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The best dog breeds for seniors

As we age, the companionship of a dog can help to support both our physical and emotional health. Dogs encourage us to exercise and to engage actively with the world, while also providing unconditional love and affection. The presence of a pet in the home can also help reduce anxiety and even lower blood pressure.

But what dog breeds are best for seniors? The answer depends a lot on your lifestyle, your community, and on the dog breed. If you’re over 65 and looking for that perfect canine companion, here are a few breeds you may want to consider.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The onetime lapdog of kings, the Cavalier is a small, gentle breed that tends to get along well with everyone—including other dogs. Affable and diminutive, the Cavalier typically weighs between 13 and 18 pounds and has long silky fur and large expressive eyes. They are patient, playful, and eager to please, making them tops on our list.

Maltese

Weighing between 4 and 7 pounds, the Maltese may be the smallest breed on our list, but these tiny white dogs are packed with affection. They are easily handled, preferring to spend their time curled on their owner’s lap, or going out on short brisk walks. The Maltese does require regular grooming to prevent matting but is otherwise considered a fairly low-maintenance breed.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Smart, loyal, and playful, the Corgi makes a great companion animal. Pembrokes typically weigh 24 to 30 pounds and have stubby legs and prominent ears. Descended from herding dogs Pembrokes enjoy a daily jaunt n the park and respond well to obedience training. Their grooming needs are minimal, which makes the breed ideal for those seeking a low-maintenance dog.

Poodle

Poodles come in a range of sizes—including standard, miniature, and toy—and are a very popular choice among seniors. Smart and easily trained, the Poodle is an affectionate and loyal companion that’s easy to bathe and groom. Poodles are active and playful, which helps explant why the breed is 7th most popular worldwide.

Pug

With its flat nose and distinctive “mask,” the pug is among the most easily recognized dog breeds. Pugs, despite looking somewhat grumpy, are actually very affectionate and loving pets. Pugs do need a fair amount of exercise, but they don’t require a lot of space. So, they make great apartment pets and adapt well to assisted living facilities.

Honorable Mentions

If you didn’t see your favorite breed in our list, don’t worry—it’s far from a complete catalog. Other breeds that are extremely popular with seniors include the Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire Terrier. Whatever breed you choose, please check the rules and regulations of your community regarding pets. Also, if you’re adopting from a shelter, remember that senior animals are more likely to have trouble finding forever homes than are their younger counterparts.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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