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Best Pet Dog Breeds for Seniors

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An older adult man and an older adult woman playing with a French bulldog outside.

The pitter-patter of four-legged friends can bring immeasurable joy and comfort to anyone’s life, but they could be especially amazing for seniors looking for an additional source of love and companionship, whether they live in their family home or a senior community. However, some dog breeds are better suited to the needs and lifestyles of seniors than others. A few of the best dog breeds for seniors include:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Bichon Frise
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pomeranian

You should choose a breed that fits your activity level, living situation, and care capabilities if you’re considering a furry addition to your golden years. For example, some senior living communities may have breed or size restrictions. So, it’s crucial to consider these things when deciding on a new furry friend.

Why Your Choice of Dog Breed Matters

Selecting the right dog breed isn’t always a quick choice. It can be a big lifestyle adjustment. Dogs can enrich a senior’s life in many ways, from providing routine and exercise to easing loneliness and being a watchful presence to those living alone. But different breeds offer different virtues, and thoughtfully considering them is the key to a successful match.

Understanding Your Needs

Seniors often have unique requirements, which vary from person to person. Dog breeds that are often recommended for older individuals typically have some common characteristics, but it’s crucial to align the dog’s traits with your own needs and capabilities, regardless of the “typical dog breeds.”


Older adults lead different lifestyles, from active and outdoorsy to more laid-back and indoors-focused. The ideal breed shouldn’t just fit the current lifestyle but also be flexible enough to adjust as health and activity levels might fluctuate.

Companionship & Care

Companionship is at the heart of choosing a dog for seniors, but it’s not just about being there—certain breeds require more care, grooming, and even training than others. An understanding of the commitment each breed entails is vital. For example, a senior with mobility issues may benefit more from a dog that requires little exercise and is content to sit on their lap.

Top Pet Dog Breeds for Seniors

Not all dog breeds are equal when it comes to companionship for seniors. Some have a natural knack for adapting to the senior living experience, bringing joy, comfort, and wagging tails aplenty. Here are a few that have won the hearts of many seniors.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This regal breed is adored for its gentle, affectionate nature, which is perfectly coupled with low exercise demands. King Charles Spaniels are loyal to the core and thrive on human interaction, making them a cherished companion for those seeking quieter days and warm snuggles.

French Bulldog

Frenchies may not be tiny, but their smaller stature and moderate exercise needs make them a popular choice for seniors. Their adaptability to various living situations, endearing “bat” ears, and easy-going nature have made them a hit with those in their later years.

Bichon Frise

Bichons are a bundle of friendliness wrapped in an irresistibly fluffy coat. They’re easy to train and have a social appetite that makes them fit seamlessly into a senior owner’s life. Plus, their minimal shedding helps keep the home tidy with ease.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu’s distinctive appearance is matched by its delightful personality. They’re content to spend hours in a loving lap and have minimal exercise needs, making them a low-maintenance, yet cheery addition to any senior’s life.


Don’t let the Pom Pom’s size fool you—these little fluff balls have spirited personalities in small packages. Their moderate exercise needs and intelligence make them an excellent choice for seniors with a bit of spunk who enjoy a dog with character.

Key Considerations for Seniors when Choosing a Dog

There are several considerations seniors should keep in mind when searching for the ideal dog. 


A dog’s size can significantly impact your quality of life as a senior. Smaller breeds are generally more manageable, especially for individuals with mobility or strength challenges. But if a senior is very active and has the space, a larger breed may be acceptable and desirable.

Energy Matching

Understanding the energy levels of a breed is paramount. A high-energy breed might not be suitable for a less active senior, but an active senior may prefer a dog who loves going for long walks every day.

A Paw-Some Personality

Temperament varies widely across breeds. Seniors often favor calmer, more affable personalities that are low on the anxiety scale and high on the sociability index. This isn’t to say a more active and playful pup won’t be a good choice. But temperament should be a consideration when searching for a dog.

Grooming Galore

Grooming needs range from minimal to meticulous. Seniors should consider a breed’s coat type, as well as their own capacity for routine brushing, bathing, and potential professional grooming. Allergies could be a consideration for grooming as well. Some dog breeds are more conducive to a sensitive individual.

A group of 5 seniors sit around a breakfast table outside, admiring a small Poodle one of them is holding.

Which Dog Will You Choose?

As you weigh the various dog breeds, it’s essential to consider personal preference and lifestyle alongside the general recommendations for seniors. Remember, the perfect pet should bring out the best in both of you, adding a new page to your life’s story filled with warmth, wagging tails, and endless love. Call our team at The Legacy at Forest Ridge. We’re happy to answer all your questions about bringing your furry friends here. And a community tour can show you or your loved one the quality of life you can expect from a LifeWell Community.

Written by LifeWell

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