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The 6 Best Dogs for Seniors: Top Low-Maintenance Fur Friends

Dogs can be great companions for seniors – they’re loyal, fun and provide good company. But did you know that some dogs are better suited for seniors than others? When planning to get a new dog for you or your loved one, it’s important to consider the best dog breeds for seniors.

We’ve listed the best dog breeds for seniors based on maintenance, energy level and amount of training needed. See our five top picks of the best dogs for seniors!

1. Pomeranian

pomeranian with a green collar

Small dogs are ideal for apartment living. Pomeranians are 3-7 pounds making them a great option for seniors and senior living communities. These fluffy friends are lovable, affectionate and make excellent lap dogs.

Grooming

Keep in mind that Pomeranians will need more attention when it comes to grooming. Regular brushing should be done a few times a week to keep their fur from tangling and matting. So if you enjoy grooming a dog, this is the pet for you.

Exercise

This breed needs a moderate amount of exercise. They aren’t couch potatoes and need exercise mentally and physically. They do well with short walks and most outdoor activities. Since they’re a smaller breed, they only need around 30 minutes of exercise a day according to The Kennel Club.

Training

Potential owners should also be aware of this breed’s reputation for being stubborn which requires firm training. Once the training phase is complete, owners can sit back and enjoy the affectionate companionship of a Pomeranian.

Related: Three Health Benefits Of Living With Pets

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

king charles cavalier spaniel

One of the best breeds of dog for seniors is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This easygoing breed gets along with everyone of all ages. This works well for seniors and their visiting family members. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known to be family friendly animals that can be playful with grandchildren and other pets.

Grooming

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their silky coat and long ears. This dog breed needs a little more than regular brushing and an occasional bath to keep them looking their best. These dogs should be brushed multiple times a week and have their ears cleaned frequently.

Exercise

Being spaniels, they love to play and chase and tend to have high agility. When it comes to playing, these spaniels need moderate exercise, making them ideal for active seniors. A Cavalier Spaniel will need at least one hour of exercise a day.

Training

These are small dogs that are lovable, low maintenance and easy to train. Because of their high intelligence and patient behavior, training them is a breeze.

3. Pug

pug laying on the floor

Weighing 14-18 pounds, Pugs are a breed that’s easy to manage and handle for seniors. These small dogs are cheerful and known for their silly personalities.

Grooming

Pugs are a short-haired dog so they are easy to groom and care for. Their short, glossy coat is low maintenance, but they do shed. Pugs don’t require much physical activity or frequent grooming. The folds near their eyes will need cleaning from time to time.

Exercise

Pugs prefer cuddling on the couch over exercising or being active. Don’t worry because they’ll get plenty of exercise following their owner around the house. Overall, Pugs are just happy to be spending time with their owner, ideally on the couch and indoors. This is the best dog breed for senior citizens who are looking to do the same.

Training

Pugs are playful but their fun, goofy nature can lead them to be mischievous. They’re quick to learn where you store the treats! This can be fun and entertaining at first, but can lead to trouble without proper training. The good news is that pugs can be easily trained.

4. Shih Tzu

Shih tzu with tongue out

This friendly, well-rounded breed makes the list of dogs for seniors. Shih Tzu’s are small, outgoing, affectionate and gentle, making them safe for grandchildren, neighbors or other pets to play with. This breed tends to bond quickly with humans, creating a strong companionship from the start. Packed in their 9-16 pounds is a lot of personality and love that they are ready to share with their owner.

Grooming

Along with daily walks, Shih Tzu’s need to have their face and eyes wiped daily. Brushing is dependent on coat length, but Shih Tzu’s can be high maintenance when it comes to grooming. Long coats need to be brushed every day, moderate coats every two days, short coats every three days.

Exercise

Shih Tzu’s need around 70 minutes of exercise a day and because they’re small dogs, it’s best to split up their daily walks into two or three outings. They love short walks, which makes them an ideal companion for seniors.

Training

Shih Tzu’s are less demanding and quieter than other small dogs. They don’t bark much which makes them a good option for senior living communities. This breed only needs a short walk daily, making them a good match for most seniors.

5. Bichon Frise

bichon frise laying down

This breed is easy to manage due to its small size and light weight of 7-12 pounds. The Bichon Frise breed is known for being joyful and affectionate. Their gentle nature makes them a good match for seniors and any visitors.

Grooming

Due to their white coat, this breed needs to be bathed more often than others. Luckily, they don’t shed very often. This makes them an ideal fit for seniors that suffer from allergies. But they will require trips to the groomer every month or two.

Exercise

Energetic and alert, adult Bichon Frises need 30 minutes of exercise a day.This breed prefers daily walks which is beneficial for seniors looking to stay active. Since this breed tends to be energetic, regular games and interaction are needed to keep their energy in check.

Training

Bichon Frises pick up training easily and respond well to positive reinforcement methods. They tend to suffer from mild separation anxiety, so they may become overbearing if not trained well from an early age.

6. West Highland White Terrier

white terrier sitting in front of a window

Nicknamed “Westie,” West Highland White Terrier is another one of the best breeds of dog for seniors because of their gentle nature. These small dogs are extremely lovable and devote themselves to their owner – creating a strong bond and partnership that can bring joy and fulfillment to you or your loved one.

Grooming

When it comes to grooming, Westies have a “dual coat” and require careful care. They will need regular grooming appointments and daily brushing.

Exercise

Their exercise level requires two daily walks or play sessions to keep them active. This breed is known for being loyal, making a Westie a great bestie for you or your loved one.

Training

For Westies, their evolution has been from hunting dogs who were later domesticated. This is why they are smart, show individuality, and are obedient once trained well.

Perks Of Canine Companions

Finding the best dog breed that matches your lifestyle can enhance your quality of life. Some benefits of dog ownership include:

  • Staying active. Most dogs require some form of exercise. Even though some breeds are low maintenance, walking your dog is a way to keep your body moving and stay active. 
  • Making friends. Parading your new pet around may spark some conversations with neighbors, leading to new friendships. If they have dogs as well it is something easy to bond over. 
  • Combating loneliness. If you or your loved one is struggling with being on their own, getting a pet makes the perfect companion. Dogs can help combat feelings of isolation and be a friend furever!

Getting a dog can be the first step to creating a special bond that makes both the owner and the dog feel happy, loved and fulfilled.

The Pets of StoryPoint

Our pet-friendly senior living communities are just one of the reasons residents call StoryPoint home. We love pets and believe that they enrich the lives of both our residents and staff. That’s why we asked our residents to share their pets with us! Check out their unique stories here.

A senior man with his dog
StoryPoint resident Joe is shown holding his pup, Fritzie. (We hear she is quite the trickster!)

Our Pet-Friendly Community At StoryPoint

At StoryPoint, we understand the importance of furry friends. That’s why we offer a pet-friendly community and encourage our residents to bring their pets to participate in group activities, walking throughout the courtyards and more. We also offer pet care services for residents seeking support.

For more information about our pet-friendly senior living communities, please contact us at 1-855-407-8679.

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