Dog Breed

13 Best Dog Breeds For Seniors With Guide

Best Dog Breeds For Seniors

As gracefully age, our furry companions gotten to be indeed more cherished. Choosing the best dog breed for seniors includes considering factors like energy levels, adaptability, and companionship.

We have created an article with the essential benefits of owning a dog, as well as compiled a list of the greatest dog breeds for elderly citizens, in case you have got ever considered giving an older member of your family an animal companion. 

Why should a senior citizen have a dog?

Increased work out: Walking a dog offers every day work out, significant for physical wellbeing and reducing heart disease risk.

Reduced stretch: Petting a pooch can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and alleviate feelings of depression and uneasiness.

Improved mental well-being: Dog care ingrains reason and responsibility, particularly beneficial for seniors living alone.

Conversation starter: Dogs facilitate meeting new individuals and initiating conversations, upgrading social interaction.

Combats loneliness: Dog companionship significantly lessens isolation, particularly useful for single seniors.

Increased social interaction: Dog ownership advances interaction with neighbors, dog walkers, and park visitors.

Security: Dogs give a sense of security by alerting owners to potential threats. 

13 Best dog breeds for seniors

Taking into account the characteristics detailed above, we are going to review the most common dog breeds and see which ones are best adapted to living with an elderly person.

1. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frize
Source: Getty Images

The Bichon Frise is a small dog, known for its fluffy teased coat. Dogs of this breed are very good as pets thanks to their stable and affectionate temperament. They are often used in therapy centers and senior centers.

His white, silky, and curly hair needs daily brushing and the occasional visit to the hairdresser. You should also pay attention to his eyes, clean the rheum daily and cut the excess hair from the eye area every so often.

Due to the lack of pigmentation in their hair, this type of dog is predisposed to allergies and other skin problems.

It is a dog whose weight usually ranges between 3 and 6 kilos, so it is very easy to control it and transport it from one place to another. The most adventurous people can take it on a trip almost anywhere.

2. Maltese Bichon

Maltese Bichon
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The Maltese Bichon, described by some as the dog with the eternal appearance of a puppy, is sociable and obedient if it has had a good education since childhood. He is also very smart, lively and caring .

Its main characteristic, and what makes it ideal for the elderly, is its protective instinct for the home, which leads it to raise the alarm every time it feels the approach of a strange person.

Since Maltese are very active, they love to always have a bone to gnaw or a chew toy for small dogs. If you have any of these elements at your disposal, you will be able to deal with excess energy and behave appropriately, without destroying anything at home.

Their small size allows them to exercise anywhere, so they can run around the house and get tired without having to do big activities outside. However, it is just as important to go for a walk at least 3 times a day so that he can relieve himself and socialize with other dogs.

Being long-haired, this breed needs daily brushing and relatively frequent visits to the groomer. Many dogs of this breed stand out for their white color. To keep it clean and shiny between baths, it is necessary to maintain a cleaning routine, especially around the eyes and snout, thus preventing the appearance of brown spots on the fur in these areas.

3. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
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This list of the best dog breeds for seniors was compiled by us. dogs of this breed are known for their friendly nature and love for humans. They are very friendly animals, small in size, ideal for living in small spaces and for quickly adapting to apartment life.

These animals love physical activity and will require their owners to go out frequently to play in the park or for walks. This is also good for the owner since he has a reason to go outside to get some fresh air and get some exercise as well.

His appearance, especially his flattened face, exposes him to different conditions, such as snoring, heatstroke, or hypothermia.

Keeping a Boston Terrier does not require much time or effort. So they are easy dogs to keep. With frequent brushing, it is not necessary to bathe them more than once a month.

4. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
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The French bulldog is an endearing dog, whose face is reminiscent of the dragon in the Disney movie, “How to train your dragon”. French bulldog is most popular dog breeds for seniors. They are small breed dogs, whose weight ranges between 8 and 14 kilos.

French Bulldog are faithful and cuddly dogs, who love to be with their owners. They are also friendly, sweet and affectionate. But on the other hand, they are also a bit stubborn, so it is important that they have a good education, and if possible, that the training does not stop throughout their lives.

