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Top 10 Dog Breeds for Autism

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According to the CDC, as many as 1 in 59 children in the United States has autism. That number increased from 1 in 68 children from a report released two years ago, signifying a 15% increase. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is the name given to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with speech and nonverbal communication, social skills, and repetitive behavior.

If you have an autistic child, you already understand these challenges but what you might not know is that getting a dog could help. A support dog could provide your child with a calming, nonverbal presence in addition to interrupting dysfunctional behaviors and protecting your child. Here are the top 10 dog breeds for autism:

  1. Golden Retriever

    Intelligent and extremely friendly, the Golden Retriever is a popular choice as a support dog and family pet. These dogs are incredibly easy to train and are talented at reading emotions. (Photo credit: Joop Snijder Photography/Shutterstock)


  2. German Shepherd

    One of the smartest and most versatile dog breeds around, the German Shepherd does well with complex tasks. These dogs can be trained to provide everything from comfort to protection for your autistic child. (Photo credit: Aleksandra Dabrowa/Shutterstock)


  3. Labrador Retriever

    Not only is the Labrador Retriever one of the most popular dog breeds in the country, but they are a great choice for autistic children as well. These dogs are very calm and laid-back, but they are also highly committed and focused on their duties. They also respond well to training. (Photo credit: New Africa/Shutterstock)


  4. Great Pyrenees

    These dogs are known for their massive size and their white coats, but they are also known for their protective instincts. A Great Pyrenees will love your child unconditionally and will always keep him safe from harm. (Photo credit: mary981/Shutterstock)


  5. Labradoodle

    A cross between the Labrador Retriever and Poodle, the Labradoodle is a smart, trainable, and friendly breed that makes a great choice for autism. (Photo credit: Dina Uretski/Shutterstock)


  6. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

    Though this breed may look intimidating to some, it is actually extremely gentle. These dogs are protective by nature, but they are not aggressive – they simply make wonderfully faithful family companions. (Photo credit: Melounix/Shutterstock)


  7. St. Bernard

    A giant breed like the St. Bernard may take up a lot of space, but they have an infinite amount of love and affection to shower on your child. These dogs are very loyal, and their fluffy coat provides a certain degree of tactile therapy for an autistic child. (Photo credit: Marie Dolphin/Shutterstock)


  8. Yorkshire Terrier

    If you’re looking for a small dog to help your child, the Yorkshire Terrier is a good choice. These little dogs are easy to please and they have goofy personalities as well. (Photo credit: Zdenek Kubelka/Shutterstock)


  9. Poodle

    Though you may think of the Poodle as a trendy breed best suited to being carried around in a purse, these dogs are actually highly intelligent and trainable which makes them a great choice for a therapy dog. They also come in several sizes to suit your needs. (Photo credit: Lim Tiaw Leong/Shutterstock)


  10. Corgi

    A short-legged breed, the Corgi is a great choice for autistic children because they have a stable temperament and a cheerful personality. They are very social as well, so they’ll form a bond with your child very quickly. The main challenge is that they have a lot of energy, so they’ll need a significant amount of exercise. (Photo credit: Chutima Chaochaiya/Shutterstock)

Autism is a challenging disorder that we are still struggling to understand. Even when your child’s friends, teachers, and even other family members have trouble understanding your child, however, a support dog will always be right there by his side.


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