Best Dog Breeds for Adults Over 50
There are many dog breeds that can be great companions for people over 50 years old. Here are 15 best dog breeds for adults over 50 years old that are known for their low maintenance and good temperament, which can be suitable for older people:
What are the Best Dog Breeds for Adults Over 50 Years Old?
- Bichon Frise
- Boston Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- French Bulldog
- Miniature Pinscher
- Shih Tzu
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
Not all the dogs are small, but it’s a good list to start researching and learning more as you look for the best small dog breeds for seniors and retirees. Before making a purchase, you need to know what you’re getting into.
What Makes a Good Dog Breed for Older Folks?
I’m not sure the is a “perfect” dog breed or singular set of characteristics that make a good candidate for people who are not as active as they used to be.
While one person might be spending more time indoors, another person might be more active when they get older, since they presumably have a lot of free time available.
Choosing a dog companion is a personal choice with several considerations.
- Do you prefer a lap dog?
- Do you want a dog that will eagerly go along on outdoor adventures?
- Do you need a dog for protection?
- Are you interested in training your dog to compete in obedience trials?
Answering these and other questions will help you choose the right breed and dog for your lifestyle.
Size and Energy Level
Smaller dog breeds with lower energy levels may be easier for older people to handle and care for. The smaller dogs are usually very adaptable to apartment living and smaller spaces.
A smaller dog simply requires less room to live, play, and exercise.
Dachshunds and Italian Greyhounds are possible small dog choices.
Grooming and Shedding
Dogs with shorter hair require minimal grooming and shed less. Less shedding also means less to clean-up. Someone with health or mobility issues may appreciate smaller dogs with short hair.
A French Bulldog has become a popular shorthaired dog.
Training and Temperament
Breeds that are easier to train are usually more enjoyable as pets. Smaller dogs are usually, although not always, calmer and gentler than larger dogs. Smaller dogs are generally less active and content with a quieter lifestyle.
Toy poodles and Miniature Pinschers are often quite content to sit with you and watch TV or lay next you while you read, knit, or cross-stitch.
Health and Longevity
Some of the breeds on this list are known for their longer lives and fewer health issues overall. Reducing trips to a veterinarian or expensive medicines and treatments usually appeals to someone who might be on a smaller budget when they get a little older.
Breeds that adapt easily to changes in their environment and tolerate being alone for a while, if needed, make good candidates for older folks as well. An adaptable dog might be less destructive than a larger, more powerful dog, when left alone.
Word of Caution
Although these dogs might be good candidates, in general, based on reputation and experience over longer periods, there is no guarantee your individual dog will have those same qualities. So much depends on breeding, training, environment, how much time you give them, how much exercise they receive, a good diet, regular veterinary care, etc.
Worst Dog Breeds for Seniors
Big, strong, active dogs that require lots of exercise would typically be undesirable for senior citizens. Big, active dogs are the opposite of low maintenance. High maintenance dogs require more of everything including more expenses for food, healthcare, larger crates, an exercise area, and living space. Here are some examples:
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Great Dane
- Saint Bernard
- Siberian Husky
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Share Pei
Those dogs are great dogs for the right environment. They all need a job to do, whether it’s obedience training, herding, protection, or dog sports. At a minimum most of the dogs need at least an hour of walking (and some running) each day.
The German Shorthaired Pointer needs a minimum of 2 hours of combined walking with some other time for playing at various intervals. The larger dogs on the list weigh more than a 100 pounds. Their aggressive nature makes them a handful, even for experienced owners with lots of energy to spare.
Conclusion – Best Breed of Dog for Seniors
It’s worth noting that this list of best dog breeds for adults over 50 are not the only breeds that can be suitable for older people because each person may have different preferences and needs. Individuals may prefer dogs with different characteristics depending on their personal lifestyles.
AARP has an article with dog suggestions for empty nesters.
The Maltese, Pug, and Yorkshire Terrier are three great candidates, if you need help narrowing down the list further. It’s also a great idea to talk to friends and family who may own some of these breeds for their personal thoughts and comments about their own hands-on experience with them.
It’s always good to research and understand the characteristics and needs of different breeds before making a decision, and to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.
Additionally, it’s also important to consider your personal living conditions and health status to make sure that you can provide the appropriate care and attention for your pet.