article by uday kadali

Top 10 Worst Dog Breeds for Seniors

Top 10 Worst Dog Breeds for Seniors

Dogs are indeed the best companions. However, choosing the right dog breed is important as per the dog’s parent and household. Otherwise, things can go in an untoward direction. For seniors, a calm and relaxed dog breed is ideal - pooches that will remain happy and active with gentle strolls and modest exercises. 

Certain dog breeds are unsuitable for the seniors and elderly. While some can require a lot of care, some can have aggressive traits or be likely to develop health issues if proper grooming and training are not extended. Dogs with high energy levels need high-intensity exercise, which seniors cannot ensure. Hence, seniors must avoid taking them home. To know more about the worst dog breeds, refer to the section below!

Meet the 10 Worst Dogs for Seniors and Elderly

Refer to the list below to learn about the worst dog breeds unsuitable for elderly people. 

1. Labrador Retriever 

Labrador Retriever

  • Group: Sporting Group
  • Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 80 pounds
  • Energy Level: Moderate to high energy level 
  • Physical Characteristics: Sturdy stature, broad heads, rudder-like tails, gentle eyes
  • Lifespan: 10 to 12 years 
  • Color: Yellow, black, brown, and chocolate
  • Shedding: Heavy shedding 
  • Bark: Moderate barkers 

  • It can seem counterintuitive to see the name of a labrador retriever in the list of worst dogs, as they are known to be extremely loving and easy to train. Labrador Retrievers are indeed ideal family pets. However, one major reason that makes them unsuitable for seniors is that they need a lot of attention and care; for an elderly person, it will not always be possible to ensure it. Further, they need a lot of exercise daily and are outgoing. It can be hard for a senior to manage these pooches and keep them healthy and happy. 

    2. Dalmation


  • Group: Non-sporting group 
  • Height: Males: around 23 inches and Females: about 22 inches
  • Weight: 45 to 60 pounds
  • Energy Level: High 
  • Physical Characteristics: Short, dense, and smooth coat, muscular body, tail that has an upward curve
  • Lifespan: 11 to 13 years 
  • Color: The ground color is white  with brown and black spots
  • Shedding: They shed heavily
  • Bark: Infrequent barkers 

  • Dalmatian, also popular as ‘firehouse dogs,’ is among the worst dog breeds for seniors. Though they are extremely loyal and intelligent, their outgoing nature can be a problem for seniors. Furthermore, they need plenty of outdoor activities, which can be overwhelming for seniors. They can become aggressive and fearful if they do not receive adequate outdoor exercise. Dalmatians are high-maintenance dogs and can be quite difficult to train. Also, they shed throughout the year. Though they are good companions, it can be difficult for seniors to manage them properly.

    3.Border Collie

    Border Collie

  • Group: Herding group 
  • Height: Male: 19 to 22 inches Female: 18 to 21 inches
  • Weight: 30 to 55 pounds
  • Energy Level: Extremely energetic 
  • Physical Characteristics: Agile body, long-backed, short-legged, narrow waist, deep chest
  • Lifespan: 12 to 17 years 
  • Color: White, gold, blue, brindle, and slate merle, black
  • Shedding: Moderate shedders 
  • Bark: Frequent and loud barkers 
  • Border Collies are popular for being athletic, acrobatic, and highly intelligent. Their activities and build showcase the combination of agility and speed. However, they need a lot more mental and physical stimulation and diligent socialization than other breeds. Otherwise, they can get bored of their owners and destroy the home. Besides, Border Collies are a bit chaotic in nature. As they shed a lot, maintenance and grooming should also be proper. These breeds can do well only in highly active households. All these make it not a good choice for seniors.

