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What Dog Breeds Make the Best Companions in Retirement?

Now that you’re retired, you have more time to do the things you love. What better way to spend that time than with a furry friend?

Pet ownership carries a wealth of benefits for seniors and retirees. Beyond the obvious companionship and the routine pets provide, they help support lasting mental and physical health.

Pets are therapeutic. They alleviate a number of health issues and are a pure joy to have around. So if you’re looking to have a furry companion by your side in retirement, consider dog adoption and the best dog breeds for retirement living.

The Benefits of Owning A Pet

Pets make people feel good. When they greet you at the door or cuddle on your lap, you’re almost always likely to feel better. Whether petting, playing with, cuddling with, or sitting next to your pet, the comfort and joy you feel are due to the release of feel-good hormones (endorphins).

These hormones, in turn, have a number of health benefits, including reduced stress levels, cholesterol levels, heart rates, and blood pressure. As a result, long-term pet ownership is correlated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart disease, depression, and anxiety.

Pets, especially dogs, help owners:

  • Stay active
  • Get out and socialize
  • Combat loneliness with 24/7 companionship
  • Alleviate boredom
  • Have a sense of security

The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors

When looking to adopt a dog, find a breed that best suits your lifestyle. Are you active? Or do you have mobility issues?

You also have to make sure you can meet your dog’s needs now and in 10 years from now. Dogs need adequate exercise, regular grooming, and health care.

Here’s a list of some of the top dog breeds for seniors based on their size, personality, activity level, and grooming needs.

1 – Poodle

Poodles are intelligent, devoted companions who come in three sizes—Toy, Miniature, and Standard. Poodles are easy to train, enjoy daily walks, and are adaptable to different living situations. They do require regular grooming due to their curly coats. But they are low-shedding and hypo-allergenic.

A poodle cocks its head as it stands next to a short stone wall.


A Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

2 – Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgis are smart small- to medium-sized companions, weighing 24 to 30 pounds. They are easy to train and groom. And they are active and enjoy walks. But due to their short legs, owners must help them get into the car and onto the bed and couch either by lifting the dog or using small steps and ramps.

3 – Bichon Frise

These fluffy bundles of joy weigh only 7 to 12 pounds and are very easy to handle and train. They are affectionate companion dogs who enjoy moderate daily exercise and need grooming every so often. Some owners bring their Bichons to professional groomers every month or two to maintain their fluffy coats.

A Bichon Frise jumps on a green lawn.

Bichon Frise

A Maltese dog.


4 – Maltese

Like Bichon Frise, Maltese are bred as companion lap dogs. They like short walks and sitting on their owners’ laps. Maltese are attentive to their owners and shed very little when their coats are clipped short. Weighing in at 4 to 7 pounds, these small dogs are both portable and fragile, so you can carry them around in your arm (or purse) if you wish.

5 – French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is one of the most cheerful dog breeds, making for a friendly companion who will keep your spirits lifted. Frenchies have a lot of energy, but low endurance, so they can only handle moderate daily exercise.

These dogs are manageable (19 to 28 pounds), compact, and easy to groom. But some have breathing issues with their short noses, so be aware of this, and be ready for a bed companion who snores.

Two French Bulldogs on leash, out for a walk.

French Bulldogs

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting on grass.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

6 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier is one of the most affectionate, cuddly dogs. These small dogs weigh 11 to 18 pounds and are easy to handle and train. Cavaliers were bred to be companion dogs, so they are happy being by their owner’s side, whether on walks or snuggling on the couch.

7 – Pug

Pugs are known for their charming, affectionate, and eager-to-please demeanours. They are small and adaptable to different living situations. And while they are playful, they don’t require a high amount of exercise. So daily walks should do.

A pug "smiles" as it goes on a walk.


A Boston terrier rests on a couch.

Boston Terrier

8 – Boston Terrier

As a companion breed, Boston Terriers love being by their owners’ sides, whether on walks or curled up on the couch or bed. These friendly, low-maintenance dogs are easy to groom and have a playful and happy-go-lucky demeanor, so they can keep you entertained and uplifted.

9 – West Highland White Terrier

Westies are another great lap dog, weighing only 13 to 20 pounds. While they are small, they are not as fragile as the Maltese breed. These friendly dogs are low-maintenance, easy to handle, and don’t require the same amount of coat trimming as other breeds.

A west highland terrier rests on a carpet in front of a hearth.

West Highland White Terrier


A close-up of a Greyhound dog.


10 – Greyhound

While much, much larger than the other dogs on this list, Greyhounds are fairly low-energy dogs. They’re actually known as lazy couch potatoes.

Greyhounds still enjoy daily walks and the chance to run. But they spend most of their time hanging out on the couch with their owners. So if you love big dogs, but don’t want a high-energy dog, this breed is for you.

Where and When To Adopt

Animal shelters are the best place to adopt dogs. These shelters have dogs in need of good, loving homes. And since the dogs tend to be older (middle-aged or senior), you don’t have to worry about the high demands of puppies and adolescent dogs.

Shelter workers know the dogs well and can help match you with a companion based on your lifestyle and needs. While the dog breeds mentioned above are ideal for seniors, the best type of dog for you will be any dog you want as long as you are able to care for it.

Add some fun to retirement living with one of the best companions in the world. Having a dog by your side will keep you happy, active, and healthy. So make the most of your free time in retirement with a new best friend.