The Seven
Best Dogs for Seniors

dogs for senior citizens

The best dogs for seniors and our elderly are the ones that are easy and inexpensive to take care of, affectionate, gentle, and learn quickly.

Now we’re dog lovers here at My wife Fiona and I have a Whippet (small greyhound).

We’re going to be showing the best dogs for seniors and showing you how to find the perfect companion that you are looking for. And, I do mean perfect.

Want a companion that never argues? One that loves every meal you feed him/her? Wants to do whatever you want to do? All the time? Never gets on you nerves…..

Yes! Man’s (and women’s) Best Friend? A dog. What do you get when you spell dog backwards? Hmmmmm… Think about that one….

OK. I can’t say enough good things about dogs. And, if you’re wanting one, we’re going to help you find the best dogs for seniors and the one that is just right for you.

The Elderly”

pets for the elderly

FIRST: Before we get into all the things you’ll need to take into consideration, and, what kind of dog you want, and everything else, we’ve got to tell you about “Pets for the Elderly”. This is the #1 organization in the world that helps seniors find a wonderful dog.

“Pets for the Elderly” can match you up with a most wonderful friend. And, often for nothing. No cost to you at all.

Pets for the Elderly matches senior citizens with shelter dogs. These are dogs that have lost their home for any number of reasons. They are wonderful dogs that need new homes.

These little beauties are just dying to be loved and cared for. They are definitely among the best dogs for seniors.

Dogs are not stupid creatures. They have a great sense of person. That means, they can tell instantly if a person is kind or a mean jerk. They just want to love someone and be loved back.

Many of you have owned dogs before. So, you know what I am talking about.

And, some of you have never had a dog before.

Almost all of the dogs "Pets for the Elderly" match seniors up with are mutts. That means they are mixed breeds. And, mutts are famous for being the easiest dogs to get along with as well as some of the most affectionate and one of the best dogs for seniors

Take a look at some of their "Success Stories".

the very best of all

adopting a beautiful mixed breed mutt from a shelterMutts are Beautiful!

If you're not familiar with Mutts, let us tell you how wonderful these dogs are are and why they are one of the very best dogs for seniors:

“And as the ultimate family dog, the mixed breed (Mutt) excels where the purebred lacks. Drawing from a broader, more diverse gene pool, their intensity is softer than their pedigreed cousins; their drives and compulsions mercifully muted. The Mutt’s loyalty, warmth, and deep desire to please, however, remain as fiercely intact as any dog you could choose to create.”

Sounds great. Right? It is.

Choosing Your Dog
Like Dating

best dogs for elderly seniors

No kidding.

Choosing a mutt is very much like dating. You may have to meet quite a few before you find the one you want to marry. OR, it may be love at first sight. And, the reason you choose the one you do may make sense only to you. And, that’s just fine.

When you choose a pure bread dog, it’s like saying, “I only date brunettes.” You can find your love match that way. BUT, you may overlook someone who is even more perfect for you.

And, here’s a bonus for you: About 75% of shelter dogs are mixed breed (Mutts). Choosing a Mutt means you’re giving a home to a dog who really needs one and who will love you forever. Yes, shelter dogs know you are rescuing them. And, they never forget it.

Also, pure bred can be expensive $1,500 is not uncommon. A shelter rescue will usually cost between $50 - $75. Many shelters also give their dogs free initial shots and spay/neutering.

What About
Rescue Dogs?

The Greyhounds and Whippets (like I have) you see people with are often "rescue dogs". That means they were track (racing) dogs. All racing dogs are normally "disposed of", that is: killed, if they don’t win after 4 races. So, there are organizations that rescue them. People adopt them from these rescue agencies at a nominal cost. Around $200 - $300.

Since I have a whippet, a lot of people frequently asked: “Oh, is that a rescue?” And, I always have to reply: "No, I am the rescue." And, I believe that is absolutely true!

Your Dog

Is Dog Ownership Right for You?

OK. Now let’s get down to deciding on your new best friend.

Yes, dogs (young or old) are the most wonderful friends in the entire world. They’re cute and cuddly and just begging to come home with you.

BUT: (And, this is A HUGE BUT) If you make the wrong decision, it can result in a disaster down the road. If you make the right decision, you’re one step into heaven.

