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Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments: Top Breeds and Tips

best dogs for seniors in apartments

Choosing the best dogs for seniors in apartments can be a tricky task. The challenges are real.

Space limitations, noise restrictions, and physical ability all come into play. Yet, the rewards of pet ownership make it worth the effort.

Want to skip right to our top 5 list of best dogs for seniors in apartments? No problem, click here!

Why You’re Looking for the Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments

For seniors, the criteria can differ from the general population. You might not be looking for a high-energy breed that requires long hikes.

Instead, you likely want a companion that fits your lifestyle. One that’s low-maintenance and comforting to have around.

Why Dogs Make the Best Companions for Seniors in Apartments

Emotional Benefits of Having a Dog

Let’s face it, loneliness can hit hard, especially for seniors. Having a dog around can make all the difference. They offer unconditional love and friendship.

Plus, taking care of a pet gives you a sense of purpose. In short, dogs are fantastic mood lifters.

A Quick List of Emotional Perks:

  • Companionship
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Sense of purpose
  • Joy and laughter

Physical Benefits: More Than Just Walks

It’s not all emotional; there are physical benefits too. Light exercise is the keyword here. Walking a dog, even at a slow pace, gets you moving.

Moreover, regular outings mean fresh air and a bit of sunshine. It’s a win-win situation.

Physical Upsides:

  • Light exercise
  • Improved mobility
  • Better sleep
  • Fresh air and vitamin D

Dogs bring both emotional and physical perks to the table. They’re not just pets; they’re partners in navigating the joys and challenges of senior life. And when you’re living in an apartment, choosing the right breed becomes even more critical.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments

The Importance of Size in Apartment Living

When space is limited, size matters a lot. A large, active dog might not be the best fit for an apartment. Small to medium-sized breeds often adapt better to indoor living. They’re easier to manage and won’t take up the entire living room.

Size Considerations:

  • Easier to manage
  • Less space needed
  • Lower risk of causing damage

Exercise Needs: Finding the Right Energy Level

Not all dogs require a marathon run every day. For seniors, a dog with low-to-moderate exercise needs is usually the best match.

It’s enough to keep you both active but not so much that it becomes a burden. Dogs that are content with short walks and indoor play are often ideal.

Exercise Factors:

  • Short daily walks
  • Indoor play
  • Easy to exercise within the apartment complex

Temperament: Calm and Easy-Going is the Way to Go

A calm temperament can be a big plus. Energetic dogs might be fun, but they can also be exhausting. Look for breeds known for being gentle, friendly, and easy to train.

These traits make for a peaceful home environment, especially important for seniors.

Temperament Traits Worth Noting:

  • Calm demeanor
  • Friendly attitude
  • Easy to train

Top 5 Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments

Breed 1: French Bulldog

french bulldog puppies with bowties


French Bulldogs are small but sturdy, usually weighing between 16-28 pounds. Their compact size makes them ideal for apartment living.

Exercise Needs

These dogs are relatively low-energy. A short walk and some playtime are usually enough to keep them happy.


French Bulldogs are known for their calm and affectionate nature. They’re good companions and relatively easy to train.

Breed 2: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel yard


Typically weighing between 13-18 pounds, these dogs are a comfortable size for most apartments.

Exercise Needs

They enjoy walks but don’t require extensive exercise. Indoor play and a moderate walk will generally suffice.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are friendly, easy-going, and well-suited to a relaxed lifestyle.

Breed 3: Poodle (Miniature and Toy Varieties)

poodles best dogs for seniors in apartments


Toy Poodles weigh around 5-10 pounds, and Miniature Poodles are around 10-15 pounds, both suitable sizes for apartments.

Exercise Needs

Poodles are active but adapt well to indoor life. A few short walks and some playtime will keep them content.


Intelligent and easy to train, Poodles are often recommended for seniors due to their obedient and adaptable nature.

Breed 4: Shih Tzu

shih tzu puppy brown and white


Weighing in at around 9-16 pounds, Shih Tzus fit comfortably in most apartments.

Exercise Needs

They’re generally happy with short walks and indoor play, making them low-maintenance exercise-wise.


Known for their affectionate and gentle disposition, Shih Tzus make excellent companions.

