The Best Dog Breeds for Kids With Autism

The Best Dog Breeds for Kids With Autism
- Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects individuals in a variety of ways, but common challenges include difficulties with social interaction, sensory sensitivities, and a craving for routine and stability. For families with children on the autism spectrum, the decision to add a dog to their household can be both exciting and daunting. The right dog can provide a child with autism companionship, comfort, and a non-judgmental friend, potentially helping to improve social skills and reduce anxiety. However, the breed and individual temperament of the dog are crucial factors to consider to ensure a positive match. In this blog post, we will explore six dog breeds that are often recommended for families with children with autism, highlighting the characteristics that make them particularly suitable.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds for families, and their friendly, outgoing nature makes them an excellent choice for children with autism. Labs are known for their patience, gentleness, and trainability, which are essential traits for interacting with kids who have ASD. Their playful demeanor can help engage a child, while their calmness can be soothing during stressful times. Furthermore, Labs are highly adaptable, making them well-suited to the varying needs of a child with autism.

Golden Retriever

Similar to Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers are renowned for their friendly, tolerant, and intelligent nature. They are incredibly loyal and form strong bonds with their family members, providing consistent companionship for a child with autism. Golden Retrievers are also known for their patience and are less likely to react negatively to unpredictable behavior, making them a safe and comforting presence for children on the spectrum.


Poodles come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy), offering flexibility for different family needs and living situations. They are highly intelligent and easily trainable, which is beneficial for families looking for a dog that can learn specific commands or tasks to assist a child with autism. Poodles are also known for their hypoallergenic coats, which can be an important consideration for children with allergies. Their gentle and affectionate nature makes them great companions, providing both comfort and stimulation to a child with autism.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are small, affectionate dogs known for their gentle demeanor. They are incredibly sociable and get along well with children and other pets. Their size makes them a good option for families living in apartments or smaller homes. Cavaliers are eager to please and easy to train, and their calmness and consistency can be very reassuring for a child with autism, helping to create a sense of security and routine.


Newfoundlands are gentle giants known for their calm and docile temperament. Despite their large size, they are incredibly patient and good-natured with children. They are often referred to as “nanny dogs” because of their protective instincts and ability to act as a guardian for their family members. Newfoundlands are particularly suited to children with autism who respond well to deep pressure stimulation, as their size allows for comforting hugs and leaning that can be soothing during moments of sensory overload.


Collies are intelligent, loyal, and easy to train, making them excellent companions for children with autism. They are particularly sensitive to their owner’s needs and moods, allowing them to respond appropriately to a child’s emotional state. Collies are gentle and predictable, providing a consistent presence that can help a child with autism feel more secure. Their herding instinct also means they are naturally protective, often keeping a watchful eye on their family members.

Which Breed Is Right For You?

Choosing a dog for a child with autism involves careful consideration of the child’s specific needs, family environment, and lifestyle. The breeds listed above are known for their gentle temperaments, loyalty, and ability to form strong bonds with their human companions, making them potentially great matches for children with ASD. 

However, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual, and spending time with a dog before making a decision is crucial to ensure the best fit for your child and family. With the right match, a dog can provide a child with autism invaluable companionship, comfort, and a sense of security, enriching their lives in countless ways.

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