Best Small Dog for Seniors — Finding a Furry Companion

As we age, it’s no surprise that the hustle and bustle of life can sometimes leave us in the slow lane. This is why many mature members of society find it a blessing to own a furry companion. The best small dog for seniors can improve overall health and happiness — not to mention the emotional support they offer. 

From Miniature Schnauzers to Maltese, there are many breeds out there that have the personality traits perfect for someone of the older generation. 

But what if you have allergies?

There are more and more breeds that are now deemed hypoallergenic. This could be the saving grace for someone with allergies who has never been able to become a doggy grandparent.

Let’s dig around to see what small dogs would be best for seniors.

Best Dogs for Seniors With Allergies

Here are our top six small dogs for seniors who suffer from allergies. Our list consists of breeds that are not only small but smart and, of course, hypoallergenic.

Havanese — Best for Socialising

hypoallergenic havanese for seniors.

After retirement, many people find the days are long and can be quite lonely. Children are grown up and busy working, and the grandchildren are in school. The Havanese breed could be the pawfect choice to help fill the void. They’re happy pups that love attention! Ideal for those who are at home more often. 

This breed is super social, and they get on well with strangers and other dogs. Perhaps a walk in the local dog park would brighten up your day? Getting out for exercise will do you the world of good. You can be sure that the Havanese will want to stop to greet every person, which is one reason why they’re so popular among older owners. 

Havanese are not only low-shedding dogs but also don’t drool and are highly intelligent, which helps them grasp training and toileting well. They weigh around 10 pounds when fully grown, so light enough for you to carry if the need arises. 

Bichon Frise — Great With Grandkids

hypoallergenic bichon frise for seniors.

These balls of fluff are loyal and loving with a friendly nature. They’re popular amongst seniors because they love a 50/50 balance of attention and alone time. They’re known to shed a little but are classified as hypoallergenic. Yet, bear in mind, these bundles require regular grooming every 6 weeks or so to keep their coats fluffy and free of mats. 

Full of fun and ready to play, you don’t need to fear when the grandchildren stop by because they have a gentle caring nature. Although it’s recommended that younger children must be supervised with any breed of dog! 

The Bichon Frise is content to snuggle while you complete your crossword or read the paper, and they don’t require much exercise. This could be great if you’re not as mobile as you used to be. Around 20 to 30 minutes of slow exercise, maybe a stroll, will keep your Bichon happy and content.

Maltese Terrier — Leading Lap Dog

hypoallergenic maltese terrier for seniors.

The Maltese Terrier breed has been around for decades. They’re popular with senior owners because they can suffer from separation anxiety. Hence, if you find you’re home alone more often than not, this could be the breed for you! 

With their anxiety, they make for the perfect lap dogs. The closer they can be to their owner, the better in their books! But don’t be fooled, these dogs can be lively when they want to and as they’re highly intelligent, they’re easy to train.

They’re known for their beautiful coat, which unbelievably is non-shedding. Their coats are relatively easy to maintain if you opt for the typical close cut that Maltese are known for. But if you choose to keep their coat ‘au natural,’ be prepared for regular brushing and grooming.

Coton De Tulear — Most Playful Pups

hypoallergenic coton de tulear for seniors.

This dog has regal tendencies, supposedly known as ‘the royal dog of Madagascar.’ Viewed as one of the best companions — ready to commit their entire lives to your happiness. Small in stature, the Coton De Tulear can grow up to around 11 inches tall and weigh a maximum of 15 pounds. 

When it comes to their grooming regime, their non-shedding and low dander coat makes them perfect for those suffering from allergies. The fact that their coat is more like our own hair than fur also adds to their hypoallergenic status.

Their coats require brushing daily, but that will only enhance your bonding time. Other than that, you can get their long coat trimmed shorter if you prefer a lower-maintenance option.

Shih Tzu — A Quiet Canine

hypoallergenic shih tzu for seniors.