It’s not really hard to find your right dog. Especially when you learn which are the best dogs for seniors.

You want to stay away from aggressive dogs and breeds that are known for severe violence. Like Pit Bulls. YES, there are gentle nice Pit Bulls. But, instinctively these dogs can turn on a dime. Their bite is as strong as it comes. And, they may bite you very hard if they feel threatened. Even tear off a limb. Yes. Really. So, as seniors it’s wiser to stay with dogs that are inherently docile. And, there are lots of them.

Here Is
Some Basic Knowledge
to get you started

If you are not familiar with dogs, and you are just learning about the best dogs for seniors, here is a really great article I want to refer you to entitled: “Everything You Need to Know About Dog Adoption”

You’ll learn:

  • What you need in a dog
  • What is not acceptable to you
  • What you may like in a dog, but, can live without
  • When NOT to adopt a dog
  • Where to go to adopt your dog
  • How to pick the right dog

This includes:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Activity Level
  • Maintenance
  • Breed
  • The costs
  • What to do when you first get him/her home

It's a fantastic article to help you get comfortable with choosing the right new best friend for yourself. We hope you'll take the time to read it.

Can You Be
Responsible Dog Owner?

This question is not meant to be offensive in any way. But, it is very important. Many people do not realize what is involved in dog ownership. And, even after you learn what the best dogs for seniors are, you need to know if you are ready and willing to take care of one.

Just like a small child, dogs have certain needs.

If you didn’t love animals and you weren’t willing to take care of one properly, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this right now. Right? So, we want you to be sure you know everything involved in being a good dog owner. Here are the basic things you need to know:

Taking Good Care of a Dog Includes Providing:

Commitment to Their Entire Life

Just like with a child, your dog is a family member. You get a dog for life. Not just a month or two. If you’re not willing to commit to that, DON’T GET ONE.

Get a cat. They require nothing but food, a box to pee and poop in, and occasional petting.

Now, a dog does not require all the attention and supervision a child does (one of their true blessings!), but they do need a commitment and loving attention just like a child. This is totally unnecessary to relate to most seniors, but, for the few that may be unaware: Don’t get one unless you are prepared for the long haul, and, you are wanting to spend some time playing with them and loving them each day.

High Quality Dog Food

Yes, it’s a few dollars more than the garbage.

However:  If you buy the cheapest discount food out there, you are setting yourself and your dog up for serious problems later on. Do you remember the old saying “Penny wise, pound foolish”? This is completely true with dog food. The dollars you save on the cheap stuff will cost you dearly later on in both dollars and misery. Guaranteed.

Dogs that eat right have better temperament, smell better, have cleaner teeth, and far few visits to the vet.

Their Own Space

No, dogs don’t need their own room. In fact they want to stay by you all day if possible. Even when they sleep.

dog beds

Providing a dog bed in your room gives your dog the private space they need as well as the companionship they desire.

We also have beds in the living room and den for our girl. But, one in the bedroom will do just fine.


The younger your new friend is, the more toys they will enjoy. And, the more they will want. Just like kids.

Older dogs often don’t want toys at all. We had literally dozens of toys for our girl when she was very young. She played with ALL of them. And, had her favorites. At about 6 years old, she totally lost interest in them or any new ones.

If you are looking for a more quiet sedentary animal, adopting a dog of 5+ years can be one of the important factors in your choice. Most smaller dogs will live 12+ years.

Adequate Grooming

Another factor in the pet you choose will be grooming maintenance.

Want a fluffy dog? Be prepared for weekly, or even daily, brushing and grooming.

Technically no dog needs to be groomed. HOWEVER, if you get a long haired dog and you don’t groom and bathe it regularly, it will smell!! And, collect dirt. And look homeless. So, keep this in mind when choosing the one that is right for you.

I personally have always had short haired dogs. Short haired dogs are very easy to keep clean. And, they never need brushing or a haircut.

All indoor dogs will need a manicure from time to time. There are special nail clippers that make the task easy. But, you need to take a little lesson so you don’t cut too short. If you do, you may hurt them seriously. And, you can cause problems like infection.

