The Best Companion Dogs for Your Health and Personality

The Best Companion Dogs for Your Health and Personality

There’s a reason dogs are man’s best friend. There is plenty of research that shows that owning a dog is good for your mental and physical health, but what type of dog is right for you? If you’re looking for a companion dog, you might think that small dogs are the only option. After all, most of them were bred specifically to provide companionship, but there are actually a lot of dog breeds that make great companion dogs.

To figure out the best companion dogs for you, one of the best things you can do is choose one that fits into your lifestyle. Here are a few great options to consider.

Best Companion Dog for an Outdoor Lover – Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are traditionally working dogs but they were also bred to be companions. This warm, friendly, intelligent breed loves to be a part of the family and is eager to please. These characteristics make them easy to train.

Labs are full of energy. This dog breed was used to help fishermen fetch ropes, haul nets, and retrieve fish. They’re mentally and physically active and can be destructive if not properly trained and exercised. Even if your lab is particularly well behaved, activity is essential to keeping it happy.


Another thing you should know about labs is that they love to eat. If they’re overfed and don’t get enough exercise, they gain weight quickly. Labs need between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep them healthy and happy.

If you’re an outdoor lover, a Labrador retriever may be just the right fit for you. These pups love to be with their people and will enjoy running, hiking, walking, or even swimming right alongside you. Outdoor activities keep them mentally and physically active and help keep their weight under control. Plus, they’re so lovable and friendly that they’ll curl up next to you when you’re at home relaxing after a fun and tiring day outside.

Best Companion Dog for a Runner – Dalmatian

Are you a runner that’s looking for a dog that can keep up? If so, consider a dalmatian. This dog was bred to run – seriously! Dalmatians were originally bred to run alongside carriages, warding off highwaymen.

Dalmatians have a seemingly endless capacity for motion so it’s important to keep them on a leash or safe in an enclosed space when outside. If a dalmatian is allowed to run free, it may take off on a running adventure and be gone for days.

This breed is eager to please, making them easy to train with the right reinforcement. Proper training is essential. Dalmatians are headstrong and will think they run the house if a firm and consistent approach isn’t used. That said, they do not respond to harsh treatment and are said to remember being treated unfairly. Using a positive approach with a lot of treats and praise is the best method.


These distinctive-looking dogs thrive on human companionship and love their family time. Dalmatians are smart with a good sense of humor and are always trying to entertain. Plus, they make excellent watchdogs – they’re protective of their people and never miss a thing.

Note that dalmatians have some particular care needs. Deafness in one or both ears is pretty common with this dog breed and they often have urinary issues that require constant access to freshwater and frequent trips outside to urinate.

Dalmatians are so high energy, they really need an active owner which is why they’re such a good choice for runners.

Best Companion Dog for a Couch Potato – Pug

For people who prefer staying in and relaxing to being out and about, consider a pug. This small dog was specifically bred to be a companion and that’s what they’re best at. They love attention, do everything they can to get it, and are unhappy when they don’t.

Pugs are not an active breed. They prefer to be sedentary and will sit with you while you read, watch TV, play video games, or sleep, and, because they crave attention so much, they will also do everything they can to make you laugh.


Temperament varies from one pug to another. Early socialization is important if you want your pet to be curious and willing to be held by other people. Pugs without proper socialization may choose to hide in the corner or disappear when other people are around.

This breed doesn’t like high heat and humidity. They have a short muzzle and get overheated quickly. These are house dogs that don’t like spending a lot of time outdoors – perfect for a couch potato.

Best Companion Dog for a Senior Citizen – Maltese

One of the best companion dogs for a senior citizen is a Maltese. These pups are extremely people-oriented, easy to train, and respond well to positive reinforcement. They’re lively, fun dogs and natural performers that are extremely friendly and think everyone is their friend.

This breed is definitely a house dog. They don’t tolerate extreme temperatures at all and are prone to chills and sunburn. Some people choose to paper train their Maltese so they don’t have to take it outside when the weather is too hot or cold. That said, they can be a little tricky to housetrain but will respond best to crate training.


These dogs are great for senior citizens not only because they offer love, entertainment, and companionship but also because of their size. Maltese only weigh around seven pounds and are about eight to 10 inches tall at the shoulder. They’re tiny and delicate, small enough that most senior citizens can easily pick them up when needed. In fact, these dogs are not recommended for families with small children because they may be too rough.

