9 Best Dog Breeds for Elderly Couple To Keep Them Engaged

Best Dog Breeds for Elderly Couple

Many seniors cherish living with pets, finding joy and comfort in their companionship. Pets, especially dogs, bring a special warmth to the home, offering love and a positive boost to health and happiness.

A study by the University of Michigan found that over 55% of older adults have a pet, with dogs being the most common furry friends. These pets do more than keep company; they fill hearts with love, ease stress, and bring a sense of purpose to daily life. They’re also great at making connections with others, encouraging exercise, and even easing physical and emotional discomfort.

Benefits of Pet Companionship in Retirement Living

Considering all these wonderful perks, it’s no surprise that getting a dog seems like a fantastic choice for enriching the golden years. Now, let’s gently walk through nine dog breeds that are just perfect for senior couples, offering the best blend of companionship and care for a sweet life together.

Best Dog Breeds for Elderly Couple

1. Shih Tzu

small breed dogs good with kids

Shih Tzus, with their petite stature, are perfect companions for seniors. They’re just right for older adults because they don’t need too much exercise—short walks are enough to keep them (and their owners) moving. These dogs are full of joy and love, gentle with kids, and make sweet friends for the elderly.

Their coats do require some care, especially if you let their hair grow long; they’ll need regular brushing and trips to the groomer for haircuts. They also have a couple of health issues to watch out for, like skin problems and breathing challenges because of their short noses.

Shih Tzus can be a bit headstrong, so training them might need a bit more patience.

The PDSA notes that Shih Tzus are quick to pick up on training when it’s positive and reward-based, and it’s best to start when they’re young. Their small size and good response to training make Shih Tzus a great choice for someone who’s never had a dog before.

2. French Bulldog

best dog for seniors

French Bulldogs, with their gentle nature, are a versatile fit for many homes—families, individuals, couples, and especially seniors. Their calm demeanor and compatibility with apartment living make them ideal for older adults. Playful as puppies and typically non-aggressive, they’re good companions that don’t make a lot of noise.

They’re known for their loyalty and tend to form a special connection with the person who looks after them the most. Training a French Bulldog might require some patience due to their sometimes stubborn nature, but with consistent positive reinforcement, they learn well.

Frenchies have moderate shedding and are pretty low-maintenance on the grooming front. They do need their daily walks but are sensitive to heat, so it’s important to keep them cool and comfortable. Because of their flat faces, French Bulldogs often face a condition known as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome or BOAS. This health issue happens because their short snouts can lead to crowded air passages in their nose and throat, which can make breathing difficult.

3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

best large dogs for seniors

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are recognizable by their short stature, pointy ears, and their spirited nature. Their smartness makes them easy to train, which is great for seniors looking for a furry friend.

Corgis have big personalities in small bodies, and their fun antics are a joy to watch, making them fantastic for senior companionship. They’re alert and loyal, often barking to let you know when someone’s at the door. Bred for herding cattle, they’re brave little dogs, though this bravery can sometimes mean they’re a bit headstrong.

While they might show some stubbornness, Corgis are generally agreeable with training and socializing. They’re an energetic breed, so they fit best with active seniors who enjoy spending time outdoors, like going for daily walks—which is good for both the pet and owner!

Corgis are quite adaptable and can be happy in smaller living spaces like apartments as long as they get enough exercise. They do shed, so they benefit from daily brushing. It’s important to keep an eye on their diet to prevent obesity, which can put pressure on their distinctive long backs. Moderate feeding and regular activity help keep Corgi healthy and happy.

4. Golden Retriever

best dogs for older people

Large dogs can be wonderful companions for seniors, with golden retrievers being a prime example of loyalty and charm. Their friendly disposition makes them a joy for people of all ages, including senior couples, and they’re always up for meeting new friends with a wagging tail.

Caring for a golden retriever is no tougher than any other dog breed. In fact, many owners find their sunny temperament makes them quite easy to handle. Goldens pick up on training with ease, and while they do have their share of health considerations, they’re generally not too demanding in terms of upkeep.

According to the American Kennel Club, golden retrievers are excellent therapy dogs. With their natural empathy and unlimited love, they have a special way of soothing and comforting people of all ages, from kids to seniors.

Dogs for Seniors Therapy, Support, and Service

They do love to stay active, though, so regular exercise is key. A good walk, a game of fetch, or a swim can keep your golden happy and help them settle down peacefully at home.

5. Bichon Frise

top 10 dogs for seniors

Bichon Frises are like little bundles of happiness, just right for bringing joy to a retirement home without being too high-energy. These petite pups, typically weighing between 7 and 12 pounds, are a breeze to train, making them perfect companions for daily strolls or simply cuddling in your lap. Their fluffy white coats, reminiscent of cotton balls, add to their charm as classic lapdogs.

