Choosing the best dog for a retired couple is no easy feat. There are so many breeds and factors to consider that it can make your head spin, especially if you and your spouse have very opposing views on dogs. The following guide will walk you through the process of choosing a dog and help you find the perfect pup for a retired couple. All dogs can be suitable companions for retired couples but some are easier to raise and have a more low maintenance personality than others.
The elegant Shih Tzu prospers with plenty of love and attention. This outgoing breed is also great with kids, making them a perfect playtime buddy when the grandchildren visit!
Temperament: The Shih Tzu is an affectionate dog who enjoys spending time with their pet parent—whether it’s cuddling or accompanying them throughout the house. Plus, this breed is amiable and welcoming to other people and pets. While most Shih Tzus are very quiet dogs, some do snore.
Grooming: Shih Tzus are low shedding, but daily brushing and an occasional professional trim help them look their sweet, perky best.
Exercise: The Shih Tzu is up for a daily walk if its pet parent is, and this lapdog is more than happy to enjoy down time for the rest of the day.
Fun Fact: “Shih Tzu” translates to “little lion” in Mandarin (though this breed is far from ferocious!).
Read more about the loyal Shih Tzu.
Pugs are the best dogs for seniors who prefer to curl up on the sofa with their beloved furry friend by their side. Most of this breed’s time consists of lounging and playing indoors. Because of their flat face and small nostrils, the Pug’s breathing can be affected by extremely hot or cold weather conditions.
Temperament: Loving and loyal, Pugs are devoted to their pet parents and enjoy taking naps (they tend to snore while doing so!). Although they can occasionally feel jealous or agitated when ignored, they are often easygoing pets who are eager to please. Happy-go-lucky Pug mixes make excellent choices, too!
Grooming: This breed sports a short coat that is easy to groom, requiring only occasional brushing. However, the Pug does shed quite heavily and has folds near its eyes that need regular cleaning.
Exercise: Brief strolls and short indoor or outdoor play sessions are sufficient for the laidback Pug.
Fun Fact: A group of Pugs is called a “grumble,” likely because of the snorting and nasal sounds they make, according to The Daily Wag!
Discover more about the cheerful Pug.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
For more active seniors who enjoy outdoor exploration such as walking on nature trails, the lively and adventurous Pembroke Welsh Corgi—often referred to as the “Corgi”—is a great match. With their cute little legs and sparkly eyes, Corgis win over the hearts of children, adults, and elder folks alike.
Temperament: The sociable Corgi wants to be included in every occasion, and its animated and fun-loving personality makes this dog shine. Corgis are protective, devoted to their families, and make excellent watchdogs. This energetic breed is prone to barking when left alone too long or if they don’t receive sufficient dog exercise.
Grooming: The Corgi’s double coat is simple to brush or comb but sheds heavily. Therefore, regular grooming helps prevent fur from covering furniture and floors.
Exercise: This agile breed requires multiple daily walks. Plus, it’s in a Corgi’s nature to enjoy activities that involve completing a task. Therefore, this breed especially appreciates dog play toys and other forms of mental stimulation.
Fun Fact: The current Queen of England—Elizabeth II—has owned more than 30 Corgis since acquiring the throne in 1952, according to Reader’s Digest.
For pet parents seeking an easy-to-train dog, the highly intelligent Poodle is one of the best dogs for older people. Poodles must receive ample exercise so they can release excess energy and maintain their well-mannered demeanor. This breed comes in three sizes—Toy, Miniature, and Standard—to meet anyone’s preference.
Temperament: Poodles are loyal companions who form strong bonds with multiple family members, so they especially thrive with couples. They have a fun sense of humor and enjoy being pampered. This proud and obedient breed is also one of the most clever pups! Poodle dog mixes such as the Cockapoo and Labradoodle make great furry friends as well.
Grooming: The Poodle is low-shedding and hypo-allergenic. However, this breed’s long, stylish hair needs regular brushing and professional grooming every month or so.
Exercise: Whether it’s swimming or venturing on long walks, the energetic and muscular Poodle flourishes with a great deal of exercise.
Fun Fact: Though it is believed to have originated in Germany, the Poodle is recognized as the national dog of France because of its citizens’ deep admiration for this breed, according to PetMD.
Also called the “Frenchie,” the joyful French Bulldog is easy to care for (and please!), making them a great fur pal for an elderly individual. It’s hard to resist this endearing, one-of-a-kind breed!
Temperament: The humorous French Bulldog thrives off giving and receiving love! Bright, curious, and playful, this absolutely charming breed gets along with other pets and humans. Similar to Bulldogs, Frenchies tend to snore and snort.
Grooming: Simple to brush, the French Bulldog’s short, glossy coat doesn’t shed much. The wrinkles on this breed’s face should be cleaned often.
Exercise: Because of their shortened muzzle, French Bulldogs shouldn’t partake in tiresome outdoor activities. Tagging along with their pet parent as they run errands or short walks around town will do the trick. Plus, the time spent together makes Frenchies feel special!
Fun Fact: Twentieth century American breeders set the standard for how the French Bulldog looks today. If it weren’t for them, Frenchies would have been bred to have “rose-shaped ears”—ears that fold back at the midway point, vaguely resembling the shape of a rose. Instead, they have signature “bat ears,” which are forward-facing and round at the tip.
The handsome Miniature Schnauzer provides ultimate companionship and commitment to their senior pet parent. Like Shih Tzus, Miniature Schnauzers are patient with children and enjoy playtime, making them compatible with grandkids as well!
Temperament: This breed has a strong, outgoing, and friendly personality. Family oriented and protective over the ones they love, Miniature Schnauzers are alert dogs who watch over the house. Plus, these furry friends are obedient and quick to learn when it comes to training.
Grooming: Miniature Schnauzers are a low-shedding, hypoallergenic dog breed. They have a double coat that requires regular brushing and professional grooming to keep it in tip-top shape.
Exercise: This active breed enjoys daily exercise with company. Games of fetch in the yard or longer strolls with pet parents are perfect options.
Fun Fact: This breed’s beard is not only cute…it historically served a purpose, too! Because the Miniature Schnauzer was bred to hunt rodents and other small animals on farms, their beard offered a line of defense against these creatures if they fought back.
If you’re in the market for a dog but are concerned about how well it will fit into your lifestyle as a retired couple, you might find the above discussion helpful to you. As you read on, we’ll cover everything from size and breed to personality traits, activity level and working ability. Ultimately by the end of this piece, you’ll be armed with enough information to make an educated decision about whether or not a Papillon would be a good fit for your home.