Dogs are loyal, friendly, and overall great companions. You may have grown up with a furry friend and know how seeing a happy tail wag can instantly make you feel better no matter what. Studies show that pet ownership has been connected with lowering blood pressure and decreasing anxiety. When you take care of a companion pet, you feel the love and affection they have for you when you see a tail wag, when they curl up right at your feet, and move closer for you to pet them. It only takes 30 minutes of interacting with your companion pet for your brain to produce endorphins and dopamine, hormones that help us feel happy and improve our well-being. The Overlook, a pet-friendly senior living community in Charlton, MA, understands the special bond between pets and owners. Our community welcomes residents and their furry friends with a dog park on-site and fun opportunities to introduce your pet to the rest of the community, like in our dog show. If you’re interested in becoming a dog owner as a senior, you’ll want to make sure that the dog breed you select is right for you. Take a look at the best dogs for seniors to help you choose your new four-legged companion. Dog Breed Characteristics for Seniors When you’re looking at dog breeds, it’s important to keep in mind what characteristics each type of dog tends to have. While everyone will have different qualities they’re looking for in a dog, we recommend dogs with low-maintenance characteristics for seniors. Low energy – Having a low-energy dog means you can take them for a short walk for exercise and they’ll be ready to relax when you get home. A dog with high energy levels could mean hours of exercise. If you do have a dog that needs to burn off some energy, you could go to the on-site dog park and socialize with fellow dog owners about your four-legged friends. Easy to train – Some dogs are more eager to learn than others. You may want to find a dog breed that picks up on training quickly. Light grooming needs – Dogs have coats of fur that need regular grooming. However, some have heavier, more difficult coats that require a lot of grooming and attention. Having a dog with an easy-to-manage coat means less work for you and also possibly less dog hair in your living space. Affectionate – Many dogs love their owners, but some are more prone to showing affection to visitors as well. When your friends and family members visit, having an affectionate dog who is friendly with everyone will make the visit easier. You can also look for dogs that are good with children so your grandchildren can come over at any time. The Best Dog Breeds for Seniors 1. Maltese Lap dogs are great for seniors because they’re small and very happy to be petted all day. If you want a furry companion that will curl up on your lap at a moment’s notice, the Maltese is a great choice. They don’t need a lot of exercise and generally have a friendly demeanor. The Maltese’s coat is long and does require attentive brushing, but regular grooming appointments can help with that. 2. Pekingese These small dogs may look more like a puffball, but they’re affectionate, low energy, and happy to be at your side. Because these dogs have a lot of fur, they will need to be groomed, and they will shed. Pekingese are playful and may need an introduction to strangers, but once they’ve been introduced, they could be the dog’s new best friend. 3. Bichon Frise The quintessential lap dog, the Bichon Frise is a perfect dog for older adults. A Bichon Frise is friendly with everyone, including children, doesn’t shed a lot, and is trainable. Be sure to take care of their fluffy coat so it doesn’t develop mats. 4. Corgi Corgis are affectionate and alert dogs. Their short coats make them easy to care for. While small, Corgis are protective and will bark to alert you of any strangers. A herding dog, the Corgi can get up to 30 pounds, and you may find yourself being directed when walking. Luckily, Corgis are trainable, so you’ll have them comfortable on a leash in no time. 5. Miniature Schnauzer The Miniature Schnauzer is a great dog breed because they’re trainable, smart and loving. They are good with small children and will show you all the affection in the world. As a vocal dog, a Miniature Schnauzer will bark to express themselves. 6. Shih Tzu Friendly is this dog’s middle name. A Shih Tzu is happy to spend time with you and play with kids or other dogs. While they don’t shed much, they will require regular grooming to keep their coat as healthy as possible. These dogs are highly adaptable and can easily handle schedule or environmental changes – like taking a walk at a different time of day or hearing the air conditioning turn on. 7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel A gentle dog breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most affectionate dogs. They don’t shed that much and only need to be groomed about once a month. They’re trainable and can play with other dogs after they’ve been introduced and socialized. 8. Greyhound Don’t let the size scare you. While Greyhounds are larger dogs and extremely fast, it doesn’t mean they actually want to spend their time running around all day. Greyhounds are generally calm, affectionate with others, and can do well with one daily walk. Relatively easy to care for, the Greyhound is a great choice for a furry companion. 9. French Bulldog If you want a dog that’s going to play and love everyone they meet, then the French Bulldog is for you. French Bulldogs are trainable and less likely to bark than other dog breeds. They have a medium energy level, so while they’ll need to run around or walk during the day, they can also rest and relax with you. 10. Pug Pugs are friendly and, according to the American Kennel Club, charming and mischievous. These dogs are ready to play with anyone and everyone, and never want to stop. While they don’t bark a lot, these dogs can shed quite a bit. 11. Pomeranian A Pomeranian may only be 7 pounds maximum, but that doesn’t stop them from having a bold personality. These fluffy dogs are affectionate with their owners. Introducing them to family members, friends, and other dogs will most likely make them feel the most comfortable. Expect some consistent activity, as these dogs have a medium energy level compared to others breeds but are more likely to bark to alert than others. Bring Your Furry Companion to The Overlook When you’re retiring, having man’s best friend at your side during this time can be one of the greatest things to enjoy. You have all the time to devote to training, going on walks, and knowing how special it is to have a dog’s trust and affection. At The Overlook in Charlton, MA, we understand why so many seniors cherish their pets or are interested in getting one. That’s why we’re opening a Veterinarian Clinic in our community. This way, you have the peace of mind that your dog can easily get care when they need it. When you’re ready to make the move to independent living, you and your furry friend will find all you could need or want at The Overlook. Click here for a tour.