7 Best Guard Dog Breeds for Elderly & Senior Owners

Dogs aren’t just fun companions. They are also great in guarding your home and in assisting the elderly in their daily routines. For those who are already in the retirement age, a dog with low energy, high intelligence, and low maintenance nature is ideal. These doggos make the best guard dog for elderly owners as they also serve as a companion and a watchdog against intruders.

Benefits of owning a dog among seniors

Assisted living can be challenging for seniors. This is why companion dogs help a lot as it also doubles as a watchdog for their home.

Also, numerous studies have proven that dogs have positive effects on the mental, physical, and emotional health of seniors. Canines also encourage their senior owners to stay active and to connect with other people. For other old people, dogs can boost their confidence to go out.

Moreover, dogs are proven to have a therapeutic effect on older adults. It can reduce their stress and blood pressure.

Not yet convinced? Here are more benefits of owning a pet for seniors:

Considerations for the best guard dog for elderly

Before getting the best guard dog for elderly, it’s essential to consider the following:


Guard dogs for older people shouldn’t have intense prey drive or aggression. As a companion dog, they also need to be calm and affectionate at times. With this, you need the right balance of friendliness and aloofness.

Avoid very large dogs since they can be difficult to handle. Also, most large breeds have intense energy, which is why many seniors opt for small to mid-size canines instead.

-Age of the canine

Puppies are demanding for seniors, so it’s best to get an adult or senior canine. Older dogs have been trained and have already got past their overly energetic phase. This way, senior owners don’t need to deal with the stress of teething and other puppy-related transition needs.

-Maintenance and energy level

Avoid dog breeds that are a pain to groom or will need intense care. Depending on the preference of the senior owner, a canine with medium energy is best. They are easier to deal with and they don’t require too much walks or playtime.

-Wanderlust potential

If possible, avoid canines that love to wander around. Since they are supposed to be the best guard dog for elderly, the doggo should stay on its owner’s side.


This isn’t absolute, but many senior owners thrive in the company of small to mid-size dogs. Large canines can be a joy to have, but they tend to be demanding in terms of maintenance and energy level. Still, the likes of Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Saint Bernards might be good choices but note that these doggos need extra maintenance.

Best Guard Dog for Elderly – Top 8 Breeds

1.      Standard Schnauzers

Standard Schnauzers are natural guard dogs with a protective yet loving nature. They are affectionate dogs that will thrive in the care of senior owners that often get visits from their small grandkids. Schnauzers are friendly, but they always keep a suspicious eye on strangers.

Even if they a flowy coat, they shed little, which makes them very easy to groom. Schnauzers are also intelligent canines that are highly trainable for various tasks. It’s essential to train them early to dampen their wanderlust potential.

Overall, Schnauzers love large yards, but their energy is manageable. They will bark whenever they see something suspicious and they will stand their ground in the presence of danger. 

Still, this breed needs a firm hand as they have a strong sense of self-worth.

best guard dog for elderly

2.      Poodle

Considered as one of the quintessential dogs for seniors, Poodles are the right combination of every trait of a guard and companion canine. These doggos are very smart and they are always friendly to anyone. If trained well, they can be suspicious of strangers as well.

Since Poodles hate being alone, expect that they will be Velcro dogs. Also, they love goofing and playing around, but their energy level is very easy to handle.

Remember that you should never spoil a Poodle. If you do so, this dog will have a strong sense of determination which will make him think that he’s the alpha. Also, you should keep a Poodle busy with a task so it won’t resort to destructive ways.

3.      Boston Terrier

For seniors who are looking for mid-sized dogs to be their companion, Boston Terriers might be a great choice. Nicknamed as the ‘American Gentleman’, Boston Terriers are affectionate pets with a very fun personality. It loves playtime and exploring around, but once they get older, they will be more laidback.

This breed is also ideal for novice owners. They shed and drool a little, but with extra patience, they will thrive in the care of older owners.

