Senior dog breeds

6 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors and Retirees

It’s never too late to bring a furry friend into your home. But it’s not a decision you should take lightly. Owning a dog is a big commitment. They need exercise, food, fresh water, and someone to take them to the vet when they get sick.

On the other hand, the rewards of owning a dog are pretty great. Unlike people who may not like the cut of your jib, dogs look past all the superficial stuff. They’ll love you unconditionally. Give them a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears and they’ll reciprocate with a wagging tail and a slobbery smooch.

A dog can also be your best personal trainer. They need their walks and what’s good for them is good for you, too. Studies have shown that having a dog boosts your cardiovascular health (although did we really need a study to come to that conclusion?).

In addition, pets can lower your stress level and decrease feelings of loneliness and depression. It’s hard to feel sad when your canine companion is always there to cheer you up. Plus, dogs tend to create opportunities for meeting other dog-friendly people. Dogs are great icebreakers and can introduce you to neighbors, other dog walkers or strangers out for a stroll.

Choosing the Best Dog for You

There are many different breeds suitable for seniors of all activity levels. Dog-owning friends and neighbors can be a good source of information about different breeds. Consider the following when choosing the best dog breed for you:

  • How much exercise are you able to give your dog? Can you go on twice-daily walks or are you more likely to let your dog out in the backyard for exercise and bathroom breaks?
  • Where do you live? Try to match the breed’s needs with your living space.
  • How much grooming will the dog require? Some dogs need regular brushing and haircuts, while others can simply be bathed every few weeks.
  • Get a puppy or an adult? If you want a puppy, you’ll be committing to a 10-year or longer relationship. Puppies also require training. Older dogs are usually trained and socialized, and tend to be calmer.

If you’re ready for the responsibilities and rewards that come with bringing a dog into your home, here are six of the best dog breeds for seniors.

1. French Bulldog

With a playful spirit, love of entertaining and tendency to snort, this breed has earned the nickname “clown dog.” Their distinctive bat-like ears will make you smile, too. They’re people pleasers who’ll follow you from room to room and love being the center of attention. Frenchies have a good deal of energy but lack endurance, so they’re perfectly happy with short walks or playtime in the yard. Easy to groom, they’re quiet, amiable and readily adapt to apartment life.

2. Miniature Schnauzer

The full-size Schnauzer terrier was used as a drover’s dog, watchdog, police dog and companion. The miniature version (Zwergschnauzer) is obedient, eager to please and wants to be your best friend. Playful and good with children, miniature schnauzers are not aggressive, but can be protective companions. Like most terriers, mini schnauzers can have a stubborn streak and be quite vocal at times. Exercise and training can help prevent excessive barking.

3. Boston Terrier

This terrier variety is developed from the English Bulldog and the white English terrier. Their manageable size, friendliness and ease of grooming makes them a popular dog with seniors. Known for their boundless energy and fun-loving ways, they can provide endless entertainment with their silly antics. Apart from snoring, grunting and tooting, they’re quiet and only bark when they’re riled or hear someone at the door. Well-suited to apartment life.

4. Bichon Frise

This fluffy little bundle of joy makes an excellent companion. Bichons are easy to train but require frequent brushing and grooming. Styles vary from the fluffed out cotton-ball ’fro for show dogs to a simple close-cropped cut for dogs that just want to roll around and play fetch. Highly compatible with other household pets, this breed is affectionate and has a cheerful nature.

5. Shih Tzu

Pronounced SHEED-zoo and interpreted as “little lion,” the Shih Tzu is bred from the stock of Tibetan Apsos and Chinese Pekingese. They’re famous for their flowing locks and will require regular grooming. One good walk per day, or even laps around your living room in a pinch, is all the exercise they need. Shih Tzus can be stubborn and prone to barking. But with the right training, they’ll be a friendly, playful companion. They make good lap dogs and live for cuddles and attention.

6. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This breed’s origins can be traced back to Welsh King Hywel Dda in 920. These days, corgis are better known as Queen Elizabeth’s canine companions. (She’s owned over 30 of them.) A herding dog by nature, corgis need regular exercise, but daily walks and trips to the dog park should be enough. Corgis are smart, require little grooming and are adorable with their short legs. Although they like the occasional cuddle, they’re protective and make great guard dogs.

Life’s Pretty Doggone Good at Timber Ridge

No matter what type of dog you decide to bring into your home, they’ll love it here at Timber Ridge. There are more trees to sniff and more trails to explore than a dog could wish for. There’s even a dog club where you and your pooch can learn a few tricks and share some laughs. To learn more about our pet-friendly community, get in touch.