Best Dog Breeds for Seniors 

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: August 10, 2023
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As we age, our needs and lifestyle change. This includes the type of pet that is best suited for us in our golden years. If you’re looking for a canine companion to share your life with, there are certain breeds that may be better suited than others when it comes to seniors.

These 11 dog breeds are excellent choices for seniors!

Toy Dog Breeds

Toy breeds are a great choice since they don’t require long walks or strenuous exercise routines like larger dogs do; plus, they usually weigh less than 10 pounds so carrying them around won’t be an issue either!

1. Maltese

Emotional Support Animals


©Dora Zett/

The Maltese breed can be a good pet for seniors. These dogs are small and usually weigh less than 10 pounds, making them easy to handle and carry. Maltese dogs are generally peaceful and get along well with other pets in their family. They are also lively, and playful, and do not require a lot of exercise, making them suitable for different living conditions, including apartments.

Additionally, Maltese are known to be gentle, intelligent, and easy to train, which can make a good pet for first-time owners. They can also make great companions for seniors due to their small size and affectionate nature.

2. Pomeranian

Pomeranian puppy



Pomeranians are a small toy breed that can weigh anywhere from 3-7 pounds, which makes them easy to handle and carry. Many factors can make a Pomeranian a good pet, including their affectionate nature, loyalty, and intelligence. Pomeranians are also adaptable, making them suitable for different living conditions, including apartments, and they do not require a lot of exercise.

They are also easy to train and can make good watchdogs because they are alert and tend to bark. Additionally, Pomeranians have charming personalities and can bring joy and companionship to their owners, including seniors.

3. Shih Tzu

Shih tzu dog

Shih Tzu


One thing every senior wants from his/her four-legged friends is loyalty —and nothing says loyal quite like shih tzus do! These cute little dogs love spending time cuddling up close next to their owner(s). Plus, there is no shedding involved here either so cleaning up becomes easier once more along the way, making this breed one of the best dog breeds for seniors.  

Small Dog Breeds

For those who have limited mobility or energy, small dogs can provide companionship without requiring too much physical activity from their owners.

4. Bichon Frise

Bichon frisé

Bichon Frise


The Bichon Frise is an ideal choice for seniors as they have low-shedding coats that require minimal grooming and maintenance. They also tend to be very affectionate towards their owners, which makes them great companions in old age! Plus, they don’t need much exercise so you can take them out on leisurely walks without worrying about tiring them out too quickly or having any issues with mobility later on down the line.

5. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Canis familiaris) - standing against white background

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

©Dora Zett/

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make good pets for a variety of reasons. They are known for being friendly, loyal, and patient, which can make them great family pets. They have a gentle temperament and do well with children, seniors, and other pets. Their moderate activity level makes them well-suited for different living conditions, including apartments. They are also relatively low-maintenance dogs and are easy to keep.

Additionally, they are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train. Overall, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s combination of spaniel and toy traits results in a sweet-tempered, playful, and loving breed that makes a great pet for many households.

Medium-Sized Dog Breeds

If you want something bigger but still low-maintenance, then consider one of these medium-sized breeds.

6. Golden Retriever

Golden retriever

Golden Retriever


For seniors who love outdoor activities but aren’t able to handle more active breeds, try getting a Golden Retriever—they’re known for having gentle temperaments yet still enjoy going on hikes with their owners (just make sure not to overdo it).

Additionally, these types of pups need regular grooming sessions. Therefore, if you have time available this could become another bonding experience between both senior owner and pup! 

7. Cocker Spaniel

A golden cocker spaniel with curly ears cocks its head

Cocker Spaniel


Cockers make excellent pets because of their gentle nature; plus, they’re easygoing enough that even if there’s not much activity going on around your home (which often happens when people get older), this breed will still be content being by your side all day long!

Their coat requires regular brushing but other than that these dogs need little grooming compared with other breeds like poodles or terriers who require more frequent haircuts/trims. 

Medium- To Large-Sized Dog Breeds

Medium- to large-sized dog breeds can make good pets for seniors as they are eager to please and enjoy training. They also like spending time outdoors, which can encourage their owners to be active as well.

8. Poodle




Poodles may look fancy but don’t let appearances fool you—they’re actually one of the most laidback canine companions available today! Also, since this breed doesn’t shed hair, this means less mess around housekeeping duties. This can really help those who suffer from allergies or asthma-related problems associated with fur particles floating about inside airy rooms at home too.

9. Labrador Retriever

Yellow Labrador Retriever


Labrador Retriever


Labrador Retrievers can make good pets for seniors for several reasons. They are known for being loyal, friendly, and trainable, which can make them great companions. They are also typically active and enjoy spending time outdoors, which can encourage their owners to be more active.

Additionally, Labs enjoy being around people and crave human attention, which can provide a sense of companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation that seniors may experience.

Large Dog Breeds

Large dog breeds can make good pets for seniors since they encourage activity and may be less prone to certain health problems. However, it’s also important to note that large breed dogs require more space and may require more training than smaller breeds.

10. Greyhound

Gray Dog Breeds



Why not go with one of nature’s most loyal friends: The Greyhound? These graceful animals were bred specifically for racing purposes. Despite being large in size, they actually require minimal amounts of exercise. This makes them perfect companions even during retirement years when physical activity might be restricted due to health reasons, etc. Plus, greyhounds come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors too, giving plenty of options to choose from!

11. German Shepherd

German Shepherd, Dog, Sitting, Outdoors, Grass

The German Shepherd


German Shepherds can make good dogs for seniors for a variety of reasons. They are known for being loyal, intelligent, and protective, which can provide a sense of security for seniors. They are also typically active and enjoy spending time outdoors, which can encourage their owners to be active as well.

However, it’s important to note that German Shepherds are a large breed that requires regular exercise and training, so they may not be a good fit for all seniors. It’s important for seniors to carefully consider their lifestyle and abilities before choosing this dog breed.

Furthermore, it is advisable that seniors adopt an older dog if they decide to bring a German Shepherd into their home. German Shepherds require a lot of training and are highly intelligent dogs. Having one that has already developed a lot of typical behaviors and personality traits will be less demanding on the owner.

In Conclusion

Although these incredible dog breeds are listed as being great companions for senior citizens, it’s important to keep in mind that all dogs are unique and their personality traits may vary, regardless of the breed. No matter the breed, all dogs require care and attention, including exercise, grooming, and regular veterinary check-ups. Also, the best dog breed for seniors may vary depending on individual preferences and circumstances.

Summary of the Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

#Dog BreedSize
3Shih TzuToy
4Bichon FriseSmall
5Cavalier King Charles SpanielSmall
6Golden RetrieverMedium
7Cocker SpanielMedium
8PoodleMedium to Large
9Labrador RetrieverMedium to Large
11German ShepherdLarge

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ieva Tvaronavicute/

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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