Also, Boston Terriers are intelligent and easy to train. Still, you should watch out for their weight since they have a voracious appetite.

Boston Terriers are loud snorers, which could also be funny sometimes. Overall, this breed is quiet and far from aggressive.

4.      Cairn Terrier

If you need a reliable watchdog for your home, Cairn Terriers will not disappoint. These dogs are brave but friendly, energetic but can thrive in an apartment setup.

Also, Cairn Terriers are intelligent, but they need to be trained before transferring to the care of the elderly. Their tenacity and prey drive can get in the way, especially for a growing puppy.

Cairn Terriers often think that they are bigger than what they really are. This is why they aren’t afraid to stand against another dog or any potential harm.

If you are to own a Cairn Terrier, you should be strict and consistent so they won’t reign over the household. This pooch has a mind of its own, and they can impose their ways if you let them. 

5.      Weimaraner

A dog with an intimidating gaze and gait, Weimaraners will surely stop a stranger on its tracks. This breed used to be a hunting dog and they also make excellent guard dogs.

Although this breed’s inquisitive stare may put you off at first, don’t let it get in the way of owning this breed. It’s a sweetheart to their owners and even kids. Still, they don’t trust strangers and other dogs easily.

This is an active dog with a very intelligent nature, so they are a joy to train. It’s also quiet, one thing that you can trace back to their hunting days.

However, this breed suits senior owners who want to stay active. Weimaraners are very active dogs that need walks and playtime to stay happy. And since they are hunting dogs by instinct, they can’t be kept on the couch all day.

6.      Chihuahua

A Chihuahua as a guard dog? This doggo might be small but never underestimate its self-confidence. Chihuahuas are affectionate dogs to their owners, but they are ready to put up a fight around strangers and other canines.

This dog is small, but they have the personality of a large canine. More often than not, you’ll see this dog on its owner’s side. However, if they perceive harm, this pooch will bare its little teeth to try to scare off people.

The good thing with Chihuahuas is they don’t require a lot of exercises. As a small dog, they are happy to stay inside the house and accompany their owners.

Still, this dog is intelligent and can be taught some tricks to past the time. They are also ideal for seniors who are living in apartments.

7.      Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso dogs were bred to guard Tibetan monasteries. With this, you can count on this canine to be a dedicated watchdog that will alert you whenever someone is at your door. Lhasa Apso’s ethereal look might make strangers think that they are friendly, but these doggos are ready to give a fight.

Overall, this breed is affectionate to their owners and they also tolerate kids. Just don’t mix them with other dogs as they can be territorial.

Take note that Lhasa Apso dogs are barkers and hunters. Also, there’s no changing with their guarding nature. You can raise them as well-rounded canines with early training and consistent leadership.

NOTE: Lhasa Apso dogs mature slowly, so it’s best to get an older dog for seniors.

8.      German Pinscher

German Pinschers are smaller versions of the popular Doberman Pinscher. They have a friendlier look and a lower gait. Still, you shouldn’t underestimate this dog because, like their cousin breed, they are suspicious of strangers.

In addition, German Pinschers aren’t tolerant of kids, but they will thrive with seniors. Take note that these are hunting dogs so make sure that you have a yard where the pooch can run and play. Also, you should give this doggo a task, or they will vent their energy into destructive habits.

This means German Pinschers are ideal for seniors who want to stay active. This dog needs regular walks and playtime, plus they love exploring around.

If you’re looking for the best guard dog for elderly owners, this breed might be what you’re looking for.

Final words

Dogs are amazing companions. As for the best guard dog for elderly, they can also be protectors and watchdogs ready to stand against any harm.

Still, it’s important to consider the breed’s temperament, personality, and energy level. Each one suits various owners and not all will thrive in a laidback household.

If possible, look for a mature dog that has been trained and socialized well. This way, they will behave favorably with their new owners.

What do you think of this post? Do you have something to add? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comment section!

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