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10 Worst Dog Breeds For Seniors

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There are certain types of dogs that are not well-suited for life with seniors. Some breeds are simply too high-energy and active for seniors, while others may be too large or aggressive.

If you’re a senior person looking to adopt a new dog, consider the personality traits that are normally associated with the list of popular breeds in this article.

We are certainly not saying that every single Border Collie is a high energy dog and may cause you problems, but generally speaking, this breed is very energetic. And the same goes for all the other breeds mentioned in this article.

The bottom line is that the dog you adopt should be adaptable to your current lifestyle and physical capabilities.

You may also be interested in our articles about the best dogs to adopt.

But again, remember that each individual dog (in spite of the general characteristics of their breed) will have their own personality traits.

1. High Energy Dog Breeds

High-energy dog breeds can be difficult for seniors to handle, as these dogs often require a lot of exercise, daily walks a few times a day and stimulation. Many older adults may not have the energy or physical ability to keep up with an active and energetic dog, which can lead to frustration on both sides.

10 High Energy Dog Breeds

  1. Border Collie
  2. Jack Russell Terrier
  3. Dalmatian
  4. Siberian Husky
  5. Labrador Retriever
  6. Australian Cattle Dog
  7. Standard Poodle
  8. Bernese Mountain Dog
  9. Cocker Spaniel
  10. Belgian Malinois

Other high energy dogs include Golden Retrievers, Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Shih Tzu.

2. Large Dog Breeds

There are a number of potential dangers for older adults who own large breed dogs, including injuries resulting from falls or other accidents due to the dog’s size and strength.

In addition, larger breeds may be more difficult to manage and care for as one ages, particularly if physical limitations or health conditions make it challenging to lift or carry the dog.

Larger dogs can be more aggressive and require greater training and socialization than smaller breeds, which may be especially problematic for seniors with limited mobility or cognitive decline.

It is important to carefully consider your physical capabilities, lifestyle needs, and ability to provide adequate care when choosing a dog breed that is right for you as an older adult.

10 Large Dog Breeds That May Not Be Ideal For Seniors

  1. Great Dane
  2. Mastiff
  3. Saint Bernards
  4. Newfoundland
  5. Leonberger
  6. Great Pyrenees
  7. Akita Inu
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Alaskan Malamute
  10. Siberian Husky

Other large breed dogs include German Shorthaired Pointer, Antolian Shepherd and Black Russian Terrier.

3. Aggressive Dog Breeds

Some dog breeds are more aggressive than others. If mobility or cognitive decline is a concern for you, it may be wise to avoid breeds that are known for being territorial, aggressive, or prone to exhibiting dominant behavior.

What Are Some Common Aggression Problems In Dogs?

Fear based aggression is the most common type of aggression in dogs. It is usually seen in dogs that have had little or no socialization and interaction with people or other animals during their crucial early development stages.

Can also be seen in dogs that have had traumatic experiences or who are naturally shy and fearful.

Possessive or territorial aggression is often seen in dogs that are protecting their food, toys, space or family members.

Dog-to-dog aggression can be a problem if your dog does not like other dogs or is uncomfortable around them.

Sexual aggression is seen more often in intact (not spayed or neutered) male dogs and can manifest as humping behavior, mounting other dogs or people, being overly possessive of their owner and being aggressive towards other males.

Redirected aggression can occur when a dog is feeling frustrated or threatened and lashes out at the nearest target, even if that target is their owner or another family member.

Pain-induced aggression is seen in dogs that are in pain or who have previously had negative experiences with handling, such as being restrained for grooming or vet visits.

Dominance aggression is exhibited by dogs who want to be in charge and be the alpha dog in the pack. This type of aggression can be directed towards people or other animals.

Predatory aggression is exhibited by dogs who see smaller animals as prey and will chase and likely even kill them. While it’s normal for dogs to chase small animals that run away, predatory aggression can lead to serious and deadly injuries.

