There is an old saying, “A dog is a Man’s Best friend.” Yet, a dog can be a best friend to anyone, for that matter. This is true for not only men, but women, children, and even the elderly. As we age, having a companion to help us through the day gives us peace and comfort, and that we are not going through life alone. When there is a dog in the home, we have a loyal friend, a good listener, and someone to cuddle with when no human interaction is available. Dogs may not give advice back to you, but they don’t nag or interrupt; they just sit back and listen attentively to you. Dogs are also very excited when you come home. They can’t wait to be petted or given a rub down on the belly. They jump for joy when it’s playtime in the backyard or be taken to the local dog park for some catch. A dog also knows when danger is coming or if you are having a simple nightmare. They sense the harm and react to protect you. Some dog breeds also can keep you fit and active. The more they get exercise, so will you. No matter how your day has been, once you walk through the door, you are greeted with a smile. And that can change your whole mood as well.
There are many types of dog breeds to choose from, but not all are for everyone. So, we came up with a list of the best breeds for the elderly. Below are our top 10 best dog breeds for seniors. Most are small or medium-sized dogs, but we added a couple big dog breeds that are worth considering when buying a dog for a senior.
Our first dog on this list is the Pug. These little dogs are recommended to seniors as a good pet because of their size, lovable attitude, and cute expressions they are known to have. They are short, reaching only about 30 centimeters in length, and can easily adapt to the lifestyle or environment of its owners. Pugs can also be a great companion to the elderly. These little dogs are also very intelligent animals and it doesn’t take much to care for them. They also enjoy brief walks and outdoor playtime. They are great at cuddling, do not need much brushing, and easy to bathe. The only issue with these dogs is their breathing problems, due to having small nostrils and a flat face. Extreme cold or hot may cause their breathing to be worse. They also tend to snore more than other dog breeds. Please give them plenty of attention, since they do not like to be ignored.
2. Shih Tzu
Next up is the adorable Shih Tzu. The word Shih Tzu means “little lion” in Mandarin. This is another little dog that has become pretty popular over the past decade or so. Many seniors or older adults choose to buy one because of its energetic and outgoing attitude. They are not only great for the elderly, they can also be great pets for kids as well. Shih Tzu dogs also are very affectionate and quiet to have in the home. However, like the pug, some do snore. This breed of dogs love to go on walks, sit on their owner’s lap, and enjoy just hanging around on the couch. Shih Tzu dogs will need to be groomed daily, but they don’t shed that much. The life span of the Shih Tzu is between 10-15 years.
3. Yorkshire Terriers
The Yorkshire Terrier is our next dog breed that is great for seniors. This dog is perfect for those who live in apartments or homes with little living space. The average Yorkshire Terrier gets about 20 cm long and can easily be carried. These dogs are great companion dogs, very intelligent, and do not get easily irritated like some large dogs can. Yorkies can live up to 16 years old and most weigh less than seven pounds. Although small, they do tend to be very feisty and somewhat bossy in nature. Their hair is actually hypoallergenic, making it more like human hair than animal fur. Overall, Yorkshire pups are healthy and active, and love to share affection with their senior owners. Yorkies need to be bathed one a week and their front hair should be pulled up and away from their eyes. Just like larger dogs, yorkies still need plenty of exercise. So, a nice backyard or dog park would be great for these loveable pups. This breed originated from Yorkshire, England.
4. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is our next dog breed. They often are outgoing and friendly pets, and love to play with young children. Many seniors choose this breed because of its guard dog attitude. If something seems suspicious, these pups will be the first to investigate. Schnauzers do come in two other sizes, standard and giant. They are good companion dogs for seniors, quick to listen, and are very obedient to their owners. Miniature Schnauzers are also easy to train. Miniature Schnauzers also are a low-shedding, hypoallergenic dog breed. Owners will need to put some effort in grooming them though, to keep their appearance looking good. They will need daily walks and exercise, and they tend to enjoy games like catch in the yard. Miniature Schnauzers have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Origin of this breed comes from Germany.
One of the most loved dog breeds is the Maltese. Many elderly people enjoy these little pups because of how easy it is to carry them around. They are often known as a “lap dog”, due to their attachment to their owners and do not like to be left alone. A Maltese dog is a playful, kind-hearted, and very sociable animal. They can also adapt well to their owner’s lifestyle. The dog’s fur is easy to care for and they do not need much grooming. Maltese dogs are also docile and do not get agitated easily. Which is good for seniors, so they have no worries of unexpected jumps or running around the house as much. Although they are small dogs, weighing under 8 pounds on average, they are very active little dogs. The lifespan of most Maltese dogs is between 12 to 15 years.
6. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Although a small dog, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very vibrant and active dog to have. For seniors who are still very active on a daily basis, this would be one of the best choices of dog breeds to choose. Corgis love to take nature walks, run around in a dog park, or just have fun during playtime. Corgis can also light up a room full of both children and adults. They are also very sociable dogs and are excellent watchdogs. With an energetic attitude, they may bark at times if left alone too long. Their coat does have a tendency to shed often, but they are simple to brush. Regular grooming is necessary with Corgis. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is the most popular dog breed with the Queen of England; in fact, she has had over 30 since she acquired the throne. They can live up to 15 years.
7. French Bulldog
Our next dog breed is the French Bulldog. This type of dog is a friendly outgoing pup, that is very playful and loves people. They are often recommended as a good pet for seniors because they are great companion pets. Most bulldogs are not as active as other medium-size dogs, due to their short demeanor. But they do like short walks; as long as they are not outside for too long. They have unique characteristics. Their ears resemble bat-like features and they have a square face. Some believe they originated in Paris, France, during the mid-nineteenth century. However, it has been noted as the second most popular pet in the UK back in 2020.
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
One of the most adaptable dog breeds for seniors is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Named after King Charles II, because he would have this type of dog follow him to almost everywhere he went. This pup is a great option for almost any lifestyle, including an excellent choice for seniors who need a true companion. Often called “Cavaliers”, they are known to cuddle up on the couch while you watch your favorite show or have an exciting day in the backyard during playtime. Cavaliers have a long, silky coat, which may need brushing a few times a week. Owners should also clean their ears regularly. They also are sociable animals and a very happy dog breed. Cavaliers are also highly recommended for seniors, due to their high level of training abilities. They enjoy brisk walks, so if you are an active senior, this would be a great choice.
At this point, we have been talking about small to medium size dogs. However, there are two that tend to attract seniors and make good companions. The first is the Greyhound. As the fastest dog breed in the world, it may not seem like the best choice for seniors. However, many older adults find greyhounds as a calm and contentable choice for the elderly. They often are quiet and gentle animals. Although very active dogs, they still love to hang around the house after they get enough exercise for the day. Greyhounds are also very manageable to care for and only require occasional grooming, since their fur is short and smooth. Their bodies are slender and long, making them good sprinters. Greyhounds are also known as good hunting companions. One last fact, they have exceptional 270-degree vision, which allows them to see up to ½ mile away and also behind them.
10. Golden Retriever
Our last contender for the best dog breeds for seniors is the Golden Retriever. Other than the Greyhound, most of the dogs are small or medium sized breeds. Yet, the Golden Retriever is still one of the best dog breeds that seniors seem to choose as their companion as they enter their aging years. Most Golden Retrievers are neither aggressive nor prone to attacking people. However, they are among one of the most alert dog breeds, ready to take action in an emergency. They are very loveable and caring to their senior owners, and a great family pet. The only backdraw to this breed is that they’re big and preferably need a big house with a large backyard for exercising. On average, Golden Retrievers can have a lifespan of 10 years, sometimes longer when cared for properly.
Although we have seen some amazing dog breeds for seniors, there are a few that are still worth mentioning. Below are four dog breeds that some seniors may also consider when looking for the next loyal pet to get in their home.
This breed has a docile temperament, very calm, and easy to care for. He is a very sociable pet and is good around other animals as well. They are intelligent and will respond quickly to training. However, the breed tends to have lots of energy and their fur requires special care.
This dog learns and works well with the elderly and also children. They were known as good dogs for hunting birds. They do tend to shed their hair a bit. The dog is easy to train and can serve as an alert dog. Poodles are loving and dedicated to their owners.
Boston Terriers are easy to train, intelligent, and learn commands quickly. They are often a suitable choice for the elderly. The maintenance and care of the dog is quite simple and they do not require a lot of exercise.
These dogs are very loyal and affectionate to their owners and often form a bond with just one human. However, this does not mean they are clingy furry pets. They also can socialize with other family members very well. This breed may show some stubbornness during dog training; but they tend to grow on you. They often are a favorite breed with seniors.