Best 10 Small Dogs for Seniors

Dogs are wonderful pets and considered to be man’s best friend. Dogs provide companionship other than any animal pet out there.

If you are an older adult and interested in getting a pet dog, you might struggle a bit taking care of it.

There are different breeds, and not all are suitable for adults. Many breeds are too energetic and require a lot of walks to release their energy. 

There are factors at play that will prevent an older adult from owning a dog.

The key here is to find the right type of dog that suits your abilities and lifestyle.

But do remember that dogs have needs like grooming, walks, healthcare. Adopting a calm and house-trained dog is ideal for seniors.

Most seniors do better with smaller dogs than big dogs because it’s much easier to take care of.

In this article are some of the examples of small dog breeds that you could consider adopting.

1. Pug


Pug is great for seniors. This breed has an excellent temperament and a generally healthy breed.

Pug requires some little grooming weekly because they quite shed heavily. But do not worry. Pugs are easy to groom.

Also, avoid extreme temperatures ( very hot or cold) because it will make your pug sick.

This breed provides wonderful company to its master, thus making it idle for older adults.

Since pugs are small, it requires minimal space and will surely live comfortably in small housing space.

Pugs have a sweet temperament, friendly and affectionate. Overall this breed is generally well behaved and healthy and is perfect for seniors.

This cute and cuddly breed are awesome companions.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Pugs can live up to 12-15 years depends on how you take care of them
  • Dog Encephalitis 
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Minor Elongated palate 
  • Obesity
  • Skin Infections
  • Allergies
  • Nerve degeneration
  • Hemivertebra

Pugs are a healthy breed, but there are common health issues you might face in the future.

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Caring for a senior pug requires a lot more proper care rather than a puppy. 

2. Shih Tzu


Shih Tzu is a gentle, affectionate, sweet, and energetic breed. This breed thrives on affection and love.

This breed is usually healthy and requires minimal healthcare maintenance.

This Chinese Dog usually weighs under 15 pounds, has long and silky hair. Shih Tzu is small, thus making it idle for older adults.

This breed does not shed more often than any breed, but they require grooming and trimming to make them more comfortable and cute.

This breed also needs to be trained because some are known to have temperament problems. But they are usually friendly and happy with kids. 

Life Span and Health Issues

  • This breed is one of the longest living dogs. They can live 10-16 years
  • Periodontal disease
  • Renal Dysplasia 
  • Luxating patellas
  • Entropion
  • Arachnoid Cysts
  • Fold Dermatitis

It’s essential to take care of your Shih Tzu before they are diagnosed with critical health issues and will cost you thousands of dollars.

3. Pekingese

Micro Tea cup Pekingese Puppy
Micro Tea cup Pekingese

Pekingese is a very loyal and affectionate breed. This breed is perfect for seniors because they are small, usually 14 pounds, and loves affection so much.

Pekingese loves to be pet giving the name as an ultimate lapdog. They require daily brushing.

This breed is very adaptable and can live just fine whether you have a large house or a small apartment.

They need training because they tend to bark sometimes and might disturb some of your neighbors.

This breed is a one-person dog that means they tend to stick to one human, making it perfect for a senior living alone.

Pekingese is a loyal companion and will make your senior days worthwhile.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • This breed can live up to 12-15 years
  • Prone to dry eye and cherry eye
  • Luxating Patella
  • Pyoderma
  • Heart disease
  • Prone to Dental issues

This dog is the ultimate lapdog, and minimal attention doesn’t bother them at all.

Though they love napping and staying indoors, they also require some walks and playtime to improve their overall health.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is easygoing, adaptable, affectionate, quiet, and intelligent.

This breed is small and typically weighs about 18 pounds at max, and very easy to train.

This breed requires some grooming, brushing, and an occasional trip to a groomer to maintain its cuteness.

This dog loves cuddles and snuggles. They are adaptable and are well suited to an apartment or small houses.