They love being around people and are eager to make their owners happy. Thanks to their intelligence, training a Bichon Frise is usually quite straightforward. Their compact size suits apartment living well, though they do need their daily walks to stay content.

A big bonus for many is that Bichon Frises are hypoallergenic, making them a superb choice for those with allergies. Known for their friendly and cheerful nature, with just the right amount of exercise and regular grooming, Bichon Frises can be wonderful, happy companions for those enjoying their golden years.

6. Poodle

poodles for seniors

Poodles are a fantastic choice for seniors who want a dog that’s easy to teach. These brainy canines need plenty of activity to keep their good behavior shining. Available in Toy, Miniature, and Standard sizes, there’s a Poodle for every preference.

Poodles are devoted pals, bonding well with many people, which makes them great for couples. They’ve got a playful sense of humor and love a bit of fuss and attention. And when it comes to smarts, Poodles are top-notch, as are their popular Poodle mix-breed offsprings.

While Poodles don’t shed much and are allergy-friendly, they do sport an elegant coat that requires regular grooming and professional attention every few weeks.

To stay fit and happy, Poodles thrive on activities like swimming and lengthy walks, making the most of their lively and strong nature.

7. Italian Greyhound

best dog for older people

Despite their reputation as the world’s speediest dogs, Greyhounds are surprisingly suitable for seniors. These athletic canines are quite mellow at home, needing only their daily dose of exercise to be contented couch companions afterward. They’re great for older couples who like the idea of a larger yet easy-to-manage dog.

Greyhounds are noble, gentle, and often quiet, making them comforting pets. They enjoy their independence and may not fuss over guests, which many people find appealing. Because of their strong prey drive, they must be leashed during walks and closely watched outdoors. Their sensitive and playful nature endears them to their owners, fitting perfectly into a senior couple’s life. They might even snuggle up on your lap despite their size, and they’re one of the easiest breeds to groom.

An adult Greyhound’s maintenance is quite straightforward: occasional brushing will do. As for exercise, these lean dogs love to sprint in a secure area but don’t require long endurance activities, settling down quickly after a good run.

8. Lhasa Apso

best dogs for older couples

Lhasa Apsos are the epitome of loyal companions, perfectly content to snuggle on a lap or rest by their owner’s feet. Their gentle demeanor makes them excellent companions for senior couples, especially those with visiting grandchildren.

Gifted with sharp hearing and a confident disposition, Lhasa Apsos serve as effective little watchdogs. They’re inquisitive and enjoy exploring outdoor spaces like yards and parks, yet they’re quite low-maintenance when it comes to their exercise needs. While they don’t shed much, their coat requires daily brushing to prevent matting.

Adaptable to both quiet days indoors and active ones outside, Lhasa Apsos boast one of the calmest natures among small dog breeds. Their independence makes them a great fit for apartment living, offering the best of companionship without demanding constant attention.

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

what is the best dog for an elderly woman

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, affectionately known as the “Cavalier,” is a perfect companion for senior couples. This breed’s adaptability means it effortlessly fits into various lifestyles, especially those of seniors looking for a calm and affectionate friend.

Cavaliers are ideal for older adults because they’re quiet, small, and excel at being cozy lap dogs. They adore cuddling with their owners just as much as they enjoy exploring the neighborhood. Friendly and sociable, they get along with children, adults, and other pets alike.

With their laid-back nature, intelligence, and quiet temperament, Cavaliers are easy to befriend and even easier to train, showing more patience than many small breeds. Their long, silky fur needs regular brushing to stay beautiful, and paying extra attention to their ears is important for their health.

When it comes to exercise, Cavaliers are happy to match their owner’s pace, whether that’s enjoying brisk walks or relaxing on the couch. While they are somewhat more active than other breeds mentioned, they thrive in homes with a bit of outdoor space, making them a delightful choice for seniors with yards.

Final Thought

The best dogs for seniors often come in small sizes, offering companionship and joy without the high maintenance some large dog breeds require. From the affectionate Yorkshire Terrier to the intelligent herding dogs, there’s a perfect match for every senior couple’s lifestyle.

According to the American Kennel Club, choosing the best dog breed involves considering factors like energy levels, grooming needs, and size. Small dogs with minimal grooming needs often top the list for their ease of care and adaptability. Whether it’s a loyal Yorkshire Terrier or a calm herding breed, the right dog can enhance the experience of dog ownership for seniors, making every day a little brighter.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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