It’s uncommon to find someone who doesn’t like dogs. They have been companions for men for a long time, and it remains so to this day. Not only do they guard you and hunt with you, but they can fill up your home with joy and playfulness, and they make for great company. You can never be lonely if you have a dog. For seniors, they should have dog breeds that make for easy pets so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
Our Picks for Best Dog Breeds for the Elderly
These great dogs could become their future friends and companions:
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Shih Tzu
- Yorkshire Terrier
1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi — Best Medium Dogs for Seniors
Originally bred in Pembrokeshire, Wales as herding dogs for livestock, the Welsh Corgis are one of the friendliest of dogs. Training them is easy because food can be highly motivating to them, although that can make them susceptible to weight gain from overeating, so it’s something you’ll have to be on top of.
Their height ranges from 10 inches to 1 foot, and they can weigh up to 38 pounds. They’re highly intelligent and don’t tend to wander around a lot, so they’re capable of adapting to living in apartments. They’re very playful and energetic and love kids.
Prepare to deal with a lot of shedding with this dog. However, they’re easy to groom, and their small size makes them easy to handle. They’re able to tolerate hot weather but are better at dealing with the cold.
- Easy to train.
- Little exercise needed.
- Easy to groom.
- Can deal with all kinds of weather.
- Can gain weight easily.
2. Shih Tzu — Best Toy Dogs for Seniors
Originally bred in China to be companions, the name ‘Shih Tzu’ stands for little lion, but you don’t need to worry about having to deal with a fierce dog. They’re very affectionate and loving. However, they can be a bit challenging to train, so it’s better not to let them roam around the place without supervision.
They grow to a height of around 10 inches and weigh from 9 to 16 pounds. They love children, although it’s not recommended that they play with toddlers since they can injure them unintentionally. They don’t shed too much fur, but grooming them can be a bit challenging.
They’re more susceptible to getting heat strokes compared to other dogs because of their lack of a long nose. So it’s essential to make sure you have air conditioning if you’re going to have a Shih Tzu as your new friend if you live somewhere hot.
It’s important to know that while dogs, in general, can participate in coprophagia (the eating of feces), Shih Tzus are noted to be more prone to doing this compared to other dogs. So you’ll have to be a bit vigilant and make sure any feces are removed promptly.
- Easy to handle.
- Doesn’t shed a lot.
- Very playful and loving.
- Vulnerable to hot weather.
- Can be very coprophagic.
3. Greyhound — Best Large Dogs for Seniors
Originally bred to be hunting dogs, the Greyhounds can pack quite a speed, going as fast as 45 miles per hour. While you might think that with all that speed and grace, you’d have destruction in your house, this is not true. Greyhounds have a mild nature and are docile. They’re also very easy to train.
They can grow to a height of 2 feet and 3 inches and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. Their friendliness and playfulness extend to kids, elderly, and family. They shed a lot of fur but are quite easy to groom. Their thin coat makes them vulnerable to the cold, though, so make sure to keep them warm during the winters.
Getting a Greyhound to socialize is vital because otherwise, they can end up being a bit timid and distant.
- Easy to train.
- Very playful.
- Laidback in indoor environments.
- Easy to groom.
- Require extra warmth during winter.
4. Yorkshire Terrier — Best Small Dogs for Seniors
One of the most famous small dog breeds for the elderly in the US, the Yorkshire Terriers, impress with their personality and devotion. They’re not the easiest to house train though, but you don’t have to worry about them gaining too much weight because they can be picky eaters.
They grow to be around 9 inches tall and weigh from 4 to 7 pounds. It can be a bit challenging to groom them, but they don’t shed a lot of hair. They’re not the most friendly dogs to children or strangers but otherwise are very playful.
They have a tendency to bark a lot so things can get a bit noisy; early training helps with this. It’s recommended to socialize the Yorkie early on; otherwise, they’re more likely to pick a fight with a big dog because they think they’re big too.
- Small in size and lightweight.
- Low shedding of fur.
- Less likely to be overweight.
- Challenging to house train.
5. Beagle — Best Hound for Seniors
Most famously known to be the breed of Snoopy, Beagles are incredibly sweet and gentle dogs. Originally bred to be a scent hound, they have a fantastic nose and enjoy following any interesting scent.
They grow up to 1 foot and 3 inches and can weigh 18 to 30 pounds. Training them can get a bit difficult, but they are intelligent. They’re extremely friendly dogs, even to strangers and other dogs, and can be energetic and very playful. They don’t shed a lot, and their grooming is simple.
They can bark quite a lot, though, and they don’t like being alone for too long, so keep that in mind if you decide to have one as a friend.
- Extremely friendly.
- Very playful.
- Easy to groom.
- Barking can sometimes be excessive.
Things to Consider When It Comes to Having Dogs for Retirees
It can be soothing having a friend and companion with you in later stages in life, but there are things you should know well before making that decision since, after all, they will be your responsibility.
So here are some of the things to consider to get the best dog breeds for seniors.
Smaller dogs are obviously easier to manage compared to the larger ones. You won’t have to worry about getting knocked over or overwhelmed by the dog jumping at you. Transporting a small dog is more straightforward, and handling the leash is also a lot easier when out for walkies.
While having a dog from a puppy and having it grow up with you is a nice option, it all depends on your ability, as well as temperament, when it comes to house training them as they grow. Sometimes it can be easier to find an already trained adult dog who will be much less of a burden when it comes to training. It’s entirely up to you—what you want and how much you can handle.
Having a dog who is welcoming, affectionate, and will not show aggression towards other family members or strangers, you walk by in the street is preferable—like a beagle who is friends with everyone.
It can be tedious for a person, especially a senior, to deal with antisocial behavior, so try to find a dog who easily warms up to people, can play with kids, and won’t show hostility.
It’s crucial to know the kind of health conditions your future dog may be susceptible to. Watching what the dogs eat is also important. Some can be picky eaters and only like certain kinds of food, while others are the complete opposite and can end up overeating and gaining too much weight—like the Corgi who loves a snack or two.
Grooming and Shedding
Unlike cats, dogs aren’t really proactive when it comes to grooming themselves. So it’s important to know how much grooming you’ll have to do with the dog breed you’re going to have—as little as possible is easier. Having an idea of how much shedding will happen will also let you know what to deal with when it comes to cleaning your furniture and house; the less it happens, the better—like the Shih Tzu or Yorkshire Terrier who both have minimal shedding.
With all this considered, you’re now ready to adopt any one of our suggested best dogs for seniors. Find out which one suits your personality and way of life best, then find the nearest animal shelter or reputable dog breeder and get yourself a new friend. Give the older dogs a chance because they’re usually less wanted compared to young pups.
Our favorite dog breed is the Welsh Corgi because they’re not too large nor heavy, training them isn’t hard, and they’re well adapted to all kinds of weather.
Our second favorite is the Shih Tzu because of how loving they are and how easily you can handle them. Just remember to keep them cool if it gets hot.