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30 Of The Best Dog Breeds For Seniors

30 Of The Best Dog Breeds For Seniors

Culture

Having a dog as a companion is a rewarding experience, but finding the right dog for you can be difficult. Here’s a list of dog breeds that typically make great companions for seniors. Keep in mind that each dog has a mind and personality of its own, so don’t be offended if your furry friend didn’t make the list.

Cocker spaniel

The friendly cocker spaniel is a favorite companion of seniors. Their floppy ears and sunny disposition have made them one of the most popular dog breeds for families. These dogs are equally as happy to snuggle up on the couch as they are to chase sticks in the backyard.

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Despite their high energy level, cocker spaniels adapt well to life in an apartment, as long as you’re there to keep them company most of the time. These dogs do require quite a bit of grooming and tend to shed, so prepare yourself if you decide to adopt a cocker spaniel.

Schipperke

This fox-like little guy or girl is a good choice for seniors who love to stay active. They’ve got plenty of energy without being overbearing, are super affectionate and curious, and stay pretty small, making them ideal for small apartments — the average weight of a schipperke is between 12 and 18 pounds, and they grow up to 13 inches tall.

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The schipperke is characterized by its thick (usually black) fur, small black eyes, and pointy ears. The one possible downside of these cute, nimble creatures is that they may require some extra training, so keep that in mind if you’re considering adopting a schipperke. 

Bulldog

If you don’t mind snorting and slobbery kisses, consider getting a bulldog. These hefty beasts are incredibly friendly, great with kids, and don’t require too much exercise. They can get pretty heavy (their average weight is between 40 and 55 pounds), but stay fairly short. With that smile, how can you say no?

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These dogs love a good play and belly rubs, but do well in small apartments and cities — just make sure you keep it cool, since they’re not big fans of the heat. One downside to adopting a bulldog is their relatively short lifespan when compared to some of the other dogs on this list.

Miniature schnauzer

With their signature walrus mustache, these friendly, obedient dogs have a wise look about them. Indeed, they are said to be one of the smarter dog breeds. They weigh in at 11-20 pounds and stand between 12 and 14 inches tall, making them ideal for city life in small apartments.

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They are incredibly friendly and loyal, but they do require a fair amount of exercise and play. If you enjoy getting out and about with an energetic dog that will make you laugh and follow you around enthusiastically — the miniature schnauzer is the perfect dog for you and your family.

Lhasa apso

This silky Tibetan breed is a great option for seniors for a variety of reasons. They don’t shed much, their small size makes them easy to handle and adaptable to apartment living, and they’re incredibly sweet and loving without requiring too much attention.

Lhasa Apso, small dog, lap dog, dogs for seniors

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Lhasa apsos love sitting in your lap and playing with you, but won’t tear your home to shreds if you need to step out for a few hours. On the downside, these dogs do require quite a bit of brushing and grooming to keep their coats from matting up, and these pups have a tendency to bark and howl.

Brussels griffon

These little dogs deserve to have their picture in the dictionary next to the word “lapdog.” Once bred to hunt and kill rats, these dogs are perfectly happy to cozy up with their human companion on the couch. The Brussels griffon is small in stature, weighing in at a whopping 12 pounds, and standing tall at 11 inches.

Brussels Griffon, little dog, lap dog, dogs for seniors

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These bearded dogs have plenty of personality, confidence, and energy. They are fairly easy to train, but they tend to prefer the company of adults over kids — so keep that in mind if you have rambunctious young children running around the house.

Labrador retriever

Labs have a reputation for being friendly, loyal, loving dogs for good reason. Of course, you’ll need the space and energy to take care of them. But if you do, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better companion. Their loyal, hardworking nature makes them a favorite breed for rescue and assistance purposes. 

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Labradors gained popularity as a fishermen’s companions since they could be trained to fetch ropes and haul nets. These dogs have the added bonus of being great guard dogs and will warn you of any potential intruders (and approaching mail couriers). Labs are fairly large dogs, so they only make sense to adopt if you’re able to handle them.

West Highland white terrier

There’s never a dull moment with one of these spunky dogs around. The confident “Westie” is a playful breed that loves to show off. These terriers are great family dogs and respond well to life in the city. Their small size means they don’t need tons of space to roam around, but they will need daily walks.

