Best Dogs For Elderly (What Breeds Are Right For Seniors)

If you are a senior looking for the right dog breed for your lifestyle there are a few important aspects for you to look at. The best dogs for elderly will fit the size of your home, have the right disposition, and mesh with your lifestyle.

Dog ownership for seniors offers great emotional and health benefits that have been known to improve or eliminate depression, and anxiety.  It also allows for a more active lifestyle in the form of exercise while walking the dog.

What are the best dogs for the elderly?  The best breeds are the ones that match your lifestyle closely in terms of size, temperament, and personality.  The dogs below are all great as a companion, smart, and loving making them a great choice for seniors. 

1. Maltese

Best Dogs for elderly Maltese

Breed Overview

Height: 7 to 11 inches
Weight: 4 to 7 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Temperament: Affectionate, easygoing, gentle, intelligent
Characteristics: Maltese has white fur that is long and silky.  The Maltese also have dark eyes. 

The Maltese is one of the most popular dogs because of its size and it loves to spend time with people and they are considered one of the best dogs for elderly. 

If you or someone you know that is elderly is looking for a companion in a dog the Maltese will be at the top of the list. 

This breed is easy to take care of and is works well in smaller places because of its smaller size. 

They are quite easy to train and you can even carry it in a bag.

2. Bichon Frise

Breed Overview

Height: 9 to 12 inches
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 13 years
Temperament: Affectionate, gentle, playful
Characteristics: White, fluffy, and curly hair. A lot of people call them tiny polar bears.  The hair can also have a few cream traces in it. 

The Bichon Frise is another small breed of dog that is very suitable for the elderly looking for a great gentle, and sensitive dog.  

These are great dogs when looking for companionship because they love to be around their master for attention. 

Temperament traits:

Energy: These little guys are full of energy and are quite sturdy in build. 

Happy:  They are very cheerful in their disposition and are typically fine around other pets.

Smart:  Bichons are very quick learners, in fact, they love to learn. 

What makes these great dogs for seniors is they are left alone too long.  They can get separation anxiety.  

But because most seniors spend a lot of time with their pet this shouldn’t be a problem. 

3. Lhasa Apso

Breed Overview

Height: 10 to 11 inches
Weight: 12 to 14 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Temperament: Friendly, alert, smart, confident
Characteristics: Known for long flat-hanging coats of hair.  The Lhasa has dark, oval-shaped eyes.

The Lhasa Apso is a small dog that is strong, smart, and confident.  Known for their long hair that when not trimmed will reach the floor.  These are some of the best dogs for the elderly for many reasons below. 

These dogs used to alert monks to intruders within the Buddhist monasteries when they were first bred. 

Because of this, the Lhasa Apso makes not only a great companion dog for seniors but they are also great for alert dogs for someone who lives alone. 

4. Pomeranian

Pomeranian for seniors

Breed Overview

Height: 5.5 to 11 inches
Weight: 5 to 8 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Temperament: Friendly, playful, intelligent
Characteristics: Tiny with long fur in a brown to white color.  Large dark eyes. 

The Pomeranian is an excellent breed for seniors because of its small size and intelligent demeanor.  This size dog makes for a great pet in smaller homes or apartments. 

Another great reason these are some of the best dogs for elderly is that they are easily trained and make great watchdogs.   

They like to exercise but because of their small size, they can get the exercise they need with indoor play.

5. Poodle

Poodle for companion

Breed Overview

Height: 5.5 to 11 inches
Weight: 5 to 8 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 16 years
Temperament: Friendly, playful, intelligent
Characteristics: Tiny with long fur in a brown to white color.  Large dark eyes. 

Poodles are one of the most popular breeds of dogs when it comes to seniors. This is because they are extremely smart, can be cared for in smaller spaces, and make great companions for everything that has them.

They make excellent dog guards in the sense they can hear and alert you by barking if anyone is around that shouldn’t be.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Breed Overview

Height: 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
Lifespan: 19 – 14 years average
Temperament: patient, affectionate, playful, sociable
Characteristics: Small breed with white and either black, tan, ruby, or Blenheim hair color.  Long ears and dark oven eyes. 

