What are the Best Large Dog Breeds for Retirees and Why: A Guide to Companionship in Your Golden Years

Retirement brings with it a wealth of opportunities for relaxation, exploration, and new experiences. One companionship often sought by retirees is that of a large canine friend. They can provide emotional support, protection and a sense of security, and motivate their owners to remain active and engaged in their daily lives.

When considering the best large dog breeds for you as a retiree, there are several factors to take into account, such as temperament, level of exercise needed, protective instincts, and ease of training.

In this article, we will discuss several suitable large dog breeds for seniors, delving into the reasons why they are well-suited to accompany retirees in their golden years. By examining the pros and cons of each breed, we hope to shed light on what makes them the ideal choice for those seeking companionship after leaving the workforce.

Benefits of Dog Ownership for Retirees

Physical Health Benefits

As we age, maintaining an active lifestyle becomes essential for our overall health. Large dog breeds with moderate exercise needs can provide the perfect motivation for retirees to engage in daily walks or light jogs. These activities contribute to a healthier heart and lower blood pressure. Staying active with your canine companion also helps in maintaining joint flexibility and can prevent age-related physical decline.

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being

Retirement can be a challenging phase, and having a furry companion can greatly support your mental health. Large dog breeds capable of providing warmth, joy, and unconditional love can aid in combating feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Caring for a pet also offers a sense of purpose and instills a daily routine, which is vital for emotional stability in retirement years.

Social Interaction and Companionship

Large dog breeds often attract attention, and taking them out for walks or to a local dog park not only fulfills their exercise needs but also assists in increasing social interactions with fellow dog owners and community members. Such connections are particularly crucial if you are one who may experience social isolation in their later years. Establishing friendships through the shared interest of owning a dog can greatly improve your quality of life.


While you may face security concerns due to your age and limited physical capabilities, owning a large dog breed can be an added layer of protection. Breeds known for their loyalty, intelligence, and guarding instincts can deter potential intruders and safeguard your homes.

However, it’s important to note that the most protective breeds may not be the best choice for you if you are not an experienced dog owner.

That said, there are two breeds that we recommend most for both having good protective instincts, as well as being a good choice for novice dog owners:

Both of these breeds are also highly intelligent and easy to train. They are an excellent choice for almost any retiree and have the size and strength to meet the protection needs of most seniors.

On the other hand, if you are an experienced dog owner and capable of establishing yourself as the alpha, and have a high need or desire for a higher level of protection, we believe these breeds to be the best choices:

All three not only have high protection instincts, but a fierce appearance that can deter most intruders simply with their looks.

Finally, if you are a senior who lives in a remote area, is looking for an extreme level of protection, and have the training and ability to handle the fierce breeds, check out this article on The Ultimate Guardians.

Understanding the Needs of Retirees

When selecting the best large dog breeds for your as a retiree, it’s important for to consider your unique needs and lifestyles. So, let’s explore the various factors you must keep in mind when choosing a suitable large dog breed to ensure a harmonious relationship.

Considerations for Living Spaces

Whether you reside in a house, apartment, or assisted living community, space is an essential consideration. Large dog breeds may require more room than smaller breeds, but some breeds can adapt to smaller living spaces. When choosing a large dog breed, retirees should ensure their homes, depending on the breed, have ample space and a secure area for the dog to play and exercise.

Dog BreedSpace Adaptability
Belgian MalinoisLow
Bernese Mountain DogLow
Golden RetrieverLow
Great DaneModerate
German ShepherdModerate
Great PyreneesModerate
Labrador RetrieverHigh
Old English SheepdogHigh

Energy Levels and Exercise Requirements

The energy level and exercise needs of a large dog breed should match up with your own physical abilities and daily routines. But remember, each dog is an individual and breeds can be only a general guide for energy levels.

Some large breeds require less intense exercise and can maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular, low-impact walks. This is an important trait to look for if you’re unable to to take long and frequent walks.

It’s essential to select a breed with manageable exercise demands to ensure you can meet their dog’s needs and maintain their own health and well-being. This means that low and medium energy breeds are best for consideration as you age.

Grooming and Care Needs

Grooming is another essential aspect when considering the best large dog breeds for retirees. We have to take into account the your ability to manage the grooming needs and overall care of the dog.

By grooming, we mainly mean how much a breed sheds. The greater the shedding, the more need for grooming. Breeds with minimal grooming requirements or breeds with a professional grooming option can be a great fit for retirees.