West Highland White Terrier. little dog, dog for seniors

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The Westie typically maxes out at 22 pounds and stands about 10 inches tall. These playful dogs are great with kids and inexperienced dog owners. One drawback is the Westie requires a fair amount of grooming — otherwise their fur ends up a matted mess.

Pomeranian

These balls of fluff are sure to bring a smile to your face. These small dogs are ideal for apartment life as they don’t need too much space and are perfectly happy to spend most of their downtime cuddling. Known for their puffy fur, bug eyes, and fox-like faces, the Pomeranian is a great family friend.

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Pomeranians tend to be a bit talkative, but they’re generally easy to train. They don’t require a ton of exercise — daily walks and a bit of play and the average Pomeranian will be more than happy. However, they do tend to shed a fair amount, which may be a downside for some potential dog owners.

Scottish terrier

These gruff-looking pups are full of love. The “Scottie” is a stubborn, strong-willed breed that can be tricky to train, but they’re incredibly sociable dogs that love making friends. The Scottish terrier was originally bred to hunt foxes and badgers, and therefore developed remarkable intelligence and independence.

Scottish Terrier, small dogs, good breeds for seniors

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The short-legged Scottie stands at only 11 inches high and weighs up to 22 pounds, making them great for apartment living, provided they get a short walk daily. Consider adopting a Scottish terrier if you’re an experienced dog owner with the patience required to train these independent-minded beasts. For those willing to put in the effort, owning a Scottie is an incredibly rewarding experience.

Maltese

Another dog whose name should be synonymous with lapdog, the Maltese is a great friendly companion for seniors and families. They stay small enough to comfortably perch on your lap no matter where you go. Despite their noble, elegant appearance, Maltese are surprisingly agile when it’s time to move.

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One of the smallest dogs on this list, Maltese typically get no bigger than 7 pounds, making them remarkably easy to handle. Their coat does require a bit of maintenance, but they hardly shed their hypoallergenic fur. It’s hard to say no to those sweet eyes, but make sure you watch their weight, as they can easily become obese on the wrong diet.

Greyhound

You may be surprised to see this dog end up on this list — this racing dog is built for speed. Despite their ability to run up to 45 miles per hour, these dogs have a sweet disposition and a mellow side. While they’ll enjoy the occasional run, most greyhounds are happy to lounge with you on the couch.

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Their short hair makes shedding almost a nonissue, and their trainability and friendly demeanor make them a favorite among children and adults alike. While greyhounds are light for their size, their weight (between 55 and 80 pounds) may make them a little difficult to handle.

Shih tzu

This pretty dog has tons of personality packed in a small package. Its luxurious coat requires some maintenance, but their loving, playful, and mischievous nature makes it well worth the trouble. Bred to spend their days in royal palaces, the shih tzu is content to curl up in your lap and get pampered.

Shih Tzu, lap dog, little dog, dogs for seniors

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Never bred for sport or hunting, the shih tzu is the ideal companion to relax and watch TV with. The shih tzu was originally bred and gifted from Tibetans to Chinese emperors back in the seventh century. If you feel like having some royalty in your home, consider adopting one of these lovely dogs.

Dachshund

Dubbed the “wiener dog” because of their long torsos and stubby legs, the dachshund is one of the most popular dog breeds among seniors and families. Originally bred to hunt badgers and gophers (their thin frame and stubby legs allow them to fit in tight spaces), the dachshund is now perfectly happy to chase tennis balls around your apartment.

Dachshund, small dog, dogs for seniors

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Dachshunds stay pretty small — usually between 16 and 33 pounds — making them easy to handle, and they respond well to life in small areas. Miniature dachshunds are even smaller, maxing out at 11 pounds. They also don’t require too much grooming, especially the short-haired breeds.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

This kingly spaniel is a favorite among seniors, and for good reason: They’re easy to train, small enough to handle with little difficulty, and adorable to cuddle with. They require a fair bit of grooming, including daily brushing, regular ear cleanings, and even the occasional trip to the groomer.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, small dog, dog breeds for seniors

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The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is characterized by their long, floppy ears, big eyes, and long silky fur. Expert tail-waggers, these dogs are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. They prefer the indoors, which makes them ideal for life in an apartment. Resist the urge to feed them people-food, as they have a tendency to overeat. 

Boston terrier

These little dogs are full of joy and love to spread the feeling to everyone they encounter. They’re energetic and intelligent, which means they love playtime and walks but also are fairly easy to train. They’re great with kids and other dogs — which is awesome for trips to the dog park or visiting family.

