Senior woman petting her dog

6 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

It’s never too late to bring a furry friend into your home. But it’s not a decision you should take lightly. Owning a dog is a big commitment. They need exercise, food, fresh water, and someone to take them to the vet when they get sick.

On the other hand, the rewards of owning a dog are pretty great. Unlike people who may not like the cut of your jib, dogs look past all the superficial stuff. They’ll love you unconditionally. Give them a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears, and they’ll reciprocate with a wagging tail and a slobbery smooch.

A dog can also be your best personal trainer. They need their walks, and what’s good for them is good for you, too. Studies have shown that having a dog boosts your cardiovascular health (although, did we really need a study to come to that conclusion?).

In addition, pets can lower your stress level and decrease feelings of loneliness and depression. It’s hard to feel sad when your canine companion is always there to cheer you up. Plus, dogs tend to create opportunities for meeting other dog-friendly people.

Dogs are great icebreakers and can introduce you to neighbors, other dog walkers, or strangers out for a stroll. We’ll go over why dogs are beneficial for older adults and list the best dogs for seniors so you can start your search to

Why Are Dogs Beneficial for Seniors?

Dogs can bring immense joy and numerous health benefits to older adults. Here’s why dogs are particularly beneficial for seniors:

  • Companionship: Dogs provide constant companionship, helping to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Spending time with a furry friend can be incredibly comforting and uplifting for seniors.
  • Encourages Physical Activity: Dogs require daily walks, which can motivate seniors to stay active. Regular short walks with a dog can help seniors maintain a healthy energy level and improve their overall fitness.
  • Routine and Structure: Taking care of a dog creates a sense of routine and structure. Feeding, grooming, and exercising a pet can give seniors a purposeful daily schedule, promoting mental and physical well-being.
  • Social Interaction: Walking a dog in the community can lead to social interactions with other dog owners and neighbors. This can help seniors stay connected and engaged with their community, reducing the risk of social isolation.
  • Stress Reduction: Spending time with a dog has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Petting a dog can lower blood pressure and release endorphins, providing a natural way to enhance emotional health.
  • Suitable Breeds: According to the American Kennel Club, some breeds are particularly well-suited for older adults. Small dogs that require regular brushing and short walks can be ideal for seniors living in a community setting.
  • Emotional Support: Dogs offer emotional support and can be particularly comforting for seniors experiencing loss or major life changes. Their unconditional love and presence can be a source of great comfort and stability.

Incorporating a dog into a senior’s life can significantly enhance their quality of life, providing physical, emotional, and social benefits. Whether it’s a small dog that fits well in a living community or a breed that matches their energy level, dogs can be wonderful companions for older adults.


Choosing the Best Dog for You

There are many different breeds suitable for seniors of all activity levels. Dog-owning friends and neighbors can be a good source of information about different breeds. Consider the following when choosing the best dog breed for you:

  • Exercise Needs: How much exercise are you able to give your dog? Can you go on twice-daily walks, or are you more likely to let your dog out in the backyard for exercise and bathroom breaks? Some breeds are more active and require regular, vigorous exercise, while others are content with short, daily walks.
  • Living Environment: Where do you live? Try to match the breed’s needs with your living space. If you live in a smaller apartment, a smaller breed with lower energy levels might be a better fit. Conversely, larger breeds or those with higher energy levels might be happier in a house with a yard.
  • Grooming Requirements: How much grooming will the dog require? Some dogs need regular brushing and haircuts, while others can simply be bathed every few weeks. Consider your willingness and ability to maintain a grooming schedule or whether you have access to professional grooming services.
  • Age of the Dog: Get a puppy or an adult? If you want a puppy, you’ll be committing to a 10-year or longer relationship. Puppies also require training, which can be time-consuming and demanding. Older dogs are usually trained and socialized and tend to be calmer. They can be a wonderful choice for seniors who prefer a more settled pet.
  • Health Considerations: Think about any health issues that specific breeds might have. Some breeds are prone to certain health conditions, and it’s important to be prepared for potential veterinary care needs. Research the breed’s typical health issues and consider the costs and care associated with them.
  • Temperament: Consider the dog’s temperament and how it matches your lifestyle. Some breeds are more independent, while others crave constant companionship. Think about whether you prefer a dog that’s more laid-back or one that’s energetic and playful.

