Best Dog Breeds for Autism: The Ultimate Comforting Canines

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 16, 2021

Autism is a neurobehavioral condition that is usually present from early childhood. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by a difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people. Once again, man’s best friend comes to the rescue to help make their lives easier and happier. Which are the best dog breeds for autism? Read on to find out!

How Bonding with Dogs Can Help People with Autism

While there is no cure for autism, there is a plethora of different treatment options. Most of these revolve around activities that will help bridge the language gaps, encourage development, and improve sensory integration. A canine companion, whether an emotional support animal or a pet, can help with all these aspects.

A pet dog can have a positive impact on an autistic child by bringing much-needed companionship. Dogs have a sixth sense, an uncanny ability to sense our moods even before we do. When it proves too challenging to make friends with humans, a dog is always there with a smile and a wagging tail!

Dogs communicate well without language. So, for an autistic child that struggles with verbal communication, a dog can be a great ally. Dogs are very good listeners!

A dog can offer sensory support for a child with sensory needs. The reassuring pressure of a dog’s head in a child’s lap can help defuse an instant of high anxiety and bring a sense of calm. Some dogs can even be trained to respond in a certain way when they sense a fit coming on. One can also train them to intervene and prevent self-harm. Or, they can learn to bark to alert someone else.

A pet dog or ESA can give a sense of confidence. Having their pooch by their side can help an AS child to feel more at ease when going on outings and meeting different people. This improved confidence could even translate into being more talkative and being able to hold conversations with others.

best dogs for autism

Any Dog Can Become an Emotional Support Animal: All You Need is an ESA Letter!

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that is of therapeutic benefit to a person suffering from a mental or emotional condition. An ESA can provide its human with comfort, companionship and unconditional love. Just the sort of thing that can help someone overcome some of the challenges that they face.

An emotional support dog is not specially trained. It can be any dog, no matter the size, breed or age. All that you need to take your pooch from pet status to super-hero status is an ESA letter.

This letter serves to confirm that the dog’s owner has a mental or emotional condition and that the dog is a component of the therapeutic treatment. To find out whether you could qualify for an ESA, take the Certapet free online 5-minute pre-screening! If your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and you could have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs!

Connecting with Emotional Support Dogs is Easier Than with People!

Dogs don’t overwhelm with innuendos and sarcasm. They specialize in the language of love. Your canine companion will connect with you no matter how linguistically developed you are. An emotional support dog won’t judge if you have a little tic or a very particular way of doing things. All that they want is to be able to love you and spend time with you.

best dog breed for autism

The 5 Important Qualities That Good Autism Dogs Share!

Any dog can be an emotional support dog for someone with autism. However, there are some characteristics that will make some dogs better suited to this task.

1. Train-ability and Obedience

You will want to be able to easily and reliably train an ESA for autism. ASD sufferers respond well to routine, predictability, and structure in their day-to-day lives.

An autism dog should be trained so that they can be relied on to not be reactive to new people, other dogs, and unfamiliar sounds when out and about. A good autism dog must be obedient to basic commands such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”, and recall.

2. Temperament

A good dog must be affable, able to tolerate clumsy petting and big hugs. They must be calm in most situations and able to assess moods without being reactive.

3. Talkative-ness

Some people are noise-sensitive. If such a person can tolerate a dog at all, it will have to be one that barks very little.

4. Playfulness

A dog that is happy to play the same game over, and over, and over, again will make a great ASD companion. Simultaneously, they will also have to be able to be calm with their human for lengths of time.

5. Sturdily built

These dogs must be able to withstand some heavy petting, rough play, and being accidentally bumped.

Here are our Picks of the Best Dog Breeds for Autism!

The best dog breeds for autism are a mixed bag; from Pugs and Schnoodles to Bulldogs and Goldens! The bottom line is that they are calm and trainable. For the rest, it is up to you to decide what kind of pooch is best suited to you and/or your family’s needs.

Best Small Dogs and Companion Dogs: The Adorable Maltese Poodle

best type of dog for autism

Poodles make for great autism dogs because they are so intelligent and friendly. The Maltese Poodle is a lovely size for cuddling in laps! If someone in the family has pet allergies, the Maltese can be a good choice because they are less likely to cause allergies and are low-shedding.