It only costs about $10 to have a nail; clipping done at the pet store. And, they have a lot of experience at it. Once a month is not too often.

Exercise Time

senior citizen walking his dog

Just a walk around the block once or twice a day will suffice for most adult dogs. Puppies will run around all over your house all day long until they are about 2 years old. This is an important point to remember when choosing your friend.

Older dogs are usually happy just to be with you wherever you are.

And, adult dog will also usually potty train in a new environment very fast. A day or two normally.

Puppies poop about 6 times a day. That’s a lot of trips outside. You won’t always make it there. Especially while you are sleeping. And, they pee randomly around the house. For quite a while. Sometimes months.

We NEVER recommend a puppy for elderly seniors. Never ever. You’ll be exhausted and go mad!

A Good Vet

You want to get your new friend a good vet. Ask friends or go on line to “Yelp” and find one with a good reputation. If you don’t like him, or are uncomfortable with his manner, find another. There are many good ones. And, there are a bunch who just don’t really care any more.

Your new family member will need certain shots and you want to make sure they are always doing well. A visit once a year is usually enough. A check up usually runs about $30. Shots $20 - $80 depending upon who is doing them. And, those you can usually get at the local pet store at a HUGE discount.

Love and Affection

best dogs for seniors #2
best dogs for seniors #3

Anyone who doesn’t have time for these things is probably not reading this page. I mean, affection and companionship are what we want our new friend for. Right?

Remember: Your dog has those same needs. They are living breathing balls of love and they need affection as much as they need food. If they don’t get these things they will suffer and perish. Literally.

Clean Up

When your dog poops on your neighbors lawn, or the apartment lawn, you need to clean it up. Pee gets a pass. But, nobody likes a neighbor who leaves dog poop wherever they go.

A small box of plastic sandwich bags, or your plastic grocery bags will do the trick nicely.

Did you make it through the list?
If you did: Great!!

Now, one last question: Cost.

Can You
Afford a Dog?

A normal smaller sized dog is really quite inexpensive to keep and maintain. They are also easy to control physically when you need to. These are usually the best dogs for seniors.

They don’t eat a whole lot. They are easy to feed. Some very small dogs require only a few dollars a week in food. And, a yearly vet visit with shots is usually under $80.

A large dog can cost a small fortune to feed. A very large dog can eat a LOT. $40+ a week!

The Right Size Dogs
Elderly Senior Citizens

best size dogs for seniors
best size dogs for senior citizens
best dogs for seniors #4

Finding the best dogs for seniors also includes finding the right size dogs for elderly seniors.

Remember: Big Young Dogs are very strong. So, unless you are quite strong you won’t be able to control them.


1)  Keep it small (a dog you can physically control easily)

2)  Stay with a mixed breed

3)  Adopt an adult dog (over 2 years old)

If you do those three things you will immediately avoid 97% of dog adoption problems.

A dog that you can easily pick up and hold is what you want. If you are elderly, a small dog fits the bill nicely. The smaller they are, the less they eat. So, maintenance costs are less. And, smaller doesn’t mean dumber either. Small dogs are just as smart and loving a large dogs.

UNLESS you get one of the horrible tiny ones. Yes, there are some horrible ones that we will tell you about in just a minute. Those tend to be mean and rude and aggressive and prone to physical problems. They often bark incessantly at anything and anyone. Avoid those tiny dogs. Yes, there are a few good ones in those particular breeds. But, good luck locating one.

If you have your heart set on a tiny fluffy sweet creature that you can easily take anywhere, an exceptionally good and wonderful tiny dog is a Maltese. You'll read about these in the list of the seven best dogs for seniors at the end of this article.

Make Sure
You Have the Time for a Dog

This article has addressed mostly elderly seniors who are mostly at home and want a great companion and friend.

Dogs, like children, require your time.

There are many younger seniors who are about to get their first dog and don’t realize their dog will need their company and companionship for a considerable portion of the day. Yes, they need your time.

If you still work full time and have lots of outside activities, you may not have time for this type of new friend yet.

Be Sure You Have Time
To Take Care of, AND, Be With Your Dog.

Can Your Home
Accommodate a Dog?