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They are very patient compared to the other small breeds that have temperament problems.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 9-14 years
  • Prone to heart issues
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Luxating Patella
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Syringomyelia 

5. Chihuahua


The Chihuahua is the smaller breed of dog in the world that originated from Mexico.

This dog makes a perfect pet for seniors because they love to stay at home and require minimal walks and exercise.

Chihuahuas are one of the longest living breeds of dogs. However, they are prone to obesity, so watch out what you feed them.

Chihuahua weighs only 1,5-3kg, only a tiny and alert dog. This breed is a lively and loyal dog and very difficult to housetrain.

Make sure to train them properly at the early stage.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live an outstanding 12-20 years
  • Luxating Patella
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Tracheal Collapse
  • Tooth and Gum Disease
  • Spinal Injuries 
  • Bladder and Kidney Stones

6. French Bulldog

french bulldog puppies

French Bulldogs are a lively and cheerful breed. They are a tiny but compact, muscular, and energetic dog.

This breed tends to lack endurance and often get easily tired. They don’t shed very often, similar to other breeds.

They require moderate exercise and activity to release their energy and to help them improve their stamina.

French bulldog typically weighs 19-30 pounds. Their cheerful nature will make seniors’ live more fun and fulfilling.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 10-14 years
  • Respiratory System Disorder
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Ear Disorder
  • Hernias

7. Poodle


A poodle is an elegant breed of dog. They are lively, energetic, and intelligent, and among the smartest dog breeds.

This breed is highly trainable and affectionate to their owners. Poodles require 2-3 times grooming because they don’t shed as much as the other breed.

An intelligent breed is idle for anyone, including seniors. This breed can be protective or aggressive, so it’s important to train them. Other than that, poodles are a polite and healthy breed.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 12-15 years
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Addisons Disease
  • Bloat

8. Maltese

Best 10 Small Dogs for Seniors 1

Maltese is a gentle and lively dog; they love to be around their owner and loves lap naps.

This breed is fearless despite its small body and cute looks. Maltese is very active and loves playtime and walks but also loves staying indoors with their owner.

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They require grooming to maintain their silky white coat. They usually weigh around 4-7 pounds.

This dog is easy to handle and train, making it a great companion for seniors. 

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 12-15 years
  • Aberrant Cilia
  • Breathing Issues
  • Colitis
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Congestive Heart Failure

9. Pomeranian


Pomeranian is a small dog breed that is easy to handle. This breed is lively, smart, and affectionate.

They love attention and playtime, making them a good choice for adults and seniors who loves cheerful activities.

They usually weigh 3-7 pounds and can fit into your bag. Pomeranians have fluffy coats that should be brushed at least 2-3 times a week to maintain their beautiful shiny coat.

Pomeranians tend to be loud and energetic, so make sure you train how to behave.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 12-16 years
  • Patella Luxation
  • Breathing Issues
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Hair loss
  • Hypothyroidism           

10. Boston Terrier


Boston Terrier is the perfect breed for seniors. Boston Terrier is a versatile and social dog. They love to be with you all the time.

This dog is easy to train and well mannered. They are very friendly, making them an idle companion for seniors.

This breed requires minimal grooming because they have slick short hair. They typically weigh 10-25 pounds.

These dogs are affectionate and emphatic to their owners. They are the perfect option if you’re living in an apartment.

Life Span and Health Issues

  • Can live up to 13-15 years
  • Otitis 
  • Colitis
  • Conjuvitis
  • Cherry Eye
  • Dermatitis
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Periodontal Disease

Pets are a source of companionship, motivation for people. They can relieve depression, stress, and anxiety.

They help us to live happier and more active. Having a pet in your home can have a calming effect. Dogs are the greatest pet companion a man can have.

Some studies show that owning a pet dog can ease depression, lower blood pressure, elevate serotonin and dopamine, and fewer visits to their doctor.

It’s never too late to have a pet dog, even if you are already a senior. Age is not important as long as you can give their needs, especially their health.

It’s also important to know what breed suits your lifestyle and environment meant. The breed in this list are senior-friendly, have a good temper, and can be trained easily. 

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