Best dogs for retirees

Consumer Reports News: October 14, 2009 12:44 PM

Now that the stock market seems to have calmed down a bit, those of us who are planning for retirement might want to put away the Tums and focus on some other important matters. One of those, for the dog nuts among us (and you know who you are), is to consider what kind of canine we'd most enjoy spending our retirement years with.

I recently consulted professional dog trainers from across the U.S. on that topic. Obviously a lot depends on your lifestyle and other circumstances, so there’s no all-around ideal retirement dog. But these are some of the breeds the trainers said they often recommend:

  • Basset hound
  • Bichon
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • French bulldog
  • Greyhound, or the smaller whippet
  • Maltese
  • Papillon
  • Poodle
  • Pug
  • Sporting dog (pointer, retriever, setter)
  • Yorkie

If you have a type of dog you'd nominate (or, on the other paw, suggest that retirees avoid), we'd welcome your comments, below.

Meanwhile, three more of the trainers’ suggestions:

1. Consider an older dog. They’re calmer and less destructive than puppies, cute as those may be.

2. Check out shelters and rescue organizations. You can find many breed-specific rescue organizations on the Internet. And if you’re looking for a non-dog pet companion, you can probably find that too: In our vet’s office the other day I saw a flier for a hamster rescue group.

3. If adopting a dog isn’t workable because of your travel plans, where you live, or whatever, note that you can often volunteer to walk one at your local shelter.

Finally, here's some other pet-related content on this site that you might find useful: an article on setting up a trust to take care of a pet, an article on saving on pet expenses, a video on buying pet toys, and another video on saving money on pet food. — Greg Daugherty

Greg writes the “Retirement Guy” column each month in the Consumer Reports Money Adviser newsletter.

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