Your living space must be dog friendly. Believe it or not, some people (and landlords) do not like dogs at all.

can renters have dogs?

If you are a renter, MAKE SURE your landlord will let you have a dog. Otherwise you will wind up moving or seriously heartbroken when your new baby leaves.

Dogs Get Into Everything
(until they are trained)

Even the very best dogs for seniors can be little mischief makers. Dogs are even craftier than kids when it comes to getting into “off limits” areas. Especially if there is food there.

You can not expect even the smartest and best trained adult dog to be fully trained when you bring her home. So, at least in the beginning, you will probably need a kennel (small dog cage) to put your dog in at night when you go to sleep, or, when you leave the house and can not take her with you

best dogs for seniors #5

Do You
Have Limitations?

If you have physical limitations, challenges, or allergies you need to choose your new friend accordingly. Even some of the best dogs for seniors may not be right for you. So, you may need to narrow down the list. But, don't fret. You'll still be able to find a treasure.

Example: Dogs have fur. Some people can not tolerate this. Poodles actually have hair. Not fur. And, they do not shed. Double bonus!

If that may be a problem for you, spend some time with the dog you are thinking about to make sure you are compatible and if any reactions can be handled comfortably.

What about general strength? If your strength is very limited, you will need to get a very small companion. Again, the Maltese is our first choice for tiny sweet companions.

How Are You Doing So Far?

the very best dogs for seniors and elderly senior citizens

Did you pass all the tests so far?

Whew! Right? Didn’t realize this was such a complicated new adventure. Did you?

It’s really not difficult in most cases. You just have to be prepared and willing to care for your new friend properly.

We want you to have some awareness going in. The more you know, the easier the adoption and re-homing process will be.

If you are a normal loving elderly senior and you pick a nice small gentle dog, it’s most likely going to be heavenly. And, a piece of cake! If you’ve ever had a dog before, you know exactly what I mean. If you’ve never had one before, you’re in for one of the best treats in your whole life.

How to Choose the Best Dog
Elderly Seniors

Here are some things you want to look for and take into consideration:

Energy Level:

When considering the best dogs for seniors, the first thing we want to match up is: The Energy Level of your dog and yourself.

If you are an elderly senior citizen, don’t get a Dalmation, a terrier of any kind, or a puppy of any kind. No matter how cute they are. These are non stop creatures that can exhaust a teenager. They are NOT the best dogs for seniors.

Don’t get a big dog either. Unless it is older and mellowed out. The big ones are so strong that they will pull you off your feet and can cause you to break body parts. Seriously. My neighbor made that mistake with a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Ridgebacks are used in Africa to hunt lions. (Most senior citizens will not be doing this.)

My neighbor was 78 years old at the time. The dog she brought home was a beautiful 3 month old puppy. She thought he was handsome. He was. AND, he was already strong! When she took him for a walk he pulled her so hard she dislocated her shoulder and he almost killed her more than once.

This is not our kind of “puppy”. These (and other large breeds) are not the best dogs for seniors. In fact they are a terrible choice for anyone lacking considerable physical strength.

If you want a very active dog, get a very small one. They can usually get enough exercise just running around the house and causing mayhem.

Again, the very best dogs for senior (especially for elderly seniors) is usually a mutt that is at least a couple of years old. You can find these at all the shelters.

You can go to shelters and look around. All the dogs are in cages. So, you can get close with no problem. An assistant will even stay with you and take out any you care to meet and spend time with.

When you see one, or ones you like they will let you play with them to see the dog’s energy level, and, to see if you feel compatible. Ask the attendant to stay with you while you do. You can visit a dog, or dogs, multiple times before choosing.


We’ve touch on this a lot already. The best dogs for seniors are the smaller ones. BUT, some seniors, even very elderly seniors want a BIG dog. That’s OK. Just get an older one. 6+ years old. One that is more of a couch potato than anything else.

Interestingly enough, Greyhounds, Great Danes, and Mastifs (Huge Dogs) are some of the laziest and need only minimal exercise each day. Surprising! Right? These breeds are all wonderfully gentle dogs. The only warning is, if they are young and on a leash, they are so strong that they can pull you down on the ground quickly. A Big Old Dog will usually be very docile and wonderful to lay down on and relax.