The French bulldog is a dog that rarely barks, only when he needs to attract attention because he needs something, or when he notices something strange, and he lets the guardian inside him act.

The bulldog, like the pug, is a brachycephalic breed, which creates quite a few respiratory problems, causing annoying snoring, often without being asleep. However, a healthy specimen is ideal to accompany an elderly person, especially when walking, since if it is well educated, it will be calm and will know how to walk without pulling on the leash.

In the area of ​​hygiene, it is a very easy dog ​​to maintain. Brushing is necessary to remove loose hair, but brushing once a week is more than enough. Special attention must be paid to the folds of the face. Every few days, they should be cleaned with a damp cloth, to prevent a lot of dirt from accumulating.

From what you see, the French bulldog is perfect for older people who have a relaxed life and tolerate external noise well.

5. Poodle

Poodle
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The poodle is a breed of dog whose curly coat makes them adorable little love balls. These types of dogs are quite common today, but before the 15th century, they were dogs that only nobles and aristocrats could afford. Curiously, its function was to retrieve fallen prey during hunts.

Currently, poodles are a classic in the world of canine fashion. Their grace, elegance, ease of learning, and intelligence make them the favorite breed of many designers.

Thanks to its calm and calm demeanor, sociable and friendly, the poodle is the perfect dog for seniors. This is most intelligent dog breed in the world and children also love this breed.

Speaking of grooming, the poodle is a relatively clean breed, as they barely shed hair. So by maintaining a regular grooming routine, an older person will have no trouble keeping them clean.

The poodle breed has representatives of various sizes, the toy poodle is the most demanded among older people who live in flats or have little space at home.

The problem of some specimens appears when they are too pampered. If they are humanized, that is, if they are treated like people, poodles lose their perspective and become possessive and demanding.

6. Pug

Pug
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The pug, also known as the pug, is a highly esteemed breed throughout the world. In 2012 it was on the list of the 30 most popular dogs globally.

These dogs stand out for their friendliness and their playful behavior. They like to interact with people, but sometimes they are suspicious of strangers, who they warn by barking. This same characteristic makes them good “alert dogs”, ideal for alerting older owners if they hear a strange noise or notice strange people approaching.

Pugs often have obedience problems, but although they are sometimes stubborn and do not respond to the call, they are not dogs that tend to run away when they go off-leash . In addition, they tend to prefer human company to being with other dogs for a long time.

The adult representatives of this breed, especially if they are older than 5 years, tend to have a calm and less active character. Adding this to the fact that they have breathing difficulties (due to brachycephalic syndrome), they tend to prefer afternoons on the couch and TV too long walks down the street.

In terms of hygiene, they are quite clean dogs. However, it is recommended to clean the folds of your face with damp cotton once a week. Special attention must also be paid to the ear since having drooping ears creates the ideal environment for the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. Keeping this area clean and dry is essential to avoid infection and disease.

7. Chihuahua

Chihuahua
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The chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world. Thanks to its size, this miniature furry can accompany you everywhere, without its presence also means the need for more space in the suitcase. You will not find many restrictions to traveling with this type of dog. In addition, there are many accessories that allow you to access public places where other larger dogs cannot enter, such as public transport or restaurants. Carriers or backpacks for small dogs are an ideal solution.

Having a chihuahua as a pet enlivens the environment a lot and the people who are with him will not feel alone. By saying that it is known as a “toy dog”, we say it all.

It is important that these dogs have good socialization, otherwise, they can easily develop anger towards other beings and objects in their environment.

Chihuahuas, the main representatives of small breeds, are very temperamental animals that are not aware of their size, and everything they have that is small, they also have as authoritarian. They are very noisy and stubborn dogs, who at the slightest noise are noticed, protecting their territory and alerting the owner that something is happening. This feature makes them good for the elderly, as they could help scare away would-be thieves or alert the hearing impaired to a disturbance.

Chihuahuas are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Thanks to evolution, the current representatives of this breed are very intelligent and attentive. However, this leads them to be capricious and they always look insistently for someone who pays attention to them and pampers them. For a busy person, this behavior might be cute at first, but end up annoying. However, for older people, having a dependent person increases their self-esteem, making them feel useful and necessary.

