If you have a child with autism, a dog could help you more than you realize. However, do you know the most popular dog breeds for children with autism?
Did you know that 94% of families with an autistic child that own a pet dog reported that their child had a strong bond with the pet?
In fact, previous research has proven that children with autism who had a family pet from an early age developed better social skills than those that didn't.
Even without owning a pet, regular interaction with animals can be extremely therapeutic for children with autism.
However, if you are the parent of a child with autism and are considering investing in a family pet, we recommend going for a dog.
Being pack animals, dogs are naturally more sociable creatures than cats. They also need to be walked regularly, which means more opportunity to get your child out of the house and interacting with the outdoors and the general public.
Read on to discover the top five most popular dog breeds for autistic children.
1. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are third in the list of most popular dog breeds in the US, and for good reason. They are an extremely gentle breed and make for really agreeable family pets.
Affectionate and loyal, Golden Retrievers are commonly trained as service and therapy dogs.
At first glance, you may not imagine a poodle to make a list of most popular dog breeds for children with autism. You may be picturing them walking alongside a chic Parisian owner rather than trotting being your autistic child.
Though they have a reputation for being quite a glamorous breed, they're actually very well-tempered dogs, highly intelligent dogs. Second only to Border Collies!
Samoyeds are one of many breeds considered 'gentle giants' in the dog world.
Gentle, but also very playful, Samoyeds even look friendly, seemingly having a permanent smile on their face. Like big, fluffy clouds of mischievous fun, Samoyeds love company.
Due to their rambunctious nature, they need a lot of exercise and make for great companions on walks. We recommend Samoyeds for children and families accustomed to larger dogs.
Another big dog, despite their size, St.Bernards can provide an extremely mellow, calming presence for your autistic child.
They're a very patient, friendly breed of dog. If you need more proof that they're an excellent choice as companions for dogs with autism, be sure to check out Saint Bernard's Service Dog Academy.
This wonderful non-profit seeks to breed, train and eventually home St.Bernards with 2-6-year-old children newly diagnosed with autism nationwide.
Good things come in small packages. This is certainly true of Beagles. Not all of the most popular dog breeds for kids with autism are big.
In fact, if your child is likely to be easily startled by bigger dogs, a Beagle might be the family pet for you!
Beagles are an extremely friendly breed, and their smaller stature lends itself to autistic kids who aren't naturally as comfortable around dogs. One thing to consider, however, with Beagles is training.
As hunting dogs, their natural instinct is to follow their nose, so proper training is essential.
Most Popular Dog Breeds For Autistic Kids: Show Them Some Love!
Have a personal story you want to share about your autistic child and a loving family pet? Let us know!
Meanwhile, should you want to spread the doggy love, be sure to check out our breed-specific merchandise.