Older dogs are the most mellow. That makes them ideal companions and some of the best dogs for seniors. A dog is considered senior after 7 years. The really big dogs only live about 8 years. The average small to medium dog, 12-15 years. So choose accordingly.

Also, try to think about who will care for your dog if you pass first. Some smaller dogs live quite long.



Every dog (just like every person) has it’s own temperament and personality.

When you are picking your potential dog, try to spend a few hours over a few days with her/him. Get a feel of how well suited you are to each other. Not all the best dogs for seniors are going to be right for you. But, you'll know your match when you see her/him.

Sometimes, you will know immediately. I did with mine. Sometimes it takes a while. Don’t under any circumstance take a dog you are not feeling comfortable with just because they seem cute or are a certain breed. Not everyone is a match.

Remember:  If you are uncomfortable with an animal for any reason, she/he is probably uncomfortable with you also. That's a recipe for trouble with a capital T. Move on to another.

Again: Mutts (mixed breeds) are usually the easiest dogs all around. Maltese, Beagles, Retrievers, Poodles, Greyhounds, and Bulldogs are among the pure breds that have the best temperament.

Grooming Requirements:

We touched on this topic already.

To reiterate: If you are thinking about a fluffy dog, be sure you can manage their grooming needs. Either by yourself, with a family member, or a professional groomer.

Horrible Little Dogs That You Don’t Want

the worst dogs for….anyone


Oh Yes. Horrible little dogs.

We've been talking about how to find the best dogs for seniors. What about the horrible obnoxious annoying ones?

This is a special little section. Before we get to the best dogs for seniors by breed, we’re going to tell you which dogs we can’t stand.

Some of you may hate me for this section. BUT, we feel it is necessary to warn the novice who has only seen these creatures in pictures and thinks they are cute. We want you to have one of the best dogs for seniors so that you can enjoy your new best friend every day.


Here we go:

We have been stressing the importance and benefits of elderly senior citizens getting a small dog.

HOWEVER:  There are a few you should avoid at all costs.

(I hope you will enjoy the humor in my absolute disdain for these hideously horrible little creatures.)

Yes, this is a cheerful warm and wonderful article about “The Best Dogs for Seniors”. And, how to find a great pet and friend. I personally have about 35 years experience owning and training dogs. I really love most of them.

“There are no bad dogs. Just bad dog owners.” is a mostly true saying that I really believe.


There are exceptions to every rule.
There are some horrible little dogs that you can adopt,
that may seem to be very cute,
that you may forever regret adopting.

Really. These little pure breeds tend to be nervous and irritable. They hate your friends and will bark at them relentlessly. Then, they snap at them. Their eyes ooze liquid. They often tremble and most are prone to all kinds of various ailments.

Sound good? Want one like that? These are definitely not the best dogs for seniors who enjoy a peaceful life.

Let me tell you which these are.

Let’s start with the:

Shih Tzu

These are horrible little creatures. I don't know why I have seen them on some "Best Dogs for Seniors" lists. Because they are small? Not reason enough.

The Shih Tzu was originally bred to sit around the palace of the Emperor of China and bark when people or animals approached: this was allegedly to alert people to the presence of unwanted visitors.

That’s why they still bark at every sound around your house or apartment. Later they became “companion dogs”. And, if you never have company, they are good companions. Quiet, snuggly, and attentive.

But, invite someone over… anyone… forget about it. They are little monsters. Until they reach the age of about 12. Shortly before they die.

In Chinese Shih Tzu means” “Lion Dog”. And, they do have a Lion complex.

Some people find these little creatures adorable and cute. Some say they are great companion dogs. God Bless Them and good luck to them.

All young Shih Tzus, from our observation, still have the same barky attitude and disposition they always have had for thousands of years. They will bark aggressively at your friends, company, and strangers. And, they are stubborn.

Purebred Shih Tzu puppies range from $1,800 to $3,600+.”  reference: The Happy Puppy Site

That’s like adding insult to injury. Not one of the best dogs for seniors.

Want one?


Lhasa Apso

Also known as the “bearded lion dog”. This is a bigger version of the Shih Tzu with longer hair. Median cost $850.

