17 Best Dogs for Seniors (With Comparison Chart)

17 Best Dogs for Seniors (With Comparison Chart)

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Dogs hold a special place in the hearts and homes of many people, and oftentimes, dog owners consider them another member of the family. Dogs provide companionship, entertainment, and affection to their human families. According to recent data, they may also be beneficial for seniors’ health.

Some dogs are better suited than others to different types of environments and different types of owners.

For example, dogs that are strong, large, or have high energy levels may not be the best bet for people who don’t have the strength or the desire to be pulled along by their furry friends during their daily walks, and dogs that aren’t even-tempered might not be the best choice for those with small children.

The same holds true for older adults. If you want to own a dog, and you want to make sure it’s the right breed for you, there are some things to keep in mind, such as temperament, size, strength, and care requirements. We have taken all of these things into consideration and found seventeen breeds that are some of the best choices for senior citizens who want to own a dog.

Best Dog Breeds For Seniors Comparison Chart

BreedTemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
Shih Tzuloyal, affectionate, outgoing12-14 in9-16 lbs12-15 yrs
Pugplayful, affectionate, misch10-13 in14-18 lbs13-15 yrs
Chihuahuasassy, charming, comical5-8 inUnder 6 lbs14-16 yrs
Cavalier King Charles Spanielgentle, attentive, affectionate, graceful12-13 in13-18 lbs12-15 yrs
Pembroke Welsh Corgiaffectionate, athletic, strong10-12 inUp to 30 lbs12-13 yrs
Bichon Friseplayful, curious, alert9.5-11.5 in in12-18 lbs14-15 yrs
Malteseplayful, gentle7-9 inUnder 7 lbs12-15 yrs
Boston Terrierbright, curious, high-spirited15-17 in12-25 lbs11-13 yrs
West Highland White Terrierloyal, charming, entertaining10-11 in15-20 lbs13-15 yrs
Miniature SchnauzerBright, curious, high-spirited12-14 in11-20 lbs12-15 yrs

More of a visual person? Jump to out our infographic at the bottom of this article!

Related: 5 Top Activities for Seniors with Smaller Dogs

1. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
loyal, affectionate, outgoing9-10.5 in9-16 lbs10-18 yrs

The Shih Tzu can be a loving, loyal companion for older adults. They are happy-go-lucky and make great lap dogs. Shih Tzu’s do require some grooming, but they are pretty low-maintenance pets. They are not usually aggressive and they do well with children, so they are family-friendly. They are confident dogs who might be a bit stubborn, but they are also very trainable. Shih Tzu’s are also ideal for those who live in smaller homes or apartments since they are small and don’t need a huge backyard. They are widely considered one of the best dogs for seniors.

Find a Shih Tzu puppy.

2. Pug


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
playful, affectionate, mischievous10-13 in14-18 lbs13-15 yrs

Pugs have a great sense of humor, and they enjoy human companionship, which makes them a great pet for seniors. Originally bred to be lapdogs, pugs are small and affectionate, and they get along well with other pets and with children. But don’t let their size fool you – Pugs are sturdy, strong animals, and they may tend to eat too much, so you should keep an eye on their weight. Pugs are known for their facial expressions, which show curiosity, surprise, and happiness in an almost human-like fashion. One of the best parts of owning a pug is its minimal grooming needs, which as any dog owner knows, can be a real hassle.

Find a Pug puppy.

3. Chihuahua


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
sassy, charming, comical5-8 inUnder 6 lbs14-16 yrs

Chihuahuas are quirky, entertaining, playful little dogs with the attitude and confidence of larger dogs. Since they are a compact and small dog, Chihuahuas are ideal for those who live in small apartments or in the city. Because of their size, they tend to get cold easily in chilly weather, and they aren’t suitable for roughhousing, but they are low-maintenance and they make great lapdogs. They are also smart and very trainable, and they make good watchdogs. Chihuahuas are also great family dogs and an excellent choice for seniors.

