18 Best Dog Breeds for Older Adults Who Need a Companion

Written By Jill Taylor

There is a reason that dogs are referred to as ‘man’s best friend’: you will never feel lonely with a dog in the home. If you’re searching for the perfect canine companion, here’s a list of the best dog breeds for older adults.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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The King Charles Spaniel is known for their gentle and affectionate demeanor, which makes them excellent companions for older adults. They also require only moderate exercise and are perfect for owners with limited mobility.


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Poodles are bright, friendly, and easy to train, making them great companions for seniors who appreciate a well-behaved pet. They also have a low-shedding coat, making them a good pet for those with allergies due to their minimal shedding, although PetMD notes that their curly coats will need regular grooming.

Shih Tzu

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The Shih Tzu is a friendly and sociable dog, known for its affectionate nature. This breed enjoys being close to its owner, it really is a ‘lap’ dog and loves a cuddle, making it ideal for companionship. This pet needs regular grooming but doesn’t require a lot of exercise, which suits less active people.

Bichon Frise

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The cheerful and affectionate nature of the Bichon Frise makes them a great source of joy and companionship. They are a perfect pet for older people as their small size makes them easy to handle, and they don’t require too much physical activity.


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Maltese dogs are gentle and loving, and they thrive on human companionship. They need to be groomed daily but their small size makes the process quick and easy, and their affectionate nature makes grooming a pleasure. This breed will suit homes with limited space, as well as owners with lower activity levels. 

Labrador Retriever

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Labradors are a gentle and loyal breed known for their friendly nature and patience, making them well-suited for seniors. These make a truly wonderful and lovable companion, however, they do need a lot of exercise, so are best suited to more active owners–or those who can hire a dog walker. 


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Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal to their owners and described as devoted by Pet Health Network, making them great personal companions. They require minimal grooming and exercise, which makes them ideal for older adults who prefer a low-maintenance pet, and they are tiny, so they don’t need much room, except maybe for their wardrobe!

Cocker Spaniel

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Cocker Spaniels are known for being gentle and cuddly, they are easy-going dogs that are loved for their sweet nature. They require daily exercise as they are quite energetic and bright, but they are also obedient and easy to train, so they are wonderful pets for more active older people.

Scottish Terrier

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While they are somewhat independent, Scottish Terriers are extremely loyal to their owners. They are a high-spirited and confident breed, says the American Kennel Club, with a lot of attitude. They make a wonderful companion for a more active senior, as they require daily physical exercise and playtime. 

West Highland White Terrier

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Westies have a cheerful and friendly nature that can brighten any senior’s day. This tough little breed is very independent and can be a challenge to train, but they are good fun and make a wonderful companion for an older person who wants a dog with a big personality.

Boston Terrier

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The good-natured Boston Terriers are known for their friendly disposition and manageable size. They love to play but require only minimal exercise to stay healthy, and they make a perfect companion for older adults who spend more time at home, as the Boston Terrier loves company.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Corgis are known for their loyalty and affection, making them excellent companions. They are lively dogs who enjoy being active but their size makes them manageable for seniors, and moderate daily exercise keeps them happy. They also benefit from a daily brush as they shed quite a bit.

Yorkshire Terrier

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The compact size of the Yorkie makes them easy to groom and care for. Yorkies are small, but they have a big personality and these happy little dogs are known for their devotion to their owners, making them great companions. They require minimal exercise, a daily short walk will keep them fit. 


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Pugs are gentle and loving dogs who prefer the company of humans, making them great little companions. They are ideal pets for seniors, as they enjoy leisurely strolls mixed in with lots of relaxation time and cuddles.

French Bulldog

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French Bulldogs are charming and lovable and have a calm disposition. They require minimal exercise so they fit well into the relaxed lifestyle of a retired owner, and tend to form strong bonds with their human, making them are a good pet for someone who is home a lot.

Italian Greyhound

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Italian Greyhounds are affectionate and calm, and love a cuddle, a very chilled-out companion for seniors. They require little grooming, and although these greyhounds enjoy daily walks, they need minimal exercise and are suitable for living in smaller spaces; according to The Spruce Pets, they just love to lounge around indoors with their humans. 


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Havanese dogs are playful and love attention but are gentle enough not to overwhelm their owners. Their small size and moderate energy levels make them ideal for older adults, and they make great companions for seniors who spend a lot of time at home, as they love to hang out with their owners.


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The Pomeranian is a tiny, happy, and playful pet. This breed enjoys some exercise but doesn’t need long walks. They are extremely affectionate and love to cuddle on their owner’s lap, making them a wonderful companion for an older person who isn’t all that active.