This is the life
9 minute read

What are the best dogs for older people and seniors?

Lifestyle Communities® Chelsea heights Dog

From cuddly four paws to elegant pooches, energetic puppies and friendly barking-buddies – what better companion is there than having a dog? Some are masters at making dorky sounds while others deliver the newspaper from the front door to your kitchen seat. Either way, dogs are loyal animals that bring a lot of joy into any household. With that said, we understand that for cat fans – at best – only hot dogs might be on the list.

Things to consider before getting a dog

If you were a dog owner before you might already know how big of a responsibility it is to take care of a dog. There are a few things to keep in mind before looking for an additional family member. To have a very rewarding experience, it’s important to know your personal circumstances first.

Lifestyle: “A dog is like its owner“, some people say. And we agree that at least your own lifestyle should be a great indicator of which kind of dog might turn out to be your perfect companion. Are you rather active or laid-back? Do you live a life full of routine or adventure? Are you living in a quiet area or in an outgoing social circle? Maybe even having grandchildren around?

Home setup: In order to welcome home a barking sensation, you want to be sure that there is enough room for your dog to roam around in. See whether there is plenty of outdoor space or greenery close-by. You also want to check if your premise allows dogs and your neighbourhood is dog-friendly.

Finances: As with any living thing, a dog also comes with monthly costs. You want to account for expenses such as food, leash and collar, sleeping space and toys or other equipment. Certain breeds might have extra needs or special sensitivities that lead to more regular vet check-ups. Paying for insurance is also another factor to include.

Maintenance: Having a dog is no doubt a long-term commitment that comes with daily responsibilities. Besides taking care of your four-legged friend by feeding it and taking it for walks, regular brushing and playing sessions, think about whether you have a plan when you are going on holiday or are unavailable due to other situations.

Whether you are thinking of a puppy or an older pet, a lap-sitter or couch-sharer sized dog – there is a pair of sparkling eyes that will match you and your way of living. We took on the glorious task to find the best breeds for older people that will unlock your happy chemicals.

Top 15 dog breeds that make a great companion for senior people:

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
    What a mighty title for a small friend like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These quiet royals are gentle, playful and get along with pretty much anyone. They demand lots of human attention and don’t like to stay alone for longer periods of time but have enough affection to shower the whole family with its love. Apparently they also claim the title of ‘best lap dog for seniors’.

  2. Golden Retriever
    An all-time favourite, Golden Retrievers are known for their smiley attitude bringing joy (and looots, lots of sticks and tennis balls) to everyone. These active “Good Boy’s” love swimming and children as much as treats and a good back rub. Despite them thinking they are forever puppies, Goldens are very easy to train and learn quickly.

  3. Shih Tzu
    With their short snout, glittery eyes and ever-growing fur, Shih Tzus know how to turn heads. The long and shiny coat needs lots of attention and is perfect for established or want-to-be hairdressers that like grooming and daily brushing. Very loyal and affectionate, they love to tip-toe around their owners and prefer plenty of shorter walks with their favourite human.
  1. Miniature Schnauzer
    A big stance and a good guarding sense, the mini version of the Schnauzer comes with wiry fur and a moustache-like snout that might leave some dog lovers jealous. A bit too-cool-for-school, they need more time to warm up towards strangers but are very close, friendly and obedient to their owner. This highly energetic and playful individual seeks an active home without the distraction of others.

  2. Poodle
    This breed comes in different size variations and the bigger they are, the better they get along with children. Smaller versions prefer to have their owner’s attention all for themselves which might be ideal for older people that have more time to give. To maintain its curly crown, grooming sessions are a must with poodles. Intelligent, sociable, protective and athletic they make for a gracious companion for an equally active senior owner.

  3. Bichon Frise
    Cute as a button, Bichon Frise would totally win a marshmallow look alike contest (if this exists). As affectionate, merry and curious white fluffs, they are clearly stealing hearts left, right and centre – including children’s. Being on the sensitive side, these dogs might need more care when it comes to their wellbeing, but will thank you with their gentle manners.

  4. French Bulldog
    These serotonin boosters are very bright and patient. French Bulldogs are little speedy rockets that don’t need long to power through their energy levels and would make a great pair with an owner that appreciates taking it easy. Although they are very effortless, they do cling to their human twin a lot and don’t want to be separated for too long. Who would want to anyway?

  5. West Highland White Terrier
    Westies are super social and appreciate a home that can give them the same qualities. They are a natural all-rounder building a good team with families and others alike. Although generally being of the easy-going type, they can be quite stubborn to give up play time with their favourite toys – watch out for a great exercise partner! Get ready to melt away when they bounce towards you with their dark shiny eyes.

  6. Greyhounds
    The fastest oddball in the dog hemisphere! Lanky and loving, they do need to race off their energy instead of going for longer walks. If you live close to a park or beach, you will experience the joy of greyhounds chasing after their dreams. These gentle and kind dogs appreciate a quiet environment and will snuggle up next to you after their zoomies.

  7. Australian Shepherd
    Also known as the Sporty Spice, Australian Shepherds are very active fluff balls! With their herding background, they are loyal playful champs and can be very protective of children. You’ll get a lot of cuddling out of these if you allow them to let go of their high energy levels on a daily basis. If you have a lot of time on hand, these dogs will be a fantastic companion with the right amount of attention and exercise.

  8. Rottweiler
    If you can physically handle these gentle giants, you will discover a very calm, obedient, good-natured and steady companion. Rottweilers would do anything for their herd and are very protective, which means they love being challenged mentally and physically and are great for people who want to involve their dog in their daily activities.

  9. Boston Terrier
    Have you ever seen a dog in a tuxedo? Boston Terrier’s fur makes them look like little gentlemen. They are naturally goofy and bright, always up for a casual walk around the neighbourhood and get along with anyone. With their sturdy, compact bodies and dorky steps, they effortlessly put a smile on everyone’s faces.

  10. Papillon
    Their butterfly-wing-ears are iconic! If you are looking to train your dog all sorts of tricks to impress your friends, papillons are the circus athlete you are looking for. These happy little dogs are very intelligent, quick and attentive, making them also adaptable for any surroundings.

  11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
    Strong little legs, smiley face and shiny coat – the sausage dog cousin is a great housemate for many reasons. Their bright and quick-witted nature makes them an agile player and their paws can carry them around the playground for hours. However, Corgi’s need for togetherness will be a huge reward when they lovingly cling onto you on the couch.

  12. Mixed breed
    If you’d rather adopt than shop, usually pure breeds are less common finds in shelters. But rescues are often very loyal and thankful dogs that return any favour when shown a little patience and love. They also offer the best of more than one breeding world, having very fun personalities and will do anything for their owner. Going for a mixed breed will require extra research and patience to get to know the dog but we are certain that it’s worth it.

What are the benefits of having a dog in your senior years?

As the human’s best friend, dogs are a big responsibility that come with an even bigger reward. Waking up every day or coming home will be a joy when being welcomed by four paws with a wet snout and a wagging tail. Dogs are loyal companions that resemble a child that never grows up. They sense your mood and emotions, console you when you are sad and brighten your day with their silly attitude. Watching them learn and play in the fields is giving you a fantastic motivation to get out and about more regularly – with a companion!

Whether you are seeking more physical activity or prefer a cuddly partner, there are lots of dogs that can support you and your lifestyle while complimenting your own character. And it’s a nice feeling to take care of a living being that stays with you for a long time. Although it might seem like a lot of effort at first to commit to a pet, we know a lot of senior dog owners that can’t picture living without their extended family anymore.

On a more practical level, certain breeds can also be trained to serve as a therapy or guide dog, helping you with basic tasks that can make a big difference in your routine.

Pets in the community

Lifestyle Communities® are pet-friendly homes and dogs love it here as much as their owners. Our downsized house options are designed to make your lifestyle even bigger, including making space for pets and their friends. Each Clubhouse in our pet friendly retirement villages has a dedicated play area for dogs to do the zoomies, roll around the court and chase after balls. Living in one of our pet friendly retirement villages it also a great way to meet up with other dog owners and let the fur buddies play together.

Our communities are located in different neighbourhoods, offering plenty of parks close by to discover new routes with your pup. And thanks to the gated community grounds, you don’t have to worry about loud barking noise at strangers.

Explore our different community areas we offer or get in touch if you want to know where best to settle with your lovely dog companion.