Find a Chihuahua puppy.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image Source: bigandt.com/shutterstock

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
gentle, attentive, affectionate, graceful12-13 inches13-18 pounds12-15 years

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have a combination of sporting and toy breed traits. They are a small dog, sweet, and playful, but they are also athletic dogs that like to chase squirrels, chipmunks, and butterflies. They do need daily exercise, so they are best suited to seniors who have a yard for them to run around in or who enjoy taking walks. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are loyal companions, and sometimes they can experience separation anxiety. They get along well with children and other pets, and they don’t like being alone.

Find a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy.

5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Image Source: © 2020 Angie Kerins Photography

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
affectionate, athletic, strong10-12 inUp to 30 lbs12-13 yrs

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are short but strong, and they are known for their herding abilities and agility. They were originally bred to herd cattle, and they have sturdy bodies and short, muscular legs. These loyal dogs love being active, are competent watchdogs, and are great with families and livestock. Corgis are also adaptable dogs that learn quickly and can be trained to be very obedient. Corgis enjoy human companionship and are great options for pets for seniors.

Find a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy.

6. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
playful, curious, alert9.5-11.5 in12-18 lbs14-15 yrs

Bichon Frise dogs are affectionate and joyful dogs that make great companions for seniors. At 12 to 18 pounds and less than a foot tall, Bichons aren’t too big for most people to handle. They are sweet, loving dogs who are great with children and other animals. Bichons are also great dogs for those who have allergies, because their coats are hypoallergenic, and they don’t produce the amount of dander most dogs do in spite of their fluffy coats. Bichons are fairly easy to maintain, but they do need a visit to the groomer every month or two.

Find a Bichon Frise puppy.

7. Maltese


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
playful, gentle7-9 inUnder 7 lbs12-15 yrs

Maltese are known for their silky, long coats that hide their tiny bodies. Despite their long coats, they surprisingly don’t shed very much, so they can be a good choice for those with allergies. They tend to be outgoing, playful, and smart dogs that enjoy running around outside. These gentle dogs get along well with humans and other animals. Maltese are good companion dogs, and some may have separation anxiety when away from their owners.

Find a Maltese puppy.

8. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
bright, curious, high-spirited15-17 in12-25 lbs11-13 yrs

Boston Terriers are sometimes stubborn and spirited and sometimes gentle and calm, depending on their moods and individual temperaments. They are good family dogs who are playful and expressive. Some Boston Terriers prefer one person over others, and some prefer seniors over others. While Boston Terriers are vigilant watchdogs, and they will bark when someone comes to the door, they are not usually aggressive. These dogs are not small lapdogs, but they are people-friendly, and they enjoy taking walks outside, which makes them a great companion for seniors who take daily walks.

Find a Boston Terrier puppy.

9. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
loyal, charming, entertaining10-11 in15-20 lbs13-15 yrs

West Highland White Terriers, also known as Westies, were originally bred to be working dogs that hunted rats and other rodents. They are sturdy, strong, confident dogs that have an independent streak, but they do respond well to obedience training. Westies are great at adapting to any home, and they don’t shed excessively, so they are fairly low-maintenance. While Westies are not lapdogs, they do make good companions and they get along well with other pets.

Find a West Highland White Terrier puppy.

10. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
bright, curious, high-spirited12-14 in11-20 lbs12-15 yrs

Originally bred to be farm dogs and ratters, Miniature Schnauzers are outgoing dogs that are strong and spunky. Their personalities vary greatly, so it’s difficult to generalize about their personality traits. Some are serious and introverted, while others are good-humored and extroverted. Some are energetic, and others are calm. Miniature Schnauzers are excellent watchdogs and enjoy going for walks outside. They are low-maintenance, and they easily adapt to different living environments. They are good choices for family pets or as companions for seniors.

11. Poodle


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
intelligent, active, faithful15 in40-70 lbs10-18 yrs

Find a Poodle puppy.

Poodles are loyal, smart, affectionate dogs that are highly trainable and loved to be pampered. They are low-shedding dogs that are excellent companions for seniors. While they are fairly low-maintenance, poodles do enjoy daily walks, and they require professional grooming about every month or two. Poodles have curly, dense coats, and they can be white, black, brown, apricot, or gray. Labradoodles and cockapoos are popular poodle mixes.

