What are the most popular short-haired dogs?

A compilation of short-haired dogs of various sizes that require minimal grooming

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By Alex

Short-haired dogs

Managing short-haired dogs is relatively simple when it comes to hygiene and grooming. In comparison to their long-haired counterparts, these dogs shed minimal hair, making them easier to wash and maintain without the need for daily brushing.

Opting for short-haired breeds is a practical choice if you desire canine companions that won’t inundate your home with hair and if you have limited time for grooming. Generally, any canine coat with a length of no more than 4 cm is classified as short-haired.

Let’s delve into the intriguing world of various short coat types, before unveiling this selection of beloved family breeds with easy-to-manage maintenance requirements.

Different Types of Short Coats

Short coats come in various styles, and some breeds even sport a naked appearance, requiring specialized care. Let’s explore these distinctions.

Hard-Coated Short-haired Dogs

These dogs feature stiff, sparse, and rough coats that don’t shed much hair, making them favorable for individuals with allergies. However, maintaining this type of coat can be time-consuming, often involving the removal of dead hair with tweezers.

This process stimulates the skin and promotes the growth of new, healthy hair, imparting a shiny, sleek look to the dog. Notable breeds with hard coats include the Affenpinscher, Border Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Irish Terrier, Otter Dog, Scottish Terrier, and West Highland Terrier.

short-haired dog breeds
The Brussels Griffon, a lesser-known breed with a distinctive beard on its muzzle.

Semi-Long-Coated Dogs

Dogs with semi-long coats offer a practical compromise, combining the cold-protective qualities of longer fur with the low maintenance of shorter fur. Typically, their 2.5 cm long coats are easy to maintain, requiring only weekly brushing as they resist getting dirty or tangled.

Proper drying after bathing is crucial to prevent unpleasant odors. Breeds like the Welsh Corgi Pembroke and water dogs such as the Golden Retriever fall into this category.

Dogs with Hypoallergenic Fur

For dog enthusiasts with allergies, finding a dog with hypoallergenic fur is a relief. Most dog allergies stem from dander, the dead skin released by dogs along with their fur, rather than the hair itself.

short-haired dogs
The African Basenji breed is inherently designed for swift hunting, featuring self-cleaning and hypoallergenic fur.

A hypoallergenic dog, characterized by minimal shedding, proves suitable for individuals with allergies. Their dense fur effectively traps dead hairs, preventing them from dispersing in the air. However, to prevent tangling, regular brushing is essential.

Several dog breeds with hypoallergenic coats exist, such as Afghan hound, Basenji, Barbet, Brussels Griffon, Irish Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Dwarf Bull Terrier, Dwarf Schnauzer, Poodle, Shih Tzu, Irish Soft Coated Terrier, Welsh Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier.

Poodles, in particular, require light shearing and bathing every 6 to 8 weeks, with occasional professional grooming recommended for this breed.

Hairless Dogs

The appearance of a hairless dog can be initially striking, reminiscent of a “naked” Sphynx cat. Despite their unique appearance, hairless dogs demand considerable care. Their skin is more sensitive to sunlight and requires protection with sunscreen. Regular bathing is crucial to maintain their skin health and prevent infections.

The best-known hairless dogs are the Chinese Crested Dog and the Xoloitzcuintle.

short-haired dog breeds
The Mexican dog Xoloitzcuintle is also called the naked dog because it has no hair

Which breeds are known for minimal shedding?

Typically, dogs with fine, curly, woolly, wavy, or hard coats experience little to no shedding. This is also true for those with long, fine coats, as they tend to have less fur and shed less. Water dogs, characterized by a double layer of fur that facilitates quick drying and near-waterproof qualities, are also low shedders.

Additionally, some larger breeds with long coats, such as the Briard, the Berger de Picardie, and the Bergamasco Shepherd, exhibit minimal hair shedding.

The Airedale Terrier, sporting a curly and hard coat, tends not to leave much hair on the ground. Among breeds with fine and short coats, the elegant Azawakh, a large greyhound, is noteworthy for not shedding much hair in the home or on furniture. Lastly, despite their long hair, the Afghan Hound and the Irish Wolfhound, with its rough coat, are known for shedding almost nothing.

