Best Dogs for the Elderly

As a senior couple, or senior having lost a partner, or even in a home with family or of your own, you may want the companionship of a pet that will provide you comfort and something that you can care for.

For whichever reason you may be looking for a pet, a dog is usually a good choice for an elderly person as a companion pet.

Certain breeds of dogs make much better companions and guard dogs for seniors than others

Choosing the Best Dog Breed

When you are older, keeping up with a highly energetic dog can be quite difficult, some dogs do need plenty of training, space, and attention which you may not be able to keep up with.

On the other hand, certain breeds need excessive and regular grooming or monthly trips to the pet parlor which could also cost you a pretty penny.

You should likewise consider the reason that you want to get a dog as an elderly person, will the dog be a companion, or do you want a guard dog, will the dog be indoors or outdoors?

Then again you need to consider shedding, some dog breeds do shed considerably, while the non-shedding breeds will need regular grooming and trimming from the parlor.

Lastly, remember that every dog breed has certain health issues that are more prone in that specific breed, and you will need to consider this. When feeding your dog, always try to adhere to specific and recommended dog foods which will improve the health of the specific breed and help them to live a long and happy life.

The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

So here are my recommendations, according to research and some personal experience on dog breeds that are ideal for seniors.

Keep in mind that you will still need to do some research after you have found a breed that you fancy.

Toy and Small Breed Dogs

Small, or toy breed dogs as they are called make excellent little lap dogs and companions for an elderly person, and here are a few great choices for you;

Chihuahuas are feisty little dogs that can be protective and very loyal to their owners. Growing up with them I know that they are not a great choice for children and families, but do however make an excellent choice for older individuals that are calmer and more relaxed. They do need a good amount of your presence, and they are generally healthy dogs with slight anxiety issues. They are tiny and easy to handle and bathe yourself. You do get long and short-haired chihuahuas and they generally shed very little.

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire terrier
The Yorkshire terrier is a tiny breed that does not shed at all, but that does require frequent bathing and brushing, as well as trimming from a professional groomer. I like them because they make an excellent small lap dog, and they are very alert should there be an intruder in your home. They are slightly more energetic. Another bonus is that they were initially bred to hunt mice, so they will keep your home pest free.

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu
Though not entirely a small breed they still fall under toy breeds. They are the most loving and calm dogs, and extremely tough. Lovely with families, and get along with all ages even small children. They are quiet and sweet dogs almost resembling small teddy bears when they are young. However, their hair has three layers that need frequent cutting and grooming. They are non-shedding but I would suggest that you keep their hair shaved quite short as they also tend to overheat quickly. These dogs were initially bred in the Tibetan temples to guard the scared scrolls and as lap dogs for the Royal families. They are slightly hard to potty train and are not the best dogs for leash training. I would also advise only getting one at a time.

Maltese or genuine French poodles both make excellent lap dogs and alert little guard dogs for their elderly owners. They do require some grooming and monthly visits to the parlor, and they are non-shedding. The French poodle has a more sophisticated and extremely intelligent attitude, whereas the Maltese tend to be more friendly and playful overall. They are both generally calm dogs that have few health issues.

Medium Breeds

Medium-Sized Dog Breeds are ideal for indoor and outdoor dogs, they make great lap dogs and also are excellent dogs to go for a walk with, or as guard dogs.

Boston Terrier
One of my personal favorites for adults and elderly individuals, I have personally owned Boston Terriers and will choose them every time. They are medium-sized dogs, also initially bred as fighting dogs similar to Pitbull. They do not have any of the tendencies of more dangerous breed dogs, and they are not temperamental or aggressive in general. They will however attack strangers and other dogs that they feel are posing a danger to their home or family, they are highly protective. What I love about them is that they are loyal and lovable companion dogs, that are very well disciplined, easy to train, and they can protect you against intruders, giving a nasty bite if needed. They do jump very high and are notorious for this. They do not have many health issues and are low-maintenance and low-shedding dogs. They are also unfortunately, well known for their farting and snoring habits which can be quite offensive.

French Bulldogs
Little French Bulldogs are spirited, friendly, and cuddly, but they do demand your attention and can have separation anxiety. They are very low shedding but do have some health issues, especially because of their flatter faces. They are easy to care for and are quite chatty making funny sounds.

The beagle is likewise an intelligent and calm dog to have. They will enjoy outdoor walks more actively senior. They are also low shedding and need little grooming. The beagle, however is a scent-driven hunting dog and will run after strange scents and small animals. You will need to leash train them properly and make sure your home is secure so that they do not easily escape.

Large Dog Breeds

Larger dog breeds are more suitable for keeping outdoors, and they do need some space. Also, keep in mind as an elderly individual that if a larger dog jumps up on you, it may cause you to lose your balance. However, they are excellent guard dogs and companions that can keep you safe.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a large and extremely intelligent dog breed. They do need some training, as well as exercise and a larger space, thus, they are more suitable for active seniors. German Shepherds make excellent guard and companion dogs, with little health issues. They do, however, need regular brushing, and they tend to shed quite a bit.

Standard Poodle
poodle Large
The standard-sized French poodle is an intelligent and majestic dog that will make a superb companion dog and a loyal protector of their owners. They do need to go to the parlor for trims and require some grooming. They can do with some exercise, but are mostly calm and well-disciplined.

Labradors and Golden Retrievers
Golden retriever
No, I have placed these two breeds together as they are very similar in nature. They are calm, friendly, and very even-tempered companion dogs. They are familiar to everyone and are usually chosen as dogs for children. However, they could have a similar calming effect on the elderly. They are quite energetic and will need some space to run and play. However, they have the loveliest nature. Keep in mind they do shed quite a bit and will need regular brushing.

In Conclusion

To conclude, there is so much information on different dog breeds on the internet, and many individuals have their own opinions. However, for the best information on a specific breed of dog, I would recommend that you talk to a registered and ethical breeder that specializes in the breed. I would also recommend that you opt for a purebred dog, as mixed breeds can be temperamental, and you do not always know what to expect from them. You can purchase a purebred dog breed from a registered breeder or contact a shelter that caters to specific breeds, as they may have dogs that need homes.

About the Author

John Max

John is a certified fitness trainer, writer, and health enthusiast and has worked with people of all age groups. He understands the difference a right product makes towards the fitness and comfort of the elderly. He reads a lot of stuff on the internet to explore and stay updated with the latest advancements in technology for elderly people. John also regularly tests and analyzes the benefits and features of as many senior-specific products as possible. Without a surprise, many of our readers love his reviews and testing style for how thorough and straightforward they are.