12. French Bulldog

French Bulldog

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
cheerful, playful, intelligent11-13 inUnder 28 lbs10-12 yrs

Find a French bulldog puppy.

French Bulldogs are compact, muscular dogs that are full of energy. While they are not particularly athletic, they do enjoy daily exercise and are excellent walking partners. These dogs have a brachycephalic syndrome, which can make breathing difficult and is common among breeds with pushed-in noses. It may be necessary to limit their exposure to excess humidity and heat, and sometimes medication or surgery can help alleviate symptoms. Despite this, these dogs are low-maintenance and make excellent companions for seniors.

13. Pomeranian


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
happy, inquisitive, lively6-7 in3-7 lbs12-16 yrs

Find a Pomeranian puppy.

Pomeranians have small bodies and big personalities. They are bright, alert, and perky, and they are easy to train. They make great watchdogs and are great companions for seniors in both the suburbs and cities. Pomeranians come in many colors, with the most common being orange and red. While they are happy, lively dogs, they may snap at small children if they are bothered. They don’t need much maintenance, other than regular grooming.

14. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
gentle, independent, sweet-tempered13-15 in7-14 lbs14-15 yrs

Find a greyhound puppy.

While greyhounds have a reputation for being excellent racing dogs, they are not high-energy all of the time. They are built for aerodynamic movement, but they also enjoy relaxing and can sometimes be couch potatoes. These dogs are independent but easy to train and handle, and they are sweet-tempered, loving, gentle companions for seniors. Italian Greyhounds are low-maintenance dogs who don’t require fancy grooming, and they shed about as much as any other dog.

15. Havanese


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
cheerful, outgoing, intelligent8.5-11.5 in7-13 lbs14-16 yrs

Find a Havanese puppy.

Havanese are bright, social, sturdy dogs who adapt well to most living situations. They are great for city dwellers due to their small size, and they are highly trainable. These extroverted dogs enjoy clowning around and doing tricks, but they are also great watchdogs who don’t bark excessively. Havanese don’t like to be left alone for extended periods of time, and they may experience separation anxiety at times. They are a bit high-maintenance since they require some amount of daily grooming to maintain their smooth coats, but they don’t shed excessively.

16. Beagle 


Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
clever, loyal, happy13-15 in20-30 lbs10-15 yrs

Find a Beagle puppy.

As members of the hound family, beagles are natural-born hunters. They are also happy, easy-going, curious, funny, clever, and loyal companions. They are great family dogs, as well as excellent dogs for seniors. Beagles are short-haired, and they are low-maintenance, but they do shed. They can be a variety of colors, usually a combination of white and lemon, red, tan, brown, or tri-color

17. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Image Source: akc.org

TemperamentHeightWeightLife Expectancy
affectionate, feisty, playful7-8 in7 lbs11-15 yrs

Find a Yorkshire Terrier puppy.

Yorkshire terriers are sweet, loving, loyal dogs who are great lap dogs, but they also have an independent streak and can be very protective. Yorkies can also be feisty and a bit bossy. These dogs enjoy playing and cuddling, and they are dedicated companions for seniors. These tiny dogs have floor-length coats that are typically gray-blue and golden-tan. They can be a bit high-maintenance since they need daily brushing and weekly baths, but they don’t shed as much as many other dogs. 

Owning a dog can be a rewarding experience, and dogs can provide you with a type of loyal companionship you can’t get anywhere else. So if you are a senior, and you’re thinking of purchasing a dog, consider one of these breeds. Whether you’re looking for a high-spirited, entertaining dog or a gentle lapdog that is not too large to handle, you might find a perfect match with one of these seventeen breeds.

Have you ever owned one of these pups? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!


A lot of the information included in this article was informed by the American Kennel Club website. They are a great resource for information on dogs.


The personality and traits of individual dogs can vary. The characteristics listed above are generalities. Please consult an adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Top 10 Dog Breeds For Seniors Infographic

top 10 dog breeds for seniors infographic

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