Breed 5: Greyhound (Retired Racing Greyhounds)

greyhound dog standing


Though larger than other breeds on this list, retired Greyhounds usually weigh between 50-70 pounds but are often referred to as “45-mile-per-hour couch potatoes.”

Exercise Needs

Contrary to popular belief, Greyhounds don’t require much exercise. A short, brisk walk is usually enough for them.


These dogs are known for their calm and loving nature, making them surprisingly good for apartment life.

Other Options: Rescue Dogs and Mixed Breeds Make Great Companions for Seniors in Apartments

The Benefits of Adopting a Rescue

Adopting from a shelter isn’t just a noble act; it’s also a smart choice for seniors. Rescue dogs often come with some level of training, which makes the transition easier. Plus, shelters usually conduct temperament tests, helping to match you with a dog that suits your lifestyle.

Advantages of Adopting a Rescue:

  • Pre-trained to some extent
  • Temperament testing
  • Lower cost than buying a purebred
  • The joy of giving a dog a second chance

Mixed Breeds: A Potluck Worth Considering

Don’t rule out mixed breeds when you’re on the hunt for the perfect pet. These dogs often combine the best traits of different breeds, resulting in a well-balanced companion. Plus, mixed breeds are abundant in shelters, giving you plenty of options.

Why Mixed Breeds Are Awesome:

  • Unique combinations of traits
  • Often healthier due to genetic diversity
  • Abundant in shelters
  • Potential for a custom fit to your lifestyle

Senior Dogs: The Overlooked Gems

Specifically, senior dogs can be an excellent match for senior humans. They’re often overlooked in shelters, yet they can be the most loving and easiest to manage. Their exercise needs and temperament are usually well-suited for a relaxed, indoor lifestyle.

Don’t miss our post about the pros and cons of adopting an older dog.

Reasons to Consider a Senior Dog:

  • Lower exercise needs
  • Calmer temperament
  • Less training required
  • Instant companionship

In summary, rescue dogs and mixed breeds offer a range of options if you’re looking for a pet that suits apartment living and a senior’s needs.

They come with their own set of advantages, making them worthy contenders in your search for the ideal companion.

Practical Tips for Adopting the Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments

Tips for Visiting Shelters or Breeders

Before making a decision, it’s important to visit multiple places to get a feel for your options. If visiting a shelter, go at different times to observe the dog’s behavior in various settings. At a breeder’s, ensure they are reputable by checking for certifications and reading reviews.

Key Tips for Visits:

  • Observe dog behavior
  • Ask to see living conditions
  • Check for certifications (for breeders)
  • Read reviews and ask for references

Questions to Ask Before Adoption

Never hesitate to ask questions. Whether you’re at a shelter or breeder, this is the time to get all the information you need. Some key questions include asking about the dog’s history, medical records, temperament tests, and return policy.

Important Questions to Ask:

  • What is the dog’s history?
  • Are there any known medical issues?
  • Have temperament tests been conducted?
  • What is the return policy?

Health Considerations for Seniors

Seniors need to consider their health when adopting a dog. Low-allergen breeds might be better if you have allergies. Also, consider your physical ability to walk and care for the dog. Some breeds require less grooming, which can be easier on arthritic hands, for instance.

Health Factors to Keep in Mind:

  • Allergy considerations
  • Physical ability for walks and care
  • Grooming needs
  • Existing medical conditions

Armed with these practical tips and considerations, you’ll be well-prepared to make a wise choice in adopting a dog.

Remember, the goal is to find a furry friend who not only fits your living situation but also enhances your quality of life.

best dogs for seniors in apartments

Final Thoughts on Best Dogs for Seniors in Apartments

Choosing a dog as a senior comes with its own set of unique considerations. From size and exercise needs to temperament, there’s a lot to think about.

But the rewards of companionship, emotional well-being, and even physical health benefits make it all worthwhile.

Whether you opt for a purebred from our top 5 list, a mixed breed, or a rescue, there are fantastic options out there for seniors living in apartments. With the right match, both you and your new pet can enjoy the golden years in comfort and happiness.

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Elizabeth Crane

Elizabeth Crane is a lifelong dog lover who shares her life with a beloved Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle. Known among friends and family as the 'go-to' person for dog-related advice, she cherishes every moment spent with her four-legged companions. Her days are often filled with outdoor adventures and cozy evenings, all enhanced by her dog pals.