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26 Adoptable Senior Dogs Looking for a New Best Friend

These senior sweethearts are aged to perfection. They're mature, mellow, and have so much lovin' and cuddlin' to give.

Portrait of a young little girl and her old dog best friend in modern bedroom on the bed in the grey white sheets, decorated with light strings Primorac91/Shutterstock

The perfect dog for you

It’s hard to resist the energy and playfulness of an adorable puppy. But puppies are a lot of work! There’s potty training (lots of accidents), obedience training (another chewed-up shoe), and crate training (whining and guilt). Of course, all of that pet-parenting is worth it, but for those who prefer to fast-forward right on through the puppy stage, a senior dog is a wonderful candidate for adoption. “They are fully grown, so you know their true size, and they are usually housebroken,” says Alison Mason, DVM, Medical Director at the VCA Hope Animal Hospital. “Most of the time, they don’t come with all the ‘puppy energy,’ making them a great fit for less active households or individuals with physical limitations.”

Plus, these dogs need loving forever homes in which to live out their golden years. The bottom line: They don’t have one right now, and that’s heartbreaking. “They deserve a second chance in life and can be perfect for families with children (as long as the pet is tested with children first) and couples of all ages,” says Dr. Mason. If you’re looking to expand your family, check out these sweet senior dogs across the country who are available for adoption right now. For inspiration, check out the story of this man who only adopts “unadoptable” animals—and now has 21 pets.

ricky senior dogCourtesy SPCA of Texas

Ricky

Nobody loves #TongueOutTuesday more than me! I’m Ricky, a goofy, fun-loving, outgoing guy who enjoys making people smile. The SPCA of Texas agrees and says that I have plenty of pep in my step, even though I’m 7! I like going for walks, exploring my surroundings, and indulging in treats, of course. I love to meet new people and woof up the attention they give me. Here are 14 reasons you should consider adopting an older dog like me.

jada senior dogCourtesy SPCA of Texas

Jada

Gentle Jada is what my foster mom calls me. I’m a well-mannered, patient girl—a greyhound and retriever mix—who would love a forever home with a chill vibe. My ideal day would include leisurely walks where I can stop and smell the roses, followed by belly rubs, kisses, and cuddles when we get back home. I have mastered impressive manners like “stay” and “shake,” and my SPCA of Texas foster mom reports I’m happy to chew on my bones and entertain myself if need be. I am also as quiet as a mouse. In fact, my foster mom has never heard me bark! Here are some other dog breeds that don’t bark much.

sadie senior dogCourtesy SPCA of Texas

Sadie

My name is Sadie, and I came to the SPCA of Texas through a cruelty case. Despite my past, I am a sweet, loving girl who just wants to feel special and loved in return. When you adopt me, you’ll get a seasoned snuggler, a champion tennis-ball retriever, and a walking buddy. I don’t mind saying hello to other dogs when out and about, but at home, I’d like the spotlight to be only on me, please. Don’t forget to watch my video when you get to my profile! Maximize your pooch’s happiness by transforming your backyard into a pet paradise.

little mama senior dogCourtesy SPCA of Texas

Little Mama

I’m (BIG) Little Mamma, but my foster mom calls me Daisy. I think that’s pretty fitting for a sweet shepherd mix like myself. I’m 11, so I won’t be bouncing off the walls, but I can still rally with the best of ’em when the mood strikes me. My Texas SPCA foster mom says that I am incredibly well behaved—not at all destructive and totally able to entertain myself without causing a fuss. If you’re looking for loyal companionship and sofa sharing, I have lots of love to give. Don’t miss these 30 things your dog wishes you knew.