Best Apartment Dogs: Labradoodle


The Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador and Standard Poodle. This is a pooch that is high up on the list of the best dog breeds for autism! These cute and quirky canines combine the best of these two intelligent breeds. They have lovely calm temperaments. Their superior intellect makes them easy to train. Labradoodles make for good apartment dogs despite their size because they generally have a calm and cheerful temperament. Also, they are low-shedding and don’t bark much.

Best Big Fluffy Dog Breeds: The Great Pyrenees

great pyrenees

What makes the Great Pyrenees a great autism dog? Their calm temperament and protective nature. Pyrenees were originally bred to guard flocks of sheep. They bond strongly with their families and take their roles as protectors seriously. Another boon of this gentle giant is that they are sturdy and can handle the clumsy petting and big hugs from a person with ASD.

Other big fluffy dog breeds that are great for families with an autistic child are Bernese Mountain Dogs and the Newfoundland. Both breeds are calm and compassionate companions for people with autism.

Helping to groom these fluffy pooches can help teach an autistic child about responsibility and caring for others. It is also a wonderfully calming, repetitive activity. It is hardly surprising that these dogs are strong contenders for the best dog breeds for autism!

Calm Dog Breeds: Golden Hair, Golden Heart: The Golden Retriever

golden retriever

Hearts of gold indeed! These smiley, affectionate canines make for awesome therapy dogs. For a person with autism, you cannot ask for a better best furry friend. They are intelligent, and their eager-to-please nature makes them super trainable for all sorts of tasks and scenarios.

Golden retrievers are wonderful with children  too and great at reading emotions. There’s a good reason goldens are on the list of the best dog breeds for autism (and many others)!

The English Bulldog and Staffordshire Terrier are two other calm dog breeds for autism. Despite appearances, both dog breeds are loyal, docile and can tolerate rough play.

Rescue Dogs Have as Much to Offer as Any Other Dogs! If Not More!

dog for autism

A dog doesn’t need to have certificates and purebred papers to be a great autism dog. Any dog that is well-behaved and has a calm demeanor can be an excellent companion. The most important thing is that the dog and the person have a wonderful bond in which both benefit from each other’s companionship.

Not Exactly Rare Dog Breeds! Whether Mutt or Designer Breed, a Rescue Will Love and Support You Unconditionally!

There are so many rescue dogs out there looking for the perfect furever home. Whether you have a specific breed in mind or whether you are looking for a mixed breed, you will be able to find a pooch that will fit right into your family!

There are breed-specific rescue groups for almost every breed from the Affenpinscher to the Yorkshire Terrier. You will definitely find some of the best dog breeds for autism in your local animal shelter!

Puppies are hard work. With someone who has autism in your life, the last thing that you need is more work. Adopting an adult dog is especially suitable for this kind of situation. An older dog will be potty trained, calm and more dependable. Mixed breed dogs are advantageous in that they are usually calmer and less prone to hereditary disease.

Whether you decide to adopt a motley mutt or a designer doggo, a rescue pupper will be an amazing source of comfort and companionship!

dogs for kids with autism

The Best Dog Breed for Me! How CertaPet Helps People with Autism Keep Their Companions Constantly by Their Side!

Once you have formed that super-glue bond with your furry friend, you will be very reluctant to part. Autism isn’t something that goes away when you walk out of the door. In fact, it is in strange and new places and situations that you need the companionship and support of your canine companion most.

Certapet can help you make sure that you don’t have to separate from your emotional support dog. Complete the free online 5-minute pre-screening to be on your way to get an ESA letter. This will make it possible for you to have your dog with you in situations where non-ESA dogs might not be able to go.

For example, according to the Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA), you can take your ESA on a flight with you in-cabin. Another advantage of having an ESA letter for your dog is that it is easier to find rented accommodation. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that housing providers allow emotional support animals to live with their owners. Even if the accommodation doesn’t usually allow pets.

Common Questions About the Best Dog Breeds for Autism

Which dog breeds are the best for people with autism?

Does an autism dog need to have special training?

What do autism dogs do?

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