The best dog breeds for retired people

Updated November 21, 2016

Dogs have proven to be benefits for retired people, and have even been shown to increase longevity in their owners. There are several breeds of dog that are especially well-suited to homes with elderly people, each with their own advantages and personality traits. When selecting a dog breed for a retired person, always remember that it is a personal decision that needs to balance the individual owner's capabilities and activity levels with those of the dog in question.

Shih Tzu

This cuddly breed loves nothing more than to spend an afternoon snuggled into its owner's lap. The Shih Tzu is a relatively small breed of dog (like many of the others on this list), which makes them good for ageing individuals who may have trouble walking larger and stronger dogs. Shih tzus will need regular grooming, but are relatively low-maintenance dogs otherwise.


What they lack in size these dogs make up for in charm, and are known for their affectionate nature and teddy-bear looks. Poms can be high-energy dogs, but require little space to run around.

Yorkshire Terrier

While the breed's long coat needs frequent grooming, Yorkies are relatively low-energy dogs and are very affectionate toward their chosen humans. Yorkies tend to bond with one person more strongly than others, so are a great breed for a retired person living alone.

Boston Terrier

Boston terriers are docile and loving, but will need regular walks to keep their rambunctious behaviour under control. While they generally only weigh 6.8 to 9.07 Kilogram, their protective nature can offer comfort for solitary seniors.

Cocker Spaniels

Spunky but mellow, the cocker is a great breed for retired people, and as long as the dog is provided with a nice morning walk each day, it will happily spend all afternoon and evening curled on the sofa, head resting in its owner's lap.

Scottish Terrier

The classic little black dog is a well-known breed with personality to spare. While these dogs do need plenty of exercise, they are affectionate and very protective of their humans, making them perfect for the dual role of lap and guard dog.

Great Dane

Breaking the trend of small dog breeds, Great Danes are surprisingly mellow and are considered a low-energy breed (a product of reduced metabolism common in such large animals). While Danes may be big lapdogs that contentedly snooze the day away, their size should never be underestimated, and the breed should only be selected if the owner is sure he can handle the animal's strength, since daily walks are good to keep the breed's joints in good condition. That being said, Danes are incredibly gentle and loving companions that are also excellent at providing peace of mind for lonely seniors.

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