Best Dog Breeds for Senior Citizens


Getting a dog as a pet is always a consideration which calls for some long-range thinking.  This is particularly true once we have lived long enough to be considered a senior, in our 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond.  Many of us are living alone, and having a four-legged companion sounds like a good idea in terms of alleviating a periodic sense of loneliness and isolation.  Even if we live with someone, pets can provide the same uplifting of our spirits.  But those little critters need a fair amount of care from us.  And they create issues in our homes which we would do well to not think about.  Remember that cats can be left alone for a day or two, with food and water.  Not so with dogs.  But cats are hard to take for a walk…

Well, Dear Reader, below I’ve provided you with my thoughts about a number of dog breeds for you to start with.  There are, to be sure, many dozens more to choose from, but I’ve stuck with the ones best known to most of us.  It is always worthy to consider having a dog in our lives as we get older, whether we live alone or with a spouse, partner or family.  Choose carefully, after giving due thought to the responsibilities which come with having a dog.  And should Fido or Fifi or Rex or King or Charlie the Chihuahua come into your life, live well and enjoy the company.

10. Beagle

Another cute small dog, but they can be very active and curious little critters.  They oftentimes do not get along well with other house pets, so ask your cat before getting one of these.  Beagles come from a breed of hunting dogs, so they require daily exercise and room to explore, either in your home or in your back yard.

9. Cairn Terrier

Really smart and loveable breed of small dog.  They have long hair which requires daily brushing, lest it get matted and the dog be mistaken for a Rastafarian.  Cairn Terriers enjoy long walks but one must careful since they tend to want to chase small animals.  Even a small dog, lunging after a squirrel to chase, can pull an unsteady senior over.  They are really cute, though, and if you want to engage in meeting romance out in public while on a walk, this might be a good choice.

8. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terriers, also known as Westies, are small terriers with a big personality.  Super friendly by nature, these cute dogs are outstanding with other dogs and kids.  They are loyal companions that you can leave around the grandkids without ever having to worry about either.


Bark! Bark! Bark!


7. Pug

These small dogs have faces which bring-to-mind Winston Churchill, at least in my mind.  I can almost hear them bark with a British accent.  They are short-haired dogs, which makes it easy to keep them groomed.  They do not call for a whole lot of exercise, though a Pug which does not get out and about enough will tend to get very overweight.  They are friendly dogs, and charming critters for people interact with in public.

6. Corgi

Very popular these days, and very expensive to purchase.  This breed can be a great house or apartment pet, and are really good with children.  Corgis need a lot of exercise, though, and tend to bark a lot when left alone.  Without daily exercise, they put on weight really fast.  They also shed their hair at least twice a month, so be prepared to do the cleaning in your home.

5. Golden Retriever

Probably the most popular breed of dog, and for good reason.  They are friendly, really smart, and as loyal as the day is long.  Golden Retrievers are large dogs which require a lot of exercise.  If you are looking to keep motivated in your own exercise, going for a healthy jaunt once or twice a day, this would be a good match for you.  They also shed quite a bit, so be ready to do some extra house cleaning.


Bow Wow! Bow Wow!

4. Labrador Retriever

Black Labs, Golden Labs, White Labs – all are great dogs for any age of owner.  For seniors, they can be one of the best in that they are loyal, friendly and eager to provide company.  This is another breed of dog which is useful if a person is single, and has in mind to meet someone new while going out for a walk.  Labs are congenial and easy for a stranger to pet while you are engaged in conversation out on a walk.  These dogs do shed quite a bit, and require a lot of exercise.  At home, however, they are quite content to lie around in the same room as their owner or family.  They are big dogs, so take this under advisement if the owner is frail and unsteady on her or his feet, particularly while walking the pooch outside.

3. Greyhound

Greyhounds are best known as racing dogs.  They are tall and often quite heavy, up to 70 or 80 pounds.  And they are amazingly gentle and affectionate.  Many people have greyhounds which are retired from racing, and the new owners are surprised at how lazy, or couch-potatoish the dogs can be.  If you are looking at a large dog, this is a good one to consider.

2. Bloodhound

These are very large dogs, a little over two feet tall and weighing up to 105 pounds or more.  Though these guys look sleepy and lazy, they require a good amount of exercise, and long walks on a sturdy leash are a must.  Walking with them off-leash is not advisable.  Remember that these are hunting dogs and once their nose picks up a scent, they can be off for the hunt.  They also drool quite a bit, so keep towels handy in the home.  Bloodhounds do well in a large fenced yard, but they like to dig so the fence must be a secure one.  Their faces are distinctive to everyone, with their sad eyes and baggy skin.  Striking up a conversation with someone new is easy to do once they get a look at your pet’s face.


Ruff Ruff Ruff

1. Papillon

Really cute and really small.  They have oversized ears, which grow long poofy hair, as does their neck and shoulders.  If you are a single man looking to meet a charming lady, or some variation on the theme of romance and companionship, this dog is one to consider.

Considerations to Ponder

Those are just some basic considerations to ponder, before looking into bringing Fido or Fifi or Rex or King or Charlie the Chihuahua into our home and our lives.  The upside of having a pet around often far outweighs the added work that they require.


Upsides to Having a Dog at Home

I’ve listed some things to be mindful about while we contemplate getting a dog.  No doubt there are other notions I’ve not listed, but at least you have a place to start.


Written by Aaron Berlin