  1. Low-maintenance breeds: Airedale Terrier, Greyhound, Boxer
  2. Moderate-maintenance breeds: Belgian Malinois, English Setter, Great Dane

By taking into account the living space, energy levels, and grooming needs, you can make an informed decision when selecting the best large dog breed to suit your lifestyle.

Characteristics of Suitable Dog Breeds for Retirees

Temperament and Behavior

The temperament and behavior of a dog breed are important factors to consider for you as a retiree. An ideal breed should be gentle, intelligent, capable of forming strong bonds with their humans, and possessing a protective nature.

  • Gentle breeds are ideal for retirees due to their calm demeanor, making them easy to live with and care for. Examples include the Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Newfoundland, and Bernese Mountain Dog.
  • Intelligent breeds can adapt well to new environments, which is essential for retirees who may travel or move during their retirement years. Such breeds include the Standard Poodle, Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois, and German Shepherd.

Breed Health Considerations

Health considerations of a dog breed are vital for retirees. Breeds that have minimal health concerns are ideal for this stage in life, where cost control is important, as is the physical proximity of veterinary care . Here are some examples of low-maintenance breeds with few health issues:

In summary, finding the right match in a large dog breed for you as a retiree requires a careful assessment of each breed’s temperament, size, and health considerations. By weighing these against your own unique needs and desires, you’ll be much more successful in picking a best friend to follow you into your golden years.

Top Large Dog Breeds for Retirees and Why

Best Large Breeds for Retirees with No Grandchildren

When it comes to retirees without grandchildren, we recommend the following dog breeds for their protective nature, low exercise requirements, and trainability:

  1. Great Dane: Great Danes are gentle giants that require minimal exercise. They are loyal, protective, and easily trainable, making them an ideal choice for retirees without young kids around.
  2. Newfoundland: Known for their calm temperament and gentle nature, Newfoundlands make excellent companions for retirees. They are easily trainable and require low to moderate exercise.
  3. Mastiff: Mastiffs are intelligent, protective, and relatively low-energy dogs. They can be trained to be excellent guard dogs and their low exercise requirements suit a retiree’s lifestyle.

Best Dog Breeds for Retirees with Grandchildren

For retirees with grandchildren, consider these large dog breeds that are friendly and gentle with children:

  1. Golden Retriever: This breed is known for its friendly nature and love for children. They are also protective, which is perfect for retirees looking for a companion dog.
  2. Labrador Retriever: Labradors are versatile, intelligent, and friendly dogs. They are easily trainable and are excellent around children, making them a popular choice for retirees with grandchildren.
  3. Bernese Mountain Dog: Bernese Mountain Dogs are typically gentle and good-natured, making them an ideal breed for retirees with grandchildren. Additionally, their low energy levels make them suitable companions for less active retirees.

Best Dogs for Retirees Living in Urban Areas

These are the top dog breeds for retirees living in urban areas, as they adapt well to small living spaces and limited outdoor areas:

  1. Great Dane: Despite their size, Great Danes are well-suited to living in apartments due to their calm temperament and low exercise requirements.
  2. Greyhound: Greyhounds are low-energy dogs and can adapt well to apartment living. They are also great walking companions, perfect for retirees living in the city.
  3. Bassett Hound: Basset Hounds have a calm temperament and require minimal exercise, so they can be content living in an urban environment with limited outdoor space.

Best Dog Breeds for Retirees Living in Suburban Areas

For retirees living in suburban environments, consider these dog breeds that fare well in larger spaces and flourish with moderate exercise:

  1. Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are great family dogs that adapt well to suburban life, enjoying both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  2. Saint Bernard: Saint Bernards are gentle and calm, perfect for retirees living in suburban areas. They adapt well to larger living spaces.
  3. Borzoi: The elegant Borzoi requires moderate exercise, making them suitable for retirees in suburban settings who can provide them with a yard to roam and opportunities for regular walks.

Best Dog Breeds for Retirees Living in Rural Areas

Finally, for retirees living in rural areas, consider these dog breeds that thrive in open spaces and embrace their surroundings:

  1. Irish Wolfhound: They are friendly, calm, and gentle giants that enjoy living in rural settings with plenty of space to roam.
  2. Bloodhound: Bloodhounds are energetic and intelligent dogs that thrive in rural environments. Their excellent sense of smell and innate tracking abilities allow them to explore and navigate rural landscapes with ease.
  3. Great Pyrenees: Known for their protective nature, the Great Pyrenees breeds are well-suited for rural life, where they can roam large properties and protect their loved ones.
Scroll to Top