10 Best Dog Breeds For Elderly Owners

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Dogs are renowned for their loyalty, affection, and companionship, making them ideal pets for individuals of all ages.

For elderly owners, a dog can provide immense joy, happiness and numerous health benefits. From reducing stress and loneliness to encouraging physical activity, the right canine companion can significantly enhance the lives of older people.

In this article, I picked out the 10 best breeds for elderly owners. Here’s what I found:

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel slightly tilting his head at the camera

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are often considered a good choice for elderly owners due their size. Cavaliers are small to medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 13 to 18 pounds (5.5 to 8 kilograms). Their manageable size makes them easier for elderly individuals to handle and control, especially for those with mobility issues or limited physical strength.

King Charles Spaniels are also smart dogs, making them easy to train. Orignally being bred as lapdogs, Spaniels thrive on companionship and won’t hesitate to make your lap their favourite place to occupy.

Breed Overview

Height: 12 to 14 inches

Weight: 13 to 18 pounds (5.5kg-8kg)

Coat: Usually long, silky with light thinner hair around the ears, feet and tail.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

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2. French Bulldog

A French Bulldog being photographed climbing a tree

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The French Bulldog or Frenchie is the king of wrinkly faces, not to mention their bright colourful eyes.

Weighing anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds (6.5kg-10kg) the Frenchies moderate energy level is great for elderly owners who may not be able to engage in extensive physical activities and are looking for a more relaxed and low-energy companion.

French Bulldogs are also known for their affectionate and loving nature. They were bred to be companions and have strong bonds with their owners, providing a deep sense of emotional support and comfort. For elderly individuals who may be living alone, having a devoted and loyal furry friend like a French Bulldog could significantly improve their overall well-being and happiness.

Breed Overview

Height: 11 to 13 inches

Weight: 15 to 25 pounds (6.5kg-10kg)

Coat: Smooth, short hair coat. Brindle, white, grey or fawn colours.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

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3. Pugs

A pug jumping over a spot of water on the beach

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We all know pugs are small right? These brachycephalic dogs have relatively low exercise needs compared to some other breeds. While they still require daily walks and mental stimulation, they do not have excessive energy levels that require intense exercise routines. This makes them suitable for older individuals who may have a more relaxed or less active lifestyle.

Pugs also been known to live in smaller spaces, although I would never recommend getting a dog if you live in an apartment, Pugs are adaptable to limited room.

Despite being frequent shedders, Pugs are not hard to groom thanks to their short, smooth coat. Occasional bathing, and cleaning their facial wrinkles are usually sufficient to keep a Pug’s coat and skin in good condition and minimize shedding.

Breed Overview

Height: 10 to 12 inches

Weight: 14 to 18 pounds (5.7kg-8kg)

Coat: Smooth, short coat. Coming in fawn or black colours.

Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

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4. Yorkshire Terrier

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Yorkshire Terriers or Yorkies are a favourite among older dog owners. Their small maintanable size, moderate exercise needs and loyalty make them a perfect breed for elderly owners. Yorkies are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, forming strong bonds with their owners, which can be particularly beneficial for older individuals who live alone.

With a relatively long life span considering their size, Yorkies don’t require intense physical exercise, and are content with a walk once a day. Although they do need to be groomed, their coats are easy to manage thanks to their long hairs which minimises shedding. Making them a good choice for elderly owners who want a manageable breed.

Breed Overview

Height: 6 to 8 inches

Weight: 7 to 9 pounds (3kg-4kg)

Coat: Long hair, silky coat, usually in brown black or tan colours.

Life Expectancy: 11 to 15 years

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5. Maltese

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Maltese dogs are well-suited for elderly owners, their small size and lightweight build make them easy to handle and manage, at just 4-7 pounds.

Having relatively low exercise needs the Maltese still requires daily walks and playtime, but their exercise requirements can be easily met with short walks around the block or indoor play sessions. This is beneficial for elderly owners who may have a more relaxed lifestyle or limited mobility, as they can provide the necessary physical activity for their Maltese without excessive strain or effort.

Maltese dogs are also known for their distinctive coat, which sheds minimally. This is great for elderly owners who may have allergies or sensitivities, as the low-shedding coat reduces the presence of allergens in the home. Also there’s less fur around the house!

Breed Overview

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Weight: 7 to 9 pounds (3kg-4kg)

Coat: Long silky white coat, sometimes black points or dots.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

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6. Shetland Sheepdog

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Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, can be excellent companions for elderly owners. Shelties typically weigh between 16 and 26 pounds (7 to 12 kilograms). This manageable size makes them easier to handle and control, particularly for older adults who may have limited strength or mobility.

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally intelligent and trainable this trait can be beneficial for older individuals who may prefer a dog that is responsive and easily trainable. Shelties can learn and follow commands, making them easier to manage compared to other breeds.

Although they have long fur which can sometimes be a pain, they’re temperament is calm and they often don’t need excessive physical stimulation. Shetland Sheepdogs need grooming, but despite their difficult coats are very manageable dogs.

Breed Overview

Height: 13 to 16 inches

Weight: 16 to 26 pounds (7kg-12kg)

Coat: Long double coat, usually black, white or tan colours.

