Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

12 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors and Retirees

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on November 20, 2023

For seniors and retirees, choosing a dog breed that aligns with their lifestyle, energy levels, and care capabilities is essential. Certain breeds stand out as particularly suitable due to their calm demeanor, manageable size, and lower maintenance needs. Here are 12 dog breeds that are ideal companions for seniors and retirees.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their affectionate and gentle nature, making them excellent companions for seniors. They are small enough to be manageable but also hearty enough for enjoyable walks. Their loving disposition and desire for companionship align well with the lifestyles of many seniors.

2. Poodle

Poodles come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) and are highly intelligent and trainable dogs. Their hypoallergenic coat is an added benefit for those with allergies. Poodles are affectionate and enjoy being part of a family, making them great for seniors who have time to engage with an intelligent and responsive pet.

3. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are small dogs known for their friendly and affectionate character. They enjoy being indoors and are happy with short walks, suiting a more relaxed lifestyle. Their size makes them easy to handle, and they thrive on companionship, perfect for a senior looking for a loving pet.

4. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are small, low-energy dogs that require minimal grooming and exercise, fitting well into a senior’s lifestyle. Their playful yet laid-back nature makes them great companions for those who enjoy quiet, comfortable living.

5. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are small, cheerful, and loving dogs. They are relatively easy to train and require regular but manageable grooming. Their friendly and affectionate nature makes them excellent companions for older adults seeking a sociable and charming pet.

6. Maltese

Maltese dogs are small, gentle, and typically very affectionate. They enjoy short walks and indoor play, making them well-suited for apartment living or for seniors with limited outdoor space. Their small size makes them easy to handle and care for.

7. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are small, affectionate, and relatively low-energy dogs. They do require regular grooming, but their small size makes this a manageable task. Yorkies are loyal companions and can provide great company to seniors living alone.

8. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds and can be a good match for seniors, especially those with limited space. They require minimal grooming and exercise. Their loyalty and affectionate nature make them great companions, though they do best in a one-pet household.

9. Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terriers are small but sturdy, and they have a dignified and independent character. They require moderate exercise and grooming, fitting well into a more relaxed lifestyle. Their loyalty and protective nature can be comforting to seniors.

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are intelligent, affectionate, and have a moderate energy level. They require regular exercise, which can be beneficial for active seniors. Corgis are social and adaptable, making them great companions for seniors with varied lifestyles.

11. Greyhound

Greyhounds are known for their calm and gentle demeanor. Despite being a larger breed, they are often couch potatoes and enjoy lounging around the house. Their low exercise needs and affectionate nature make them suitable for seniors, especially those who appreciate a larger dog.

12. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are small, friendly, and have a moderate energy level. They are affectionate and enjoy being part of a family. Their size and temperament make them easy to care for and great companions for seniors looking for a sociable and loving pet.


These 12 dog breeds are well-suited for seniors and retirees, offering companionship, affection, and a manageable level of care. Whether looking for a small lap dog or a larger, laid-back companion, there is a breed to fit the lifestyle and capabilities of most older adults. When choosing a dog, it’s important for seniors to consider their physical capabilities, living situation, and the kind of companionship they seek.