This is a popular breed for seniors because of its great temperament and beautiful wavy coat colors. This particular breed will need to be regularly groomed in order to help with shedding. 

This breed makes for an excellent companion for anyone including seniors who want a great loving dog.

What Makes The Best Dogs For Seniors

Top Dogs For Seniors

Dog Size

Only you will know your current situation on what type of dog will be a good fit for you.  The suggestions we would make would be to assist your living situations. 

Do you live by yourself in a smaller home or apartment?  If so, you might want to look for smaller breeds of dogs that are more suited for these types of environments. 

If you live in a larger home and half help or you are up to the task a bigger dog might be best for you and your current lifestyle. 

Either way, a dog can make an excellent companion regardless of its size. 


The temperament of a dog is how it behaves in a particular way.  Basically how the dog acts as a whole in society. This is an important factor for the best dogs for elderly as you want to pick a dog with a good temperament. 

Keep in mind that the temperament of a dog is not something that is learned such as basic commands as down, sit, or stay. 

It is not the physical characteristics of a dog.  But the animal’s personality.  

When looking for a dog for seniors you will want a friendly, happy, and loyal temperament in a dog.   All the dogs listed above have this type of temperament and are good for seniors to own.


For seniors, your dog should be low maintenance in terms of upkeep and in how they can get the proper exercise each day.  

Smaller dogs like the ones we listed above can get enough exercise to keep them healthy just by playing inside alone.  

This is important for seniors with mobility issues and may find it hard to venture out on a daily basis. 

Energy Levels

You will want to make sure you look for a dog that has the same energy level as you do.

If you live an active lifestyle it’s perfectly fine to think you can handle a dog that has more energy than some.

High energy dogs will require more work in terms of walking whereas lower energy dogs may need to be walked once a day and most can get enough playtime right from inside. 


Seniors are going to want to choose a dog that is more sociable.  This will help you when you do see other dogs out for walks.  Sociable dogs will not tend to size up other talks causing confrontations. 


Age is something that is debated with seniors in terms of getting a puppy and training them or considering adopting a dog that is already trained or ready to go.

There are positives and negatives to both.

If you feel at your age that having a puppy may be too much upfront work to train the dog you may want to go the older dog route.

Health Benefits For Seniors Owning A Dog

As we mentioned above seniors who own a dog can find peace, less anxiety, less stress, and more happiness just by owning a dog.  Below are some of the health benefits seniors may see when owning a dog.

Companionship:  For the elderly who live alone having a pet can really change their lifestyle.  This will help reduce the feeling of being alone and isolated. 

Exercise:  Having a dog naturally gets you to move more because you will want to walk your dog at least once a day if not more.  More exercise can help you the mind and body feel better. 

Reduce Stress:  It has been shown that elderly people who own pets show less stress than the same age people who do not have a pet.

Protection:  Even small dogs can make you feel like you more protected if you live by yourself just because they can alert you to someone around the house or trying to get in. 

Final Thoughts

Some of the best dogs for elderly start with matching your lifestyle and habits to the dog with a close disposition.  This will allow you and your new dog to have a better healthier relationship.

If you live in a smaller dwelling it may be best to find a smaller dog that will easily fit into your lifestyle. 

Smaller dogs don’t need as much room and can actually get enough exercise just from playing inside. 

Owning a dog as a senior can bring many health benefits like stress reduction, companionship, and more leading to a more happy lifestyle.

We hope this guide has provided the information to make a more informed decision on what type of dog may be the best fit for you and your lifestyle. 

Can owning a dog help you live longer?  Studies have shown that overall dog owners tend to live longer than nondog owners.  They also tend to recover from health scares like stroke and heart attacks. 

Should Seniors own a cat?  Yes, the benefits are still good for cat owners.  Even though dogs are more affectionate and provide more companionship than a cat they still have benefits to elder

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.