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8 Best Dog Breeds for Autistic Children And Families

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Finding the right pet for a family with an autistic child can be tough. Golden Retrievers stand out as one of the top choices because of their gentle nature. This article sheds light on eight dog breeds that are fantastic companions for children on the autism spectrum, offering friendship and support.

Explore our guide to discover your new four-legged friend!

Understanding Autism and the Benefits of Having a Dog

'A child with Autism sitting in a peaceful garden with a gentle Golden Retriever.'

Autism affects how a person communicates and interacts with the world. Every autistic child experiences the world in their own unique way. For some, this means finding social situations challenging or feeling overwhelmed by too much sensory information.

Having a dog can make a big difference for children on the autism spectrum. Dogs provide unconditional love and support, offering comfort without needing words.

A dog’s presence can help reduce anxiety and stress in autistic children. They feel safer and more secure, which makes learning new things less scary. Dogs also teach responsibility through feeding and grooming tasks.

Playing with a dog boosts an autistic child’s social skills and confidence as well. Breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors are best known for their gentle nature, making them perfect companions for kids with autism.

These dogs have a calm demeanor that helps create a soothing environment for children facing daily challenges due to their condition.

Top 8 Dog Breeds for Autistic Children

A child with autism enjoying playing with a Labrador Retriever in a peaceful park.

Does your family include an autistic child? Finding the right dog breed can make a big difference in their lives. Certain breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Great Pyrenees, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their compatibility with autistic children.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers make excellent pets for families with autistic children. Known for their loyalty, these dogs also have a calm nature and a sharp mind. Their friendly behavior makes them perfect companions, offering comfort and support without being aggressive.

Labradors love to play and spend time with their owners, helping to ease loneliness and anxiety that some autistic children might feel.

These dogs are not just pets; they often take on the role of service animals due to their ability to learn quickly and respond well in various situations. Training them can be straightforward if done consistently, making them reliable helpers around children with special needs.

Due to their gentle disposition and strong bond with humans, Labrador Retrievers stand out as one of the best breeds for autism support, ensuring safety while encouraging emotional connections.

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a gentle and protective breed, making it perfect for families with autistic children. These large dogs are known for their calm demeanor and strong bond with family members, especially kids.

They act as both a friend and guardian to an autistic child, helping them feel safe and loved. Their patient nature allows them to handle unexpected situations that might arise with special needs children.

Next up is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, another excellent companion for those on the autism spectrum.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make brilliant friends for children with autism. Their small size and loving nature suit well in families looking for emotional support animals. Kids find comfort and joy in their gentle cuddles and easygoing personality.

These spaniels enjoy being part of family activities, bringing everyone closer together.

Training a Cavalier is quite straightforward due to their eagerness to please. They pick up on social cues quickly, making them excellent companions for autistic kids who benefit from routine and predictability.

Plus, their hypoallergenic coat is a bonus for families concerned about allergies. With the right grooming, these dogs can be a perfect fit for homes needing a calming presence.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are great for kids with autism. They show a lot of love and have strong bonds with their families. This breed is brave, smart, and very loyal. They like playing and being part of family activities which helps children feel more connected.

Their size makes them good for both small flats and big houses.

These dogs need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Training them is easy because they want to please their owners. Staffordshire Bull Terriers can become a child’s best friend, offering comfort and support every day.

Now let’s talk about Labradoodles, another excellent dog breed for autistic children.


Labradoodles make excellent companions for children with autism. This crossbreed between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle combines the best traits of both breeds. They have the gentle nature of Labradors and the intelligence of Poodles, making them perfect for autistic children who need understanding friends.

These dogs are also great for families worried about allergies because Poodles are known for their low-shedding coats.

These friendly canines adapt well to training and enjoy being part of family activities. Their empathetic nature allows them to connect with kids on the autism spectrum, offering comfort and support when needed.

Labradoodles thrive on interaction and can help encourage social skills in autistic children by being patient playmates. With proper care and attention, a Labradoodle could become more than just a pet; they could be a therapeutic companion, aiding in the child’s development and daily joy.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs make great friends for children with autism. They are big, strong dogs that love to be around people. Their calm and patient nature helps them get along well with kids who have special needs.

These dogs are smart and can learn many commands, making them easy to train as service animals or emotional support pets.

Families often choose a Bernese Mountain Dog because they are protective yet very gentle. They enjoy being part of family activities and are good at making their human friends feel safe and loved.

This breed’s thick fur makes it look like a big teddy bear, which can be very comforting to hold and pet during anxious moments.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are recommended for families with autistic children because they are patient, gentle, and protective. Their large size makes them a comforting presence, and their calm temperament helps to create a soothing environment for children with autism.

