As you get older, you may look for a furry companion but think that dogs are too high-energy to keep up with. This isn’t the case! There are plenty of dog breeds with characteristics that make them perfect for retirees.
The characteristics to look at include size, energy, allergies, maintenance, and temperament. Smaller dogs will be easier to handle as you age and possibly develop arthritis or other conditions. Lower-energy dogs are easier to care for. Hypoallergenic dogs help you stay healthy if you’re sensitive. Lower-maintenance dogs mean you won’t need to groom them as often. Lastly, a calm, loveable temperament that is good with children is great when your grandkids visit. Listed here are our picks for the top 10 best dog breeds for seniors.
These small fluffy pups have a white or off-white coat that is hypoallergenic, if you’re sensitive to pet dander. They have a happy and outgoing personality, and will easily latch onto you as family. Despite their size, Bichon Frises are low energy for most of the day but will have bursts of energy once or twice a day. At those times, letting them outside to sprint around your fenced-in yard will do the trick - and you won’t need to risk injuring yourself by running with them. They have a tendency towards separation anxiety, so they lend themselves well to retirees who enjoy relaxing at home. Find the perfect Bichon Frise for you!
French Bulldogs are very affectionate and easygoing, making them a great fit for seniors. They adapt well to a variety of living arrangements so no matter where retirement takes you, your Frenchy can follow. The French Bulldog does great with children if you are concerned about visiting grandchildren. They need about 30 minutes of exercise a day but are flexible with how they exercise. They enjoy just about anything from walks to playing in your backyard. Find the perfect French Bulldog for you!
These racing dogs may surprise you with how calm and loveable they are. They may be able to run races at over 40mph but really prefer lounging at home instead. Greyhounds are very patient with a moderate energy level, doing well with about 45 minutes of exercise per day. If you’re looking for a larger dog but worried about handling one, Greyhounds are 27-30 in tall but only weigh 60-70 lbs. Find the perfect Greyhound for you!
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a smart and affectionate breed with an iconic look. They’ll make excellent companions for seniors because they are eager to please and intelligent. You can train them in a variety of jobs, like fetching the morning paper which will lower your risk of falling from bending over each morning. Find the perfect Corgi for you!
This ancient Chinese breed makes for a lively, loyal, and affectionate companion to retirees. The Shih Tzu was bred as a watchdog and will still alert you of unwelcome visitors today. They have short bursts of energy throughout the day but can run out their energy with indoor or outdoor games, making them flexible to fit your lifestyle. Find the perfect Shih Tzu for you!
Pugs are an outgoing breed with a loving disposition, making them an excellent choice for seniors. They are also very well-behaved around children for when the grandkids visit. Pugs are perhaps the most apartment-friendly breed on this list, so they’ll do great in a retirement community that allows pets. Find the perfect Pug for you!
The Miniature Schnauzer is another great dog for seniors with sensitive noses, as their soft double coats are hypoallergenic. They make great companions to those who enjoy grooming because their double coat needs brushing twice a week. Brushing is a great bonding activity and your Mini Schnauzer will be fiercely loyal to you. When grandkids visit, your mini schnauzer will enjoy playing with them. And once the visitors leave, they’ll enjoy curling up on your lap. Find the perfect Miniature Schnauzer for you!
Although not on our list, a Poodle makes an excellent senior-friendly companion. A Maltese is also a great breed for retirees. So what happens when you mix two great dog breeds? An even better senior-friendly dog breed is the Maltipoo! This affectionate breed will love to lounge with you all day, as they’re often calm and even-tempered. They also make great playmates for grandchildren. They do have a tendency for separation anxiety, so retirees who don’t travel too often make the best owners. Find the perfect Maltipoo for you!
Another great breed for seniors that’s even better when mixed with a poodle is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. When mixed, these pups are called Cavapoos. Cavapoos make playful but gentle companions for seniors. They have higher energy than some other breeds but that energy is mostly directed towards indoor playtime. No need for long walks or runs outside with this puppy. Some fetch or tug-of-war indoors will do just fine. Find the perfect Cavapoo for you!
Basset Hounds are perhaps the most relaxed of all the breeds on this list. Their easy-going temperament lends themselves well to relaxing at home with retirees. Bassets don’t need a ton of exercise but one leisurely walk a day will engage their powerful nose and be all the engagement they need in a day. (They’ll certainly be ready for a nap with you afterward.) Since Basset Hounds tend to be lazy, you’ll need to keep an eye on their diet. Overfeeding can lead to obesity. Find the perfect Basset Hound for you!
Most of the dogs on our list are medium or small dogs because a smaller size is usually best for seniors. But if you’re looking for a large dog to share retired life with, you can’t go wrong with a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers are one of the most eager-to-please breeds, making them easy to train. They do, however, have a higher energy level so this breed is right for you if you’re leading an active retired life. Find the perfect Golden Retriever for you!