Terriers are low maintenance. As they don’t shed a lot, a weekly brush is fine. But they do need the occasional bath. Still, this breed is remarkably suited for elders that don’t want or cannot spend much time grooming their pets.

Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is an excellent breed for seniors who want a small but dedicated guard dog. These pups are possessive not only with their owner but with the property, too. Their hunting nature and fearless character will always alert the owners of possible dangers. 

As for grooming, the Miniature Pinscher’s short shiny coat doesn’t require much brushing. Weekly grooming is enough for these fearless puppies. 

Best Dogs for Seniors With Allergies

If you have an allergy but long for a dog, we have some good news for you.

Even though no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, several breeds can be excellent companions to people with allergies. But to stay on the safe side, along with a hypoallergenic dog, you can also get an air purifier for pets that will help to reduce your symptoms. 

Now, here are a few breed suggestions for the best hypoallergenic dogs for seniors. 

Bichon Frise dog running

Bichon Frise

Although they’re fluffy and hairy, Bichon Frises are a good fit for seniors with allergies. They don’t shed, making them easy to maintain. Their playful and lovable side has the power to brighten anyone’s day. Plus, you’ll have no trouble training them. 

You should groom these dogs periodically. Thanks to their specific fluffy hair, pet owners usually take them for a haircut every two to three months. Small daily activities are also an excellent idea to keep your pup healthy.

Labradoodle

These warm, loveable, fluffy pets are the perfect companions for allergic seniors. Labradoodles are very intelligent, easy to train and love being the center of attention. Although they have long curly hair, they don’t shed a lot. Their people-pleasing character makes them ideal for your golden years.

Due to their loyal and warm personality, Labradoodles are also one of the best therapy dogs for seniors. So they’re lovely furry pals for people with autism, physical disability, or depression. 

Schnauzer

Regardless of their size (miniature, standard, or giant), Schnauzers remain hypoallergenic. They don’t shed and have amazing personalities. These dogs are loyal, intelligent, playful, and highly trainable. Schnauzers are friendly and devoted to their owners. Plus, their strong natural instincts can make them good watchdogs, too. When it comes to grooming, it’s best to still brush the Schnauzer coat daily and bathe them once a month.

Additional Dog Breeds to Consider

If you still can’t decide which puppy is right for you, here are a few additional breeds that are also among the best dogs for the elderly.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These beautiful, regal and charming little dogs are a good fit for seniors looking for a tiny furry pal. Their playful and adaptable temperament makes them a perfect match with the elderly. Aside from their aristocratic look, their natural instincts also turn them into good watch dogs. These beauties require regular brushing and occasional bathing. While they’re not hypoallergenic pets, they’re often mentioned as the best companion dogs for seniors.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

If you want a truly royal dog, get the Queen’s favorite. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a medium-sized breed that loves being around people. Also, they’re pretty intelligent and affectionate pets. Corgis respond well to training and are loyal and fearless pals. Although they’re easy to look after, these pups shed a lot and need daily brushing. During the shedding period in late spring and early summer, it’s best to bathe them to help your pet get rid of the hairs. Due to their high energy, Corgis are among the best dogs for active seniors. 

Maltese

If you prefer small, gentle, and playful dog breeds, the Maltese is a top choice. These charming dogs love to sit in your lap and are affectionate companions to elderly people. They’re attentive to their owner’s moods, making them good therapy dogs. Although Malteses are full of energy, they don’t require much exercise. Short walks outside, or wandering around the yard is enough to keep them happy and healthy. 

Beagle

Beagles are among the best dog breeds for seniors that are active. These energetic and social furry pals will immediately become your new best friend. If you love to explore, you can let your Beagle lead the way. But remember to get a GPS tracker for dogs as they’ll follow their nose and not your compass. One thing is for sure, their scent-driven nature will take you on a new adventure every day. 

Beagles need a good brushing several times a week, especially during spring. Also, you should bathe them occasionally, unless they get messy from all that sniffing around.

How to Choose the Best Breed for You?

The latest National Poll on Healthy Aging shows that pets helped 88% of their senior owners enjoy life. Out of those, 68% are dog owners.

But if you’re still confused about the breed you want to take home, perhaps the following information will help you decide. Depending on your lifestyle, these are the dog breed characteristics you should look into:

  • Energy level
  • Size
  • Age
  • Temperament
  • Grooming requirements

Usually, good dogs for old people have the following characteristics:

  • Calm
  • Already trained
  • Older dog
  • Low maintenance

Also, it’s advisable for seniors to not take puppies, as they require more energy and training. Generally, seniors should also avoid high-energy dogs unless they have an active lifestyle.

What’s Your Favorite?

Large or small, active or passive? At the end of the day, choosing the best furry pal is all about your individual preferences. 

If you want a small dog, you might fall in love with a Pug or Pomeranian. Plus, both are easy to look after. For seniors that need a true protector, a Boston Terrier will always stay by your side. Finally, if you’re dealing with allergies, the Labradoodle will be a good choice. Plus, they’re great therapy dogs.

What all the best dogs for seniors have in common is that they’ll surely change your everyday life and make it more enjoyable and happy.

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Gabriela Delova is an experienced journalist and content writer. Passionate about words and storytelling, she has written hundreds of articles on different topics. While she’s ever curious about the latest developments in technology and the galaxy, she’s also a hopeless animal lover. Gabriela has adopted three abandoned dogs so far. She’s currently a devoted and proud parent of the five-year-old beagle Ava and the two-year-old toddler Jovan.