It’s never too late to welcome a furry friend into your home. In fact, many seniors will argue that having a dog around actually makes them feel younger and more energetic. If you’re considering getting a new pup for your senior loved one, we’ve put together this list of 10 breeds that make great choices.
A cuddly, fluffy, white dog — what’s not to love? Bolognese dogs are small, active, and can be easily trained. They’re also hypoallergenic, so seniors with allergies won’t be bothered by them. These dogs worship their owners and tend to follow them everywhere. They’re often a bit shy in new situations but quickly warm up when they realize there’s nothing to be afraid of. Fun fact: In Italian, Bolognese means ‘little sleeves’ because of the soft, fluffy fur covering the dog’s body.
Havanese dogs are sweet, lovable pets with even sweeter personalities. They’re active and agile, which makes them great walking or running companions for seniors. Havanese dogs love being the center of attention and can even be a bit sassy at times. They’re also quick learners and enjoy being trained by their owners. They’re intelligent, easy to train, and good-natured dogs that will keep your elderly loved one entertained for years. Fun fact: The Havanese breed comes from Cuba and is named after the country’s capital city.
Bullmastiffs were originally bred in England in the 1800s, and their descendants can still be found guarding estates and castles today. These dogs are powerful, brave, and protective of their loved ones. They make great bodyguards for older people who live alone or might need extra help keeping intruders out. Bullmastiffs are large and strong — in fact, they’re among the biggest breeds of all. They can weigh up to 130 pounds (59 kg), but they’re gentle and docile, thanks to their sweet nature. Fun fact: The Bullmastiff is named after its original purpose — it’s a cross between an English Mastiff and a Bulldog.
7. Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are short, sturdy, low-maintenance dogs that get along great with older owners. They’re calm, quiet, and patient — perfect for seniors who love spending time at home or don’t have the time and energy to play outside every day. Since they don’t require as much exercise as other breeds, they’re often content to just lounge around the house with their owners. They do well with slow walks and short jogs and love spending time relaxing. Basset Hounds are sweet and gentle dogs that bond quickly with their owners and love nothing more than cuddling up on the couch. They’re also incredibly loyal and will, as such, stick by your side through thick and thin. Fun fact: They have long drooping ears because they were bred to hunt rabbits in low-lying bushes.
6. Golden Doodle
A cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle results in an adorable — but clever — dog called the Golden Doodle. These dogs are smart, agile, and easy to train. They’re a good size for seniors not capable of handling larger dogs. Golden Doodles love going on walks or jogs with their owners, but they also make good lapdogs. They don’t require much exercise and will happily lounge around the home all day long. Golden Doodles are high-energy dogs that quickly get bored when they’re cooped up inside all day. They’ll need plenty of mental stimulation, or they’ll resort to becoming destructive. Fun fact: They’re good-natured, lovable dogs that were originally bred to be family pets.
5. Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon is a small breed with an even smaller price tag, making it perfect for seniors on fixed incomes. They’re active and playful but not too rough or rowdy. Brussels Griffons have an independent nature, so they’ll stick to their own business if you don’t encourage them otherwise. They’re intelligent and could do with little training, making them a great choice for seniors who don’t want to put in too much effort. The Brussels Griffon has an affectionate nature and loves being around its people. It’s loyal, loving, and will become fiercely protective of your loved ones if needed. Fun fact: They’re high-energy dogs that need lots of attention, love, and activities to keep them busy.
The French Bulldog is small and easy to handle but also hails from a big family. They’re lively, playful, and love spending time with people — which makes them perfect for seniors who don’t have much energy left at the end of the day.The French Bulldog has a gentle nature and prefers lounging around on the couch to running laps outdoors. And since they weigh less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg), they’re the perfect size for seniors who don’t want to handle a large breed. The French Bulldog is intelligent, friendly, and happy-go-lucky. They’ll get along with everyone from your neighbor to your mailman and will happily welcome visitors into your home. Fun fact: They were originally bred to be lap dogs, so they’ll happily snuggle up with their owners all day long.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate breed. that loves spending time with family. They’re great with kids and adults alike but are also gentle around the elderly. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a relaxed breed that prefers to keep to itself. They don’t require much exercise, but they will need daily walks to get rid of their pent-up energy. It’s friendly and gentle around people — which makes it great for seniors who might not have the grit or strength for an energetic dog. It can be slightly difficult to train, but it is obedient and eager to please. Fun fact: These dogs were originally bred as family pets and will get along with everyone from children to other animals. They make excellent therapy dogs because of their gentle, affectionate nature.
The Pomeranian is a small breed with a big heart. They’re friendly, loyal, and usually get along well with other animals in the house — which makes them perfect for seniors who live in apartments or houses where larger dogs are discouraged. Pomeranians are intelligent and easy to train but have a stubborn side, which means they might not be the easiest to handle. They’re energetic but can also be independent, so it may take some time for them to adjust to a new home and owner. The Pomeranian is a loyal watchdog that will bark at any signs of danger, making them great for seniors who spend much of their time indoors. Fun fact: Pomeranians have a thick double coat that will need brushing at least twice a week to stay healthy and well-groomed.
The Pug is a small, confident dog that has lots of get-up-and-go. They’re loyal to their owners but can also be stubborn and independent, making them perfect for seniors who don’t want the hassle of dealing with a needy breed. Pugs are affectionate but not too demanding, making them perfect for seniors who love their dogs but don’t have the energy to give them all the attention they need. They’re friendly, intelligent, and easy-going, but their stubbornness means they require a lot of training and socialization. They’re great with kids and other animals in the home, making them great family dogs. Fun fact: Pugs love to eat, so you might have to cut back on their food intake if you don’t want them gaining too much weight.