Best Companion Dog for a Family – Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers have long been known as a great family dog. Their sweet, calm nature and willingness to please make them a great fit for homes with children. Goldens keep their puppy spirit until they’re three or four and some continue to be playful and silly well into old age so they fit right into big families.

This breed is gentle and kind, the perfect temperament for a house with kids. They’re also very active. A golden retriever would be happy playing fetch with the kids in the backyard, exploring the woods around a campground with the family, or going for a morning run with mom or dad. They need about a half-hour of exercise every day to burn off energy and keep them calm and relaxed in the house.

Goldens are a true part of the family and like to be involved with their pack. They don’t like to be put outside or kept away from their people. Goldens are not watchdogs. While they might bark to let you know there’s someone at the door, they’re more likely to offer a friendly welcome than try to keep someone out of the house.

Best Companion Dog for an Apartment – Brussels Griffon


A lot of people might think they can’t have a dog if they live in an apartment but that’s not true. You just have to pick the right breed, and if you’re looking for a small, intelligent, lively pup to keep you company, you should consider a Brussels Griffons.

Originally, these dogs were bred to kill rats and mice in stables in Belgium but their temperament is so enjoyable and affectionate that they soon became more popular as a pet. They’re curious and generally cheerful but they can be moody and high strung if they don’t get enough attention. This breed has been referred to as a Velcro dog and will resort to making trouble to get your attention if it feels it’s not getting enough.

One look at these pups and you can see how they earned the nickname “monkey face”. There’s no mistaking their prominent chin, wide-set eyes, and cuddly looks. Some people think they look like Ewoks from Star Wars which makes them even more irresistible. 

These are stubborn dogs that respond best to positive reinforcement. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to train them. If they’re treated harshly, they’ll double down and be less willing to listen. Short sessions with a lot of praise work best.

Brussels Griffons are energetic but small enough that they can usually get in enough activity by running around an apartment. They usually weigh about 10 pounds and are roughly eight inches tall at the shoulder but they have a strong and sturdy build. They can get into a lot of trouble when left at home alone so a dog walker or doggy daycare during the workday might be a good idea. 

It’s been said that having a Brussels Griffon is a lot like having a child that never leaves for college. Owning one of these pups is a commitment because they can live to be 15 years old, but if you’re looking for a companion dog that considers itself your roommate, this little pup has all the love and personality you need.

Best Companion Dog for Singles – Miniature Schnauzer


One of the best companion dogs for singles is a miniature schnauzer. This little dog has a lot of heart. They’re extroverted, have a lot of energy without being too intense, and love having fun. If you’re looking for a loyal companion, the miniature schnauzer might be the right breed for you.

These dogs were originally bred to catch rats and have a cute, long beard and bushy eyebrows. They’re a handful and like to be the center of attention. If they don’t get enough of it, they’re likely to start causing trouble. That said, singles who have time to devote to doting on this dog will be rewarded with affection and undying devotion.

This is a small pup – only about a foot tall at the shoulder and weighing between 10 and 20 pounds – but it’s not delicate. It’s a big dog in a little body and tends to face danger loudly. This applies to exercise, too. Despite its small size, remember, this is a terrier and it needs about 45 minutes of daily activity to stay mentally and physically healthy.

At home, a miniature schnauzer is an excellent watchdog and will be loud and insistent about alerting you to possible danger or even someone just walking past the window. This is a great dog to teach tricks to because it’s so smart and learns quickly but it’s also really stubborn and is known to pretend it can’t hear you if it gets angry. You have to let a miniature schnauzer know who’s in charge. If it gets away with anything, it will remember and run with it.

These pups are full of life and make a wonderful companion to singles looking for a smart, loving furry companion. They love to be with people and can adapt well if you get a roommate or start a family a few years down the line.

Companion for Life

There’s no denying the strong connection between humans and their dogs. If you’re looking for a sidekick or companion, it’s important to choose a breed that fits well with your lifestyle. Remember, all dogs are different and may not adhere to breed standards. Just like people, each pup has its own personality. When choosing a puppy, try to meet one or both of the parents to get an idea of the temperament in the bloodline.

Before you choose a dog, make sure you do some research. Activity levels are super important when finding the right breed. If you choose an active dog and it doesn’t get enough daily exercise, the pup is likely to act out or become difficult when kept in the house. You should also only choose a needy breed if you have the time to give it the attention it needs. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before making a commitment but choose the right pup and you’ll have a faithful companion by your side.

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