There is not a “one size fits all” approach to picking the right dog breed for seniors or older people. We recommend a personalized approach based on your individual needs. Many seniors prefer small dog breeds that don’t require a lot of exercise. However, other older people prefer more active dogs and don’t mind going for long walks with large dogs.

On this page, you will find a list of 25+ dog breeds that are great for seniors. You can then easily apply filters to find the best dog breed for your particular situation.

The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors:

Apply filters to personalize your list:

French bulldog

French bulldog
Score For Seniors:
93%
As a senior or retiree, the "empty nest" syndrome can hit you pretty hard. But life doesn't have ...

Cavalier king charles spaniel

Cavalier king charles spaniel
Score For Seniors:
92%
Docile and diminutive, cavalier king charles spaniels are one of the most loved breeds but are they good ...

Boston terrier

boston terrier breed portrait
Score For Seniors:
88%
Are Boston terriers good for seniors? Older people and seniors appreciate Boston terrier dogs because these dogs often ...

Bolognese

bolognese dog on grass
Score For Seniors:
85%
Bolognese is related to his toy cousins Havanese, Maltese, and Bichon Frise and shares many similar traits. As ...

Basset Hound

basset hound in park with middle-age woman
Score For Seniors:
85%
With long ears and adorably droopy faces, Basset Hounds are irresistibly charming. But are they the best dogs ...

Pug

pug sitting on senior people's laps
Score For Seniors:
84%
Pugs are small and sweet dogs with big expressive eyes and innocent faces that could melt the coldest ...

Chihuahua

Chihuahua
Score For Seniors:
83%
Chihuahuas may be small in size but they have a tremendous amount of love to offer. Their quirky ...

Miniature Poodle

miniature poodle
Score For Seniors:
82%
Energetic, athletic, and ridiculously cute, the miniature poodle is one of the most fun dogs to have. But ...

Toy poodle

toy poodle playing with ball in the snow
Score For Seniors:
81%
Are toy poodles good for seniors?  Toy poodles are great dogs for seniors. Especially, if friendly, well-mannered, and ...

Bichon frise

portrait of bichon frise
Score For Seniors:
81%
Are bichon frises good for seniors? This fluffy dog breed has a lot of positive aspects for seniors: ...

Havanese

havanese puppy on grass
Score For Seniors:
81%
Just like their cousin Maltese, Havanese are one of the brightest and happiest of toy breeds. But are ...

Shih Tzu

Shih tzu
Score For Seniors:
81%
Shih Tzus are not only ridiculously adorable to look at but they are also the perfect dogs for ...

Cocker spaniel

cocker spaniel dog with senior woman
Score For Seniors:
75%
For old people who don't mind a slightly larger dog (usually around 20-30 pounds), the Cocker Spaniel can ...

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer
Score For Seniors:
74%
The Miniature Schnauzer originated in Germany and now after over a hundred years, they bring pure joy to ...

Maltese

maltese breed with older woman
Score For Seniors:
73%
Are Maltese good for seniors? Maltese need moderate exercise The Maltese breed is a somewhat lower energy dog ...

West highland white terrier

westie walking outdoors
Score For Seniors:
72%
Entertaining and energetic, the west highland white terrier has all the qualities to charm dog lovers. He is ...

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier
Score For Seniors:
69%
The Scottish Terrier shares a lot of similarities with his other Terrier cousins including Yorkshire Terrier and West ...

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
Score For Seniors:
69%
Yorkshire Terriers have a big number of fans, especially among the older generation, thanks to his small size ...

American Eskimo

American Eskimo
Score For Seniors:
67%
Lovingly called Eskies, American Eskimos are affectionate and people-oriented dogs who love companionship. An Eskie is a good ...

Beagle

beagle getting a kiss from older owner
Score For Seniors:
65%
Having a furry friend around can be quite life-changing for seniors. The days spent getting bored, turn into ...

Corgi

Corgi dog sitting on old man's lap
Score For Seniors:
64%
The Corgi breed is one of the most popular and agreeable dog breeds that's also loved by seniors ...

Pomeranian

pomeranian with senior woman
Score For Seniors:
55%
These spunky and spirited dogs look adorable with their fluffy coat. They are also very small in size ...

What Are the Best Dogs for Seniors?

It all starts with evaluating the situation that the dog would be living in (apartment or house), the preferences of your senior friends (chilled dog vs energetic), and the activity level that the dog would enjoy with you. Some seniors prefer small dogs that they can easily carry, whereas others feel more comfortable with larger dogs that can go with them outdoors on longer walks.

Here are all the factors to help you chose the right dog breeds for seniors:

  1. Character: Certain breeds are easy-going and loving, whereas other breeds may be more stubborn and independent. Seniors staying at home typically prefer very friendly and loving dogs that are happy to cuddle up on the couch.
  2. Size & weight: Most older people prefer smaller dogs because they can easily pick them up.
  3. Activity level: Seniors tend to prefer low/moderate-energy dogs who don’t need to run several miles per day.
  4. Apartment-living: Older people are more likely to live in smaller homes or apartments. Certain dog breeds are more comfortable living in smaller spaces, while others need a big yard and home to play in.
  5. Low maintenance: Dog breeds that only require occasional brushing and grooming are better for older people who don’t really want to go to a professional groomer every 4 weeks.

Best Dog Breeds for Seniors Living in Apartments

Older people are more likely to live in smaller homes or in apartment communities. When space is limited, it is important to select a breed with a lower activity level so that the dog will be happy living in a smaller space. There are also other important considerations. For example, in communities with many neighbors, it is often preferable to have a dog that is less likely to bark and disturb neighbors, and smaller in size to make it easier to go out for walks. We have compiled below the list of the best dog breeds for apartment living.

View all the best dog breeds for seniors living in apartments.

Best Small Dogs for Seniors

Many seniors prefer smaller, but very affectionate dogs. Check out our list of the best small dogs for seniors (under 18-20 pounds).

Learn About White Dog Breeds

Seniors also often like all-white dog breeds. View our selection of the best white dog breeds.

Author

  • Dr. Winnie, Veterinarian

    Dr. Winnie earned a Master in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria's Veterinary School. She is a full-time Veterinarian specializing in internal medicine for companion animals.