6 Best Dogs for Senior Citizens

Who says dog ownership is just for the young and active? There are plenty of dog breeds out there for seniors, from French Bulldogs to Shih Tzus.

Mar 11, 2024By Nikita Hillier
best dogs for senior citizens

Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t just companions for young people and families. In fact, they can be incredibly beneficial for senior citizens looking for some companionship. However, not every senior can go for daily walks or afford expensive grooming. Thankfully, there are options.

Here, we’ll examine the qualities that make certain breeds more suited to senior citizens and how the right dog can make a huge difference. Dog breeds like Shih Tzus, Pugs, French Bulldogs, and even senior dogs themselves make great companions.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel dog standing
Image Credit: Britannica

The amazing Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a super companion for seniors due to its gentle nature and calm demeanor. They are extremely affectionate and provide beautiful companionship without needing huge activity requirements. As a small dog breed, they are a manageable size, making them perfect for cuddles.

If you’re seeking a loyal and loving friend, this breed is perfect. Here are some fast facts about this toy dog breed:

  • Height: 12 to 13 inches
  • Weight: 12 to 18 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Various colors, including blenheim, tricolor, and ruby
  • Life Expectancy: 9 to 14 years

5. French Bulldog

lilac french bulldog staring at camera
Image Credit: Wild Earth

French Bulldogs have long been known for their affectionate nature and transportable, compact size. They make excellent companions for seniors living in small spaces (like apartments) with low activity levels. These dogs require very little exercise and are very content just lounging around indoors all day.

These super cute canines have a spirited personality without too much energy, making them joyful to have around. If someone needs their spirit lifted, these little dogs are like pure magic. Here are some statistics:

  • Height: 11 to 12 inches
  • Weight: Under 28 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Various colors, including fawn, brindle, white, cream, and pied
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

4. Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog standing on stairs
Image Credit: Britannica

The Bichon Frise is a very small and adaptable dog breed with a friendly demeanor, making it an amazing choice for seniors looking for companionship. These dogs are very minimal shedders and love living indoors where they can relax and sleep for most of the day. Bichons can bring so much joy to a household and provide beautiful companionship for seniors looking for a low-fuss canine companion.

Some facts include:

  • Height: 9 to 11 inches
  • Weight: 12 to 18 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Most commonly white, but can be shades of cream or apricot
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

3. Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog inside looking at camera
Image Credit: The Spruce Pets

Shih Tzus are a small dog breed hailing from Tibet. These dogs are known for having a beautifully sweet, even temperament, and adaptable nature. They are very popular dogs for seniors due to their small size and very moderate exercise needs. With a long, stunning coat that requires regular grooming, seniors can enjoy bonding with their dog while meeting their grooming needs.

Shih Tzus offer great companionship and provide a sense of purpose with their daily care routines. This breed is great for seniors who need something to do, but only want to do something small. These dogs boast these stats:

  • Height: 9 to 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Various colors, including back, white, gold, liver, blue, and brindle
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 16 years

2. Pug

cute pug laying on blanket inside
Image Credit: The Farmer’s Dog

Pugs are an endearing brachycephalic breed with a big personality. They’re well-loved for their low-maintenance grooming and activity requirements. Don’t be fooled by the grumpy face; these dogs are little comedians, making them the ideal companion for seniors who enjoy some light-hearted fun and laughter. These little dogs bring so much joy into the homes of everyone!

Some facts include:

  • Height: 10 to 13 inches
  • Weight: 14 to 18 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Fawn or black
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

1. Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel dog standing in flower field
Image Credit: Britannica

Cocker Spaniels, with their gorgeous, loving natures and moderate energy levels, make absolutely fantastic companions for seniors. They are super adaptable, making them great for various living environments. Their manageable size ensures a fulfilling relationship without any physical strain.

They boast:

  • Height: 13.5 to 15.5 inches
  • Weight: 14 to 18 pounds
  • Coat Colors: Various colors, including liver, solid black, or parti-color
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

Things to Consider When Adopting a Dog

man in plaid shirt cuddling little dog
Image Credit: MarketWatch

There are some things you must consider if you’re a senior who wants to bring a new dog home. When deciding which breed meets your or a loved one’s needs, consider a dog’s:

  • Energy levels: Seniors may prefer to own a breed that has low to moderate energy levels to match their activity levels. Low-energy dogs can be much more content in the home of a senior who can provide short walks or minor indoor play.
  • Size and manageability: Smaller breeds are often much more manageable for seniors, especially those living in small apartments or homes. A smaller dog is much easier to care for and handle, with less physical strain.
  • Temperament: Some dogs have calmer dispositions than others. For instance, a high-energy Husky would be a poor choice for a senior with limited mobility. Yet, the ever-accommodating Italian Greyhound might be easier to handle.
  • Grooming needs: Some seniors love spending hours grooming their dogs, selecting just the right brush, and dressing them up in outfits. Other seniors want dogs that are low-shedders and don’t need baths.

There’s a Dog for Everyone

woman in scarf looking lovingly at beagle
Image Credit: Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital

Regardless of your age, choosing the perfect canine companion comes with many considerations, including a dog’s energy levels, size, grooming needs, and temperament. The breeds mentioned above offer a lot of great qualities that align with the needs of seniors. But remember! Even a dog not listed here could make a great choice.

Nikita Hillier
By Nikita Hillier

Nikita is a huge animal lover who has grown up on a farm with many different animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cows! She has a lot of experience in the equine industry and is even in the process of studying for an internationally accredited Equine Sports Massage Certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her beloved animals!