Here Are 2020’s Top Dog Breeds For Seniors

Dogs are definitely man’s best friend and having a friendly canine can bring so much joy into your home. People of all ages can benefit from owning their own pet dog including senior members of the family. Dogs can be a loving and loyal companion for senior people especially those who live by themselves. Caring for a dog is also a great way to provide a sense of purpose to older people. While dogs are great pets for older people, it is important to take note that only certain breeds are perfect for senior fur parents. So here is a list of the best dog breeds for seniors.


Who doesn’t know Snoopy? Beagles are very famous dog breeds and they are well-loved for their personality and utility. They have the strongest sense of smell among other types of dogs thus making them excellent for hunting and tracking. In fact, they were bred for such purpose. Although they are bred for hunting, they are very gentle and friendly. They are great for seniors because they are very affectionate, and they do not require excessive physical activities thus making them perfect for seniors who are no longer that physically active.


Greyhounds were bred for their speed and they are often used for racing as they can run 40 miles per hour. While they are fast dogs, they make excellent pets, surprisingly, as they are very gentle and loving thus making them perfect not only for families with younger kids but also senior people. If not running around, they love to laze around the house and are known to be cuddly couch potatoes. They also have a calm comportment and they are never known to bite their human owners out of aggression.


One of the smallest breeds of dogs, Chihuahua makes excellent dogs for seniors. They are very lively and have a lovable personality even if they only weigh 5 pounds. The best thing about owning a Chihuahua is that they are great watchdogs and they require less grooming and minimal exercise. Once they warm up to you, they can become very loyal to their owners but to the point of being aggressive towards other people. They are energetic companions thus making them perfect for seniors who live a fairly active lifestyle.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier is a toy dog breed that is famous for its personality and size. Also called “Yorkies”, they are characterized by only weighing around 7 pounds and for their silky coat. They have a longer lifespan, with some reaching to their 20s. Aside from their small size, they are suitable for seniors because of their affectionate behavior and intelligence. They can be easily trained to perform different kinds of tasks and they also love attention and exercise thus making them perfect for seniors who also need to follow active lifestyles.

Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier is a medium-sized breed of a true terrier. It was bred for hunting thus it is very energetic and independent. They make great pets for seniors as they are very playful and adorable. They are perfect for seniors who are also physically active as they require daily exercise. However, they are not such ideal pets for less-able seniors as their playfulness can be taxing. Their playfulness also makes them quite attractive for grandchildren so if they constantly visit you, this dog will surely entertain your grandchildren.


Pomeranians are very popular breeds because of their small size and a fluffy ruff of hair around their necks. Weighing on average less than 5 pounds, they are cuddly, lovable, and cute but what makes them great pets for seniors is that they are very affectionate and loyal to their owners. They are also alert and intelligent thus they can also serve as a guard or watchdog. As an added bonus, this particular dog breed also requires daily physical activities, so they are perfect for seniors who are also physically active.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an easy-going toy dog that is rapidly gaining popularity. Weighing only 15 pounds and standing 1 foot tall, this dog is very affectionate and adorable. This dog is characterized by having silky or wavy coats in a myriad of colors. What makes them great for seniors is that they are gentle in nature as well as affectionate. They are bred as lap dogs thus making them perfect for seniors who have all the time in the world to lavish this dog breed with attention and affection.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu is the most popular companion dog breeds and they were thought to be bred first in Tibet for such purpose. This particular toy dog breed is famous for its long and straight coat. They are very affectionate and loyal dogs thus making them perfect for seniors. Their affectionate behavior makes them so friendly that they even welcome and allow strangers to pet them. While they look very classy dogs, they are not high maintenance. In fact, they do not require a great deal of exercise thus anyone can take care of them despite their fitness level.

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a cheerful breed of true terriers. This dog is very cheerful and friendly. Its sociable attitude makes it a great dog to walk in the park. They are also very playful and alert thus they love to chase smaller animals. What makes them great dogs for seniors is that they are loyal, but their independent-mindedness can make them likely to take over thus they are perfect for owners who are firm. The downside to this dog, however, is that its hair tends to mat thus they require brushing at least twice a week.