8. Cocker

Cocker
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The cocker is a highly coveted dog for hunting practices, where it fulfills multiple functions: retriever of fallen prey, lifter of prey, or even hunter of small land animals. Therefore it needs constant exercise , but not very intense. Ideal for seniors without mobility problems and with an active lifestyle.

They do not usually have more than 15 kilos of weight, consequently, they adapt very well to small apartments.

In terms of behavior, they are very happy and affectionate dogs. They are very intelligent, and if they are well trained they know how to do a multitude of tricks that entertain the spectators. They are ideal for living with elderly people since they need constant attention and pensioners can offer it to them.

The cocker spaniel is a very sociable dog that can’t stand being alone. In addition, he always needs to have some activity, whether it is playing with his toys, with people or with other dogs. If ignored, this dog is easily bored and has destructive tendencies despite training.

Cocker hygiene is a point that must be treated very carefully. Since it has long hair, it needs frequent brushing to avoid tangles in its hair. It is not a particularly complicated task, but it does need some attention from the owner. In addition, from time to time it is necessary to take it to the dog groomer to shear it.

9. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever
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The golden retriever is a large breed dog, but no less playful and affectionate than the rest of the members on this list. In general, they are calm and obedient, although depending on the temperament of each individual, there may be one that is a little more unruly.

They are dogs that quickly adapt to the lifestyle of the humans they live with. Thanks to its friendly attitude, the golden is one of the most popular breeds as a companion animal.

Due to their complexion and size, these dogs cannot run around the house or play as actively as smaller breed dogs, so to burn off excess energy, they need to go outside at least three times a day.

On the other hand, these are strong dogs, which although they can be trained not to pull on the leash, may sometimes be attracted by some stimulus from the street and lose control. If the person wearing it has joint problems or back pain, it will be very difficult to keep the dog at bay. So it is a good dog for older people, but only if they are in good physical condition.

In terms of their behavior, they are very trusting dogs, who treat acquaintances and strangers who approach them equally well. This characteristic makes them very bad watchdogs.

A golden retriever does not require great care in terms of hygiene. A couple of brushings a week, regular cleaning of the ears and a bath a month is enough. What you do have to take care of is the cleanliness of the house since even if it is not the molting season, the Golden loses a lot of hair.

10. Labrador

Labrador
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The Labrador is a very widespread breed in the world, thanks to its versatility and resolution capacity in multiple fields. Labradors can be trained to work as part of the police force, usually in the branches of anti-drugs, anti-explosives or as search and rescue dogs. Thanks to their gentleness and intelligence, Labradors serve very well as guide dogs for the blind.

With good training, based on patience and positive reinforcement, these dogs can become very tame and obedient, ideal for people of all ages, but especially for the elderly.

Due to their noble and friendly nature, Labrador retrievers are not good watchdogs. Apart from barking, these dogs do not usually show major signs of aggression towards intruders.

The Labrador is by nature a very energetic and active being, who gets bored easily if not stimulated with frequent mental games and physical activities. The lack of activity can lead the Labrador to develop anxiety problems and obsessive behaviors such as barking uncontrollably or destroying things in the house. Therefore, it is a good dog for older people, as long as they are in good physical condition to take them out for walks frequently.

Labradors, unlike other dogs, have an insatiable appetite, and sometimes they can eat leftovers from the garbage can, which can cause poisoning or intestinal problems. Preventive measures must be taken before bringing the dog home, such as buying an airtight garbage can or storing small and conspicuous objects somewhere inaccessible.

In terms of hygiene, a shower a month and brushing a week is more than enough to keep it clean and neat.

Therefore, a Labrador retriever, if well trained, is more than perfect for an elderly person, as long as he is in good physical condition.

11. Pomeranian

Pomeranian
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The Pomeranian is a small dog, so much so that it does not even weigh 4 kilos. This same characteristic makes it the smallest snow dog and is why it is included in the category of toy dog.