Territorial aggression occurs when a dog feels like his territory is being invaded, whether this is his home, yard or another location where he spends time on a regular basis.

This type of dog might become aggressive towards unfamiliar people who enter these areas, as well as new pets who move into the neighborhood and start using the same space.

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of aggressive behavior that can be displayed by dogs. And, unfortunately, some of these behaviors are more common in certain breeds than others.

If you’re a senior citizen who’s looking for a new furry friend, you might want to avoid choosing a dog breed that’s prone to aggression.

10 Dog Breeds That Are Known To Be Aggressive

  1. Akita
  2. Alaskan Malamute
  3. American Pit Bull Terrier
  4. Siberian Husky
  5. Dachshunds
  6. Boxer
  7. Bullmastiff
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Doberman Pinscher
  10. German Shepherd

Other aggressive dog breeds include Rottweiler, Jack Russel Terrier and Chihuahua.

4. Herding Dog Breeds

Herding dogs are not good for seniors because they require a lot of exercise and stimulation. They also have a strong prey drive, which can make them aggressive toward smaller animals.

Additionally, herding dogs are often bred to be very independent and may not be the best choice for seniors who are looking for a companion dog.

10 Herding Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Border Collies
  2. Australian Shepherds
  3. German Shorthaired Pointers
  4. Old English Sheepdogs
  5. Welsh Corgis
  6. Pembroke Welsh Corgis
  7. Bearded Collies
  8. Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties)
  9. Finnish Lapphunds
  10. Pyrenean Shepherds​ ​​

Other herding dog breeds include Bearded Collies, Beauceron and Belgian Malinois.

5. Sled Dog Breeds

Sled dog breeds are not recommended for seniors due to their high levels of energy and athleticism. These dogs are bred to be strong, agile, and highly driven, which can make them difficult to manage for seniors with limited mobility or physical limitations.

Additionally, sled dogs may have difficulty adapting to a more sedentary lifestyle, making them a poor choice for seniors who are looking for a calm and quiet pet.​​​

10 Sled Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Alaskan Malamute
  2. Siberian Husky
  3. Chinook
  4. Samoyed
  5. Greenland Dog
  6. Canadian Eskimo Dog
  7. Lapland Spitz
  8. Alaskan Sled Dog
  9. American Indian Dogs
  10. Yukon Huskies​ ​​​​

Other sled dog breeds include Labrador Husky, Kugsha Dog and Greysther.

6. Guard Dog Breeds

On one hand, guard dog breeds tend to be active and alert, which may make them a good fit for seniors who are looking for an energetic pet.

However, these dogs can also be quite protective, territorial, and aggressive, which may not be suitable for seniors with limited mobility or physical limitations.

Ultimately, whether or not guard dogs make good pets for seniors will depend on the unique circumstances and needs of each individual.​

10 Guard Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Doberman Pinschers
  2. Rottweilers
  3. German Shepherds
  4. Siberian Huskies
  5. Akitas
  6. Pit Bulls
  7. Chow Chows
  8. Great Danes
  9. Newfoundlands
  10. Bernese Mountain Dogs

Other guard dog breeds include Airedale Terrier, Tibetan Mastiff and Caucasian Shepherd.

7. Hunting Dog Breeds

Hunting dog breeds may not be the best choice for seniors due to their high energy levels and demanding training requirements. These dogs require significant exercise and stimulation, which can be difficult for older adults with limited mobility or physical limitations.

Additionally, hunting dogs often have strong territorial instincts that can make them aggressive towards strangers or other animals, which could present a safety risk for seniors living alone or experiencing cognitive decline.

It is generally recommended that seniors avoid choosing a hunting dog breed as a pet.

10 Hunting Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Bloodhounds
  2. Retrievers
  3. Pointers
  4. Beagles
  5. Weimaraners
  6. Setters
  7. Foxhounds
  8. Spaniels
  9. Terriers
  10. Dalmatians

Other hunting dog breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Brittany and English Setters.