Originating from China, the Shih Tzu translates to ‘little lion.’ Sounds fierce, right? Their personalities are far from ferocious. They’re known to be lovable little furry friends, with a bond that can be made in seconds, a perfect choice for a more senior person. 

This small dog for seniors can range up to 16 pounds in weight but much of that could be down to their luxurious coats. Traditionally they’re known for their long fur, which many owners style themselves. Hence, grooming is essential with a long-haired Shih Tzu to help keep their skin and fur in the best condition.

As a Shih Tzu mom myself, I can 100% guarantee that you will fall in love with their confident and happy personalities. Although stubborn at times, these bow-wows are less yappy than the other small breeds. They also require little exercise, which is perfect if you’re a less active person.

Australian Terrier — The Protector Pooch

hypoallergenic australian terrier for seniors.

The Australian Terrier makes a wonderful companion and is well known for its intelligence and protective nature. Deemed as a family dog, you’re sure to feel at ease when the grandkids come for a visit. Australian Terriers are stronger than many of our previous breeds mentioned, so this must be taken into consideration. 

They are a bold breed but big softies at heart, ready to protect their family and attack any intruder. With a courageous character, the Aussie Terrier will defend their human. This is why they’re suited towards those who feel uneasy and want extra security. 

They have a double coat that is both dense and coarse. They are extremely low shedders and not known for drooling either, making them ideal for those with allergies.

Poodle — Highly Intelligent Hound

hypoallergenic poodle for seniors.

The Poodle comes in three different sizes, but for senior-friendly small dogs, we would suggest either the toy or miniature, as they will require slightly less exercise than the Standard Poodle. Due to their size, they’re also perfect for apartment living.

Even though they come in three sizes, their temperament is the same across the board. They’re also super smart and easy to train, as well as being a faithful and loyal breed.

Now when it comes to their coat, Poodles have an almost wool-like single layer coat, this means they have no undercoat. What’s more, their coat doesn’t shed, but continually grows very much like our own hair. This makes them a perfect option for those with dog allergies.


Whether you’re looking for a partner in crime to keep active in the dog park, a protector so you can rest easy, or a snuggle buddy that can snooze with you in the afternoons — you’ll never feel lonely with any of these beautiful breeds around.

Finding the best hypoallergenic dog means that you need to take into account more than just their coat type. You will also need to consider their temperament, intelligence, and of course, their energy levels.

At this stage in life, being a dog owner is probably the most rewarding experience. And, any one of our best small dogs for seniors would make a furtastic companion and ally that will always be by your side.

Best Small Dog for Seniors FAQs

What Are the Best Dogs for Seniors With Allergies?

The Poodle, among many other breeds is deemed to be the best hypoallergenic dog for seniors with allergies. Overall you should look for loving small to medium-sized dogs that are easy to care for and love living a quiet life.

Is a Chihuahua a Good Pet for Seniors?

The Chihuahua is a small breed of dog that many seniors find appealing, they love to stay at home and need very little exercise. However, these dogs aren’t deemed hypoallergenic and shed all year. This is something for you to think about if you suffer from allergies or don’t fancy dog fur floating around the home.

Is a Small Dog a Good Fit for Elderly Seniors?

You need to think of the care involved and your lifestyle. Dogs need their owners just as much as we need them. The size of a dog will only be determined by what you are looking for. Yet, remember, the bigger the dog the more exercise he/she will need, so if you aren’t an active person, a smaller breed may suit you better. 

What Breed of Dog Makes the Best Companion?

All dogs have the underlying companionship in their personalities. But for the best companion, we would have to say it’s a close call between the Bichon Frise and the Shih Tzu. Both breeds are extremely affectionate and caring to their owners. 

What Is the Most Low Maintenance Small Dog?

A dog that’s low maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean they will be hypoallergenic. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance hypoallergenic dog, you may want to consider:

What Is a Good Dog for a 70 Year Old Woman?

The Poodle would be ideal. With three different breed sizes — toy, miniature, and standard, they’re highly trainable and make great companions.