Dog ownership has dozens of benefits, but studies show that caring for a dog in your golden years can have an even more profound impact on your mental and physical well-being. That's right, a canine buddy can actually promote healthy aging! The best dogs for seniors include both large and small breeds, lap dogs, active pups, and everything in between. With so many options, you're sure to find the perfect match for you or the special older adult in your life.
10. Brussels Griffon
The Brussels griffon is a quirky and pint-sized breed that would make a great pairing with an older adult. Brussels are intelligent dogs that are easy to train, though they can be rather clingy. But if you'd like a lively, little companion that will stick by your side, this might be the one.
The Brussels griffon is often given the nickname of "Velcro dog" because they stick to their owners like Velcro.
9. Basset Hound
What's not to love about the basset hound? This cute breed is as easygoing and good-natured as they come, albeit a little lazy. Their stubborn streak means you'll need to be diligent with training, but it's well worth the effort because the basset is a great cuddle buddy, walking partner, and all-around excellent companion for seniors.
8. Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers aren't just for the spring chickens! They're an equally great pet choice for active seniors. Goldens are loyal and affectionate dogs that aim to please their people. This large dog will get you out the door every morning, but they'd also be happy to snuggle with you on the couch. As long as they're by your side, they're happy. Just know that the golden's luscious locks need regular grooming.
No yard? No problem. The Chihuahua is a little dog with a whole lot of personality that does well in smaller spaces. They max out at around six pounds, which is the perfect lap dog size. Although these sassy pups don't need much grooming, they do need daily walks, so be sure you have access to walking paths regardless of the size of your home.
Poodles are known for being one of the best dogs for older pet parents, and we couldn't agree more. They're incredibly smart, friendly, and sensitive creatures, which is why they're used so often as service dogs. Poodles also come in three size varieties (standard, miniature, and toy), so you can pick based on the size you prefer or can accommodate.
5. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland sheepdog, aka the Sheltie, is a high-energy breed. They need a lot of activity, but this can be a great thing for seniors. Shelties are eager-to-please companions that become incredibly bonded to their owners. They're also super intuitive, sweet, patient, and protective of their people. Did we mention they're very easy to train? Your Sheltie will keep you active with daily walks while keeping you grounded and calm with plenty of nuzzles.
We think the Pomeranian would be a terrific small dog for seniors, and it's not just because of their petite size. These fluffy dogs are affectionate without being clingy, plus they're smart and playful to boot. But we do love that the Pomeranian's size makes them incredibly portable. This breed can easily travel with you by car or plane, so you can tote your little buddy with you wherever you go.
Looking for a large dog that's suitable for seniors? Check out the greyhound. Even though these dogs can reach lightning-fast speeds, they're not one of those high-energy breeds that needs hours of exercise (30 to 60 minutes a day should do). In fact, greyhounds tend to be pretty low-key and prefer calmer households. They even do very well with apartment living, as long as they get enough physical activity!
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were originally bred to serve as lap warmers, so being a lapdog is literally in their blood. This elegant breed is incredibly friendly and gets along with other dogs, cats, children, and nearly everyone else. Because of their undemanding and sweet nature, we think these dogs make a good choice for any household.
1. Shih Tzu
And our winner for the best dog breed for seniors is the docile Shih Tzu. This breed looks like royalty, and they expect to be treated as such, too. We're kidding, but this breed would be happy to spend all their time indoors with you, with a few short outings to stretch their legs of course. As a bonus, Shih Tzus are very low shedders. They're a perfect combo of calm, loving, and active for senior owners.
All dogs need walks regardless of their size, but small, low-energy breeds tend to only need about 30 minutes of exercise each day.
Reap the Rewards of Dog Ownership in Your Senior Years
Finding the right dog breed for your senior lifestyle will take some time, but when you do, it will no doubt have a positive impact on your life. Dog ownership is shown to improve cognitive function, lower blood pressure, and improve mood. Remember, it's never too late to find your best friend.