Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Mar 12, 2024 3 min read

For seniors, companionship is an important part of avoiding isolation and keeping energy levels high. Canine companions provide this in spades and can be a great addition to senior living. However, the furry friend of an older adult should fit certain criteria: fairly low-maintenance, small sized and friendly disposition. Read on to see our picks for the best dog breeds for seniors.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Protect your furry friend with Embrace Pet Insurance
Get up to 90% reimbursement on vet bills. Customized coverage is available. Select your state for a free quote.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas

Our top picks for the best dog breeds for seniors

Shih tzus

Getty Images

As stated in our picks for best lazy dog breeds, shih tzus are low-maintenance friendly pets that could fit perfectly into the relaxed pace of senior living. This smaller breed can be a great companion for more sedentary seniors living in small apartments. Keep in mind: they do require regular grooming to maintain their coats healthy and minimize shedding.


Getty Images

Poodles are a great option for seniors with allergies as they are hypoallergenic. They do have professional grooming needs, but their variability in size and adaptability to many different types of living and activity levels make them a perfect fit in most assisted living facilities.


Getty Images

Pugs are adorable small dogs that love to cuddle and participate in playtime activities. Senior citizens will find these low-maintenance, short-coat dogs to be agreeable and trainable. Although they are mostly sedentary, pugs have moderate exercise needs that need to be met in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Yorkshire terriers

Getty Images

Yorkies are high-energy lap dogs that love short walks as much as they love laying around, making them an adaptable companion dog. Dog owners will find yorkies highly intelligent and trainable. Their vociferous nature can also have them serve as excellent watchdogs for older people in need of an increased sense of security or with a diminished sense of hearing.


Getty Images

Pomeranians are smaller dogs with a gentle demeanor that can quickly become a bite-sized best friend. Its small size makes them easy to handle and fit in in any living community. Its silky coat needs regular brushing to maintain, which, combined with their playful demeanor, can help seniors maintain an active lifestyle to keep them healthy and engaged.

Pembroke welsh corgis

Getty Images

If you’re looking for a larger dog, corgis are well-fitted for apartment living despite not being a small breed. Bred for herding, corgis require daily exercise which can help your dog ownership promote a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Corgis are likable, intelligent creatures who are easily trainable and fairly good-natured.

Other picks for dogs for seniors:

  • Cavalier king charles spaniel
  • Bichon frise
  • French bulldog
  • Greyhound
  • Maltese
  • Golden retriever
  • Miniature schnauzer
  • Beagle

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
The best pet deserves the best coverage
Get up to 90% reimbursement on vet bills with Embrace — quality coverage tailored to your pet’s needs. Get a quote now.

Best dogs for seniors FAQs

What is the easiest dog for seniors?

Seniors might be best suited to find a low-maintenance small dog with a short coat and a friendly demeanor. A pug fits this description, although its predisposition to certain medical conditions could make it a bigger responsibility than some older dog owners might prefer. In any case, it is best to pick a dog that is small, friendly and trainable.

Should a 70 year old get a dog?

Dogs can help septuagenarians maintain their physical and mental health by providing companionship, a sense of purpose and an excuse to exercise. This can help both seniors living by themselves as well as those who have moved into living facilities.

What are the calmest dog breeds suitable for senior citizens?

Shih tzus are calm, small dogs that are happy to lie with you all day without making a fuss. They are the right dog for senior citizens with limited mobility or that live a more sedentary, low-energy lifestyle.