kain senior dogCourtesy Humane Society of West Michigan/Sara Cozolino

Kain

Hey, there! I’m Kain, a staff and volunteer favorite at the Humane Society of West Michigan. I’m grateful for their love and care, but I want to be your favorite, too! Age has got nothin’ on me. I may be 9, but I’m smart as a whip, crate-trained, and know a variety of tricks. Think of me as an older gentleman who still has the youthful spirit of a puppy. When I’m not chillin’ in my crate, I love to play with my toys and go for long nature walks. Still not sure about me? Check out these 15 surprising benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

rosco senior dogCourtesy Humane Society of West Michigan/Sara Cozolino

Rosco

Heads turn when people see me. I get it. I mean, who can resist my velvety soft, adorably spotted ears? My fans call me Rosco. I’m staying with my foster parents via the Humane Society of West Michigan. For a guy my age (that would be 8), I’ve aged pretty well and still have the youthful good looks of hounds younger than me. That said, I’m not chomping at the bit to go on a wild goose chase, trailing a scent. I prefer a mellow life these days. Just give me a plush bed and a rawhide to chew on. We’ll be homebodies together and watch TV. I’ll even clue you into the behind-the-scenes secrets from the National Dog Show.

rocco senior dogCourtesy The Animal Protection League Inc.

Rocco

Folks call me Rocco, and I’m here to tell you that you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks. I know that firsthand. You see, I’m currently a participant in the FIDO Prison Program at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, offered through the Animal Protection League of Indiana. Even though I’m on the older side, I just learned some basic commands and got plenty of socialization by the inmates. Thanks to my handler, I’m ready for a routine in a forever home. I’m particularly fond of active adventures like hiking and backyard games of fetch. Are you, too? We just might be a match! By the way, this is how much exercise your dog really needs.

seydie senior dogCourtesy The Animal Protection League Inc.

Seydie

Oh, my stars—the Animal Protection League of Indiana is making me blush! They said, “Seydie is a good, good girl! Pleasant and petite at only 33 pounds, she’s a smiley 7-year-old sweetheart.” Yup, that’s me. I’m just a happy-go-lucky senior gal who would be best-friend material for humans of any age. I long to be in a forever home with a family or a single pet parent. Do you have pets? I don’t mind having cats or dogs as siblings! Just try to avoid these pet combinations that are most likely to hate each other.

cala maria senior dogCourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Cala Maria

You might say I’m the leaning Cala Maria because once you start petting me, I lean into you and stay there until you stop petting me. I can do that for hours…just saying. The Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles says I’m “aged to perfection.” In other words, you don’t have to wait out the crazy puppy days; I am already a dream dog. I’m sweet, mellow, gentle, obedient, and just the right balance of playfulness and couch potato. My soulful eyes will melt your heart when we meet. More than toys and treats, these are the things your dog really wants from you.

maurice senior dogCourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Maurice

Pleased to meet you! My name is Maurice. My friends at the Best Friends Animal Society in Atlanta would like you to know that I’m a laid-back guy who’s mild-mannered and affectionate. I also appreciate the finer things in life, including ear massages, delicious snacks, and luxurious blankets. Plus, I should probably tell you that I have the best time hanging out with other dogs—I think it makes me feel younger and confident. That means I would love to have doggy sibling. If you’ve got room for one more in your home, I’d love to join your family. Here’s how to tell if your dog really trusts you.

Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Sheena

I’m Sheena, the most lovable dog in the world! I know that’s a bold declaration to make, but Best Friends in New York said it, so it must be true! If you’re looking for a kisser and a cuddler, your search is over. I also love long walks and hanging out with my peeps. I even come with my own spiffy wagon for easy transportation! Achy joints are common in older dogs. You want to ease their suffering, but what can you give your dog for pain?

Hugo senior dogCourtesy Best Friends Animal Society

Hugo

If L.A. casting agents were to describe me, they might say, “Hugo is an older dog with a younger spirit.” I’m not even acting—I really am young at heart! My peeps at Best Friends Los Angeles agree. What can I say? I’m a happy, friendly boy who loves to cuddle. Walking with me is a breeze because I don’t pull on the leash, and I know some basic manners like “sit,” especially if there’s a treat involved. I enjoy playing fetch with you, but if you’re too tired to play, you won’t get a guilt trip from me. I’m happy to entertain myself with toys, especially with these toys that are on every dog’s wishlist.

