Best Dogs for Seniors? Guide to Picking a Dog

Best Dogs for Seniors

Are you a senior or have a senior family member and thinking about getting a dog? Then I am sure you may be wondering what is the best dog for seniors.

Dog sitting by bench looking up at senior women

While I have covered a few other posts about best dog breeds and best dog breeds for kids, this time I am going to cover best dog breeds for seniors.

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While one breed may be great for adults or kids, it may not be the best fit for seniors or older adults. Asking the question “what dog should I get” is a good place to start. 

Best dog breed for seniors?

Before we talk about the different breeds, let’s talk about the two biggest questions that are asked when it comes to dogs and seniors.

  • Should a senior citizen get a dog?
  • Are pets good for senior citizens?

Should a senior citizen get a dog?

Let’s start with the first question, should a senior citizen get a dog? Like with any other consideration of a dog, it depends on the person. It also depends on where the person lives.

I mean if the senior lives in a nursing home, then getting a dog is not an option. However, that does not mean they can not enjoy a dog.

In this case, you would want to look into having a therapy dog visit them in the nursing home. If that is not available in your area, people have been having great results from lifelike dogs too.

But if they are on their own or live with the family, then a dog can be a great companion. Having a dog has also been shown to help improve some health conditions too.

Health benefits of pets for seniors

The short answer is, yes!

Pets are good for everyone including seniors. As I said above, it has been shown that having a dog or pet can help improve some health conditions. Such as depression, anxiety, lower blood pressure, and a few others.

That is due to a few reasons. First, having to care for something other than themselves, helps them to feel needed. Also, having a pet around helps to keep away the feeling of being lonely that life can bring when you start to slow down.

When you talk to a dog or pet them, it helps to calm and relax you. Being relaxed helps to lower high blood pressure.

Best Small Dogs For Seniors

So let’s get into the best dog breeds for seniors. We are going to start with the smaller breeds first.

Bichon Frise:

The Bichon Frise only gets to be about 12 inches tall and can weigh up to 12-18 pounds. They have a white fluffy coat that feels velvety to the touch. This breed is allergy-friendly. They are normally lovers, not fighters meaning they get along well with other dogs and people.

Cocker Spaniel:

Cocker Spaniels weigh in at 20-30 pounds and get to be about 15 inches in height. They are smart, gentle, and happy dogs. They have long ears covered in silky fur. Their coat comes in a variety of colors.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi:

Pembroke Welsh Corgi is gaining popularity. They are short stout little dogs getting to only be about 12 inches tall. They can weigh up to 30 pounds. This breed is alert, smart, and affectionate.


Pugs normally get to be about 15-18 pounds and about 13 inches tall. They have a short coat making it easy to brush but they do shed. Their coat comes in a few colors such as black, silver, and fawn. They do like to eat so you have to watch their diet so they do not get overweight.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are graceful, gentle, and affectionate. They are adorable with their big puppy dog eyes. They get to be about 13 inches tall and about 13 – 18 pounds. Their coat is smooth and silky and comes in a few different mixed colors.

More Best Small Breed Dogs for Seniors


Maltese tend to be toy-size breeds as they normally only get up to 7 pounds and are up to 9 inches tall. They have a long silky floor-length coat but have low shedding.

Yorkshire Terrier:

Yorkies are another really small dog but it thinks it is a large one. They only get to be about 7 pounds and about 8 inches tall. They have a floor-length silky coat that is a bluish color with tan markings. Yorkies are brave, feisty, and can sometimes be a little bossy.

These are a dog that is better for an allergy sufferer too. Along with a few others on this list, the Yorkie made our list of Hypoallergenic Dogs.


Beagles rank pretty high on the breed popularity list coming in at number 6. They can be as tall as 15 inches but normally are around the 13-inch mark. Beagles usually weigh up to 20 pounds. They have a short coat that comes in colors like tricolors like brown, lemon, red, and white. These dogs are curious, clever, and loyal.

Shih Tzu:

A Shih Tzu is not only cute they are playful, outgoing, and affectionate. They typically weigh about 9-16 pounds and get to be about 10 inches tall. Some have a hard time with their name but it is pronounced “sheet-su”. They have a long coat that comes in different colors. They are happy to sit on your lap and just lounge on the couch with you.

Best large breed dogs for seniors


While the poodle can come in smaller sizes such as miniature or toy, the standard size poodle makes my list of best dog breeds for seniors. They are a little less snippy than the smaller ones. They have a curly coat that is low-allergen and come in colors of black, gray, white, or apricot. The standard-size poodle gets to be about 40-70 pounds and normally is over 15 inches tall.


Goldendoodles are a newer breed to the scene as the breed. They first started being widely bred in the early ’90s. They are a cross bread of a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. Their coat comes in colors of black, cream, brown, and apricot.

Their size can depend on the size poodle they are crossed with but tend to be larger-sized dogs. Because they are mixed with a poodle, they typically have a more allergy-friendly coat but it does depend on the dog as some can have more of the golden retrieve type coat.


While the Greyhound is normally lower on the popularity list, they make for a great larger choice dog for seniors. They can weigh 60-70 pounds and can be up to 30 inches tall. They are a sweet-tempered, gentle, noble companion. Greyhounds have short smooth coats. While their name may make you think they only have a grey color, their coats can be a few different colors other than grey.

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