Short-Haired Dogs and the Reasons to Choose Them

When choosing a dog for adoption, one crucial criterion to consider is the length of its coat. The aesthetic factor plays a significant role, and many individuals prefer short-haired pets for this reason. A trimmed coat accentuates the muscular structure of our canine companions.

For instance, breeds like the Boerboel or Rhodesian Ridgeback, hailing from Africa and selected for hunting large savannah animals like lions, boast an exceptionally muscular build. Similarly, the Argentine Dogo, designed for big game hunting, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, initially utilized as a fighting dog, particularly against bulls, exhibit impressive muscularity.

short-haired dog breeds
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a South African dog that was created for hunting lions

Moreover, short and smooth-haired dogs prove to be perfect companions for individuals with limited time for grooming. Their quick drying nature and minimal maintenance needs make them an ideal choice. Regular brushing is not a necessity, though an occasional bath is advisable.

The spectrum of dog breeds with short, smooth coats is broad, ranging from formidable American guard dogs like the Rottweiler and Pitbull. These breeds can be categorized by size, and each comes with its specific care requirements. Here are the diverse breeds and the types of care they necessitate.

Large Short-Haired Dog Breeds

There is a plethora of short-haired dog breeds, and we’ll begin by exploring the larger ones.

  • Shar-Pei: This breed is easily recognizable by the unique wrinkles that adorn its entire body. With a very short coat, the Shar-Pei has gained popularity worldwide. In the past, it was a fashionable choice, leading to higher prices for puppies. Despite its size and compact build, the Shar-Pei exhibits a playful and affectionate temperament within its family while maintaining a reserved demeanor with strangers.
short-haired dog breeds
SharPei, the Chinese shorthaired dog with necklaces is a sight to behold!
  • English Pointer: With its sleek and thin coat, the English Pointer is an agile and athletic dog. Possessing high intelligence, it is also fond of playful activities. Given its spirited nature, this breed thrives on movement and companionship, standing out as one of the most independent dogs when compared to other breeds. Historically, it served primarily as a hunting dog. Unfortunately, similar to greyhounds and other hunting breeds, Pointers are often abandoned when their hunting days are over. In reality, they have an affectionate, active, and inquisitive disposition.
  • Xoloitzcuintli (Xolo): Also recognized as the ‘Mexican naked dog’ or ‘xolo,’ this ancient and unique breed, like its Sphynx cat counterpart, is essentially hairless. Originating from Mexico, where it is highly esteemed and considered a living archaeological treasure, the Xolo accompanied the Aztecs for over 7,000 years.
  • Argentine Dogo: Among the most popular dogs in the Americas, the Argentine Dogo is a molossoid Dogo type. It stands out with its considerable size, robust appearance, and white coat. Known for its intelligence, it excels as a guard and defense dog. Despite its innate hunting instincts, the Argentine Dogo can also display sweetness and affection. While typically wary of strangers, contrary to a widspread belief, it is not inherently aggressive. This breed enjoys outdoor activities, particularly running and walking.
  • Goldador or Golden Lab: A recently developed hybrid breed with an endearing appearance, the Goldador combines the traits of a Labrador Retriever. It is a caring, affectionate, and highly sociable dog that adapts effortlessly to various environments.
short-haired dog breeds
The Golden Lab is a cross between Golden Retreiver and Labrador, but shorter-haired with thick undercoat
  • Dalmatian: Renowned for its distinctive spotted coat, the Dalmatian is an agile, athletic, and muscular dog requiring regular exercise. While friendly and sociable, it tends to be reserved around strangers. Originating from central Europe, it initially served as a coach dog, running alongside horse-drawn carriages to calm and protect horses. The breed has a dense, fine, glossy short coat, necessitating a weekly brushing for maintenance.
  • French Pyrenean and Gascony Pointer: Representing two sub-races of the French Pointer, these breeds are highly popular in the Pyrenees region. Formerly rare outside the area, they are known for their familiarity, attentiveness, and affectionate nature. Possessing excellent olfactory and adaptive skills, they make wonderful companions.
  • German Beagle (Deutsch Kurzhaar): A versatile hunting dog, primarily bred for targeting and retrieving waterfowl, the German Beagle is capable of sustained field hunting with seemingly boundless energy. A great companion and family dog, its short-haired coat requires minimal maintenance—weekly brushing and occasional bathing are sufficient.
  • Azawakh: Closely associated with the Tuareg tribes of the desert, the Azawakh is characterized by elegance, independence, and a distinctive rectangular shape.
  • Weimaraner: Hailing from the Weimar region of Germany, the Weimaraner, often called the “gray ghost” due to its silvery-gray color, is an exceptionally active and athletic hunting dog. Requiring ample exercise, particularly running, it makes an excellent family dog when provided with sufficient outlets for its energy. With aristocratic features, the breed boasts a short, stiff coat available in various shades of gray.
short-haired dog breeds
One of the most elegant short-haired hunting dogs: the Weimaraner
  • Greyhound or English Greyhound: Recognized as the fastest dog globally, capable of reaching speeds up to 40 mph (65 km/h), the Greyhound stands out with unparalleled speed, making it a preferred choice for controversial racing, still legal in some countries. Despite this, if you choose to adopt and welcome a Greyhound into your home, you’ll find it to be a sweet and docile companion.
  • Small Italian Greyhound: This racing dog is distinguished by its graceful and almost noble appearance. Lively, docile, and affectionate, it enjoyed widespread love in European courts since the Renaissance. Today, it serves as a devoted companion, craving physical contact and displaying adaptability to various environments.
  • Bull Arab: Bred for boar hunting through the crossbreeding of the Bull Terrier, Saluki, and Pointer, the Bull Arab is a large, robust dog with potent hunting instincts, necessitating daily physical activity.
  • Ibiza Hound or Podenco Ibicenco: Originating from the island of Ibiza off the Spanish coast, this breed traces its roots to ancient Egyptian bloodhounds brought to the island by traders around 3,000 years ago. Renowned for its keen eyesight, the Ibiza Hound excelled as a rabbit hunter on the island. Despite its non-muscular appearance, it is a robust dog with a short coat, either smooth or shaggy, and comes in colors such as red, white, or white and red. Easy to care for, its coat requires only weekly brushing.
short-haired dog breeds
Podenco Ibicenco or Ibiza hound is a typical Spanish dog