Due to its temperament, it is a cheerful, lively and friendly dog. Its strong and territorial character and its way of being always alert makes it a good alarm dog, making it ideal for living with older people who have hearing problems, as it alerts them whenever there is a strange noise at home.

Pomeranians have two layers of hair, and although they only shed once a year, it is true that they tend to shed quite frequently. The good part is that it is not necessary to take it to the hairdresser since its hair does not grow more than a certain measure. By respecting a regular hygiene routine, it will be very easy to keep a Pomeranian clean.

12. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
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Dogs of the Yorkshire terrier breed are small and easy to transport, so they are perfect to take on a trip, in any means of transport, from the car, to plane, through boats.

Yorkshires are loyal and affectionate dogs, who are always aware of their masters and seek their attention and pampering, which is why they fall into the category of “lapdogs”. Their protective nature makes them perfect dogs to alert through their barking that something is not in order.

Due to their small size, they do not need a large amount of daily activity. However, although it is highly recommended to take him for a walk at least 3 times a day, once can be enough as long as he has a specific place at home where he can relieve himself whenever he wants, such as underpads or a dog toilet. Chew toys, food dispensers or intelligence games are ideal for stimulating the dog both physically and mentally.

Since they only have one layer of hair, with regular brushing you can forget about loose hairs around the house. Maintaining a constant cleaning routine is also important to prevent tangles from forming in the pet’s hair, which, in addition to being unsightly, are very difficult to remove, so much so that sometimes the only solution is to cut the hair to zero.

13. Schnauzer

Schnauzer
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The Schnauzer breed is dogs known for their extravagant beards, mustaches and eyebrows, very well outlined, but totally natural.

These are dogs with a friendly and affectionate character and calm behavior if they have had a good education. They are good watchdogs, warily guarding their territory from any approaching strangers. As soon as they feel something out of the ordinary, they sound the alarm without hesitation. The problem usually appears when some of these dogs get carried away by excitement and bark more than they should.

The Schnauzer is a breed of dog with a higher than average intelligence, which makes them somewhat independent and stubborn. This makes the task of training difficult for people who do not know how to act. This, coupled with their constant need for physical exercise, can turn them into an uncontrollable whirlpool.

As for grooming, although it is not mandatory to take them to the hairdresser, since many people prefer them with long hair, in summer it is advisable to cut their hair a little, to keep them more refreshed.

A good Schnauzer for a senior must be polite and obedient, as well as have a calm temperament.

How should dogs that live with an elderly person be?

Although all dogs are equally good as pets, in the case of living with an elderly person it is better to choose a certain type of dog that meets a series of requirements.

Before you bring the dog home, be sure to assess whether the dog’s characteristics are compatible with the health and lifestyle of its future owner. Some considerations to keep in mind are:

1. Dogs without much demand for cleaning

Older people no matter how hard they try, they no longer have the vitality and strength to be bathing the dog daily. Also, not all dogs love water, and as soon as they know that bath time is approaching they go crazy and can be difficult for an elderly person to control. 

For this reason, although almost all dogs like to get dirty when they go outside, especially if there is mud, there are some breeds that are more modest and prefer to keep their fur clean , saving the owner hours and hours of bathing.

The type of hair is another factor that must be evaluated:

  • Dogs with a single coat of long hair: their main advantage is that they do not shed much around the house, however they do require regular brushing to prevent the formation of tangles. Although not all of them, most of them need to make the occasional visit to the dog groomer.
  • Dogs with two coats of long hair: although they should not be taken to the groomer, they do need to be brushed at least once every two days to avoid excess dead hair, which is quickly dispersed around the house.

2. Dogs without health problems

Although it sounds cruel and discriminatory, an elderly person already has enough to take care of himself, without having to take care of another sick living being. 

Before adopting a dog, make sure that it does not have chronic diseases that require special care and regular visits to the veterinarian. To do this, we recommend, if possible, also be interested in the diseases of the parents of the dog in question, and highlight that there is no chronic disease that can develop in the future.

The ideal dog is a lively and energetic dog, but with a relaxed temperament. 