The Maltese has an ancient lineage. This breed was selectively bred for its small size. As a popular dog breed, this dog only weighs 8 pounds and below. They usually come with silky white coats with curls. What makes them great dogs for seniors is that they are very affectionate and lovable. They require less space thus they can live in a small apartment. They also do not require excessive physical activities and they are satisfied with just having a short walk around the neighborhood thus they are great for seniors who are fairly active.

Papillion (Continental Toy Spaniel)

The Papillion is a medium-sized dog breed that is known for its friendly and sociable temperament. This is one of the best dogs to walk around ever! But aside from its friendly nature, this dog is also very intelligent and obedient thus it can be trained properly to perform different types of tasks. Papillions are also very lively and playful and they love to romp outside as part of their daily exercise. They are also very quiet if needed but they do bark if someone enters your home thus making them perfect as guard dogs.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier originated from the United Kingdom and it was bred to help hunters. This multi-talented dog participates in different activities such as guarding, earthdog, tracking, and hunting. This dog is very affectionate, loving, and loyal to their owners. They are also very sociable thus they don’t have any problems with other people petting them. In fact, they love the attention! But aside from these notable characteristics, what makes them great for seniors is that they are very intelligent thus they can be trained to do many tasks thereby making them dependable.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds. They are not only perfect for children but even for the elderly. They may be fairly large, but they are very lovable and intelligent dog breeds. What makes them perfect for seniors is that they can be easily trained to behave properly and provide assistance for the disabled. Because they are large and inherently playful, Golden Retrievers require a great deal of exercise thus it is great for seniors who also want to stay in shape as they can take them for walks every day.


Pugs are a very adaptive breed.  They have charming personalities and are always eager to please.  They are very affectionate and loving, as well as very playful.  Pugs do not require a lot of exercise, like some breeds, to maintain a healthy balance.  Because of their small stature, they tend to lean towards being lap dogs.  Their sweet personalities can often lead to being a little on the mischevious side.  If living in warmer climates it is best to keep in mind that this breed does tend to shed quite a bit.


Schnauzers are available in many sizes, from micro to standard, with the miniature version being the most popular.  They very easy to train which is why they are a good house dog.  Schnauzers are very eager to please and quickly become a part of the family.  They are also very energetic and playful, and the AKC makes note that they are considered a medium energy level canine.  This breed is also great with children, so when the grandkids come to visit, they will have a playmate.  Along with all these traits, keep in mind that Schnauzers have a strong guarding instinct.  They are very loyal, and protective which is why they are one of the preferred breeds for seniors.

Image: Pets4Life

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker spaniel tend to run, in general, in the medium-sized range as far as canines go.  This breed has been enjoying a very strong ongoing popularity for quite a while.  They are known for there even temperaments.  They exhibit strong traits, that one would want in a canine companion, of being happy, affectionate, loyal, and oh so charming.  On the flip side, they do tend to lean towards being energetic little bundles.  So, you may need to set aside some play time or walks throughout the day.  Cocker spaniels also require a little more time when it comes to grooming and upkeep of their furry coats.

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Boston Terrier

This breed of terrier has been a favorite amongst seniors for decades.  When considering a new pet, the Boston Terrier usually springs to mind.  They are known as a fairly easy to manage breed, with very friendly turned personalities.  There is little to no grooming required for them, as their coats are and remain short, which make them easy to care for.  Bostons love spending time with their family members, loving nothing more than to curl up with them on a sofa, or in bed.  Bostons are admittedly a happy go lucky breed that can very playful, but they are ever attentive to their owner’s needs.


Ranging in sizes from standard to miniature, there is sure to be a poodle out there for almost anyone.  According to the AKC, the poodle breed is a very smart as well as proud breed.  They are also somewhat active in most cases.  With all this said, it is no wonder that the poodle is the 7th most popular breed over all the breeds listed here.  They are one of the easier to train breeds and enjoy just about any activity as long as it is enjoyed by its family.  Although their costs do require regular grooming, they have hair, not fur, with makes them hypo-allergenic to boot.