Life Expectancy: 11 to 14 years

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7. Beagle

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Despite being bred for hunting, the Beagle is a low maintenance and smart dog breed. They do have a moderate exercise requirement but they don’t have high levels of energy like Labradors or other breeds. So short daily walks is usually enough to fulfill their needs.

Beagles are also known for their adaptability, ease of care and train-ability. Their short dense coat often require minimal grooming which can be beneficial for elderly owners who may have difficulty with more demanding grooming routines.

Depending on their size, Beagles can live to around 15 years of age. So they can offer elderly owners many years of friendship.

Breed Overview

Height: 12 to 15 inches

Weight: 20 to 25 pounds (9kg-11.5kg)

Coat: Short multi colour combinations, brown, black and white.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

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8. Shih Tzu

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Shih Tzus are another breed known for their small size. They typically weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, making them easily manageable for elderly individuals who may have limited strength or mobility. The compact size of the Shih Tzu means they can be easily picked up or carried if necessary, reducing the risk of strain or injury for their owners.

Plus, much like other “toy breeds” Shih Tzus love attention and security from their owners. Shih Tzus are also known for their low exercise requirements. While regular exercise is important for any dog’s health, Shih Tzus are generally content with short walks or indoor playtime. This characteristic makes them a great fit for elderly owners who may not be able to engage in long, vigorous exercise sessions.

Additionally, Shih Tzus have been know to have a longer life expectancy than other dog breeds.

Breed Overview

Height: 8 to 12 inches

Weight: 8 to 16 pounds (5kg-7.5kg)

Coat: Found in mostly any colour, long double coat.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 16 years

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9. Dachshund

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Dachshund are another popular breed among older owners. Their short silky coat is easy to maintain and Dachshunds due to their small legs don’t require an active lifestyle. Although they can accumulate energy, it’s no where near comparable to the Labrador.

Weighing any where from 12 to 30 pounds (5.5kg-14kg), Dachshund can come in any size and in spite of their bad backs, can live to a long age.

Despite being bred to hunt badgers, Dachshunds have an affectionate side and are a breed which can experience loneliness when you’re not around. For older people who want to bond with an animal, the Dachshunds is not a bad place to start.

Breed Overview

Height: 8 to 10 inches

Weight: 12 to 30 pounds (5.5kg-14kg)

Coat: Short silky coat, usually black, brown fawn or tan in colour.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

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10. Poodle

A Poodle running in the garden

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Poodles are great for older owners, they don’t shed, are easy to maintain and are an intelligent breed. Being known to cause less allergic reactions, Poodles come in all different sizes, varying from “toy Poodle” to the standard Poodle.

Poodles are obedient and can answer well to instructions. Being one of the most intelligent breeds even newer pet owners shouldn’t struggle to teach them a thing or too.

Standard poodles are around 30 to 60 pounds (13kg-27kg) and depending on size can live until 16 years of age.

Breed Overview

Height: 12 to 16 inches

Weight: 30 to 60 pounds (13kg-27kg)

Coat: long, curly and dense. Usually brown, white and black in colour.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years


Q: How can I track my dog?

Pet GPS trackers are one way you can track your dogs health, activity and physical position. Usually attaching to your dogs existing collar, Pet trackers are controlled via an app so you can track your pet 24/7.

Q: What is the best tracker for my Labrador?

Pet trackers are an excellent option for owners who prefer simplicity. With the ability to access their dog’s location, health score, and sleep rhythm right at their fingertips. These devices provide not only convenience but also peace of mind.

For larger breeds, I would probably recommend the Tractive XL or the original Tractive if your dog weighs less than 16kg.

Q: Are Labradors a good breed for elderly owners?

Labradors can be quite a handful especially when they’re young. Whilst they are a popular breed, care requirements and their characteristics don’t fit what elderly owners look for in a dog breed. At least in my opinion.

Labradors are not only large dogs but they have high energy levels. Their size can be difficult to control and they need constant supervision and mental stimulation. Labradors also require a lot of exercise and proper training to be manageable. I know that from experience!

Q: Best dog tracker for elderly owners?

If you’re looking for a pet tracker which is easy to use and has a good interface. Your best bet is probably the Tractive or Tractive XL (for bigger dogs)

Q: What is the easiest to maintain type of dog?

Surprisingly, the Greyhound and despite their size Dachshund are some of the lowest maintenance dog breeds. Greyhounds although not the smartest, have a thin short coat which is easy to groom and maintain. Dachshund can have health problems particularly in their backs, but due to their little legs only require a couple of short walks and playtimes to keep them happy.

Q: Which dogs have the least health issues?

Unfortunately, some breeds like the Bulldog and Pug are bred with known breathing issues. However breeds like the Belgian Malinois, Border collie and English Springer Spaniel are known for having very little health problems and can live healthy long lives.

Breeds with the least health problems are much easier to maintain and own, especially for elderly owners.

Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams is a keen writer and has spent 6+ years writing professional, research-based content. Specialising in everything home related, whether that’s smart home products or pet goodies, she has an extensive knowledge on home appliances, dogs and safety products with a lot of reviewing experience. Before joining ThirtyBlue Media, she wrote content for her own website. 

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