3. Adult and trained dogs

The puppies are very cute and endearing, and watching them grow is a real pleasure. However, if the person responsible for their upbringing is an elderly person,  they are not the most recommended option for several reasons:

  • The puppies still miss their mother and their litter, so during the night, they may cry, demanding the attention of the owner, without letting him rest either.
  • Uneducated dogs are unaware that they should only relieve themselves outside the home. So it is very possible to find feces and urine in the least suspected places. Having to bend down to clean the floor, or worse, the carpet every few minutes, can be tedious, annoying and even painful for the new owner.
  • Puppies are in an exploratory stage of life. Adding this to the fact that they love to get to know things through their bite, the perfect mix is ​​created for an expert in the massive destruction of home furniture. Generally, older people have a lot of appreciation for things from home. If a dog destroys something highly prized and of sentimental value, the person may want to return it immediately without any hesitation.

For all this, to be successful in choosing a good dog for an elderly person, it is more than advisable to opt for a dog older than three years.

Adult dogs have a more serene and calm character, saving the caregiver extra efforts for their upbringing and education.

Before giving a dog to an elderly person, it will be better to take the dog to do some classes with a dog trainer who will teach him to obey basic commands such as:

  • Come
  • Still
  • feel
  • Waiting

Not pulling on the leash is also of vital importance, as a sudden pull can cause the owner to fall or cause damage to the joints.

Therefore, the best option for an elderly person will be to look for an adult dog trained by a professional.

4. Calm and sociable dogs

The breeds of dogs that best adapt to the lifestyle of an elderly person have a temperate and calm characterMixed-breed dogs are an excellent option and thanks to their DNA they are balanced, both from a mental and physical point of view. Although they do not belong to a specific breed, they are just as affectionate and friendly as other dogs. 

For a dog to be sociable and react appropriately to the stimuli in its environment, it is essential that it has had good socialization during its childhood. Dogs that have not successfully passed this stage have self-conscious behavior, which tends to be even aggressive. However, properly socialized dogs are characterized by:

  • Get along with other dogs and people, without barking, growling, attacking or biting.
  • Do not be afraid of the stimuli in your environment.
  • Do not have a tendency to escape when walking them without a leash.

Important note: by choosing a dog from an animal shelter, you will be supporting canine adoption and helping to dismantle the big business of buying and selling animals. However, before taking a dog for an elderly person, it is advisable to make sure that it is a dog without traumas or negative experiences that have affected its character. 

5. Dogs with moderate physical activity

It is necessary to know that dogs need to move and exercise daily, even those that do not have a high demand for physical activity. However, there are some breeds with less demand for exercise, these being the ideal dogs for older people.

6. Small or medium sized dogs

Medium and small breeds are perfect for seniors for many reasons:

  • They do not require intense physical activity.
  • Older people can control small dogs better. If they pull hard on the leash or jump on the owner in an effusive show of affection, there is less chance that the owner will fall to the ground.
  • With smaller animals, it will be easier and there will be fewer problems when accessing public places with them, such as transport or some stores. 

Golden Terriers or Labradors, despite being larger dogs, are also good for older people, as they are very calm and intelligent animals. Other more active dogs such as the German Shepherd or the Border Collie are not recommended as they are full of energy and need to be almost constantly on the move. 

Conclusions: Best dog breeds for seniors

Dogs and seniors complement each other perfectly. Retirees have plenty of free time to care for pets, while dogs love to be with humans and receive constant pampering.

The presence of a dog in the life of an elderly person has multiple benefits for their mental and physical health. In fact, some dogs are used as a therapeutic method in many senior centers. 

But before rushing to adopt a dog, you have to be aware that it is a living being that cannot be left lying around at the first chance. For this reason, the capacities of the person who will take care of it must be evaluated, as well as the characteristics that the dog must have to adapt to living with an elderly person. 

The main requirements that any dog ​​that is going to share a house with an elderly person must meet are: to be over 3 years old, to be trained and to have a calm behavior.

In our list of the best dog breeds for the elderly, we have analyzed the main characteristics of the dogs that could best live with someone who is elderly. 

We have complied, now it is your turn to assess and decide what is best for you!

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