Image: Palmer Animal Hospital


One of the less known breeds, and more often overlooked as a possible breed for seniors.  However, the Skip (as they are referred to) may be a small breed, but it is nonetheless a sturdy one.  It has an easy to care for coat which results in little fuss or muss.  And who can resist those shoe-button eyes with their constant look of “what next?”  This breed is pretty much up to anything—and that means anything.  They would just as home kayaking as lounging on a sailboat.  Their love of water-based activities makes sense, being that the breed was originally developed for an onboard living, as a ship’s ratter from Belgium.

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Chinese Crested

This little dog is often known for its rather unorthodox appearance.  Looking like it is losing its hair in patches has resulted in many referring to it as an “ugly” breed.  However, what the crested loses in hair, it makes up for in many other areas.  Many seniors live in small apartments which makes this breed a perfect choice.  They are right at home in small living spaces, as they are highly adaptable.  The breed also thrives on any and all forms of human companionship.  They will continually entertainment you with their cat-like tendencies, as well as their love for sitting in higher places.

West Highland White Terrier

This breed is great with seniors on the go.  They are small in stature, but up to the challenge of sharing an active lifestyle with its owner.  This breed is known to typically weigh in between thirteen and twenty pounds when fully grown.  Which aids in the fact that they are not near at all as fragile as some of the other breeds listed.  However, they are still of a good size for you to handle them quite easily.   Although it is trued that the Westie does need somewhat regular grooming, there is also the advantage that there is no need for frequent haircuts as are needed with most other breeds.

Image: Hypoallergenic Paws

Scottish Terriers

It is pretty well established that most of the breed in the terrier line is a great choice for seniors.  And the Scottish terrier is no exception.  Bred in well, Scotland, they were originally engineered to keep rats and vermin at bay.  Over the centuries they have taken on a more specific role of the family companion.  They love children and are for the most part great with other breeds.  They have the advantage that they are one of the low-shedding breeds, which means they do not require a lot of grooming and will not up your vacuuming schedule.  Many owners of this breed keep them cut in the traditional manner of most pictures, which is not necessary.  It is, however, best to keep in mind that their coat can get quite bushy, quite fast if not groomed.

Image: Mental Floss


If you prefer a breed larger in stature, you might want to consider the Otterhound.  This breed may be the perfect choice for those with a more active lifestyle.  The breed commonly reaches a maximum weight of roughly fifty pounds, give or take.  The Otterhound is a very independent breed, but also very friendly.  They have an on the average life expectancy of approximately twelve years.  A very affectionate as well as alert breed, they love all activities especially water-based ones like swimming.  With its water-repellent coat and webbed toes, this breed is at home in the water as on land.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a favorite dog breed of Queen Elizabeth II. It is a small breed of dog with a foxlike appearance and short stout body. This type of dog breed is small and very affectionate thus making them excellent companions for seniors. They were originally bred to herd sheep thus they are very intelligent. Their intelligence makes it very easy to train the Pembroke Welsh Corgis to do different tasks. They also require regular exercise thus making them great dogs for seniors as they can also be more active by walking their dog every day.


Havanese are small yet sturdy dogs. Aside from being popular dogs for families, they are also great for senior people because of their small size. This dog breed is very loyal and sociable. They also love to be petted most of the time. As they are one of the smartest toy dogs there is, they can also be trained to perform different tasks. Havanese dogs do not fare well especially when they are left alone for a long time thus making them perfect companions for retired people. The downside, however, is that their coat requires constant combing and grooming but this shouldn’t be difficult for senior people as they have time to groom their dog.

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a small breed of dog known to shed too much as well as drool. So, what makes them great pets for seniors? Because of their small size, they are great with small spaces and they also do not bark very loudly. French Bulldogs are also very lovable and friendly. They adore human contact and they are extremely gentle thus making them perfect for children as well. They can also be trained to do many things as it is an intelligent dog breed.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso originated from Tibet and was trained to become the watchdogs of Buddhist temples. Touted as holy dogs, the Lhasa Apso is very attentive and intelligent. They are perfect for seniors because of their strong sense of loyalty. Although it takes time for them to develop a bond with their human parents, they can be extremely loyal and protective once their owners have gained their trust. Lastly, Lhasa Apso is known to have the longest lifespan in the canine family, with some extending to 20 years old.

