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 Once the kids are grown and gone, life begins to take on a new shape. The pace starts to slow, and there is more time for what you want out of life. You may also find your choice in dog breeds changing as well. Size, personality, and dogs’ general nature are preferred to be one of a patient friend and a close companion than a rowdy kid-loving playmate. If you are a recent empty nester and have decided on getting FouFou puppies or adopting, these breeds are the best fit for your new lifestyle.


Cavaliers are commonly called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. It is said that King Charles II never left without a minimum of three cavaliers at his heels. Hence, the name. This breed is sweet and affectionate. They are happy to please their owner and get along well with strangers and other animals. Obedient and easy to train, they are a favorite breed for empty nesters as well as children. 

Cavaliers live to be 9 to 14 years old. 12 to 13 inches tall, the average weight is 10 to 18 pounds when fully grown. Considered to be low maintenance, cavaliers are hypoallergenic and non-shedding. They only require bathing and grooming semi-annually. 

Although not considered to be aggressive in behavior, cavaliers will snip when feeling threatened or afraid. They do not bark much and are not considered to be good as a watchdog. One negative factor among this breed is they tend to suffer from anxiety separation. Keep your cavalier with you at all times to avoid this fear.

Cocker Spaniels

The Cocker Spaniel breed was first heard of in Spain and was considered a bird hunting dog. In the 1940s, the Cocker Spaniel won the best in a show at Westminster’s for two years in a row. Popularity increased throughout the 1950s by premiering on “Lady and the Tramp” and the personal breed of Vice President Richard Nixon’s Cocker, named Checkers. This well-balanced beauty has long, velvety ears and large caring eyes.

Cocker Spaniels have a life span of 12 to 14 years. The average height is 16 inches with a weight of 26 to 30 pounds. They are sporting dogs, known for flushing out and retrieving small animals, especially birds. They come in an assortment of colors, both solid and multi, and are a happy and spry breed. 

Spaniels are friendly, playful, and affectionate to other dogs and humans. They are intelligent and easy to train, but maintenance is high. A good brushing is required two to three times a week, and professional clippings should be done monthly. Special care needs to be given to the ears and eyes. Cocker Spaniels tend to bark a lot, especially when left alone too much. They may also show their dissatisfaction by nipping or chewing. Spaniels tend to be affectionate, but on their terms. They are not lap dogs, but will always be close to their master. However, it is a good idea to consider a cocker spaniel if you have a garden for them to play in.


It should come as no surprise that the poodle is the national dog of France. However, there is no such breed as the French Poodle. In fact, the people of France refer to this breed as the Caniche, or “duck dog.” Another ironic fact is that the poodle did not originate in France, but in Germany where it was considered a water dog. Poodles are intuitive creatures. They can be helpful in their pure high level of instinctive intelligence, such as fetching.

If you are an empty nester and detest a lot of loud noise and drama, a poodle could be the perfect fit. Poodles are not tolerant to stress and can make themselves sick over signs of turmoil. Their digestive system is very fragile, and they can become neurotic in the wrong environment. 

There are four sizes of poodles; toy poodle, 9.4 – 11 inches tall, miniature poodle, 11 – 14 inches tall, medium poodle, 14-18 inches tall, and standard poodle, 18 – 24 inches tall. Except for the size, every aspect of this breed is the same. Although they are considered high maintenance, the poodle is hypoallergenic and can live from 12 to 15 years. 


The fastest of all breeds, you would think that the greyhound would need plenty of space. Instinctively designed to detect, chase, capture, and dispatch in the Egyptian deserts during the pharaoh’s rule, they have changed little from 5,000 years ago. However, today’s greyhound is content to stay at home, rest on the couch, and require little exercise.

They shed very little, are easily housebroken, and are not known for barking. Even apartment dwellers get along well with this large breed that can weigh up to 85 pounds. Just like other dogs, they love those daily walks, and ex-racers are in ample supply. Great for empty nesters or families, the greyhound is a loving and gentle hound.

Miniature Schnauzers

This breed has a similar disposition as most terriers, being feisty and playful. They can be quite vocal at times. However, if you feel alone with the kids gone, your miniature schnauzer will keep you company. Cuddly, active, and always at your side, the schnauzer will be your personal guard dog.

Only 12 to 14 inches tall, the life span of the schnauzer is 12 to 15 years. This breed needs frequent grooming but is considered to be hypoallergenic and does not shed much. Because of its high energy level, be prepared to take lots of walks and spend playtime with your schnauzer. 

Miniature Schnauzers are almost always pleasant and are very intelligent. However, they do have a stubborn streak when it comes to training. Set aside plenty of time for this breed, and you will never have a boring day.

French Bulldogs

French bulldogs are a popular breed of dog for empty nesters. Even-tempered and obedient, they are also excellent watchdogs. They bark very little and do not require much outdoor activity. Not related to the English bulldog, this breed is known for its bat ears.

Be prepared to spend high maintenance fees on a Frenchy. They suffer from dry nose issues, joint disease and eye problems. However, it is easy to fall in love with this cuddly companion. 

Look first to personality in choosing a breed during your retirement years. There are many different types of temperaments with dogs, many of which have been pointed out here. Keep your options open until you have the right dog in mind. Or perhaps the right breed will choose you.

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