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9 Best Dog Breeds for Children with Autism

10 Best Dog Breeds for Children with Autism

Having a pet at home can bring sheer joy and happiness to people’s lives. However, for families that have an autistic child, there are more benefits to adopting a dog. Dogs are known for their loyalty toward their masters and family. They make great companions throughout their lifetime.

For autistic children, these qualities can indeed make all the difference. They can provide autistic kids with emotional support and help them with behavioral issues. Thus, for children with autism and their families, dogs can be the most invaluable asset.

Dogs Help Build a Connection

Undoubtedly, their loving bond makes them the best friend ever for humans. Dogs can help provide such kids with greater independence by providing them with activities they can do themselves.

They can help improve their social skills by providing opportunities to interact with others. They also increase the number of physical activities such kids partake in by allowing them to do activities including both.

Here, we will discuss the best dog breeds for kids with autism.

Best Small Dog Breed for Autistic Child

1. Golden Retrievers

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Among all the breeds of dogs, Golden Retrievers are the most popular ones, and with good reasons. They are so gentle, loving, and loyal, thus making them an incredible choice for families with kids. They are intelligent, making it easier to train them.

As a dog breed, they are highly affectionate and love to be close to the kids. They also have oodles of patience which makes them such a favorable option for kids with autism who might need that little bit of additional patience.

2. Labrador Retrievers 

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Labrador Retrievers are a popular breed of dogs and are an effective choice for kids with autism. They are loyal and patient and are great companions too. Apart from that, they are intelligent, a quality which makes them so easy to train them.

They are also great when it comes to understanding kids with autism and the unique needs that they have as individuals. They would make a great addition to any family.

3. Collies 

Dog exercise
Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/border-collie-running-dog-call-662786/

They are energetic, loyal, and intelligent. Apart from that, they are so intuitive that it is remarkable. They are sensitive to the needs and feelings of their human family members. Collies are such a great match for autistic individuals that this dog breed loves to be provided with the training.

That’s why they are such great companions for older children who enjoy the routine and structure of training their pets. However, Collies tend to be high-energy dogs who need sufficient exercise and mental stimulation.

So, you have to make sure that you would be able to provide them with that.

4. Saint Bernard 

Saint Bernard

This gentle giant of the dog world became famous following the 1992 film named “Beethoven”. The film became an instant hit at the box office. However, as far as our discussion goes, they make this list because of how disciplined they are.

Despite their immense size, they are so gentle! Sometimes, members of the dog breed tend to be a bit stubborn but are patient, sweet, and gentle with smaller kids. Hence, they are an exceptional option for families with autistic kids. They are loyal and intelligent enough to perform the simplest tasks with ease.

Saint Bernards are well-suited to working as therapy dogs too.

5. Bichon Frise 

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Bichon Frise is hypo-allergenic compared to most other breeds and great for apartment living. If you are looking for a cute dog for your autistic kid, you need not look anywhere. They are sturdy, social, and small dogs who do not usually weigh over 20 pounds.

These are reasons you can be sure that even landlords would not have any problem with them. You can trust them to cause fewer allergic reactions than many other breeds. They do not shed a lot and are clean.

6. Poodles 


The Standard Poodles are the variety with the biggest number of members among all the different kinds of Poodles out there. They are fantastic pets as far as kids are concerned. They have often been described as hypo-allergenic and smart.

They are loyal and trained with immense ease. They are also protective. They are also one of the most kid-friendly and loving breeds going around right now.

Miniature or Toy Poodles can also make great options for kids with autism. However, you must ensure your child understands the need to be gentle with them.

7. Great Pyrenees 

Great Pyrenees

Originally bred to guard flocks of sheep, you can be sure they would bring the same loyalty to the flock within your home! Great Pyrenees bond deeply with their families and are immensely protective of them.

Their large size should not be something that worries you, as this makes them such a sturdy friend to lean on. They are blessed with a calm temperament.

8. Labradoodle

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As their name may indicate, they are a hybrid of Labradors and Poodles, and they are an option for kids with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) as they are smart and friendly. Poodles come in three sizes.

When getting a Labradoodle, it would be better to ask the breeder how big your dog would be. However, no matter how big they are, they are always ready to be cuddled and never overreact when your kid has a mood swing.

9. Samoyed 


At first, Samoyeds assisted people working in extremely cold, dark, and snowy conditions. Thus, they are so affectionate and loyal as pets. Since they have such super-soft and ultra-cozy coats, they are the ideal options to keep you warm.

However, they are epic shedders and something you must be wary of, especially when your kid does not like the feel of dog hair on their clothes. In that case, it would be better that you pass over this breed. Having said that, they are comforting and loving individuals!

10. Bernedoodle 

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The smaller versions of this particular breed, which can get rather big are like those teddy bears that are so pretty that it is insane. Bernedoodle can be trained remarkably well. They get along really well with kids. They can be taught to live with other pets – in fact, they can also be trained to create a relationship based on tolerance with cats.

It is an Australian breed created by crossing a Bernese Mountain Dog with a Labradoodle. They may be bigger than what you are looking for, but they are still of great help in these cases.

Read Also: Top 10 Facts You Should Know About Bernedoodles

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are dogs beneficial for kids with autism?

A: The University of Lincoln has found that dogs can make a significant difference in the confidence levels of children diagnosed with autism. For instance, dogs can help reduce their anxiety and improve their capabilities to communicate with others, to name a few.

Q: What are the best first pets for kids with autism?

A: Apart from dogs, the following are great first pets for kids with autism:

  • cats
  • rabbits
  • guinea pigs

Not only are they cute companions, but they are also great for helping them with their emotional and social development.

Q: What is the best dog breed for hyperactive kids?

A: If your kid has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), the best dog breeds for them would be Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. These dogs are gentle with kids. Hence, these dog breeds are a comparatively safer choice for kids.

Q: How to introduce a dog to an autistic child?

A: When you bring a dog home, let your kid observe them without making physical contact. You should give both of them space and time to adjust to each other and behave properly with the dog so that your kid learns from you.

Q: What are the best pets for autistic kids?

A: The best pets for autistic kids are Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers – they are the most popular choices, but other dog breeds could do fine too. All you need is to consider their traits and then choose the one dog breed which would be suitable to your needs.


As we have said, having a dog for a child with autism can be beneficial for several reasons. Dogs love and accept such kids unconditionally. Hence, the kids feel calm around the dogs. It gives them a sense of security and warmth. Thus, it makes such kids feel safe, accepted, and secure. They reduce the stress and anxiety that such kids would otherwise suffer from, thus providing them with companionship and comfort.

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