Five Dogs Recommended for the Elderly

Though any dog would make a terrific companion, there are a number of dog breeds ideally suited to older folks who may not have the strength or mobility to keep up with larger, stronger or more energetic dogs. A smaller dog in particular can be the perfect loyal companion. Here are our top five choices of breeds you might consider adopting during your golden years.


Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers offer the best aspects of standard schnauzers, they're loyal and make excellent watchdogs in a much tinier package. The mini schnauzer stands a mere 12 to 14 inches tall and typically weighs no more than 16 pounds. Playful, smart, and occasionally silly, mini schnauzers also are obedient, mild-mannered and gentle. They typically accept people as well as other pets, and they love to be buddies to the whole family.

Shih Tzu

The shih tzu originally hails from China and Tibet, where his name translates to "lion dog." Despite it's mane, fearsome name and sense of personal pride, the tiny shih tzu is a gentle, loving, playful companion who doesn't shed if groomed regularly. A shih tzu is a spirited friend with lots of personality who delights in being among the family. Standing roughly 10 inches tall, the shih tzu rarely exceeds 16 pounds, making it an excellent lap dog for seniors.


The pug is an excellent choice for seniors who love a clownish, cuddly companion who doesn't need a lot of exercise. Enthusiastic, playful and a bit of a show-off, the pug loves to be part of whatever the family is doing. A pug's naturally affectionate nature and outgoing, friendly personality make him a loving companion. Weighing in at less than 20 pounds and standing less than a foot tall, a pug makes a wise choice for seniors with limited mobility.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are a lot of dog in a little package. Despite standing only 8 inches tall and weighing only about 8 pounds, yorkies have a big bark that makes them natural watchdogs and a bigger personality that makes them lively company. Though they need daily brushing, yorkies love a good lap and time with the family. Yorkies are loyal and energetic, and generally can make their own exercise, indoors with a ball or outdoors on a leash.


Poodles come in all sizes, from large to toy, but they all make excellent companions for seniors. Poodles are personable and easy to train, they're naturally clean and they don't shed if regularly groomed. Toy poodles are fun-size companions who make ideal pets for seniors with small homes. Miniature poodles are a little larger and sturdier and enjoy a good walk. Any size poodle is a natural at learning tricks and seems to live to entertain.

By Scott Morgan

About the Author

Scott Morgan is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered central New Jersey since 2001. He has worked with the Princeton Packet Newsgroup, US 1 Publishing, "Unique Homes Magazine" and Community News Service. Morgan also serves as a professional speaker and teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College.