Bassett Hound

Considered by some as one of the dumbest breeds around, to the contrary Bassetts are actually relatively intelligent.  Those that say they lack intelligence are quick to admit that they make up for it in their overall attitude.  Known for its laid-back calm, this breed just goes with the flow.   Being lazy is their very nature, and as a result, this breed is the perfect companion for those who like to stay in.  Because of their highly honed senses, this breed makes for the perfect watch dog.  They do require a little extra effort to train, but in the end, you will feel it was all worthwhile.

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Shar Pei

If you are older and feel that the typical lap dog is highly overrated, or you just aren’t in the market for a lap dog, than this is the perfect breed for you.  With a medium-sized stature, this breed is one of the easiest to train, as well as housebreaking.  To say they absolutely dislike any and all strangers is an understatement, and as result would make the perfect watch dog.  Having a truly independent nature, Shar Pei’s adjust well to owners who are gone for long periods of time.   However, if you like taking walks or just getting out a lot, the Shar-Pei is a great companion for that as well. With their short, almost minimal hair, grooming of this breed is a minimum.

Labrador Retriever

Another breed that is highly intelligent and train very fast, Labradors are currently one of the most popular breeds in America.  They are full of energy and love to run.  If you are in the mind of a game of fetch, they make the perfect playmate.  They are great with children and are gentle and loving.  They like nothing more than time spent with their owner, whether it is on a brisk walk, or simply lounging on the sofa watching a movie.  For this reason alone, they make the best of companions for seniors.  They are readily available and easy to find.  Plus, they will not make a big dent in your pocketbook.

Image: The Labrador Retriever


When asked to describe this particular breed, some of the adjectives used may be curious, loving, intelligent and oh so comical.  Originally bred to be hunters, both above and below ground, they have a strong prey drive that isn’t usually seen in the smaller breed such as this.  They have a tendency to dig, a lot, and once they set to a task, they are fierce in their devotion.  Overall, they are a sturdy breed, but they are very prone, due to their length, have problems with their backs at some point.  That is why caution is advised when you are carrying or holding them.  They should never be allowed to jump off furniture for this very reason.

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Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is an adorable small dog that is very popular among seniors. Although they have long hair, their curls rarely shed so you don’t need to pick up after them. Because they rarely shed, they are perfect for people who suffer from allergies. They are also playful and affectionate thus making them not only great for seniors but also for small children. So, if you ever invite your grandchildren and friends, this dog will surely entertain them. Lastly, they require an adequate amount of exercise thus making them great for seniors who are active.


The ancients of millennia ago considered this been the most sacred of all, almost like royalty.  They have been called independent, dignified and stubborn and have no problem at all with that description.  Their appearance brings to mind that of a lion, with their broad head, wrinkled muzzle and wide mane of fur around their necks.  This is assuredly where they get their nicknames of the lion dog of Imperial China.    With the combination of smarts and fearlessness, they make the ideal companion.  However, it should be noted that this breed does have a tendency to be difficult to train.

Image: Pet Health Network


With a medium-sized stature, this breed is one of the easiest to housetrain.  They absolutely dislike any and all strangers, and as result would make the perfect watch dog.  Having a truly independent nature, Shar Pei’s adjust well to owners who are gone for long periods of time.  With their short, almost minimal hair, grooming of this breed is a minimum. With their dark round eyes, black button nose, drop ears and fluffy white coat, at first glance these little sweeties would put you in mind of a stuffed toy.  They have a perfect personality, that of being known to be calm, very playful, and totally devoted by nature.   Although this breed is everything a senior would want, wrapped up into one little ball of fur, they are very hard to find.  As a result of being so rare, they can be kind of expensive to purchase.  The Bolo, as they are called by most owners, is an easy-going breed that thrives to please their people and whose devotion is matched by none.

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