These are the best dog breeds for senior citizens.

The Best Dogs for Seniors

Retirement is restful, relaxing, and, on occasion, lonely. This is especially true for seniors who live on their own. Studies show that purchasing or adopting a pet can be a great way for seniors to alleviate loneliness and elevate their mood. Companionship with animals is even known to have tangible, physical benefits.

When selecting a dog for an elderly family member, it’s important to carefully consider size, temperament, and other characteristics. A dog can be a lot of work for even a young pet parent to handle, so it’s crucial to consider what level of pet care a senior is capable of comfortably and safely providing. Energetic dogs, for example, might be a bad fit for anyone struggling with mobility-related health issues.

As a rule of thumb, smaller is typically better. A little dog not only takes up less space in the home, but is also more easily transported to and from the veterinarian. It’s important to remember, however, that dogs of all ages and breeds have their own unique personality quirks. While no two dogs are exactly alike, here are a few popular breeds that tend to get along well with seniors.

Top Dog Breeds for Seniors


Clownish Pugs pack a lot of personality into their little bodies. They demand regular attention and adoration, but most are happy to return both in equal measure. While they love to play, pugs are just as happy in the living room as they are out in the backyard.


Standard and Miniature Schnauzers are both wonderful choices for seniors. Thriving on companionship, they are eager to please and committed to keeping their families safe.

Scottish Terrier

These intelligent dogs from the Scottish Highlands are usually black and weigh between 15 and 20 pounds. Requiring daily exercise, the Scottie is a tough, loyal, and protective member of the family.

Shih Tzu

Called the “lion dog” for its regal, ruffled appearance, the Shih Tzu is proud, intelligent, and alert. These gentle dogs are curious by nature and thrive on human affection.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are yet another little breed with a big personality. These easy going dogs are happy to spend most days lounging, but they also require regular, often pricey, grooming.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These small and intelligent spaniels love the royal treatment. They’re just as happy being pampered and groomed as they are enjoying a swim or game of fetch.

Cocker Spaniel

The smallest breed in the sporting family, the Cocker Spaniel is friendly, loyal, and eager to please. Don’t let the sad eyes fool you — these dogs are actually quite cheerful and energetic.

Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis

Two of the internet’s favorite breeds, the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi are both equally fun-loving and funny-looking. Want proof that they’re a good fit for seniors? Look no further than Queen Elizabeth II, probably the world’s most famous corgi owner.

American Eskimo

Obedient and hardy, the American Eskimo was bred in ancient times to serve as a guard dog and companion. You won’t find a more loyal and loving addition to the family.

Boston Terrier

The compact and energetic Boston Terrier is a classic American dog. With natural protective instincts, they make a great guard dog and a welcome addition to any senior’s home.


The tiny Chihuahua packs a surprisingly loud bark. Despite standing less than a foot tall and weighing less than ten pounds on average, they’re imposing guard dogs who’ll always defend their owners.


Another surprisingly loud dog, the Pekingese has a unique look and a cheerful disposition. Both an effective guardian and an affectionate lap dog, they’re a great choice for seniors. Be warned, however, that they require a fair amount of grooming.

Toy Poodle

Seniors looking for a pet to pamper can’t do much better than the Toy Poodle. These regal, affectionate dogs enjoy the company of people even more than their fellow pooches.


Hailing from Malta (a small island in the Mediterranean), the Maltese is more resilient than it looks. These smart and affectionate dogs boast a beautiful white coat that requires regular grooming.


With an adorable, fuzzy coat, the Pomeranian is a small and spunky breed. Seniors who adopt Pomeranians can expect a lively and affectionate addition to their household.

English Toy Spaniel

A pleasant and jovial breed, the English Toy Spaniel is a cheerful and protective companion for seniors. Though they were bred as hunters, these spaniels are now better suited to lazy afternoons on the sofa.

Adopt a Senior Pet

Retirement may not be the best time to bring home a puppy. Contending with house-training and socialization can leave seniors feeling overwhelmed. Older pets can potentially present a more low-maintenance option. It’s likely that a senior pet has already grown accustomed to life at home. Seniors who opt for senior pets not only skip many of the headaches of pet parenthood, but also get the added joy of knowing they’ve helped brighten up a dog’s golden years.