In retirement, maintaining physical and mental health is crucial, especially for seniors who may face isolation and the challenges of aging. One solution to combat these issues is getting a dog that can be a companion and keep you happy and healthy. Before finding the perfect furry friend, be sure to look for senior living communities that allow dogs to join you. But what are the best dog breeds for seniors? Let’s take a look at the top 8 favorites, including the agile Border Terrier, the affectionate Pug, the small and furry Pomeranians, the silky-haired Havanese, the gentle Maltese, the athletic Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the amusing Affenpinscher, and the sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Getting one of these tiny and affectionate breeds can be a healthy lifestyle decision that brings joy, slows down aging, and provides companionship during the golden years.
Originally bred to be country dogs, Border Terriers are highly agile and upbeat. These are tough workers who don’t tire easily. In terms of behavior and temperament, they are affectionate, plucky, and mostly happy. You would mostly find them in the countryside and small towns. But, they adapt well to city life as long as you make sure they get enough exercise and outdoorsy time.
A typical Border Terrier can be 11 – 16 inches tall at the shoulder. In comparison with other terriers, they are unique and easy to spot in a herd of dogs, mostly due to their somewhat unusual head shape, which many call ‘otter head.’ Another unique feature is they have longer legs compared to most small terrier breeds. When they are working outside, they are hard and never-tiring. But, when they are at home, they are the most affectionate and good-tempered breed. That’s why they are particularly great for elderly people. Borders adore going outdoors to play, which means you will automatically get plenty of exercise.
Pugs are an excellent choice for people with limited space and busy lifestyles who cannot spend a ton of time grooming them. These dogs are super affectionate, love to stay indoors, and don’t demand much exercise. Most of their time is spent napping or playing with the owner. They won’t bark, but be ready to hear a lot of snoring. With minimal grooming and an affectionate personality, there’s no reason why most elderly won’t find them adorable. They do shed a lot, though, and because of their wrinkly face, they can collect dust around the nose. Pug puppies are extremely adorable, so consider getting one from a reputable breeder.
Poms are super soft and small furry dogs. They are highly affectionate and love attention, which makes them perfect for older people who could use companionship and have plenty of time to spend playing/cuddling with them. Due to their long coat, a Pomeranian needs regular grooming and brushing. Also, they are more expressive and energetic than other dog breeds. So, do think about that before getting one. On the plus side, Poms are highly trainable.
This dog breed has many admirers because of its silky, long hair and expressive eyes. Havanese were originally bred as companion dogs in the 1800s during the Cuban aristocracy. They often go by “velcro dogs” because they are so affectionate they like to stick with their owners. Havanese breed of dogs is one of the best breeds for retired seniors who have a lot of free time to bond with their pets. The breed is highly trainable as they are super intelligent. They are mostly happy and love being around family members. The best part is they don’t demand a lot of exercise or grooming. But, they would need frequent brushing.
This dog breed is so tiny and adorable (weighing approximately 7 pounds) that they are often called “lap dogs.” Maltese are super gentle, playful, and intelligent. Because of their affectionate temperament, they make for excellent therapy dogs. They enjoy short walks but don’t demand a ton of exercise. The good thing is they don’t shed, which is something senior citizens would appreciate. You would need to brush and bathe them regularly, though. Their long, shiny, and silky hair make them look adorable and a true picture of elegance and royalty. It’s possibly due to their aristocratic bearing. They are agile, athletic, and love playing games. Maltese live a long life and get along with all age groups, including older individuals. They can be willful and stubborn at times but respond well to reward-based training.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Welsh Corgis happen to be one of the most famous herding breeds in the world. They are also one of the most household-friendly and agreeable dog breeds. In terms of their build, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are super athletic, strong, and lively, with an inclination towards companionship and affection. They are not needy, though. Pembrokes are sensitive and bright. They love human company and are easy to train. They were originally bred to be herders, which is why they are independent and fearless. Pembrokes are therefore highly vigilant and watchful with keen senses. Despite their tiny size, they have the bark of a big dog. Anyone who can meet their need for togetherness and regular physical activity will find no other breed more loving or loyal.
Affenpinschers are famously amusing, curious, and loyal dogs. They are as close to human toy dogs as possible, and their fearlessness knows no bounds. This is surprising due to their tiny size. An Affenpinscher would often have quirky antics, which sometimes take on a comedic sense due to their apparent seriousness. This terrier dog breed has amazing confidence, which reflects in how they approach life. Let’s just say that you cannot train an Affenpinscher. You befriend them like a human. For elderly folks, this can be a great plus point. At times they can be domineering and willful, but they are always entertaining and super affectionate.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This is a gentle and sweet dog breed with a melting expression. Another highlight of this spaniel breed is their rich, silky coat. Cavaliers had an aristocratic upbringing which gave them a royal touch. They are highly adaptable and love playing with people of all ages, including other dogs. Cavaliers are major homebodies but do well in active households as well.
Getting a tiny affectionate dog breed is one of the healthiest lifestyle decisions you can make during old age. They keep you happy, healthy, and slow down the pace of mental and physical aging.