If you’re ready for the responsibilities and rewards that come with bringing a dog into your home, here are six of the best dog breeds for seniors.

  1. French Bulldog

Known for their playful spirit, entertaining antics, and endearing tendency to snort, this breed has earned the nickname “clown dog.” Their distinctive bat-like ears are sure to bring a smile to your face. French Bulldogs are enthusiastic people pleasers who will eagerly follow you from room to room and relish being the center of attention.

While Frenchies possess ample energy, they lack endurance and are content with short walks or playful sessions in the yard. They are easy to groom, quiet, and amiable, making them well-suited for apartment living with their adaptable nature.

  1. Miniature Schnauzer

The full-size Schnauzer terrier has a diverse heritage as a drover’s dog, watchdog, police dog, and cherished companion throughout history. Its miniature counterpart, the Zwergschnauzer, is especially well-suited for seniors due to its obedient nature, strong desire to please, and affinity for forming deep bonds with its owners, making it an excellent choice for older adults seeking companionship.

Miniature Schnauzers are playful and enjoy interacting with children, contributing to their reputation as affectionate companions without inherent aggression but with a protective instinct. Like many terriers, they can show occasional stubbornness and may vocalize when necessary. Regular exercise and consistent training are effective in managing these traits, ensuring a fulfilling and harmonious relationship for seniors looking for a loyal and engaging pet.

  1. Boston Terrier

This terrier breed traces its origins to the English Bulldog and the white English terrier, resulting in a manageable size, friendly demeanor, and low grooming requirements that appeal to seniors.

Renowned for their lively energy and playful nature, they offer continuous amusement with their comical behaviors. Despite occasional snoring and grunting, they are generally quiet and only bark when alarmed or sensing someone at the door. These traits make them particularly suitable for apartment living.

  1. Bichon Frise

Bichons are highly compatible with other household pets, promoting a harmonious environment for seniors who may have other animals. Their cheerful disposition and love for interaction make them delightful companions, offering emotional support and companionship.

With their playful demeanor, Bichons can bring joy and entertainment to daily life, encouraging physical activity through activities like playing fetch. These qualities make them an ideal choice for seniors looking for a devoted and engaging canine companion.

  1. Shih Tzu

Originating from Tibetan Apsos and Chinese Pekingese, the Shih Tzu is pronounced SHEED-zoo and translates to “little lion,” reflecting its charming and ancient lineage. These dogs are celebrated for their exquisite, flowing coats, which require regular grooming to maintain their luxurious appearance. Despite their elegant demeanor, Shih Tzus are robust and sturdy, enjoying daily walks or indoor play sessions to fulfill their exercise needs. With their friendly and affectionate nature, they make wonderful companions for families and individuals alike.

Though they can be a bit stubborn and vocal, proper training can mold them into friendly and playful pets. Shih Tzus love being lap dogs and are happiest when receiving cuddles and attention.

  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

With a rich history dating back to Welsh King Hywel Dda in 920, corgis have earned a beloved status as cherished companions, often favored by owners worldwide. Known for their natural herding instincts, corgis thrive on regular exercise, typically fulfilled through daily walks and occasional visits to the dog park.

They are intelligent dogs that require little grooming and are charming with their short-legged stature. While they enjoy moments of cuddling, corgis are also known for their protective instincts, making them excellent guard dogs and ideal companions for seniors.


Life’s Pretty Doggone Good at Timber Ridge at Talus

No matter what type of dog you decide to bring into your home, they’ll love it here at Timber Ridge. There are more trees to sniff and more trails to explore than a dog could wish for. There’s even a dog club where you and your pooch can learn a few tricks and share some laughs.

To learn more about our pet-friendly community, give us a call today at 425-437-2961.