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The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors Living in an Apartment

happy seniors sitting on the couch with their pug

“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.”

– Roger Caras

When you’re with a dog, you feel loved. You’re more active. You’re open to opportunities for social interaction. And your body responds positively: blood pressure stabilizes, cholesterol goes down. Seniors with a dog actually increase their rate of survival after a heart attack. The companionship of a dog makes a big difference to our emotional, physical and mental health.

Before You Adopt  

If you’re  moving to a senior living community, know that some communities impose weight and size limits for pets. Even if they don’t, you’ll need to think about the size of dog you want, and your ability to control it. If you choose a breed that’s prone to jumping or chasing, you need to be strong enough to resist being knocked down or pulled over when they’re on a leash.

While smaller breeds are among some of the best dogs for seniors, you should still consider the level of exercise and stimulation the breed requires. A Jack Russell Terrier is a compact dog, but they were bred to be working dogs with a great deal of energy. They’re also highly intelligent and can act out when they don’t get enough exercise. Make sure you find a breed that fits your lifestyle.

Long-haired or high-maintenance breeds are probably not the best dogs for seniors. It just depends on whether you have the time to devote to a pet’s regular bathing and brushing. Some breeds are also prone to health problems, and constant vet visits are expensive. Pugs are frequently listed among the best dog breeds for apartments, but they can be affected by problems with their eyes, breathing, hips and knees.

Puppies are cute. Puppies love to snuggle. Puppies are also a lot of work, need to be house trained and love to chew. That’s why senior dogs may be the best dogs for seniors. House broken, fully grown and not as silly or destructive as a puppy, a senior dog will love you as unconditionally as a puppy will.

The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

Here’s a round-up of the most popular pups to be found in senior living communities:

1. Beagle – A sweet-natured and intelligent breed. Beagles are energetic and need multiple walks a day. If you love to hike, they’re the dog for you.

2. Bichon – This sweet, affectionate lap dog only needs moderate exercise. Their fluffy, curly fur needs regular grooming.

3. Bolognese – Affectionately known as Bolos, these dogs love people and have a mellow personality. They’re one of the best dog breeds for senior apartments.

4. Chihuahua – These sweet-natured dogs are lively and loyal. They don’t need much exercise, and are small enough to carry around with you.

5. Pembroke Welsh Corgi – The Queen of England adores these dogs, and you will too. Friendly and playful, Corgis are one of the best companion dogs around. They love outdoor exercise.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – These sweet-tempered little dogs are smart and eager to please. They’re consistently listed as one of the best dog breeds for seniors, as they only need moderate exercise, and would be happy with easy walks followed by downtime.

7. French Bulldog – A small dog with a big personality, these good-natured dogs are reliable around small children. They only need moderate exercise that’s not too strenuous.

8. Poodle –  A poodle or poodle mix can be one of the best dogs for seniors. They come in all sizes, from toy to standard, and are loyal, smart and sociable. They need regular exercise and professional grooming.

9. Scottish Terrier – Scotties have a lot of personality and a lot of energy. Smart and sassy, this small breed is sure to keep you entertained.

10. Shih Tzu – A spirited and sturdy dog that’s very small and easy to train. Needs daily walks and regular grooming due to its long coat.

Bigger Can Be Better

The best dogs for seniors don’t have to be small. As long as your community doesn’t have a weight limit for pets, here are three suggestions for bigger breeds that do well in senior apartments.

1. Greyhound – Though famous for their speed and agility, Greyhounds are the dog equivalent of a couch potato. Older Greyhounds who have retired from the racetrack are gentle and affectionate companions.

2. Mastiff – Mastiffs can weigh around 170 pounds, but they don’t need much exercise. In fact, while they’re young, the American Kennel Club recommends walking them no more than half a block.

3. Irish Wolfhound – Sweet, serene and gentle, this breed is happy with a long walk or a daily play session before a good belly rub and an extended nap.

Where Can I Find a Dog?

Adopting a dog from a shelter, rather than a breeder or puppy mill, is the humane choice. You’re giving an unwanted pet another lease on life and a loving home. Research local pet shelters and arrange a visit during an adoption day. You’ll be able to take the dog for a walk and see if there’s a match. The shelter staff will be able to tell you about the dog’s personality and help you decide if it’s the right choice. When you take your dog home, there’s also usually a window of time where you can return the dog if it doesn’t work out.

At pet-friendly South Port Square, we love dogs. In fact, you could say we’re “mutts” about them! Our streets, trails and beautiful grounds make it “paw-sible” for wonderful time outside, including getting to meet  other dog owners! Contact us to get the details of our dog-friendly senior living. Thanks “fur” reading!