Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an invisible disorder that affects around 1% of the population. It is often characterized by difficulties with social communication and is usually diagnosed during early childhood.
Because those with autism struggle to communicate in the same way as others, they are often misunderstood. This can lead to difficulties in forming meaningful relationships, which may cause feelings of loneliness or inadequacy.
Therefore, many people get dogs for themselves or for their child struggling with ASD, because dogs are not judgmental and offer unconditional love. A dog will not view someone’s ASD as strange or confusing; instead, dogs will adapt to the type of communication they receive.
Though getting a dog can be a fantastic way for those with autism to find unwavering friendship and combat feelings of loneliness, it’s important that people choose a dog that is right for their lifestyle. While any dog (even a mutt) could be a fantastic companion to someone with autism, we find that some breeds are more suitable than others.
In this article, we will go over which dog breeds should be avoided by people with autism and why these breeds aren’t always a great option. Then, we will offer seven alternative breeds that we think could be an excellent choice for those with ASD.
Most dog breeds are not intrinsically aggressive. After all, humans bred them, and we would not want to have pets or working animals with aggression. However, some breeds are still more prone to biting than others.
Many of these breeds are small breeds, likely because aggression in smaller animals isn’t taken as seriously, as their bites aren’t likely to cause major injuries. However, even a small breed’s bite can hurt and could be especially dangerous to children.
According to a study published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, some breeds are more likely than others to bite or attempt to bite. These are the breeds listed as most likely to bite, which we think people with ASD should avoid:
- Jack Russell terrier
- American cocker spaniel
- Australian cattle dog
Some breeds were also found to be aggressive toward other dogs. Being responsible and having control over your dog can prevent incidents, but it is often not worth the headache for many people (whether on the ASD spectrum or not). Here are the breeds the study listed as most aggressive toward other dogs:
- Jack Russell terrier
- Pit bull terrier
Breeds That Bark a Lot
Some people with autism may struggle with sound sensitivity. While dogs can be lovely companions, it is in their nature to bark. Of course, some breeds tend to be yappers, and others that are naturally quieter.
For those that do have sound sensitivity, it may be best to avoid the yappers. Here are some breeds that are known for being vocal: