The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

Having a dog as a companion can provide multiple benefits for seniors, such as helping to combat loneliness, lowering levels of stress, encouraging exercise which can protect heart health and also provide seniors with a sense of purpose.

No “one size fits all” dog breed is best because of course, just like people, dogs are very varied in size and exercise requirements and have different personalities that will suit some seniors better than others.

And even if someone lives in an assisted living community, more and more of these facilities are allowing dogs to live there as well.

Here are some of the best dog breeds to consider if you are a senior or have a loved one who is a senior and is considering getting a canine companion:

Pug – These little charmers are high on the list because they require the least amount of exercise. They are also very social and devoted to their owners.

French bulldog – These entertaining pups, like the pug, don’t require a great deal of exercise. Plus they are easy to groom and they love to hang out with their humans.

Boston terrier – The Boston is quiet and easy to train. Plus they don’t require a lot of grooming and they are a very manageable size.

Toy or Miniature Poodle – The Toy Poodle stands just ten inches high at the shoulder and the Miniature comes in at eleven to fifteen inches, so these small dogs are easy to handle. They are very intelligent and this is an active breed, in contrast to some of the others who don’t need as much exercise. They also require quite a bit of grooming.

Miniature schnauzer – These small dogs are wonderful and devoted companions. They can be vocal so they also make a good watchdog, but they are very obedient and want to please you.

This list is by no means exhaustive but does give you an idea of the types of factors to look into when picking out a dog for a senior.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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