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10 Dog Breeds Seniors Should NEVER Own

Let’s talk about the worst dogs for seniors!

A dog can be an amazing pet for seniors, but it also requires energy and time. Different dog breeds have different care requirements, and it’s essential to take these requirements into consideration when choosing a furry companion, especially if you’re in your golden years.

The best breed of dog for seniors would be one that offers unconditional companionship without requiring more resources, attention, and time than their owner can give.

Studies have shown that retirees who have dogs tend to be in a better mood overall and experience enhanced well-being and health benefits as a result of the unconditional love and daily attention that dogs offer. But finding the right four-legged friend is essential!

Below are the worst dogs for seniors, along with some information about why you should avoid these breeds!

Photo by Dora Zett from

1. Labrador retriever

The Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. It was originally bred as a fishing dog to help retrieve fish that got away and bring them into fishing nets. In other words, we’re talking about a dog that was bred for hunting and sports.

They tend to be outgoing, very active, and friendly, and they are known for being loyal and obedient as well as playful. They typically weigh between 55 and 70 pounds (for a female dog) and 65 and 80 pounds (for a male dog). They are moderately large stands that stand between 22 and 24.5 inches tall at the shoulder.

All of these may sound fun and nice, but Labrador retrievers require a lot of time and attention, and they must be taken out for exercise daily. They are athletic dogs that need plenty of exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy and happy.

While they are easy to train, they are actually some of the worst dogs for seniors. Since they require so much attention and time, some retirees may find it difficult to have these dogs around.

2. Pug

Pugs are also among the worst dogs for seniors. Their small size may make them seem like they’d be a wonderful pet for an elderly person, but bear in mind that they require a higher level of maintenance than most dog breeds, and they’re especially resistant to being trained.

There are several reasons why pugs are some of the worst dogs for seniors. They have a lot of respiratory issues and other health problems. They also tend to shed, which means they require a higher level of maintenance. Moreover, pugs can be hard to potty train, which means there could be a lot of cleanup.

3. Siberian husky

Siberian huskies are large dogs that stand 20–24 inches tall and weigh between 35 and 60 pounds. They are very friendly and loyal, and they tend to enjoy being outside, where they can play and run as they please. It’s pretty hard to contain the exuberant level of energy of these pups, making them one of the worst dogs for seniors. If you’re in your golden years and looking for a dog, you should skip this breed.

The Siberian husky requires a lot of playtime and can become unhappy without adequate activity and exercise. Also, they tend to be more stubborn than other dog breeds when it comes to training. While they don’t require as much in terms of bathing (this is because Siberian huskies are mostly “self-cleaning”), they do shed a lot, and thus owners of this dog breed may have to clean regularly.

4. Pit Bull

It may seem obvious that a pit bull would be a bad choice for a senior, but some retirees choose this breed of dog for protection purposes. Unfortunately, pit bulls usually have an aggressive temperament, making them some of the worst dogs for seniors. They also need plenty of activity and a lot of time to get out of the house and run, which means a pit bull won’t do well in an apartment.

Pit bulls were originally bred in the UK as a cross between a bulldog and a terrier in the 1920s. They were bred to be dog fighters and have rather controversial reputations as a result. More specifically, they are known for having a tendency to attack aggressively and to latch on to their victim while biting.

While they can be trained, they require a lot of it, which must be done by a skilled dog trainer. All in all, they are among the worst dogs for seniors, so retirees may want to consider other dog breeds.

dog breed
Photo by Volodymyr Burdiak from Shutterstock

5. Dalmatian

Dalmatians are relatively large dogs (weighing between 33 and 70 pounds) that originated in Croatia in the 1700s in the historical region of Dalmatia. It’s believed they are descended from the spotted Great Dane.

As some of the worst dogs for seniors, Dalmatians are notoriously difficult to train, and they require a lot of outdoor exercise that would overwhelm most retirees. They tend to have a stubborn temperament, and they can be destructive if they aren’t physically active. Some dogs in this breed may also be overly aggressive and extremely fearful, which is obviously not going to be a good idea for most seniors.