Saint Bernards are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature, providing companionship and comfort to the whole family.

These dogs can be trained to assist in various tasks that benefit the child with autism. They excel in providing stability and support, making them ideal service dogs for families dealing with autism spectrum disorders.

Saint Bernards’ gentle disposition and nurturing instincts make them well-suited to provide emotional support and companionship to children who need it most.

Golden Retriever

Now, let’s talk about Golden Retrievers. They are one of the top dogs for children with autism due to their gentle and friendly nature. Their loyalty, intelligence, and calm temperament make them a great choice for families with autistic children.

Golden Retrievers are popular as service dogs for kids with autism because they are friendly and non-aggressive. When choosing a dog breed, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of the child with autism as each breed has its own characteristics and temperament.

Training and socialisation play key roles in ensuring that the chosen dog is a good fit for the family and the child with autism.

Service Dog Organisations for Autism

Many service dog organisations specialise in providing assistance to individuals with autism. These groups carefully train and match dogs with autistic children or adults, helping them navigate their everyday lives.

Among them are reputable organisations like Canine Companions for Independence and Autism Service Dogs of America that provide specially trained dogs to assist those with autism. These dedicated canines offer valuable support by promoting social interaction, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum.

These organisations play a crucial role in improving the well-being of people with autism through the incredible bond between them and their specially trained furry companions.

FAQs About Autism and Dogs

What is the best dog breed for autism? Can pets be good for autism? How can dogs help with autism? Discover more about service dogs and autism. Read on to learn more.

What is the best service dog for autism?

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are considered the best service dog breeds for autism, given their gentle nature, loyalty, intelligence, and calm temperament. These dogs provide emotional support and assistance to autistic individuals, helping them navigate social interactions and providing a sense of security.

In addition to these popular choices, Saint Bernards are also recommended as they possess patience, gentleness, and protective instincts that can greatly benefit autistic children.

Collies’ friendly disposition and willingness to stay close to trusted individuals make them another excellent choice for serving the needs of children with autism. German Shepherds are well-known for their loyalty and intelligence; therefore, they can be valuable companions in aiding individuals on the autism spectrum.

Labradors have been particularly successful in serving as therapy dogs for children with autism due to their non-aggressive nature and friendliness. Similarly, Miniature Schnauzers are frequently recommended as therapy dogs because of their affectionate demeanour which fosters a comforting environment.

It’s crucial when choosing a service dog for autism to consider each breed’s specific characteristics in relation to the particular needs of an autistic individual. For families considering a service dog or therapy animal approach it is vital that both formal training programmes must be sought out.

Moving on from this topic we will discuss “What pets are good for autism?

What pets are good for autism?

The best pets for autism are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Collies, and German Shepherds. These breeds are known for their gentleness, loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature.

Each breed has unique characteristics to support the specific needs of autistic children. Training and socialisation play a crucial role in ensuring that the chosen pet is a good fit for the family and child with autism.

What are autism service dogs called?

Dogs trained to assist individuals with autism are commonly referred to as “autism service dogs.” These specially trained canines play a crucial role in providing emotional support, companionship, and safety for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Autism service dogs are specifically trained to help mitigate meltdowns, provide sensory support, and offer a sense of security for their handlers. Additionally, these skilled animals are adept at promoting social interaction and communication skills in autistic individuals, thereby enhancing their overall quality of life.

By accompanying ASD children or adults in various settings, these devoted dogs contribute significantly to their well-being and independence.

Can service dogs help with autism?

Service dogs can aid in managing autism symptoms. They are trained to provide comfort, emotional support, and safety for individuals with autism. Service dogs can assist in calming anxiety, preventing self-harm, and promoting social interaction.

Additionally, they may help children with autism develop routines and improve communication skills by providing a source of companionship and responsibility.

Labradors are known for their friendly nature and non-aggressive behaviour. Golden Retrievers are also suitable due to their gentle and friendly demeanour. These breeds often make excellent service dogs for children with autism as they can offer stability and assistance in navigating daily challenges.

Provider organisations play a crucial role in training service dogs specifically tailored towards addressing the needs of individuals on the autistic spectrum. Therefore, selecting the right service dog breed is critical to ensure it aligns with the unique requirements of each child or adult diagnosed with ASD.

Ultimately, having a trained service dog can have a positive impact on those living with autism by offering companionship and practical support tailored towards enhancing their quality of life while navigating through various complexities associated with this condition.

Can dogs sense autism?

Dogs can sense autism through their keen ability to pick up on changes in human behavior and emotions. This is particularly helpful for individuals with autism who may struggle with social cues and non-verbal communication.

