Best large Dogs for Seniors

Per ownership means different things for different people and seniors are no exception. Some seniors are looking for companionship, some are looking for protection, and others are looking to stay active.

This is why we’ve chosen a variety of large breed dogs that possess traits that will be a good fit for many seniors. These are the 11 breeds that top our list of “Best Dogs for Seniors”.

Golden Retriever

Best for: Companionship and active seniors.

The magnificent Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in America for a reason. This beautiful animal with flowing fringe on its legs and tail is eager to please.
Goldens have lovely temperaments, but they aren’t guard dogs and are just as likely to lick the face of a stranger as to bark at them.

One of the reasons that Goldens make wonderful companions if you are retired is because they love to be around their people all the time.

They also need a significant amount of exercise and brain stimulation. If you don’t provide a walk, play fetch with them, and give them things to do, Goldens can become destructive.

But if you are looking for a companion that will help you stay active then a Golden may be just the dog you need.

Labrador Retriever

Best for: Companionship and active seniors.

Labrador Retrievers are friendly and happy companion dogs. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or retired, the sociable Lab is a wonderful friend and loves an active household.

Labs need a lot of exercise and have a lot of energy. They like to play fetch, swim, and go for long walks. If you are not an active individual then the easygoing Lab may not be the best fit for you.

But if you are an active senior and your idea of a good time is playing fetch with your dog in the backyard and taking it kayaking or canoeing after a long hike then this breed can make a wonderful retirement companion.

Standard Poodle

Best for: Companionship.

The Standard Poodle is a great choice if you want a breed that doesn’t shed. These dogs don’t leave dog fur all over the place because they have hair and not fur.

The downside to a dog that doesn’t shed is that they do need regular grooming for their coats to stay nice. While you can groom a dog yourself, many people choose to have a professional groomer take care of their dog’s coat – which can be pricey.

The Standard Poodle is a highly intelligent breed that is eager to please, makes a great companion, and will form a strong bond with every member of your family.

This breed needs a daily walk, but that is usually enough. They don’t need as much exercise as some of the other large breed dogs.


Best for: Companionship and active seniors.

The Labradoodle isn’t an AKC breed but is a designer breed that is a Standard Poodle and Labrador Retriever mix.

Labradoodles don’t shed much, but they need regular grooming.

These beautiful animals are good-looking, friendly, smart, and loyal.

A Labradoodle will make a wonderful companion provided they have plenty of exercise and are trained and socialized early.

Because Labradoodles are bred from two large breed dogs, they are large dogs themselves. Like all large dogs, if you get a Labradoodle it’s important to make sure that you give them proper nutrition as a puppy to help prevent hip dysplasia down the line.


Best for: Companionship and active seniors.

The Goldendoodle is another designer dog. It’s bred from a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. They have surged in popularity over the last several years.

When you get a dog like this, it’s important to understand the breeding and genetics to make sure that you are not dealing with inbreeding.

Goldendoodles are friendly, charming, and loving. They also need a lot of exercise and like to be active.

Because they are low shedders they need regular grooming every six weeks, so make sure that this is in your budget or that you are prepared to groom your Goldendoodle yourself.

Goldendoodles like to be around their people, so they are good choices for active seniors who are retired.

German Shepherd

Best for: Protection and active seniors.

The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog in America, right behind the number one Labrador Retriever.

This wildly intelligent breed is often used in police and military work because they can learn just about anything and are very loyal. They make great protective dogs.

If you have a German Shepherd be prepared to put in some serious work. You can expect to walk your dog twice a day for at least 30 minutes, plus provide training that gives them tasks to do.

A bored German Shepherd can become destructive. However, if you are willing to keep your dog active and engaged then a German Shepherd will make a wonderful alert, protective and loving companion.

Great Dane

Best for: Companionship.

Known as “velcro” dogs, because they love to be close to their people, Great Danes make wonderful companions for seniors who are retired or who work from home.

Great Danes will WANT your attention. So if you are looking for a couch potato dog, then they will not be your cup of tea. That said, they do not require a great deal of exercise. One good walk a day is sufficient.

These dogs are huge and can weigh up to 185 pounds, but don’t let the size intimidate you. A Great Dane is a gentle giant who will often ask to be petted by nudging you with their giant head. Although they aren’t particularly aggressive, Danes can be good guard dogs simply because their sheer size discourages intruders.

If you want a companion dog that will pay a lot of attention to you then a Great Dane could be a good fit.


Best for: Companionship.

When people think of Greyhounds they think of race dogs. There is no doubt that Greyhounds are fast. What surprises people is that they are also very lazy when they aren’t racing and are happy to cuddle with their humans on the couch.

Greyhounds have gentle dispositions and many organizations are dedicated to finding homes for retired racing greyhounds.

If you like to binge-watch Netflix and want a dog to snuggle with you on the couch, then a Greyhound might be just the dog you are looking for.


Best for: Companionship and grandkids.

Newfoundlands are huge, hairy, loveable, and slobbery. They are also gentle giants who will be excellent nanny dogs to any grandkids that come and visit. They actually make wonderful companion dogs for owners of any age.

Despite their massive size, Newfoundlands do not need a huge amount of exercise. They are very happy lazing around the house and a single daily walk will keep them in good shape.

Newfoundlands do shed a lot and benefit from regular brushing to keep their coats in good shape.

This breed is easy to train and eager to please. If you can handle their size and their slobbery mouth then a Newfie will make a great pet for any senior.

American Bulldog

Best for: Protection and Companionship.

American Bulldogs can get big and can weigh up to 120 pounds.

These dogs are gentle and affectionate and think of themselves as lap dogs.

American Bulldogs do need early training and an owner that will take charge because otherwise, they will try to be the pack leader of you.

If you are looking for a great guard dog that has a mind of its own, then an American Bulldog may be a good fit for you.

Siberian Husky

Best for: Companionship and active seniors.

Siberian Huskies have an intelligent face, a loving attitude and are easy to train.

These beautiful dogs are sledding dogs, so you have to train them to not pull when you are walking and this can take some work.

Huskies need regular exercise. They like to play fetch, tug of war, and go for walks. You can even train a husky to pull a wheeled sled.

Huskies don’t have enemies and while they aren’t overly exuberant like a Golden Retriever they get along with other people, animals, and dogs. They are also extremely tolerant of small children.

If you are looking for a loving companion dog who isn’t in your face 24/7 and can provide plenty of physical activity then a Siberian husky may make a great choice.

Scroll to Top