These dogs come with all sorts of issues that are apparently genetic (hereditary). You’ll spend plenty of time at the vet’s. The best dogs for seniors should be easy to enjoy. These are not.

These monsters were also temple guard dogs. These dogs originated in the chilly Himalayas where all that hair was more functional than decorative. They don’t just bark, they like to bite.

Besides all the other reasons, the Lhasa Apso is a truly terrible choice if you have grandchildren under 12 years of age. Lhasa Apsos basically hate kids and will bite and snap at children if the are stepped on or irritated by rough play. Or, if they are in a particularly bad mood.  reference: “Is the Lhasa Apso a Good Family Dog”

Unless you really want to torture yourself, your family, friends and neighbors, we suggest you pass on these creatures. As with the Shih Tzu, these do not make our "Best Dogs for Seniors" list.

How about the famous:


Why oh why does anyone get one (or two or even four or eight) of these rodents. Yes, some people have packs of these.

Suddenly Senior .com writes about these demons in very kindly in code:

#1)  “They’re outstanding watchdogs.”

Code for: They bark at EVERYTHING. They are extremely nervous and if you are not their owner they are aggressive, hostile and royally annoying.

#2)  “Chihuahuas can also be a little bit aggressive toward other people.”

Code for: They hate everybody they meet and they will let you know it immediately.

When I was renting an apartment years ago, the apartment manager had four of these. They barked at me and my dog every time they saw us for the entire four years that manager was there.

They also were equally obnoxious to every other tenant. With those horrible mean little dogs, I used to wonder why the manager was chosen for his job. I finally learned that his father owned the building, and, the father hated the dogs.

The infamous:


Ugh. Awful! I hate these too.

They’re sneaky. Women who don’t want to have to care for a “real dog” often carry these things around in their purse.

They stare at you. If you try to be nice and give one a little pet with your finger, the creature will try to take your finger off.

They’re horrible. And, nervous and awful. PLUS you have to brush these little monsters every day.

The average cost for this punishment is $900. Top breed lines will cost $3,000 - $10,000.


That is one of life’s great mysteries and unkind jokes.

I hope you got a laugh from that AS WELL AS the needed information.

Now REMEMBER:  There are so many Wonderful Gentle Loving Dogs out there just waiting for someone to adopt and care for them.

Those 4 breeds above are NOT the best dogs for seniors. They are for… . well, let’s just say “A special kind of person”.

You’re Ready to Go!

The key to a long and happy life together is to find:
a gentle loving dog who you adore
that fits your lifestyle, abilities, and limitations.

When sorting through the best dogs for seniors, if you follow all the recommendations above, you should have no problem finding a fantastic new best friend!


The Seven
Best Dogs For Seniors

Mutts are the best dogs for seniors and most people

#1  The All American Mutt

Mutts are always our #1 choice for a loving, friendly, easy to care for, inexpensive adoption. When looking for the best dogs for seniors, there is no better dog anywhere.

You can not go wrong with a charming little Mutt. They are smart, loving, not prone to any kinds of issues, they are inexpensive (or free), and, an adopted Mutt will love you forever.

You can go to your local shelter(s) or give a call to "Pets for the Elderly" and they will hook you up with a real darling.

best dogs for seniors, maltese

#2   Maltese

I was never a fan of very small dogs. They are generally as annoying as can be.

Then,... I met my first Maltese. That little fellow won me over in under a minute. And, EVERY Maltese I met since then has the same wonderful personality.

Not only are these one of the cutest little dogs, they are super easy to care for.

Maltese love to sit in your lap. They are smart and easy to train. They love a short walk. And, at 4 - 7 pounds, you can even slip them into your bag or in your jacket.

They are friendly to everyone. Your grandchildren will be in love. Truly one of the very best dogs for seniors and elderly seniors.

best dogs for seniors, cocker spaniel

#3  Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are definitely at the top of our list of the best dogs for seniors. Just like the Maltese above, the Cocker Spaniel is a warm, gentle, loving, friendly dog that is kind to everyone.

Cocker Spaniels are a medium sized dog. About 25 - 30 pounds. But, they are gentle and easy to handle. They are eager playmates for your grandchildren.

