18 Dogs That Make Great Companions for Older People

Written By Jill Taylor

The best dogs for seniors are those with low energy levels, great trainability, and minimal grooming needs. You’d also want one that’s affectionate enough to be a lovable companion! Sounds unrealistic? It’s not. Check out this list of 18 dogs that fit this profile!

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a quiet, gentle dog that’s easy to handle and train. This toy breed is also very small and has a medium-length coat, making it a preferred option for many older adults compared to bigger dogs.

Bichon Frise

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Bichon Frises are low-energy, non-sporty dogs that are even smaller than the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They have fluffy, curly white coats that feel soothing against your skin, and they have low maintenance needs, only requiring professional grooming every month or two.

Golden Retrievers

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The golden retriever is the first large breed on our list, and rightfully so. It’s a dog that’s gentler and easier to handle than many of the smaller breeds we’ll mention. The Spruce Pets profile them as being patient, highly intelligent, and very loyal, and they’re great companions if you have mobility issues.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Pembroke Welsh Corgis are highly intelligent and easy to train, making them an obedient buddy. They are herd dogs by nature, so they do need good amounts of daily exercise. Don’t get put off, though; this makes them great companions for outdoor activities, like walking, which will keep you fit into old age!

Cocker Spaniel

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Are you looking for a breed that will be good for both seniors and children? The cocker spaniel’s docile, friendly nature makes it your best bet. It’s a medium-sized breed that loves exercise and learns tricks very well. However, remember that it has higher grooming needs than others on our list.


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Poodles are another intelligent, easy-to-train, and mostly laid-back breed. They’re great at showing affection to multiple people, making them good options for senior couples. Their maintenance may look like a lot, but they’re actually not that high-maintenance. They’re also bred in several sizes, from toy size to standard.


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Pugs are adorable little toy dogs with low energy levels who are exceptionally friendly with strangers. They also require little exercise to remain happy, making them an amazing choice if you’re looking for toy dogs for seniors with limited mobility.


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Havanese pups couldn’t be a better companion; they require constant affection, making them perfect if you love spending lots of time with dogs. The AKC says this 12-pound, silky-coated toy dog is also easy to train and can be as gentle or playful as needed.

Boston Terrier

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With a Boston terrier, you’ll have a companion that’s great for daily exercise and a dog with a short, low-shedding coat that’s easy to take care of. The Boston terrier is also one of the most attentive and responsive breeds on our list, making it a great watchdog, too!

Yorkshire Terrier

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Yorkshire Terriers are some of the smallest, lightest dogs on our list, and they’re great for seniors who would prefer tiny companions around them. They’re super loyal and affectionate to their handlers, and their long coats don’t shed much—although they will need brushing daily.


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This silky-coated, 7-pound breed has a similar profile to the Yorkshire Terrier, except it’s smaller, lighter, and quieter than Yorkies. This makes Maltese the perfect travel companion. What’s more, it has lower grooming needs, too, so if you plan to travel throughout your retirement, Maltese could be the best choice.

French Bulldog

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Frenchies, as they’re fondly called, are gentle, sociable dogs that do very well with other pets and strangers. CanineHabit shares that they’re a non-sporting, muscular breed while still having a low-energy profile and low exercising needs. Their short fur coats also make grooming Frenchies a breeze!

Shih Tzu

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If you don’t mind a few stubborn episodes once in a while, then the Shih Tzu is another perfect small dog for you. It’s a 16-pound, easy-to-handle breed that’s great as a daily exercise companion, adaptable to different living conditions, and especially befitting if you have children around.

West Highland White Terrier

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The West Highland White Terrier is a rough-coated companion with low grooming requirements and tendencies to show extreme affection for you. This breed’s inquisitive and independent nature adds to its low-maintenance profile, making it an ideal companion if you have playful grandchildren around.


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Pomeranians, at 7 pounds, are some of the lightest dogs on our list. They’re also fluffy and affectionate, so what more could you want? The only thing to watch out for here is that, as Britannica reminds us, Pomeranian dogs are excessive barkers… or should we say yappers.

Miniature Schnauzer

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The miniature schnauzer is a protective breed without the aggression that comes with many watchdogs. Thanks to a low-shedding, low-maintenance coat, grooming requirements are low, so if you’re looking for a trusty watchdog without too much hassle, miniature schnauzers will be a big hit.


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While greyhounds are on the larger side, they have low-energy personalities and easy trainability that make them surprisingly ideal options for older adults. While they do generally behave their best when you give them plenty of exercise, they’ll also be quite happy becoming a cuddly couch potato in your home.


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We saved our favorite for last–the beagle! Like most others on our list, beagles come with low maintenance needs and are sociable companions to have around. They’re a mid-sized breed that’s intelligent, loyal, and playful, and they only require short walks to stay fit. It’s almost like they designed for us older folk!

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