Short-Haired Guard Dogs

Numerous large, short-haired dogs excel as guard dogs, often chosen by individuals seeking to secure their homes and families. Guard dog breeds typically exhibit strength, loyalty, alertness, and fearlessness. Let’s delve into the characteristics of some short-haired guard dogs:

  • Bullmastiff: A robust and muscular guard dog, the Bullmastiff combines strength with affection and sociability towards its family. Despite its imposing size, it can adapt well to small houses, provided it receives regular walks. While its taurine appearance may intimidate strangers, its family recognizes its naturally affectionate nature. An excellent companion, the Bullmastiff is a born protector, requiring structured training to enhance its innate guarding instinct.
  • Boxer: Muscular and powerful, the Boxer is an outstanding guard dog. Intelligent but stubborn, it displays affection, playfulness, and patience, making it well-suited for families with children. Contrary to its intimidating appearance, the Boxer is not inherently aggressive. With proper training, it can become an excellent guard dog, thanks to its high energy levels requiring frequent exercise.
  • Cane Corso: Known as one of Italy’s impressive molossoid breeds, the Cane Corso, along with the Neapolitan Mastiff, derives its name from the Latin ‘cohors,’ meaning protector. With an imposing size, heavy build, and deep-toned barking, it deters intruders. Training for the Cane Corso should focus on obedience and refining its natural guarding abilities, with a short and stiff coat emphasizing its imposing appearance.
  • Doberman: Considered the fifth most intelligent dog breed globally, the Doberman is a powerful and muscular dog with a sleek build. Despite its historical reputation, it is docile and affectionate with its human family. Endowed with incredible intelligence and sensitivity, structured training can enhance its protective skills, turning it into an excellent guard dog. The smooth, short coat is easy to clean with a quick weekly brushing.
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback: Of African descent, the Rhodesian Ridgeback has a history as a hunting dog for big game and lions. While loyal and an excellent guardian with its family, it is wary of strangers. Known for its characteristic crest of fur along the spine, it requires training, especially in obedience, to channel its agility and activity appropriately. Despite its affectionate nature, proper training is crucial for interaction with children.
  • Rottweiler: Created in Germany for herding, the Rottweiler is strong and trainable but needs early training to understand appropriate behavior. Descended from ancient mastiffs, it can be sweet, playful, and very protective with its family. Proper training transforms it into an excellent guard dog, preventing excessive barking. Regular training sessions are key to harnessing its protective instincts.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier: Originally bred for bear hunting and bullfighting, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier possesses a naturally aggressive and protective nature. Early training is essential to manage its protective instincts. While it may intimidate strangers, it makes an excellent pet, displaying aggression only when protecting a family member.
short-haired dog breeds
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier should be trained from puppyhood because it is aggressive and protective in nature
  • Amstaff: Resembling the Pitbull, the Amstaff, despite its imposing appearance, is affectionate, playful, and highly energetic. Given its historical role as a fighting dog and innate hunting instincts, proper training and socialization are imperative, especially in households with other pets or children. With a cheerful and positive disposition, this breed is recommended for active and dynamic individuals.
  • Dane: Among the largest dogs, particularly in height, the Dane is a true gentle giant—sweet and affectionate, making it an excellent companion. Despite its size, it remains calm indoors and doesn’t require excessive exercise. Its shiny coat benefits from weekly brushing using a bristle brush. With a brave demeanor and an intimidating bark due to its size, the Dane is an outstanding choice as a guard dog. Possessing an affectionate and gentle personality, it is unlikely to bite intruders and exhibits playfulness and patience with children.