8. Terrier Dog Breeds

Terrier dog breeds are not generally recommended for seniors due to their high levels of energy, tendency towards aggression, and strong territorial instincts. These traits can make terriers difficult to manage and may pose a risk to seniors who live alone or have cognitive decline.

Additionally, many terrier breeds were originally bred for hunting, which means that they may be unsuitable for senior households that do not have the time or resources to provide adequate exercise and stimulation.

It is generally recommended that seniors avoid choosing a terrier breed as a pet.

10 Terrier Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. American Pit Bull Terrier
  2. Australian Terrier
  3. Border Terrier
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. Bull Terrier
  6. Cairn Terrier
  7. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  8. Jack Russell Terrier
  9. Miniature Bull Terrier
  10. Scottish Terrier

Other terrier dog breeds include Airedale Terrier, Bedlington Terrier and Irish Terriers.

9. Barking Dog Breeds

Some seniors may not appreciate having a dog that barks frequently, as it can be disruptive and stressful. Additionally, barking dog breeds may need more exercise and stimulation than some seniors are able to provide, which can lead to behavioral problems.

It is generally recommended that seniors avoid choosing a barking dog breed as a pet.

List 10 Barking Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Beagle
  2. Boxer
  3. Bulldog
  4. Chihuahua
  5. Cocker Spaniel
  6. Dachshund
  7. Golden Retriever
  8. Labrador Retriever
  9. Poodle
  10. Yorkie

Other barking dog breeds include Cairn Terriers, Miniature Schnauzer and Scottish Terriers.

Most, but certainly not all breeds of dogs that tend to do a lot of barking include small dogs. Although they are easier to handle and bathe, if you are annoyed by a barking dog or live in an area that is close to your neighbors, small dogs may not be best suited for you.

10. Digging Dog Breeds

Digging dog breeds can be a problem for seniors for a few reasons.

  • First, the seniors may not have the patience to deal with a dog that likes to dig.
  • Second, digging can damage property and create a mess that seniors may not be able to clean up.
  • Finally, some seniors may live in areas where it is not safe to allow a dog to dig (e.g., near a busy road).

It is generally recommended that seniors avoid choosing a digging dog breed as their pet.

List 10 Digging Dog Breeds That Are Not Recommended For Seniors

  1. Australian Cattle Dog
  2. Australian Shepherd
  3. Border Collie
  4. Boston Terrier
  5. Bull Terrier
  6. Chow Chow
  7. Dalmatian
  8. English Bulldog
  9. Jack Russell Terrier
  10. Rhodesian Ridgeback​

Other digging dog breeds include Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Malamute and Basset Hounds.

Reading Resources

For more information about all types of breeds, check out these books.




Does A Dog’s Breed Determine It’s Personality?

There is a lot of research that has been done on this topic and there are many different schools of thought. Some people believe that certain dog breeds have certain personality traits, while others think the environment in which they live plays a bigger role.

But a new study to be published Friday (April 29, 2022) in the journal Science finds that though some dog behaviors are indeed associated with particular breeds, breed plays less of a role overall than that conventional wisdom holds.

npr.org

Basically, what this means is that although there are “general” characteristics that may be associated with a certain breed of dog, it does NOT mean that every single dog within that breed will have those characteristics.

For example, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed is generally a very affectionate dog and is usually very gentle. But there are some that are extremely active and can become aggressive if they don’t get enough exercise.

5 Reasons Why A Senior Person Senior Person Should Not Own A Dog

  1. A dog requires a lot of exercise, which can be difficult for seniors to provide.
  2. Dogs need plenty of mental stimulation, which can be hard to provide if you’re not as active as you used to be.
  3. Senior citizens are more likely to live alone, and owning a dog can be lonely .
  4. Dogs can be expensive, and seniors may not be able to afford all the costs associated with owning one.
  5. Some dogs can be aggressive, and seniors may not be able to physically handle them.