    4.Siberian Husky 

    Siberian Husky

  • Group: Working 
  • Height: Male: 21 to 23.5 inches Female 20 to 22 inches
  • Weight: Male: 45 to 60 pounds Female: 35 to 50 pounds
  • Energy Level: High 
  • Physical Characteristics: Dense, soft coat, blue or brown eyes, erect ears, straight neck,
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Color: Combinations of sable and white, red and white, black and white, and grey and white 
  • Shedding: Year-round shedders. In certain climates, it sheds more
  • Bark: Rarely barks

  • Siberian Huskies are among the top canine athletes. They stand out for their striking appearance, resembling a wolf. These pooches love to be outdoors. Further, these majestic dogs are extremely active and high in energy. It can be difficult for the elderly to match their energy. They demand robust physical stimulation. They need to engage in outdoor activities regularly. For less active individuals, it will not be possible to ensure daily exercises, which can significantly affect the dog’s psychological and physical health. As they are cold-weather dogs, they tend to shed a lot, which can prove to be unsuitable for seniors.



  • Group: Working
  • Height: 24 to 27 inches
  • Weight: 95 to 135 pounds
  • Energy Level: Medium to high
  • Physical Characteristics: Massive head, loose flews, short and dense coat, squared muzzles
  • Lifespan: 9 to 10 years 
  • Color: Black and mahogany or black and tan 
  • Shedding: Moderate shedders 
  • Bark: Infrequent but loud barkers 

  • Rottweilers stand out from the pack because of their protective nature and loyalty. They belong to the dominant breed and need extensive training in their formative years. They tend to develop aggressive behavior and threaten the owners if not socialized and trained properly. Their need for high-intensity physical activities and unparalleled attention and time makes them unsuitable for seniors. Furthermore, these canines cannot adapt to places that provide them with minimal stimulation and little movement. For a relaxed living, rottweilers are not the perfect fit for seniors.

    6.Pitbull Terrier 

    Pitbull Terrier

  • Group: Terrier 
  • Height: 18 to 21 inches 
  • Weight: 40 to 70 pounds
  • Energy Level: High-energy breed 
  • Physical Characteristics: Squarish heads, smooth and short coats, wide mouths, lean but muscular
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years 
  • Color: Chocolate, blue, merle, red, fawn
  • Shedding: Year-round shedders 
  • Bark: Moderate barkers 

  • Pitbull Terriers are extremely protective, affectionate, and confident. At times, their protective nature backfires, and they behave in an aggressive manner. Moreover, they like to be outdoors; if they feel cooped up, they will become fierce. Besides, owners must ensure they get a lot of stimulation, training, and exercise. Seniors naturally do not have the physical potential to keep up with the endless energy of a pit bull. If not trained properly, they can even attack their owners. Hence, they are one of the worst dog breeds to adopt.



  • Group: Working
  • Height: Male: 26 to 28 inches and Female: 24 to 26 inches 
  • Weight: Male: 55 to 70 pounds and Female: 50 to 65 pounds
  • Energy Level: High energy 
  • Physical Characteristics: Imposing stature, dense and straight coat, heavy bones, curled-over tail
  • Lifespan: 10 to 14 years 
  • Color: White, black, red, and brindle
  • Shedding: Infrequent shedding 
  • Bark: Barks when necessary

  • Akita is also not an ideal choice in a home that seniors inhabit. Albeit they are courageous, protective, and loyal, their strong-willed nature and staunch protectiveness make them extremely aggressive. A lot of time and effort must be given to ensure they get proper socialization and obedience training. They are known for their aloofness and territorial nature. There are times when they can turn against their owners. Besides, much effort is needed to maintain and groom these dogs as they are one of the worst shedding dogs. Also, they do not get along nicely with other animals.

    8.Jack Russel Terrier

    Jack Russel Terrier

    • Group: Terrier
    • Height: 10 to 15 inches
    • Weight: 13 to 17 pounds 
    • Energy Level: Endless energy 
    • Physical Characteristics: Compact and muscular body, double coat, curled-up tails
    • Lifespan: 13 to 16 years
    • Color: Predominantly white with black and tan spots 
    • Shedding: Mild to moderate shedders 
    • Bark: Frequent and high-pitched bark

    Jack Russel Terrier is also not the best match for senior owners. They are archetypal terrier dogs who are natural hunters. They were bred to kill small animals like rats and still possess this hunting behavior. Furthermore, the apartment setting is not for them, and their stubborn and aggressive nature makes it very difficult to train them. They must be trained under a skilled trainer, as professionals can only handle their obstinate tendencies. Even these breeds are very energetic, which seniors cannot handle.