ranger senior dogCourtesy Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Ranger

Howdy, I’m Ranger, and I’m a huge fan of balls, squeaky toys, and tug toys. What I’m not a fan of are small farm animals, like chickens. I can’t cuddle with them. I prefer to cozy up to humans who are warm and not stinky. (No offense, chickens.) I’m good on a leash, so we can take walks together and explore side by side. Visit me in person at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Give me a trial snuggle and I might just lick your face in return! Just avoid these 53 mistakes every pet parent makes, please.

rocco senior dogCourtesy Ohio SPCA and Humane Society

Rocco

What’s up? I’m Rocco, a self-proclaimed ladies’ man. But don’t worry—I will only have eyes for one lady. All the snuggles and companionship I can give are for you! I don’t like to talk about my painful past, but the folks at the Ohio SPCA and Humane Society say that men abused me before I came to the shelter, so naturally, I’m more comfortable around women. I’m cool with kids, too. I just need to make sure I go to a loving home where my new family will give me the time and patience to adjust. Belly rubs, playing fetch, and cuddling will also help me feel welcome and loved! No pet lover will want to miss these before-and-after dog-adoption photos that will melt your heart.

fab 5 freddy senior dogCourtesy Jen Coudron/Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Fab 5 Freddy

Yo! I’m the fabulous Fab 5 Freddy! Apart from being incredibly cute with my Gremlin-like Papillon ears, I’m oh-so-cuddly and sweet. While you’re home (and I hope that’s a lot because I’m not a loner), I’ll be at your side or lying near your feet. On the energy scale, I fall into a happy medium, but when we walk, I kick it up to medium-high. My Muttville Senior Dog Rescue foster parent says my house-training record is 100 percent—no accidents! Even so, some pups might have an accident when they arrive in a new home. It takes time to adjust to new surroundings and potty schedule. Here are 14 more things animals in shelters wish you knew.

blitz senior dogCourtesy Jen Coudron/Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Blitz

It’s me, Blitz! How are you? Do you have any carrots? I love carrots. (Check out my video to see for yourself.) And they might not be quite as healthy, but I also love me some bacon and cream cheese! I think it’s easy for me to get those treats because of my charm and adorable face. I mean, just look at my handsome Chihuahua mug! I’m a silver fox! I also get along great with other dogs, and though I’m small, I prefer to walk on my own two feet and not be carried. Guess what? Dogs hate it when you do these things, too.

beignet senior dogCourtesy Jen Coudron/Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Beignet

Hello! I’m Beignet, the adorable Chug! That’s right—I’m a delightful mix of a Chihuahua and a pug! Muttville Senior Dog Rescue tells everyone I am a wonderful, outgoing little pug-nut (that’s pug plus doughnut) who is as sweet as powdered sugar. You’re gonna swoon over the cutesy wrinkles on my face and my durable sandbag body built for marathon snuggle sessions. I’ll make a lovable companion, and I’m happy to ride along on a doughnut run! Here are more of the cutest mixed breed dogs you’ll want to bring home.

bon bon senior dogCourtesy Jen Coudron/Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Bon Bon

Petite, elite, and so sweet, that’s me, Bon Bon! I’m entitled to humblebrag, right? After all, my toothy grin and copper coat are legit delectable. Plus, I’ll be the talk of the town when we go for walks because people will stop us constantly and ask to pet me. (I’m a Pekingese mix, by the way, because you’ll get that question a lot, too.) Oh, and the “baby talk” we will endure when people stop to chat with me! Yep, I’ll be your forever sweet treat. Just come by the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and unwrap my love. Speaking of sweets, some foods can be life-threatening to dogs. This is how to know if your pet has food poisoning.

macgyver senior dogCourtesy Jen Coudron/Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Macgyver

S’up? Muttville Senior Dog Rescue dubbed me Macgyver because I’m a remarkably clever and resourceful guy. Give me three toothpicks, a ballpoint pen, and an empty carton of milk, and I’ll find my way out of any hairy situation—and into your heart. You’ll never get into a pickle with me. If my ingenious skills don’t work, there’s always my killer smile. It works every time! All dogs need fun and stimulating mental challenges, so try teaching your dog one of these 12 easy tricks today.