Because they shed all year round, Dalmatians’ maintenance level is on the high side for older pet owners.

6. Beagle

Beagles are puppies that never grow up! They tend to be stubborn and self-centered throughout their whole lives. They also have a very distinctive odor and a tendency to howl and whine a lot. On top of that, they require a lot of maintenance to manage all the shedding, and it’s absolutely vital that owners keep them on a leash at all times when outside.

Beagles are a popular family pet for households with kids because they are small (20 to 24 pounds) and they don’t have many inherited health issues that are common in other breeds. But because they are not the easiest pups to train and they have a stubborn temperament, they are some of the worst dogs for seniors.

7. Chihuahua

A chihuahua dog doesn’t weigh more than 6 pounds, making them some of the smallest dog breeds. But they are also some of the worst dogs for seniors. These pups can be extremely difficult to housetrain and have a loud bark that makes up for their small size. While they make great furry companions, they often require too much attention for elderly individuals.

Chihuahuas can be stubborn and spunky, but they are also very affectionate. They don’t shed much and only need to be bathed every once in a while. However, they require special attention when it comes to dental care.

They should also be checked for eye disease and heart problems on a regular basis. To put it another way, their high health needs are another reason why they are some of the worst dogs for seniors.

8. Bloodhound

Bloodhounds are known for their droopy, lonesome faces and soulful eyes, as well as for their remarkable sense of smell. This dog breed has been around since ancient times, and ever since then, these dogs have been renown for their ability to sniff out and track even the faintest scents.

Bloodhounds love to spend time and play with people as well as with other dogs, and they’re often very inquisitive. This reed learns pretty fast and retains behaviors and habits over the long term, so owners need to put their pup in obedience training from a young age if they want to make sure that the habits learned are ones that are positive and productive.

You may wonder why bloodhound pups are some of the worst dogs for seniors. The adult bloodhound can weigh between 75 and 100 pounds, so we’re talking about one of the largest dog breeds.

Compared to other large dog breeds, bloodhounds have a short lifespan of only 10–12 years, so in some cases, elderly individuals who are owners of bloodhounds may outlive their beloved furry friends by many years.

worst dogs for seniors
Photo by shymar27 from Shutterstock

9. Chow Chow

No. 9 on the list of the worst dogs for seniors is the Chow Chow. An ancient dog breed originating from China, the Chows Chows are believed to be the ancestors of other distant breeds, such as the Pomerian or the Norwegian Elkhound.

Chow Chows weigh between 45 and 70 pounds, making them medium-size dogs, yet they’re surprising strong and powerful. They’re affectionate and loving with their owners, but they adopt a more reserved attitude with strangers. Some owners describe the Chow Chow’s temperament as complicated, as these dogs can be quite fussy.

They love to be active, and owners are advised to walk these pups up to four times per day. Additionally, these dogs must be brushed two to three times per week, and they need a bath at least once a month.

While Chow Chows make great companions, their complex temperament, stubbornness, and maintenance requirements also make them some of the worst dogs for seniors.

10. Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a large dog breed whose weight varies depending on the height of the dog (which ranges between 23 and 27 inches). These pups live around 9–12 years on average, so chances are that their senior owners will outlive them. They are also a high-energy breed that’s likely to overwhelm elderly owners, making them some of the worst dogs for seniors.

This dog breed requires little coat and bathing maintenance, and they also don’t shed very much. However, the Cane Corso dog has very high energy and requires a run or brisk walk at least two times a day in order to be happy and healthy. It’s perhaps not the best choice for a retiree.

If you want to learn more about other dog breeds, this book packs in a lot of information about over 450 dog breeds.

Also, if you liked our article on the worst dogs for seniors, you may also want to read 6 Most Common Health Problems of Senior Dogs.

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