American Spaniel Club Foundation has a rescue program where they will hook you up with a wonderful adult Cocker Spaniel for next to nothing.

Remember: Rescues are not inferior animals. They are usually just wonderful dogs that the original owner was unable to keep due to issues such as housing, divorce, etc.... They are normally already house broken (that means they pee and poop outside) and they are used to human companionship. They are some of the best dogs for seniors. Adopting a rescue is one of the very best ways to find a very special adult dog at a very low cost.

best dogs for seniors, bichon frise

#4  Bichon Frise

One of our very favorites. Definitely one of the best dogs for seniors.

The Bichon Frise is a Great dog for seniors and families. They are sweet and gentle and they love to play with the grandchildren as well as cuddle up next to you.

Weighing only 7 - 12 pounds they are very easy to manage and take anywhere.

The fluffy little Bichon Frise is an affectionate dog that makes an excellent companion. They have a great demeanor and are full of joy. They are also relatively easy to train. The Bichon require only moderate daily exercise and are a great companion.

These cute little fluff balls do require some extra maintenance in the grooming department. They require regular brushing. This is easy and they enjoy it. And, they sparkle when you bring them home from the groomer.

One of the absolute best dogs for seniors.

best dogs for seniors, cavalier king charles spaniel

#5  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a super affectionate and cuddling dog.

They thrive on companionship and also love to play with you. The Cavalier weigh about 11 - 18 pounds. They are easy to handle and to train.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels require some regular daily brushing to keep neat. But, it's an easy job and they love the attention.

For those who want a small snuggle companion these are a favorite. One of the best dogs for seniors because they are generally very mellow, they love to just hang out with you, require only moderate exercise, and are well suited to apartment living.

#6  Poodles

best dogs for seniors, poodles

Poodles are one of the smartest dogs and definitely on our list of the best dogs for seniors. Their natural intelligence makes them quite easy to train. They will also learn a certain amount of your vocabulary over time and come to understand many things you say to them. No. Not like a person. But, they get a lot.

One of the nicest features for Poodle lovers is that they come in many sizes. From teacup (under 6 pounds) to standard (45 - 70 pounds).

Groomed Poodles with the major high style haircuts look a bit prissy. But, they are not. (I think the hair cuts embarrass them a bit. But, they tolerate them.) In actual fact Poodles are loyal affectionate companions. They learn fast and adapt well to almost any household type.

Poodles only need basic walks. Making them ideally energy matched to seniors.

If you want the very stylish haircut, you'll need a good groomer. If you don't, just brush them out regularly.

best dogs for seniors, greyhound

#7  Greyhound

Who would have thought that one of the fastest big dogs in the world could be one of the best dogs for seniors?


Greyhounds are gentle giants. One of the sweetest, smartest, and most loyal dogs you will ever find.

Normally you will get a Greyhound as a rescue. That means: They were track dogs that stopped winning or never won. At this point the owners "dispose of them". That's code language for they kill them.

There are a number of groups that rescue Greyhounds from that fate.

These are smart gentle animals. They know they were rescued. At the track they are abused harshly every day. When someone adopts them they know it and love you like you are an angel sent from heaven.

I have known many people with Greyhounds that were rescues and every single person has said they are the best dog they ever had.

Greyhounds typically weigh 60 - 88 pounds. But, they won't pull you around like other large breeds. They are very sensitive gentle creatures filled with love. AND, they will snuggle with you all night long. Making them one of the best dogs for seniors who want a Big Dog.

Surprisingly, Greyhounds don't need a lot of exercise. If you can let yours out in a dog park for 15 - 20 minutes each day, they will often have a short fast run and then be happy to be lazy couch potatoes the rest of the day.

Surprisingly also: They are great apartment dogs. You just have to get them out somewhere for a run regularly. When they get old, a simple walk each day will make them happy.

The Best BIG Dogs
for Seniors

A little about BIG DOGS.

Big Dogs are usually not the best dogs for seniors. HOWEVER: Some of us just LOVE big dogs. Like one of my best friends, Helen. Helen Loves Mastiffs. 135 pound Giants. And, great big lazy sweet cuddlers.

Are these good dogs for senior citizens?

They Can Be!