Medium-Sized Short-Haired Dogs

Now, let’s explore some breeds of short- to medium-haired dogs.

  • Beagle: A popular breed, especially favored by children for its tireless playfulness, the Beagle requires constant and regular physical activity to prevent obesity. Regular ear cleaning is essential to avoid infections. Additionally, careful attention is needed during shedding periods, as despite its short hair, the Beagle tends to lose a significant amount of it.
short-haired dog breeds
The Beagle requires considerable attention to shedding as, despite its short fur, it experiences substantial hair loss.
  • Jack Russell Terrier: Originally employed for fox hunting, the Jack Russell Terrier possesses extraordinary intelligence, curiosity, activity, loyalty, and courage. Friendly and affectionate, it proves ideal for children, but early education from puppyhood is crucial for easier handling.
  • American Pitbull Terrier (Pitbull): Initially used as a herding dog on American farms, the Pitbull gained popularity in dogfighting circles. Its temperament is not well-defined, as the character it develops as an adult is mainly determined by education and training. Pitbulls can exhibit various sociable, wary, or reactive traits.
  • Dachshund: Smart, friendly, and highly intelligent, the Dachshund comes in various coat varieties, including short, hard and rough, or smooth and soft. Prone to obesity, careful attention to nutrition is essential for this breed.
  • Bull Terrier: Recognizable by its long, horse-like face, the Bull Terrier has a glossy, short, and flat coat that requires weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush, curry brush, or hound glove to manage loose hair. Possessing a sweet disposition, it tends to get along well with respectful children, needing moderate daily exercise through walks or yard games.
  • Rat Terrier: Originally a farm dog in the United States, the Rat Terrier is spirited, energetic, and tenacious despite its small size. Due to its background, it requires more exercise than expected for a medium-sized dog. The short, smooth, and glossy coat sheds significantly, necessitating frequent brushing to minimize hair loss. Available in pied patterns with one or more colors and large patches of white.
  • Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz: A breed native to the province of Cadiz, the Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz was historically trained to guard wineries (bodegas) from mice and rodents. Popular as a Spanish pet, particularly for families with children, it exhibits a dynamic, sociable, and playful nature.
shorthaired dogs
The Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz was originally employed to eliminate mice and other rodents in stores and holds the position of the top Spanish pet dog.
  • Basenji: Originating from Central Africa, the Basenji stands as one of the oldest breeds. Intelligent and balanced, it possesses a touch of stubbornness and independence. Its distinctive feature is the absence of barking; instead, it emits a unique sound, akin to a blend of a Tyrolean jodel and a soft laugh. Females experience heat only once a year. The smooth coat is naturally clean and odorless, and the Basenji has a cat-like ability to groom itself.
  • English Bulldog: Compact and sturdy, the English Bulldog has an unmistakable appearance. While some perceive it as having a fierce look, it actually has a calm and affectionate nature. Considered by many as one of the most adorable dogs, it is patient with children and thrives on companionship. Ideal for families with ample time for their pets, the English Bulldog is intelligent, restless, and curious, displaying loyalty and possessiveness, especially with food and toys. It also excels as a watchdog but requires frequent bathing due to the numerous folds in its skin.
  • Fox Paulistinha or Terrier Brasileiro: A slender dog with a solid build, the Fox Paulistinha, or Terrier Brasileiro, is the second officially recognized breed of Brazilian dogs. Highly active, curious, and possessing remarkable hunting instincts, they make excellent guard dogs. However, they also prove to be wonderful pets for those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. Requiring substantial physical and mental exercise, they are not recommended for apartment living or households with small children.
  • Thai Ridgeback: Originally from Siam, the Thai Ridgeback was historically trained for hunting and protection of property and people. Still gaining recognition in the West, it boasts an exotic appearance and an active temperament, making it a popular choice as a companion animal in recent years.
short-haired dog breeds
The Thai Ridgeback is native to Siam, where it was used for hunting and guarding
  • Norbotten Spitz: A breed originating from Sweden and Russia, the Norbotten Spitz was created for hunting and work, necessitating ample daily exercise. Ideally suited for rural environments, it possesses a good temperament. However, training can prove challenging without the assistance of a professional.