Research has shown that dogs can detect the unique scent associated with autism, allowing them to provide comfort and support to individuals with ASD. Additionally, the calming presence of a dog can help reduce stress and anxiety levels in those with autism, promoting a sense of security and well-being.

Furthermore, dogs trained as service animals can perform specific tasks that cater to the needs of individuals with autism, such as providing deep pressure therapy or interrupting repetitive behaviors.

These abilities are invaluable for enhancing the quality of life for people living with autism spectrum disorder. The bond between a person with autism and their canine companion goes beyond words – it’s a unique connection built on trust, understanding, and unconditional love.

Should an autistic child have a dog?

An autistic child should have a dog if their needs and temperament align with the right breed. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Saint Bernards are some great options due to their gentle and affectionate nature.

Collies, German Shepherds, Labradors, Border Collies, and Miniature Schnauzers also make good companions for children with autism because of their loyalty, intelligence, trainability, and friendly temperament.

It’s important to consider the specific needs of the child when choosing a dog breed as each has its own characteristics which can impact compatibility. Training and socialisation are key factors in ensuring that the chosen dog is a good fit for both the family and the child.

Autism service dogs such as Golden Retrievers or Labradors can provide comfort and support through trained assistance tasks. They offer emotional support while promoting social interaction among children on the autism spectrum.

Additionally, having a well-trained dog can help establish routine in an autistic child’s life which aids in reducing anxiety levels while fostering responsibility.

By introducing an appropriate canine companion under careful consideration to an autistic child’s environment it can enhance their daily experiences through sensory stimulation while offering unconditional love which is beneficial for their overall well-being; contributing positively towards building confidence and self-esteem.

Can I train my dog to help my autistic child?

Yes, you can train your dog to help your autistic child. Dogs can offer emotional support, comfort, and companionship to autistic children. Through proper training and socialisation, dogs can learn to provide calming effects, promote routine and responsibility, and assist in developing social skills.

Training should be tailored towards the specific needs of your child with autism and focus on positive reinforcement methods. Always consider the best-suited breed for your child’s requirements when embarking on this journey.

Dog breeds like Golden Retrievers or Labrador Retrievers are often good choices due to their gentle nature, intelligence, and loyalty. It is essential that both the dog and the child receive proper training from a qualified professional to ensure a harmonious relationship as well as safety for everyone involved.

Properly trained dogs can offer vital assistance through understanding individual needs while fostering emotional connections.

What tasks can service dogs perform for autism?

Service dogs for autism can provide a range of essential tasks, including offering emotional support and comfort when the child is distressed. These dogs are trained to help with behaviour interruption, such as interrupting repetitive behaviours or self-harm.

Additionally, they can assist in social situations by encouraging interaction and facilitating better communication. Service dogs also aid in providing safety by preventing elopement or wandering, helping to locate the individual if lost, and promoting a sense of security.

Moreover, these dogs offer sensory assistance by grounding the child during sensory overload moments. They play an invaluable role in providing overall companionship and stability for children with autism.

Now let’s explore “Service Dog Organisations for Autism” further.


Discovering the perfect dog breed for an autistic child involves considering specific needs and temperaments. Several breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors, known for their loyalty and gentle nature, are ideal choices.

Saint Bernards also offer patience and protection. Collies show promise as companions due to their social nature with trusted individuals. German Shepherds exhibit intelligence and unwavering loyalty, while Border Collies stand out for being highly trainable therapy dogs.

Lastly, miniature Schnauzers make friendly and affectionate therapy companions for children with autism.


1. What are the best dog breeds for children with autism?

Golden Retrievers and Labradors are among the top dogs for kids on the autism spectrum because they offer emotional support and help with social skills.

2. Can small dogs be good for autistic children too?

Yes, Toy Poodles are great as they’re smart, gentle, and can be a comforting friend to an autistic child without needing lots of space.

3. Why are some dogs better for autistic people?

Dogs like Newfoundlands or St. Bernards have a calm nature which helps reduce anxiety in autistic individuals by providing steady companionship.

4. How do dogs help families dealing with autism?

Dogs can assist in improving social communication among autistic children, provide comfort during stressful times, and even alert parents to their child’s needs through mirroring behaviours.

5. Are there any considerations before getting a dog for an autistic child?

Families should think about allergies, ensuring the chosen breed doesn’t trigger allergic reactions. It’s also important to consider the size of your home and if you have access to outdoor spaces for bigger breeds.

6. Where can I find more information about choosing a dog for someone with autism?

Dog breeders knowledgeable in disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), online forums dedicated to parenting special needs children, and social media platforms offer valuable insights into selecting the right canine companion.