The main argument against seniors owning dogs is that the burden of pet care may be too much for older people to handle. Many seniors live on fixed incomes and may not be able to afford the cost of food, grooming, and veterinary care.

Additionally, many older people also have health issues that make it difficult to exercise or walk a dog regularly, which can lead to behavioral problems in the animal.

Furthermore, some seniors may struggle with memory or mobility issues that make dog ownership more difficult than it would be for someone in a younger age group.

Ultimately, while there are certainly benefits to having a pet like a dog, there are also many downsides that must be considered before making this decision.

Therefore, given these concerns, it is probably best for some seniors to stick to other types of pets that require less time and energy.

5 Reasons Why Dogs Are Good For Seniors

  1. Dogs provide companionship and social interaction for seniors who may be living alone or feeling isolated.
  2. Dogs can help seniors stay active and improve their overall physical health by providing daily exercise.
  3. Dogs can help improve cognitive function in seniors through regular mental stimulation and engagement.
  4. Dogs can provide emotional support and reduce stress levels in seniors.
  5. Dogs can help increase safety for seniors by providing early detection of potential hazards or emergencies.

As people age, they often find themselves facing declining health and increased isolation. Senior citizens are at risk for conditions like depression, anxiety, and loneliness, all of which can lead to a decline in physical health.

One way to combat these problems is to get a dog. Dogs provide companionship and unconditional love, which can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

In addition, dogs require regular exercise, which can help seniors to stay active and improve their overall health. Furthermore, owning a dog has been shown to reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure.

And finally, dogs can provide an early warning system for things like fires and robberies. For all of these reasons, seniors who are considering adding a furry friend to their family should definitely give it some thought.

There are all kinds of dogs, but there are some breeds that might be better suited to senior citizens. Some qualities make them more suitable for older folks while other factors determine whether someone will enjoy having this type as their pet or not!

Our Thoughts On Dogs For Older Adults

Both Robin and I love animals and we absolutely believe that if an older adult can afford and properly care for an animal, they should. The benefits are worthwhile.

In our opinion, mixed breed dogs (mutts) are often the best type of dogs to adopt. These are often shelter dogs and because they can incorporate a mixture of personality traits, they can be the most loving companions a senior could want.

In addition, mutts tend to be healthier than purebred dogs.

Since they (mutts) are likely to have a lower risk for receiving a high dose of specific purebred genetic material that can lead to inherited disease, I believe they’re healthier than purebreds in this particular sense. As a result, many mutts have a lower rate of hip dysplasia, certain knee diseases, most spinal diseases, many heart diseases, plenty of cancers and a whole lot of skin, blood, brain, liver and kidney diseases, among others.

vetstreet.com

So, if you are considering adopting a dog, don’t discount mutts at your local shelter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should seniors consider when choosing a dog breed?

There are a number of factors that seniors should consider when choosing a dog breed, including their age, mobility level, and lifestyle. For example, older adults may want to consider a small or toy breed that is lower energy and easier to care for, while those with more active lifestyles may prefer larger breeds that require regular exercise.

Other considerations may include whether the senior has any health conditions that could be aggravated by a particular breed (e.g., back problems and short-nosed breeds), and whether they have the ability to groom a long-haired breed.

Ultimately, it is important to choose a dog that will fit well into the seniors’ lifestyle and home.

Some factors to consider are…

Size
Temperament
Energy level
Health concerns
Barking
Shedding

Are there any health benefits to owning a dog for seniors?

Yes, there are many health benefits to owning a dog for seniors. Dogs can improve seniors’ mental and physical health, and they can provide companionship and social interaction.

Seniors who own dogs have been shown to have lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and depression, and increased levels of physical activity.

Additionally, dogs can help seniors stay connected to their community and can provide a sense of purpose.

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