Many research studies have been conducted regarding the significant benefits of pet ownership for seniors.

They affect their mental, physical, and emotional health positively. In essence, they are good for their mind, body, and spirit. Small dog breeds and dogs in general have been found to provide loving day-to-day companionship, physical exercise, and socialization for seniors, increasing their quality of life vastly. They are therapeutic in that they promote the flow of feel good hormones in the brain and body, consequently lowering blood pressure, stress, and heart rates. If you’re considering creating this unique bond either for yourself or a loved one, you’ll benefit greatly from this list of small dog breeds who are a breeze!

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are known for the friendly and playful dispositions. They are ideal for apartment living and were bred to be companions, so they’re perfect. These small dog breeds require daily walks and some indoor playtime and then lots of lap loving! Their coats will require daily grooming, which can be peaceful and strengthen the senior/pet bond.


Poodles come in three sizes – standard, miniature, and toy. The smallest of the bunch are Toy Poodles and they’re lap dogs, as you might have guessed. What makes these small dog breeds particularly suitable for seniors is that they’re highly intelligent, easy to train, and they don’t shed, which means people with allergies can own them. Toy Poodles are energetic, but have the least amount of the three types and can adapt to a more sedentary lifestyle, if needed.

Yorkshire Terrier

The biggest downside to these small dog breeds is their long hair that will certainly require lots of grooming, professional is recommended. But despite that, they are small and adaptable making them a perfect pet companion for seniors, especially those in assisted living homes. A daily stroll suits them just fine and it will provide just enough physical activity for their owners, too!


Their small, wrinkly faces, short legs, and inquisitive personalities makes the Pug a comedic and friendly senior companion. The always pleasant Pug is easy to and willing to please. These small dog breeds snore, so you may want to consider buying some ear plugs if you decide to bring this dog into your home!

Cocker Spaniel

Okay, we’re sneaking this one on the list! Though they aren’t typically categorized as small dog breeds, some of the runts can be! Cocker Spaniels are great companions for seniors. They have even temperaments and are generally happy and healthy dogs. They can be energetic, so a daily walk will treat that energy just fine. Their beautiful coats will need some grooming, but it’s not a labor intensive task. They are truly known to be joys to seniors.


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