    9.Australian Shepherd 

    Australian Shepherd

  • Group:  Herding breed 
  • Height: 18 to 23 inches 
  • Weight: 40 to 65 pounds 
  • Energy Level: Highly energetic 
  • Physical Characteristics: Strong build, medium-length coat, triangular ears
  • Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
  • Color: Blue merle, red merle, solid black, solid red
  • Shedding: Year-around shedders 
  • Bark: Barks to alert or when scared and startled

  • Australian Shepherd is considered a good family option for being extremely loving, smart, and loyal. However, their demanding nature does not make them a good fit for older owners. These dogs need a lot of exercise, time, and attention. Moreover, they need big spaces to roam around. Hence, small living spaces or apartments are not for them. As they are hyperactive, they will do well with owners who have a sedentary lifestyle. They can show destructive behavior if they get  Inadequate physical activity and training.

    10.Cocker Spaniel

    Cocker Spaniel

  • Group: Sporting 
  • Height: 14 to 17 inches 
  • Weight: 26 to 32 pounds
  • Energy Level: Full of energy 
  • Physical Characteristics:
  • Lifespan: Sturdy structure, square muzzle, long ears, round head
  • Color:  red and white, merle, blue roan, golden, black
  • Shedding: Sheds moderately
  • Bark: Notorious barkers 

  • Despite being gentle and affectionate, Cocker Spaniel is considered among the worst dogs to have for seniors. They are sporting dogs hence, they must be engaged in many physical activities. Besides, they require mental stimulation and have a highly demanding nature. These pooches need a lot of care as they are vulnerable to getting ear infections very quickly. They must be taken for regular check-ups. Additionally, their long coats are difficult to manage. Cocker Spaniels are ideal companions for children but certainly not a match for elderly owners.


    Canine companies must be chosen depending on the owner’s abilities and lifestyle. Dogs are great companions for seniors as it keeps them active and encourages sociability. However, some dogs can be unsuitable for being aggressive and difficult to groom or train. Seniors must avoid adopting the worst dog breeds and go for low-maintenance dogs. It is important to consider all the parameters, like a dog's grooming needs, physical activities, etc., before going ahead with making long-span living arrangements. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Which dog breeds might not be suitable for seniors?

    Dog breeds that need a lot of attention, training, and grooming, like Border Collie, Akita, Cocker Spaniel, etc., are unsuitable for seniors. 

    Are high-energy breeds a bad choice for seniors?

    Yes, high-energy breeds are bad choices for seniors. It is very difficult to manage the exuberant energy of these breeds. 

    Are large breeds unsuitable for seniors?

    Yes, large dog breeds are unsuitable for seniors as handling and grooming them takes a lot of time. They are likely to shed more. Besides, they are not travel friendly. 

    Do small breeds make better choices for seniors?

    Not all the small breeds make better choices for seniors. However, Poodle, Pug, Shi Tzu, etc., can be considered as they are easy to manage. There are even multiple options for medium-sized dogs for seniors.

    Are breeds with intensive grooming needs a problem for seniors?

    Yes, breeds that need intensive grooming might be a problem for seniors. Their physical ability might not always permit them to engage in the dog’s grooming. 

    Do guard dog breeds pose challenges for seniors?

    Guard dogs tend to be aggressive in nature and have strong muscular build. Further, they need robust training and socialization. Otherwise, they can pose challenges for seniors. 

    Can certain breeds be too excitable for seniors?

    Yes, dog breeds like Bichon Frise, Maltese, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, etc., can be too excitable for seniors. 

    Are breeds prone to health issues a concern for seniors?

    Yes, every dog breed is prone to some common health issues like obesity, arthritis, tooth pathology, etc. Hence, taking care of their diet and physical activities is important. 

    Can strong-willed breeds be a challenge for seniors?

    Strong-willed breeds can be a challenge for seniors as they can be very difficult to train. They can take a lot of time to adapt to their surroundings and family members. 

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