charley senior dogSPCA Florida

Charley

Don’t let my age fool you. I’m a fun, spunky pup. Pardon the pun, but I’m a party animal! I go by Charley here at the SPCA Florida. I get so excited and do some happy barking when I see other dogs. I just love hanging with my furry pals—and humans, too, of course. I’m one of the dogs in the Rent a Dog program, so you should take me out for some fun. Fair warning, though: You’ll totally want to take me home! By the way, this is what dog years and cat years really mean.

denver senior dogCourtesy Prince William/SPCA

Denver

Well, hello there, lovely people! I’m the sweet and delicate Denver. I recently had some dental work, so my photo doesn’t reflect my new “grill.” Sounds like a good reason to meet me in person at the Prince William Country Animal Shelter. But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m quiet and dainty with soft, long hair that you could pet for hours. And my ideal day would include a casual walk and lots of naps, nestled in a soft doggy bed. I’m not up for rigorous playtime anymore, so I would love a calm environment.

zeus senior dogCourtesy Paws It Photography

Zeus

The man, the myth, the legend. That’s me, Zeus. Way back when, I could do just about anything and not break a sweat. These days, I’m content to relax and nap, dreaming of those old glory days. That’s not to say that I don’t still have some swagger. I like to get outside for walks as well as hunker down on the sofa next to you and watch action flicks. A forever home with a slow-paced vibe and lots of unconditional love would be the bomb.

pitiada senior dogCourtesy Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Pitiada

Hiya! My name is Pitiada. I’m hanging out with the good people of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa right now, but I’d be deliriously happy if I could live out my golden years in a forever home. I’m a Lab, of course, and I’m aging quite nicely, don’t you think? I still like to get my exercise, so I’m ready to be your new exercise pal. I like new making friends, but in my own time. And you should probably know that I’m a sucker for a tasty treat. I’ve been known to steal a few morsels off the counter. My dream home would be a calm, quiet, predictable adult household, where I can just sit back and enjoy my life while making yours so much better. By the way, you can stop sneaky chowhounds from counter theft with these dog training secrets.

callum senior dogCourtesy Kaua'i Humane Society

Callum

I’m Callum, an Airedale terrier and Irish wolfhound mix being presented by the Kauai Humane Society. I’m a cute and calm boy looking for a good time. What kind of good time? Well, I love tennis balls so much that you might find me with one in my mouth when we meet. But that’s not all: I’m a fan of belly rubs, I’m great on a leash, and I’m always excited to meet people of all ages—and dogs, too! I just have one request, aside from being adopted by a loving and nurturing family: I’m game for car rides, but I prefer a car that is easier to get into (or to use stairs or a ramp to assist me). Here’s the lowdown on how much it actually costs to care for a dog.

polar senior dogCourtesy Kaua'i Humane Society

Polar

They say I’m as cute as a Polar bear…but that I’m even better because we can cuddle! You won’t need a heated blanket with me. I grove on getting close and smooshing myself next to you. For real, it’s my favorite pastime. Everyone is so happy and content during snuggle time because I radiate love and positivity. The Kauai Humane Society gave me an A+ on my field-trip report cards, so you know I’m easygoing and social. I dream of finding a forever home with lovey-dovey humans and having a soft, comfy bed to sleep in. Find out what your dog’s favorite sleeping position reveals about their personality.

margo senior dogCourtesy Kaua'i Humane Society

Margo

Aloha! You can call me Margo. Don’t you think that’s a lovely name for an attractive girl like me? It’s hard to believe by looking at me, but I’m actually 9 years old! I have a surprising amount of energy in these mature bones of mine and love to play and run around. If you’re looking for a dog to lavish attention on (and not feel ridiculous doing it), I’m your girl. These are the things shelters like the Kauai Humane Society desperately need to help deserving animals find forever homes—and it’s not just money!

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and Realtor.com., among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.