Boston Terrier, small dog, playful dog, dog breeds for seniors

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Believe it or not, these happy dogs were once bred for fighting. Don’t let their history fool you, however; you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog more affectionate and friendly than a Boston terrier. They also don’t shed much and require little grooming, and their small size makes them easy to handle.

Basset hound

These floppy-eared beasts are great at sniffing out hares, which made them the ideal hunting companion. Now, they mostly make for good cuddling companions. Their energy level is on the low side, making them a great match for senior dog owners. However, this means you’ll have to watch their weight, and sometimes get them moving so they don’t become obese.

Basset Hound, dogs for seniors, lap dog

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Their short fur means they don’t require too much grooming and you won’t have to stress about them shedding all over the place. Basset hounds’ wrinkly brows sometimes give them a sad, mopey look, but really they’re friendly, happy companions. These pack animals love to be with their family and have been known to bark loudly and act out when left alone for extended periods.

Havanese

These compact creatures were bred for luxury, and spent lots of time in the laps of Cuban aristocrats in the 1800s. They’ve been dubbed the “Velcro dog,” since they love to lounge in their owners’ laps. The Havanese is friendly and loving to everyone, but they reserve a special place in their hearts for their family.

Havanese, dog, small dog, dog breeds for seniors

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Easy to train, these small dogs make great companions for first-time dog owners. They don’t shed too much and have a hypoallergenic coat, which will require quite a bit of grooming. Havanese don’t need too much exercise, however they love to play and don’t like being left home alone.

French bulldog

Affectionately dubbed the “Frenchie,” these perky-eared pups are one of the most beloved breeds around the world. Known for their cute, stocky frame and cheerful demeanor, the French bulldog makes a great, loving companion. These dogs are energetic but have little stamina, making short bursts of exercise ideal.

French bulldog, small dog, dog breeds for seniors

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While these dogs have a lot of things going for them — looks, personality, and intelligence — they’ve also got a few drawbacks to consider. They’re susceptible to overheating, skin conditions, and respiratory issues. So if you choose to adopt a Frenchie, make sure you keep their environment cool and keep them well groomed.

Bichon frise

These fluffy white dogs make great companions for seniors. The bichon frise is hypoallergenic and hardly sheds, though they do require regular grooming to keep their beautiful fur coats from getting matted. While they have a ton of energy, they’re easy to train and love cuddling up to their owners.

Bichon Frise, lap dog, small dog, dogs for seniors

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Bichons only weigh between 6 and 11 pounds, which makes them ideal for apartment life and seniors. Their puffy white fur gives them an appearance similar to a stuffed animal, making them a favorite among children as well. The bichon frise is a mischievous, feisty breed with tons of affection to give. 

Pug

What lovely, fun pups to be around. These little dogs have a ton of love to give, and good humor in spades. Their short fur makes them easy to groom and they adapt well to small living spaces, other animals, and practically everyone they come across. In line with their sociable nature, pugs don’t like to be left alone too long.

Pug, small dogs, apartment dogs, lap dog

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Supposedly, the pug’s name comes from the Latin word pugnus, which translates to “fist.” This is because their scrunched face seems to resemble a human fist. The pug does tend to shed quite a bit, making them a problem for people with allergies. They’re also prone to a variety of serious health conditions, so be prepared to make lots of trips to the vet.

Japanese Chin

Sometimes called Japanese spaniels, these small, silky pups were the companions of Japanese nobles in centuries past. Now, they’re perfectly content to perch on your lap as you sit on the couch. While the Japanese Chin was bred for companionship rather than to work, they’ve been known to display remarkable agility.

Japanese Chin, Japanese Spaniel, small dog, apartment dog

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Despite their luxurious coats, the Japanese Chin needs less grooming than you might expect — most owners can get away with brushing their dogs just once a week. They don’t need a ton of exercise, but they can be a little tricky to housebreak at first. While naturally shy and aloof around strangers, the Japanese Chin is incredibly loyal and loving toward his or her family.

Poodle

These dogs are one of the most popular breeds for good reason — they’re incredibly loyal, good with kids, and they hardly shed, making them a great choice for families and people with allergies. The poodle has a reputation as a luxury dog, but believe it or not, they were originally bred to work!

Poodle, apartment dogs, lap dog, good dogs for seniors

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These dogs come in three sizes — toy, miniature, and standard. While all seem to do well in apartments, smaller dogs adapt better if you have limited space. Great around kids, other dogs, and strangers, it’s hard to find fault with the poodle. Perhaps their only downside is that they don’t like to be left alone.