Yes, there are a few large breeds that are calm and gentle and great snugglers:


Mastiffs come in many variations.

Adult Mastiffs can range anywhere from about 99 pounds to over 220 pounds.

Yes, they eat A LOT.

If you want a big dog be prepared for a large food bill.

Check that link above and see if one of these gentle giants is what you have been looking for.

Your biggest problem will be in finding a 3+ year old Mastiff that is up for adoption. But, if this is the dog you really want, and, you are persistent and patient you may find one.


It takes any dog 2+ years to mellow down. A Mastiff puppy will be too strong for you and a Mastiff puppy will pull you off your feet and on to the ground. Quickly. And, hard. We are fragile now and we break easily. Keep that in mind.

Finding a LARGE adult mixed breed that is part mastiff, will be much easier and cost you far less. Adopting an older one is usually $300 or less. Getting a pure bred Mastiff puppy is normally $1,800 - $2,500.

Lifespan 6 - 12 years. The bigger the dogs are, the shorter it usually is.


If you really want a Large Dog, the Greyhound is a fantastic choice and one of the best dogs for seniors in the Big Dog category.

Most people think that because Greyhounds are so fast that they will be running all over the place all the time.

They exact opposite is true.

Yes, a greyhound will be in need of some fast running on most days. But, if you let them go in the dog park, they will run for about 10 - 15 minutes and be done for the day.

After that, they are Huge Couch Potatoes that love to just lay around.

If you adopt and older dog 6+ years, they need very little exercise each day. A walk with you will be fine. The average lifespan is 10 - 14 years.

Greyhounds are very smart, gentle, sensitive, and extremely loving. This is why they are one of the best dogs for seniors who want a BIG best new friend.

Rescue dogs (former track racing dogs), are very aware that you have taken them away from the abusive track life. And, they will love you deeply forever.

There are a number of places to adopt one of these sweet and gentle creatures. Grey2K is one very reputable place that rescues them. Adoption cost is usually under $300.

Great Danes

The Great Dane is another very big dog that is one of the best dogs for seniors because they are very lazy also.

Great Danes are sweet, affectionate pets. They are gentle creatures who generally get along well with other dogs, animals, and humans.

Great Danes love to play and are gentle with children.

Unfortunately, like most very large dogs, they usually only live to 9 - 10 years old.

Big Dogs
Elderly Senior Citizens

We NEVER recommend very large, or even moderately large dog for elderly seniors.

 We always recommend elderly seniors adopt a smaller dog. One that is easy to pick up and cuddle with.

Small dogs don’t eat a lot (low food costs), picking up after them is easy, they are easy to travel with, and you can control them.

BUT: If you really really want a BIG dog those three breeds above are the most mellow. And, once they are adults already, they are wonderful choices.

A Few Things to Keep In Mind
with BIG dogs

  There are a few things to keep in mind if you really want a BIG dog:

1)   They eat A LOT. Your food bill will be considerable.

2)   They poop HUGE. Be prepared to clean this up wherever you are.

3)  They are STRONG. if you get a young very active one, you will regret it severely.

But, if you really want a big boy or girl to hang out with, these three breeds we talked about above are all jewels. They are the best dogs for seniors who want a BIG one.

What About the Rest?

That's a Great Question.

Here's the answer:

ANY DOG you love,

that you can handle comfortably,

is the best dog in the whole world for you.

A Mutt or a Pure Bred. It doesn't matter. We all love what we love. And, that's all that matters.

In this article we tried to let you know what qualities make the best dogs for seniors. And, where you can find one of these dogs.

We know that for many of you this will be your first dog ever. Or, your first one in the last 30 or 40 years. So, we gave you some examples of dogs that are known to be some of the best dogs for seniors. For reasons of love, companionship, loyalty, gentleness, cost and ease of care.

We suggest you look around before you decide. Go see some dogs. You can go to shelters, a dog park, at your friend's homes, or anywhere you can. Try to find one that not only pleases your eye, but one that fits your energy level and financial comfort.

BUT REMEMBER: At the end of the day, it's just like getting married. Don't necessarily marry the "best" one. Marry the one you fall in love with.

Wishing You Years of Happiness,  ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte

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"Best Dogs for Elderly Seniors"

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