15 Most Affordable Dog Breeds That Are Great for Retirees

Discover which dog breeds are the best fit for senior lifestyles.
Updated April 12, 2024
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If you’re up for the responsibility, a dog can provide companionship and motivate you to stay active in retirement. But which dog breed is the best match for you?

You can retire comfortably by living in a small and cozy apartment, but maybe it's better to avoid a high-energy dog breed. However, a more active dog may be a good fit if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors during retirement.

The following dogs can provide companionship while also helping you keep more money in your bank account. Here are 15 of the most affordable dog breeds that are great for retirees.

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Bichon frisé

Markus Schröder/Adobe cute bichon frise jumping

The bichon frisé is a breed with a white, curly coat and rounded head that gives it an elegant, regal look. These dogs don’t shed, making them excellent choices for people with allergies.

This breed is playful, loving, and friendly. They also make great alert dogs, even though they view everyone as their best friend — even strangers.

These dogs have a gentle demeanor, which is ideal for when grandchildren come to visit.


Haana/Adobe red mini poodle

Poodles come in various sizes, so they may be a good option whether you’re looking for a small, medium, or large-sized dog.

They are an active and intelligent breed that needs a good amount of daily exercise. As utility dogs, they love swimming, retrieving, and long walks.

Many owners keep the curly, dense coats of their poodles in a short trim for easier maintenance.


Daniel/Adobe airedale

Terriers can be great choices for those seeking a dog with a spirited, energetic personality.

Terriers were bred to hunt rodents. They typically have higher energy levels, so they may require more exercise.

There are many breeds within the terrier group, and they have various sizes, energy levels, and temperaments. Some terrier breeds include schnauzer, Welsh, American hairless, and Airedale.

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Pembroke Welsh corgi

nataba/Adobe dogs sit side by side

With their stubby legs and large ears, Pembroke Welsh corgis are affectionate and companionable without being needy.

They have a double coat that sheds quite a bit, especially in the late spring and early summer. Frequent brushing and baths can help prevent them from shedding hair all over your house.


Yekatseryna/Adobe pug dog sits near dog carrier

Pugs have squishy, wrinkled faces that allow them to make various human-like facial expressions that their owners love. They are very affectionate and great with young children and other dogs.

You’ll have to watch what they eat to prevent obesity. Walks can help, but pugs tend to have breathing problems in warm, humid climates.


encierro/Adobe two dogs guarding backyard

With smooth coats and slim figures, greyhounds are famous for their prowess as racing dogs.

They need regular exercise and a fenced-in area to run at full speed. However, after their necessary workout, they’re usually content with lounging around the house.

Greyhounds are independent, which can make them challenging to train.


Monika Wisniewska/Adobe working with dog at home

With their stunning, floor-length white coat, Maltese require regular brushing and conditioning to prevent tangles. However, owners can keep the hair short for lower maintenance.

At around 7 pounds, Maltese make devoted lapdogs that often live well into double digits.

They don’t need much exercise — daily walks or playing in a fenced-in yard should be enough.


mdorottya/Adobe beautiful young havanese dog

Havanese are native to Cuba and are known to be extroverted, intelligent, and funny. Their aptitude for comedy makes it easy for them to learn tricks to entertain their owners.

This breed is usually very agreeable and great with kids and other dogs.

They are excellent watchdogs but typically don’t bark a lot. Havanese need a moderate amount of exercise, such as brisk walks or playtime.

Cocker spaniel

Tatiana/Adobe cavalier king charles spaniel

Cocker spaniels are wide-eyed hunting dogs famous for their long, floppy ears and big hearts.

Although small, they are athletic and sturdy, making them great dogs for outdoorsy people.

Their silky, double coats need thorough and frequent grooming and baths. Cocker spaniels don’t need a lot of exercise, but they should keep muscles toned with regular walks and fetch sessions.

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deviddo/Adobe dog breed pekingese

Originating in ancient China, Pekingese are fluffy, stocky toy dogs weighing up to 14 pounds.

According to owners, Pekingese are an independent, charming, and opinionated breed. They tolerate children as long as the kids are well-behaved and don't try to roughhouse.

Pekingese experience a moderate amount of seasonal shedding and require some regular grooming with their long double coat.


Mikkel Bigandt/Adobe chihuahua dog

One of the oldest breeds in the Americas, Chihuahuas are known for their tiny stature and big personality. Although they usually don't weigh more than 6 pounds, Chihuahuas tend to have the attitude of a much larger dog.

Coats can be short or long. Neither of these types of coats requires much maintenance, but the long-haired variety may need more attention than the short-haired variety.

French bulldog

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe retro phone near cute french bulldog

French bulldogs are an excellent choice for city dwellers. They’re great watchdogs because of their alertness, but they don't tend to bark a lot and don’t require a lot of outdoor exercise.

Frenchies have smooth coats that don't shed a lot. They require weekly brushing, and you must keep their face folds clean and dry.

Yorkshire terrier

puhhha/Adobe dog gets hair cut

Yorkshire terriers are small dogs that weigh only about 7 pounds.

Their glossy, floor-length coat requires frequent grooming, although you can keep the coat shorter if you prefer. With hair similar to that of a human, this breed is an excellent choice for people with allergies.

Pet owners describe Yorkies as feisty, bossy, and brave. They’re very affectionate with family and quite vocal, making them great alert dogs.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Page Light Studios/Adobe cavalier king charles spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniels make for great lapdogs. Usually weighing between 13 to 18 pounds, this breed is happy to go on walks or just stay home.

This dog’s regal, silky coat needs regular brushing, and you’ll need to check the dog’s ears regularly for any signs of infection.

Shih Tzu

sue/Adobe shih tzu puppy

Shih tzus are small dogs that weigh only about 9 to 16 pounds. This breed has a beautiful, long coat and a sweet face.

These lapdogs historically spent their time in royal palaces, so they're typically fine lounging around an apartment without a backyard.

They are outgoing and exceptionally loving toward their family. Shih tzus tend to get along with other dogs and love playing with children.

Bottom line

Budimir Jevtic/Adobe senior man with dogs and cat on his lap on bench

A dog can provide companionship and motivate you to continue exercising in retirement. 

Shelters often have mature dogs past the destructive puppy stage that may already be potty-trained and know basic commands. You will give a dog a much-needed home, and there will be less upfront work. 

However, you should carefully consider which breed best suits your lifestyle. With some research and planning, you can find an affordable breed — which can lower your financial stress — and help make retirement more enjoyable.

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Author Details

Carley Clark Carley Clark is a personal finance writer from Michigan. She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a bachelor's degree in business. After graduation, she worked in finance as a revenue auditor at a casino. Carley strives to write informative content that will help readers meet their financial goals.

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