Yorkshire terrier

Of course the beloved “Yorkie” would make this list! These dogs make great loving, playful companions for seniors who enjoy getting out and about. Their tiny size makes them great for apartment living — adult Yorkies typically weigh 7 pounds or less.

Yorkshire Terrier, Yorkie, small dog, dog breeds for seniors

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The confident Yorkshire terrier is no stranger to mischief and play, and many people describe them as big dogs in a small package. While they’re affectionate with their families, these dogs can be wary of kids, strangers, and other dogs, which is an important thing to consider before you adopt. They also need a fair amount of exercise and play to keep them happy.

Beagle

Beagles have a reputation for being loud troublemakers — while that’s true to a degree, they still have some incredible qualities that make them a great match for seniors and families. They’re sweet, affectionate, and loyal dogs that love a good cuddle and play. Beagles are great with kids, strangers, and fellow canines.

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Basically, the problem with beagles boils down to how difficult they are to train. A beagle requires tons of patience and attention, otherwise he or she will run your household! If you are willing to put in the work, however, the beagle makes for a great companion.

Bolognese

Another member of the bichon family, these small, fluffy white dogs are easily trained and perfectly suited to living in an apartment. These outgoing dogs are friendly toward practically everybody and love nothing more than to cuddle up to their owners.

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While the Bolognese is intelligent and will learn commands with ease, they tend to be a little difficult to housebreak. They’re also smart enough to be cunning and a little manipulative when it comes to getting their way, but that’s all part of their charm. Bolognese hardly shed their hypoallergenic fur, which means you’ll have to stay on top of brushing and grooming them.

Goldendoodle

If you would enjoy going outside and having a good play with your loving, furry companion, then look no further. Bred from two of the most popular dog breeds (the golden retriever and poodle), the goldendoodle is one of the sweetest, smartest, and most loyal dogs you can find.

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Most people with allergies seem to do well with this breed since shedding is minimal. However, their heavy coat does require a fair bit of grooming to keep from getting matted. They also love open spaces and will need plenty of room to roam and lots of play, so they are less than ideal for life in an apartment.

Chihuahua

This dog may be tiny, but it packs a lot of personality in that small frame. Incredibly loyal, these minuscule dogs actually make great guard dogs. Chihuahuas love to play and have a fair amount of energy, but they do not require too much exercise or space to roam around, making them ideal for life in an apartment.

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Chihuahuas also have the added benefit of hardly shedding and requiring little grooming (even the long-haired breeds). While most Chihuahuas are friendly with kids and family, they tend to gravitate toward one person more than others and can be wary of strangers. If you have kids in your home, it’s important they learn to handle the little dog with care, as the small dog can be fragile and susceptible to injury. Their small size allows them to squeeze through small holes, so make sure your house is escape-proof before you bring a Chihuahua home.

Pembroke Welsh corgi

Eager to please, these stocky, stubby-legged dogs are among the friendliest and most sociable of dog breeds. There are two types of Welsh corgis: Pembroke and Cardigan. Both make great companions — similar in looks, intelligence, and personality — but the Pembroke is a bit lighter, making them a slightly better match for seniors.

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Corgis tend to be highly motivated by food, which makes them easy to train, but also vulnerable to overeating, so that’s something you’ll need to stay on top of. While corgis typically love kids, they were bred to herd and sometimes have the habit of nipping at heels during play. 

Chinese crested

Certainly one of the most unique-looking dogs on this list, the Chinese crested makes a great match for less-than-active seniors because of their low intensity and energy level. Despite their mellow nature, the Chinese crested loves to play and loves to interact with kids and other dogs, though they’re often wary of strangers until they have the chance to make friends.

Tilly a Chinese Crested waits to go in the ring on third day of the 103rd Crufts dog show on March 11, 2006 in Birmingham, England. Over 23,000 top pedigree dogs from around the world are competing in over 2,000 individual classes for the prestigious title of "Best In Show" the pinnacle of any dog and owners career. Crufts was founded in 1891 and is the most prestigious and largest dog show in the world.

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There are two different variations of the Chinese crested breed: hairless and the rarer Powderpuff. Both versions are amiable, tiny, and obedient, though they require frequent bathing to stave off skin conditions, and do not do well in cold climates.