8 Worst Dog Breeds For Seniors

Getting a dog as a senior can be a bit tricky. You’re getting older so you can’t handle a high-energy breed but you can also benefit greatly from a very calm companion. Many seniors get dogs for therapeutic purposes if they’ve lost their spouse or a close loved one but you need to consider their ability levels before selecting a breed. Try to stay away from the breeds listed below as they aren’t the best companions for seniors.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are great working dogs but they also require an extraordinary amount of attention. This breed will work you down to the bone and then still won’t stop. They are working, herding dogs so not only will they try to herd you but they will also require daily exercise and someone to play with them all the time. They don’t calm down for about 2 years and even then they aren’t a good lap dog. They are very loyal to those who care for them but try to stay away from this breed unless you’ve got someone living with you who can keep them entertained for a majority of the day.

Border Collie

Border Collies are another working dog so like the Australian Shepherd they need someone or something to keep them busy for the day or they will wreak havoc in your home. Their coat needs to be maintained a lot so bathing and brushing are required weekly if you don’t want piles of hair around your house. Try to stay away from this breed unless you have a lot of energy or they will be more of a burden than a welcomed companion.

Cocker Spaniel

While these dogs are very sweet and loving they also have a lot of energy and are considered to be very high-maintenance. They are prone to ear infections so a weekly inspection is a must as well as weekly brushing and bathing. They are great watch dogs and are wonderful with children but they require a lot of attention and affection so try to stay away from this breed unless you have a lot of time and energy to spend with them. They also require a great deal of training so getting through the puppy years will be rough for you if you don’t have the energy and patience to teach them their manners.

German Shorthaired Pointer

While this dog is easily trained, they were bred to be family dogs. They are characteristically affectionate and loving but they also love their play time so when they are neglected it generally doesn’t end well for having a well-kept home. They need daily exercise and few breeds are known to need more attention than this one. They are very bold and rambunctious dogs so they can be a bit hard-headed at times and they’ll need a lot of time and patience from their owners. This breed is best suited for families that have a lot of time to spend with their dog, especially if you purchase this dog at a young age so having one as a senior wouldn’t be ideal unless you still have a lot of energy. This breed is also known for its usefulness in hunting so be sure that you have a lot of time for outdoor exercise.

Jack Russell Terrier

This is another hunting dog, specifically fox hunting. While this is a small dog, they are known for being really energetic and they rely on an incredible amount of exercise from their owners. First and foremost, they are working dogs so they need to be trained. They are known to be jumpers, chasers, and diggers so make sure that you have a lot of time to spend with them in the backyard otherwise they will dig their way out or kill a squirrel or two then bring it back as a “present” for you. Jack Russells are also known to be very aggressive towards humans and other dogs so obedience classes are recommended to ensure they won’t hurt you due to their stubborn temperament. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a lot or any outdoor space, such as an apartment, or a shared outdoor space, such as a condominium, then this is not the breed for you as this dog needs a tremendous amount of space to run around in. This dog will also not tolerate much discipline, also making it harder to train them.

Labrador Retriever

Contrary to popular belief, these dogs are not good for seniors unless they are being used as therapy dogs, like for the blind or disabled. This breed requires a lot of energy and they are extremely playful. They are great family dogs because they are sweet and easy to train, but like many others they require a lot of attention and exercise. Without the time and energy needed to keep them happy and healthy, this breed can become more of a burden than one would think.

Pit Bull

While this breed is commonly known for being aggressive, they can also be very sweet and compassionate. Their biggest downfall is how protective they are so they need very extensive training and should definitely be purchased as a puppy to ensure a sweet temperament. They need a lot of time and patience from their owners and can be very aggressive towards people they don’t know. This breed can also be very large so apartment homes and condominiums aren’t recommended dwellings for this breed.


Rottweilers can be some of the sweetest pets a person can own. But, much like the Pit Bull, they have a bad reputation due to their protectiveness, strength, and size. They are great if you have them from a puppy but they need extensive training and patience from their owners. If you are thinking about this breed you should ensure that you are willing to commit time to this breed to make sure that they will have a kind temperament rather than allowing them to go to their natural habits of fight or flight which can turn into a volatile situation quickly and easily.