The paw-fect companions: The best dog breeds for retirees revealed

Apr 08, 2024
When embarking on the journey of choosing a dog breed for your retirement years, there are several important factors to consider. Source: Getty Images.

As retirement brings newfound freedom and leisure time, many individuals may find themselves seeking companionship in the form of a faithful four-legged friend.

Dogs, with their unwavering loyalty and endless affection, can be the perfect companions for retirees, offering both emotional support and a source of joy.

However, with an array of different breeds to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics, finding the best match for this stage of life can be a delightful yet daunting task.

In order to help you find the best dog breed to suit your new retirement lifestyle, Starts at 60 has embarked on a journey to discover the best dog breeds for retirees, exploring what essential factors you need to consider, and the benefits that can come with dog ownership later in life.

Whether you’re seeking a laid-back lap dog or an active adventure partner, join us as we unearth the ideal breeds to bring joy and companionship in retirement.

Essential factors to consider when choosing a dog breed for your retirement years

When embarking on the journey of choosing a dog breed for your retirement years, there are several important factors to consider.

As your lifestyle transitions to a more relaxed and leisurely pace, finding a canine companion that aligns with your specific needs and preferences becomes paramount.

From size and energy levels to grooming requirements and temperament, each aspect plays a crucial role in ensuring a harmonious and fulfilling relationship with your furry friend.

Some crucial factors to consider include:

Size: You may prefer dogs that are small or medium-sized to accommodate your living arrangements. Smaller breeds are often easier to handle and require less physical exertion.

Energy Level: While some may be active and enjoy regular exercise, others may prefer dogs with lower energy levels. A breed with moderate exercise requirements may be more suitable, avoiding the need for intense daily workouts.

Temperament: You should look for breeds known for their calm, friendly, and easygoing temperaments. Dogs with a gentle disposition are more likely to adapt well to a retiree’s lifestyle and be comfortable in various social settings.

Trainability: Breeds that are intelligent and responsive to training can make life your life easier. Dogs that are easy to train can quickly adapt to household routines, making them more manageable companions.

In addition to these important factors, Australia’s leading dog groomer and pet educator, Emily Myatt suggests that “costs should be at the top of the consideration list” also.

The ideal dog breeds for retirees

When it comes to finding the best dog breed for retirement, the search can be both exciting and overwhelming. As you enter this new phase of life, seeking a four-legged companion to share your days with is a decision that requires careful consideration. The ideal dog breed for you is one that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle, bringing joy, companionship, and a perfect balance of energy.

With plenty of expertise in this arena, Myatt is well placed to offer her advice on what dogs are perfect to accompany you in your golden years and although she suggests against an “oodle breed as they require too much maintenance and costs involved in owning one are high” there are a number of breeds which fit perfectly into the retirement lifestyle.

The best breeds that Myatt suggests include:

  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Cavalier King Charles
  • Boston Terrier
  • West White Highland terrier
  • Whippet
  • Border Terrier.

“These breeds are small but not ‘yappy’ and have easy grooming maintenance – even a retiree with mild arthritis will be able to manage the grooming care required,” Myatt explains.

“These breeds also have low exercise requirements meaning a slow walk around the block is suitable for their needs. These breeds have all been bred as ‘companions’ so that’s their behaviour traits generally so they love company.”

How dog ownership can enhance the retirement experience

Now that you’ve discovered the best dog breeds suited for retirement, it’s time to delve into the remarkable benefits that accompany dog ownership during this stage of life.

Dog ownership holds numerous benefits for retirees, encompassing not only the sheer delight of having a constant companion but also the physical, emotional, and social advantages it offers.

From promoting an active lifestyle and providing a sense of purpose to reducing stress and fostering social connections, the perks of having a canine companion are abundant.

Above everything else, Myatt explains that companionship is the major benefit that comes from having a four-legged friend by your side in retirement.

Dogs are great at “reducing loneliness as well as giving retirees a sense of purpose”. In addition, having “an animal to care for is a reason to get up and assists with keeping retirees active with physical activity”.

In addition to constant companionship, dogs can offer the following positive benefits to their retired owners:

  1. Improved cardiovascular health: Owning a dog has been associated with lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, ultimately promoting better cardiovascular health in retirees.
  2. Enhanced mental well-being: Interacting with dogs has been shown to release endorphins and increase serotonin levels, leading to improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a greater overall sense of well-being.
  3. Increased social engagement: Having a dog can facilitate social interactions and conversations with other dog owners, leading to increased socialisation and a broader network of friends and acquaintances.
  4. Greater sense of security: Dogs can provide a sense of safety and security, especially for retirees living alone, offering peace of mind and acting as a deterrent to potential intruders or threats.
  5. Cognitive stimulation: Training and interacting with a dog can provide mental stimulation, challenging retirees to learn new skills and engage in problem-solving activities, thus promoting cognitive function and mental agility.
  6. Sense of fulfillment and accomplishment: Successfully caring for and nurturing a dog can instill a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and providing a sense of purpose in retirement.
  7. Unconditional love and affection: Dogs have an innate ability to provide unconditional love, affection, and unwavering loyalty, which can bring immense joy and emotional comfort.


As you embark on a new phase of life in retirement, welcoming a dog into your home can bring immeasurable joy, companionship, and numerous health benefits.

By considering factors such as size, energy level, temperament, and trainability, you can find the perfect dog breed that aligns with your needs and lifestyle.

The love, loyalty, and unwavering companionship offered by dogs make them remarkable partners, ensuring a fulfilling and enriched retirement experience.

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