Dogs make great companions for seniors. With their fun, loyal, and cute personalities, dogs are a joy to share a home with and provide many health and emotional benefits to their owners like lowering blood pressure while raising “feel-good” serotonin chemicals in the brain. Plus, being a pet parent in retirement provides plenty of perks for the dog by having an owner with a more flexible schedule and the ability to be at home most of the day. But with so many different dog breeds to choose from, how can you know which dog is best for older adults?
With so many dog breeds that come in all shapes and sizes it can be a challenge—and important—to know which dog is the best dog for you and your living situation. Luckily, certain dog breeds have traits that fit perfectly alongside an older adult’s golden years.
Overall, the best dog breeds for seniors have lower energy levels and are smaller in size. This is especially true for seniors that may have downsized their lifestyles to live in a home at a senior living community. To find out the best dog for your lifestyle we’ve compiled our top picks for the best dogs for seniors:
The 5 Best Dogs for Older Adults
Pugs — The Best Dog for a Quiet Retirement
An ancient dog breed once favored by Chinese Emperors, a pug will leave you feeling like royalty when it’s by your side. Pugs are small dogs that weigh between 14 to 18 pounds, can live for up to 15 years, and have either light brown or black fur. Known for their loyal and loving temperaments, pugs are an easy dog to take care of and require no special grooming. Pugs are great for older adults because they don’t need a lot of exercise, love to cuddle on the couch, are easy-going, and gentle. This dog is great for someone who likes to relax at home and enjoy a quiet retirement.
Greyhound — Best Dog for Older Adults Who Love Big Dogs
Being the fastest dog breed by a country mile, greyhounds may not be the first dog you think of when it comes to companions for older adults. Greyhounds are a large breed that can weigh up to 70 pounds and live up to 13 years. Greyhounds come in a variety of colors such as tan, brown, black, and red. Ironically, gray is the rarest greyhound color and is referred to as “blue.” While their size and racetrack reputations are no joke, greyhounds are one of the most calm and gentle breeds around. They are not the high energy dogs many think they are. A greyhound is a great dog for older adults because they enjoy walks as much as they enjoy lounging on the couch. This dog is perfect if you want a breed that is large but easy to handle.
Miniature Schnauzer — Best Dog for Active Seniors
The Miniature Schnauzer is a German breed of small dog bred by farmers. The breed can weigh up to 20 pounds and live for up to 15 years. The breed comes in black, salt and pepper, black and silver, and in rare instances red. With a strong, outgoing, and energetic personality, miniature schnauzers are great for a senior who is more active and would enjoy frequent walks or trips to the park. As an added plus, this breed is low-shedding and hypoallergenic, but they have a double coat of fur which requires regular brushing or professional grooming.
French Bulldog — Best Dog for Seniors Who Love to Have Guests
Cute, humorous, curious, and playful, the French bulldog hits all the marks when it comes to a great canine companion for older adults. This breed is small, but can weigh up to 28 pounds and live for up to 12 years. Equipped with distinct bat-like ears and an even disposition, seniors looking for a dog that will entertain them as well as their friends and family should look no further. Their adaptability and easy trainability make them a perfect fit into any living situation.
Pomeranian — Best Dog for Apartment Living
At three to seven pounds, the fluffy Pomeranian is an ideal dog for older adults who live in more compact quarters. These puffball pets are loveable, sweet, and make for the perfect dog to sit in your lap. Pomeranians are also known for their long life spans which are up to 16 years. Seniors who enjoy grooming their dog will find joy in brushing the Pomeranian’s furry coat. An all-around adaptable dog, this breed is active, but can be exercised with both indoor play and outdoor walks. Highly intelligent, the Pomeranian will master tricks and commands before your eyes with ease.
The all-around best dog for seniors
For older adults looking for one breed that checks just about every box, the pug is our number one pick. With its relaxed temperament, charming looks, and easy trainability, this breed will make a great addition to any senior’s home. Want to go for a walk in the morning? Want to relax on the sofa and watch a movie? The pug can do it all at your pace.
Finding a Dog-Friendly Senior Living Community
If you live at a senior living community, make sure to check if pets are allowed. At Five Star, we welcome your pet with open arms!
Many of our pet-friendly communities offer trails and other green spaces for you to enjoy the fresh air with your furry friend. Plus, if you’re out on a community excursion or outing, we allow dog walkers to access our buildings during the day.
Love dogs, but not ready to make the full commitment? We’ve got you covered! Five Star’s exclusive Lifestyle360 programming includes pet therapy activities so you can enjoy cuddling with a therapy dog to add a little extra joy in your life.
Enjoy Retirement With Man’s Best Friend at Five Star Senior Living
Studies show that spending quality time with animals can be good for your health by lowering blood pressure and adding joy and purpose to each day. Five Star is reimagining aging for older adults. With senior living communities in 28 states, Five Star offers a quality of life that’s ageless. Find your perfect community today.