8 Best Dog Breeds That Are Great Companions for Seniors and Retirees

12Oaks-Happy retired couple with pet dog on sofa-ss-8 Best Dog Breeds That Are Great Companions for Seniors and Retirees-Feature

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With the changes in lifestyle and responsibilities that occur for most seniors, there is no better time to adopt a dog and share their golden years with a furry buddy — like right now!

For ages, a dog has been referred to as a “man’s best friend,” and they truly live up to that title by being an abundant source of pure joy and entertainment. Above all, they are judgmental-free, making them the perfect companion for live-alone seniors and retirees seeking a friend who listens.

Without further ado, keep scrolling to discover our list of the eight best dog breeds for you or the important senior in your life.


Benefits of Dog Companionship for Seniors

According to science, interacting with pets, whether dogs, cats, or fish, has been proven to provide a host of physical, emotional, and life benefits for seniors. The benefits of dog companionship are as follows:

  • Encourage physical activities
  • Reduce senses of loneliness and isolation
  • Decrease stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Help shape seniors’ routine
  • Create a stronger bond between seniors and friends
  • Boost happy hormone (serotonin)
  • Improve overall health
  • Enhance the quality of life
  • Reduce the risks of cardiovascular health


Best Furry Buddies for Seniors & Retirees

When choosing a new pet for your parents, the sad news is a Golden Retriever is probably not what you should bring home since large dogs, though adorable, can become dangerous at any second.

Ideally, the best dog breeds for seniors should be as low-maintenance as possible, especially if your parents or grandparents are soon moving into senior-friendly accommodations with less space than usual. Simply put, dogs that need regular grooming and are overly active may not be the best fit.

Planning to get a dog to keep your parents or grandparents smiling from ear to ear? Let’s go over our top eight picks of the best dogs for seniors and retirees.



12Oaks-white maltese dog playing and running on green grass-ss-1. Maltese

Maltese is the perfect embodiment of everything you are looking for in a small dog: bright, gentle, affectionate, and even lap-friendly! These four-legged friends are born to rescue your seniors from boredom with their sweet nature and adorable dog tricks.

Averagely weighing under 7 pounds, Maltese are easy to carry around in your bag and are the best fit for limited space. On top of that, they make an excellent companion for short walks around the block or in the park. One thing to remember when getting this breed is that they may need a little bit of hair brushing and trimming to preserve their cuteness over time!



12Oaks-Portrait of smiling caucasian senior man age 75-80 with white poodle dog-ss-2. Poodle

Poodles are the most popular among all dog breeds due to their cuteness and curly, cloud-like hair. Unlike other breeds, poodles are highly trainable and love to bond with their masters. Another perk of having poodles is that they rarely shed, making them the best companion for seniors with allergies and respiratory problems. This breed comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard, so your parents can also choose the appropriate size for their space.



12Oaks-pomeranians autumn-3. Pomeranian

Nothing beats a Pomeranian disguised as a tiny puffball when thinking about dogs. Much like other canines, Pomeranians are smart though they can be a little bit stubborn at times. But what makes them particularly stand out from the rest is their calm and collective nature.

However, these puffballs can turn into little warriors and stay vigilant. They bark in certain situations — like the arrival of a mailman or delivery man.

Weighing between 3 and 7 pounds, Pomeranians are ideal lap dogs on days when your parents feel like chilling indoors.


Bichon Frise

12Oaks-Bichon Frise-4. Bichon Frise

Like poodles, this breed is another lovely dog with curly white hair that doesn’t shed. Bichon Frise is a great match for your seniors due to their affectionate and joyful nature. Another great thing about Bichon Frise is that they can get along well with other household pets and children. Despite not shedding too much, their white coat still requires frequent bathing and grooming trips every one or two months.



12Oaks-adorable brown chihuahua dog lying down outdoors-ss-5 Chihuahua

Known as the world’s smallest dog breed, Chihuahuas are the ideal cuddle buddy for your parents, especially if they live in senior communities.

One of many reasons they are wonderful pets is they are loyal, intelligent, and trainable, accompanied by a somewhat quirky personality. As a result, they ensure to bring your parents or grandparents great joy and happiness.

What’s else? Your parents or grandparents may be relieved from the burden of constant grooming since these tiny little dogs’ coats are thin and short.


Yorkshire Terrier

12Oaks-Cute small playful yorkshire terrier-ss-6 Yorkshire Terrier

Going under another alternative name, “Yorkies,” these Yorkshire Terriers with lustrous coats are the best option for seniors and retirees residing in small housing, meaning they are small, cute, and easy to handle.

Above everything else, Yorkies are happy to stay indoors with your parents or grandparents, but they are also not afraid to step outside and be the best trip buddy ever! So your parents can likely take them anywhere and anytime, in a hand-carried bag.



12Oaks-corgi dog pembroke welsh corgi running outdoor in summer park-ss-7 Corgi

You may already know that the late Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite dog breed is Corgis, and it’s been estimated that she used to own over 30 Corgis before her passing in 2022.

Compared to the breeds discussed earlier, Corgis are believed to be the most energetic. This means your parents may need to venture out two or three times a week to take them for walks. However, they are easy to train and fit in a limited space.



12Oaks-Happy Senior Woman Hugging her Dog at Home-8. Havanese

Are you looking for another lap dog breed for your parents or grandparents? Havanese might be your right pick! These tiny cute little dogs are not only loving and joyful, but they could also be your little cuddle buddy due to their highly social nature. Before giving your seniors a Havanese, ensure they are trained thoroughly.


If you have questions about the best dog breeds for seniors and retirees or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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