What Dog Breeds Are Best for Seniors?

Dogs can be great companions for people of all age groups, including seniors. They provide companionship, encourage exercise and socialization, and provide unconditional affection. Research shows that seniors who take care of a pet take better care of themselves as well.

Although older people tend to do better with smaller and more portable breeds, the right dog for you will depend on your level of activity, housing accommodations, and whether or not you have small children as frequent visitors. Here are the top dog breeds that are best suited to older owners.

Shih Tzus Top the List


Shih Tzu


Shih Tzus are a gentle and affectionate breed that thrives on love and attention. They are much sturdier than their appearance suggests and are always game for a daily walk. They do require a daily brushing and occasional professional grooming, but they are a very low-shedding breed. Shi Tzus are not incessant barkers and tend to be very quiet, although some do occasionally snore.

The Happy-Go-Lucky Pug

Pugs have a great temperament and tend to be very easy-going dogs. They can shed heavily but are easy to groom. The pug is generally a very healthy breed but should not be subjected to temperature extremes.



The Loyal Chihuahua

Chihuahuas love to be lap dogs and make loyal companions. This breed is very vocal and alert and is always on guard. It may, however, take some persistence to housebreak them.



The Clever Poodle

As a breed, poodles are easily trained, affectionate, and low-shedding. The poodle comes in toy, miniature, and standard sizes and thoroughly enjoys being pampered. A clever and alert dog, poodle mixes like the Cockapoo and Labradoodle also make excellent choices.




Boston Bull Terrier

The Laid-Back Boston Terrier

The friendly Boston terrier is highly trainable and very well-mannered. They tend to enjoy lounging around, so a relaxed lifestyle suits them well. This breed is very easy to groom, but it requires some work to get them housetrained. These dogs also like to think they are the boss, so be prepared to let them know who is actually in charge

The Friendly Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers are small dogs with big dog personalities. A member of the terrier group, they are easy to train and have a friendly temperament common in the breed. Like most terriers, they require exercise, but they are very calm indoors if they receive it. They are great at alerting owners of visitors or unexpected noises but are vocal without the yap that is common in little dogs.


miniature schnauzer

The Loving Yorkshire Terrier

If you are looking for a loyal companion that loves being a lap dog, the Yorkshire terrier may be for you. Most believe they are large guard dogs and have a tendency to be both independent and overprotective, and they can be a bit stubborn when housetraining. However, you will not find a more devoted and affectionate dog.


Yorkshire Terrier

The Lively Maltese



These lively yet gentle dogs love people and hate being alone. The Maltese is the perfect companion for someone who loves to spend time at home. Despite their gentle appearance, they are a fearless breed. They are moderately active thought their lives and are low-shedding, although their silky white coat will need daily brushing and occasional professional grooming.

Dogs provide us with more than companionship. They keep us active, help us socialize, and encourage us to take better care of ourselves. Regardless of your mobility level or living situation, the right canine companion is out there for you. For more tips on healthy and active living, visit Aging Healthy Today.


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12 thoughts on “What Dog Breeds Are Best for Seniors?”

  1. I’m 62 I own a German Shepherd boy aged 4 full of character.
    I feel safe when own my own at home with him .
    But the downside is he pulls and probably not a good idea as you get older unless you can pay for a dog walker.
    But these are loving and loyal .

    • Hi Bridget,
      We have a big dog too that used to pull me here , there , and everywhere when walking on a leash. One day I saw an ad for a dog harness, and went ahead and bought one. Outside with the harness on, walking my dog, the difference was like night and day. It is like power steering, try it .

  2. A properly trained German Shepherd, (or any breed/size dog), will never drag it’s owner. It remains at its owner’s side when it’s walking, and sits when its owner stops even when it is off leash. A German Shepherd that has earned its AKC CD (Companion Dog) title, is a suitable companion for a person of any age.

  3. I had a Shih Tsu. Very loving, but stupidest dog I have ever owned. Could not get her housebroken, never learned to fetch. I have had several friends with same experience. I prefer Lhasa Apso., similar look and size, but much smarter,


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