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The best dog breeds for seniors

4 May 2023

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 25 May 2023

Finding a suitable dog for your lifestyle and individual taste can be difficult. There are so many breeds and information that it can be overwhelming when you start researching.

In the ranking below we take into consideration the following four factors:

  • Their energy levels

Including how much exercise they need and whether they require a garden.

  • Temperament

Their personality but also how easy they are to train and handle.

  • Dog size

This will be important in instances of bathing or picking your dog up for medical or safety reasons.

  • Grooming requirements

Do they require frequent brushing or grooming? Do they have short, medium or long hair, and do they shed?

Here are some of our thoughts on dog breeds suitable for the elderly.


Margot, the Greyhound
Margot, the Greyhound

Greyhounds are intelligent and gentle creatures. Despite being known as racing dogs, they don’t require more than an hour of exercise a day and are very happy to snuggle up to their favourite human most of the day.

They have a short coat but they do shed and will need grooming once a week. As they are large, there may be some difficulty in bathing them which is something to consider if you have any motor difficulties.

Due to their size, they can be quite strong, but well-trained, retired greyhounds are happy to potter about slowly, without pulling on the lead.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Phoebe, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Phoebe, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are highly affectionate and eager to please. They enjoy company, and need someone who can spend most of their time with them. They are a smart breed and relatively easy to train. They require up to an hour of walks per day and will generally be happy with a small garden or even in a flat.

They have a medium coat and they will shed. You will need to regularly brush their coat and a visit to the groomers every four to six weeks.

Like any pups, young Cavaliers can be a handful, so an older, well-trained, rescue can be an ideal choice.


Maple, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Maple, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Although Corgis can be mischievous, they are fun, loyal and playful, and with training are a great pet. They only require an hour of exercise a day and are suited to a small or medium garden and house.

They require brushing more than once a week and they shed, but have a short coat. Professional groomers can assist too.

Yorkshire Terrier

Murphy, the Yorkshire Terrier
Murphy, the Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers can be an ideal dog for older people as they are small, with the smaller sized ones easy to pick up, and they tend to not be too strong. They only require an hour of exercise a day, but can often be happy to go further if you want more!

They are an independent and confident breed but can occasionally be a little over-protective. However, this can often be prevented or managed with training and socialisation from a young age.

Although they don’t shed much which is a definite plus, they require regular brushing and trips to the groomers.

Miniature Schnauzer

Moe, the Miniature Schnauzer
Moe, the Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are loyal and devoted dogs. They are generally obedient and friendly which makes them great companions, but can be a little stubborn. They require up to an hour of exercise a day but would be happy in a flat other than that.

They don’t shed much and have a medium coat that only needs brushing a couple of times a week. They do require visits to the groomers every four to six weeks for a trim.

There’s lots of things to consider when choosing a dog, so always do plenty of research before taking on your own. Before getting a dog consider borrowing a dog first so you can experience dog ownership and see if you are ready, before making the commitment to a new full-time furiend.

I joined BorrowMyDoggy due to being recently retired and wanting to keep busy and fit, without actually having my own dog which didn’t fit with my lifestyle. I have met a lovely dog Simba, and his family, who are so grateful for the help I provide, and it gives me a purpose and structure to my daily routine now I’m retired, whilst helping keep me fit and active. The biggest surprise for me is how easily I found Simba and his family, and how I have continued to walk Simba every weekday, despite some extremes of weather, and yet still thoroughly enjoy it.

Simba's borrower, Allison from Dundee

We joined BorrowMyDoggy because our kids had left home, our last dog sadly passed away, and, we moved to a small apartment with no garden, we had a doggy shaped hole in our lives but no space. We love our day walks as we are both semi-retired we have more time than ever. A walk with a dog really did give us so much satisfaction and purpose. The biggest surprise is the community spirit and the trust and respect we all have for each other in our community.

Rio's borrower, Sarah from South London

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