Small Short-Haired Dogs

Concluding our in-depth exploration, let’s delve into small breeds.

  • Norfolk Terrier: With European origins, the Norfolk Terrier is sociable, brave, and quite playful. Its temperament makes it well-suited for families with children. The coat is rough, shaggy, and the fur is short and thick.
short-haired dog breeds
The Norfolk Terrier is a small but courageous and playful herding dog with a rough, shaggy, bushy coat
  • French Bulldog: Small yet sturdy, the French Bulldog is easily recognizable by its flattened muzzle and bat-like ears, boasting an affectionate and good-natured disposition. Originating from the early English Bulldogs, like all variations of this breed, it requires ample attention and companionship.
  • Pug: An ideal companion dog, the Pug could be likened to a bonsai-sized hound due to its physical characteristics. Playful and fond of company, it may develop separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods, making a home with older children ideal. Its smooth, soft fur requires frequent washing, and given its tendency to gain weight, careful attention to its diet is necessary.
  • Miniature Pinscher: Among the most dynamic and trustworthy small breeds, the Miniature Pinscher (or “Dwarf” Pischer) has German origins derived from various crosses. Highly energetic, it loves movement and play, displaying affection and sociability with its family while maintaining wariness toward strangers and other animals if not well-socialized as a puppy. Curious and intelligent, it thrives with a balanced upbringing, requiring a considerable amount of physical activity. Despite its need for exercise, it can live happily in both houses and apartments.
short-haired dog breeds
The Miniature Pinscher, a petite, sociable, and affectionate dog with a robust and dominant temperament.
  • Chihuahua: Originating from Mexico, the Chihuahua is an extremely small, cuddly, and intelligent dog. The short-haired variety is the most manageable. Known for its curiosity, it tends to be cautious around strangers and enjoys being pampered. With a tendency towards jealousy and territorial behavior, it can exhibit occasional nervousness and restlessness. Its compact size is often described as “purse-size,” and the ideal weight ranges between 2 and 3 kg.

Short-Haired Dogs: Care Tips

While grooming short-haired dogs is generally less demanding than their long-haired counterparts, it’s crucial not to neglect their care.

While many short-haired breeds are low-maintenance, each breed has specific needs. For instance, the Chihuahua tends to shed a significant amount of hair and requires more frequent brushing compared to a breed like the Boxer.

Certain breeds, like Bulldogs, may have numerous skin folds, necessitating regular bathing to maintain hygiene.

On average, short-haired dogs should be brushed at least once a week. Various brushes designed for short-haired dogs are available, with those designed to remove dead hair being particularly recommended.

Plastic brushes or soft mitts can effectively eliminate dirt and dead hair. For denser hair or any knots, a fine-bristled, soft metal brush can be used twice a week. Follow up with a soft-bristled brush to ensure a thorough grooming session.

When it comes to bathing, choosing an appropriate shampoo that is free of oil and conditioner is crucial to prevent damage and excessive greasiness to the coat. Typically, short-haired dogs should be bathed every 3-4 weeks unless specific circumstances dictate otherwise.

Additional Info

Explore these supplementary articles on dogs’ behavior: