Small Dog Breeds That Are Great For Seniors

Senior couple holding a dog in a retirement home

There have been countless studies on the benefits of dog companions for seniors. Dogs have long been known as being man’s best friend and research has found that they can be particularly helpful to seniors—especially those that may be mostly home-bound or dealing with issues related to dementia. Many times, small breeds are ideal for seniors as they require less exercise and are easier for seniors to move around and care for.

With this in mind, here are five great small breed dogs that are known for being excellent companions for seniors. Make sure to contact your local shelter or rescue organization to find dogs like this in your area, or mixed breeds that are bred with these types of dogs. They may be just what your senior loved one needs.

King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for being affectionate and a great snuggle buddy. These dogs love laying in your lap indoors but also love spending time outdoors, making them a great companion for seniors who like to take short daily walks with their pooches. These dogs are known for getting very attached to their owners and other dogs in the home and are great companions—they are also notoriously smart and easy to train.

Shih Tzu

The compact little Shih Tzu is known for being loyal and affectionate and is often considered to be the ultimate lap dog. Seniors who adopt these dogs will have a friend that will want to sit in their lap virtually all day and they typically require little exercise. Make sure your senior loved one is aware of the grooming that this breed needs as their long silky hair does require trimming and brushing.

Maltese

The little Maltese breed is known for being super small in size and easy to carry around, making them a great companion for seniors on-the-go. Chances are you have seen the Maltese in hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living communities before as these laid-back, well-mannered dogs often serve as therapy dogs for older adults. These dogs typically stay under 10 pounds when they are full-grown and are hypoallergenic, which is great for those that may be prone to allergies.

Pug

If your senior loved one doesn’t mind snoring then a pug may just be for them. While these dogs are known for their adorable snores and snorts, they in general are very well-mannered and smart little dogs. They are the perfect canine companion for seniors who want a dog who will encourage them to get up and walk or throw a ball. While they don’t need as much exercise as larger breeds, they do have some spunk to them and will need to be walked from tie-to-time.

Miniature Poodle

The Miniature Poodle is an adorable little dog for seniors who want a pooch with a fun personality who is super easy to train. Poodles are known for being highly intelligent and rarely shed, which makes owning them and cleaning up after them a breeze.

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