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14 Best Short-Haired Dogs for Your Family

These short-haired dogs are adorable, family-friendly, and don't need regular appointments at the groomer!

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The right dog for you

Short-haired dogs are ideal for pet parents who would rather spend more time cuddling and playing with their fur babies than grooming them. Nevertheless, short hair doesn’t necessarily mean the fur won’t be flying. Some breeds with a double coat or a weather-repellent coat actually shed more. But whether they shed a little or a lot, these are the breeds that would be terrific full-fledged family members.

Beagle dog stands on its hind legs and looks out the window. In the foreground sits the owner of a dog


This adorable and cheerful short-haired dog breed is a family favorite. As hounds go, beagles love to hunt and are known for chasing a scent. “They are very smart and need a job in order to stay out of trouble,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM, a veterinarian at the Laguna Hills Animal Hospital. They prefer long walks with plenty of time to sniff and explore, rather than games of fetch in the backyard, and they love to join in on family sing-alongs with their baying and barking. In terms of grooming, a short-haired coat doesn’t mean there won’t be shedding. Beagles have a dense double coat that sheds a fair amount year-round and more in the winter. Luckily, these vacuums specially designed for pet hair will eradicate this hairy problem in your home. Don’t miss these adorable curly-haired dogs for some extra fluff.

Dog Portrait on Bed Shepherd Puppy Mixed Breed Looking at Camera
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American Staffordshire Terrier

The AmStaff, as adoring fans call this short-haired medium dog, sports a low-maintenance coat that only needs weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush to remove dirt. Of course, a good brushing feels oh-so-good to AmStaffs, but it also helps distribute skin oils through the coat to keep it healthy and sleek, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Contrary to the negative headlines, the AmStaff and other pit bulls are exceptionally loyal, lovable, and good-natured. “Sadly, the American Staffordshire Terrier has a bad reputation, yet it is a great dog that needs proper socialization and training to help counteract the bad rap,” says Dr. Cruz. Get the truth about these pit bull “facts” that are totally wrong.

British Bulldog Puppy looking up isolated against a grey background
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The bulldog just may be the cutest “sour mug” on the planet. However, their adorable face and stout body make them prone to obesity and respiratory issues. “Be sure to get pet insurance because of the preponderance of medical issues that can ensue over [a bulldog’s] lifetime,” Dr. Cruz says. You’ll also want to invest in some good grooming tools. These dogs go through periods of heavy shedding, but you can stay on top of this issue by brushing your bulldog a couple of times a week. Those adorable wrinkles need some love, too. Keep them clean and dry to avoid skin infections.

But the bulldog’s benefits outweigh these issues. Aside from their obvious good looks, they’re playful and good with children. One caveat: They do have a stubborn streak, so establish good leadership early. Here’s what you should look for in a dog obedience school before enrolling your pup in one.

Cute pug dog on sofa at home


Before we get down to business, can we just point out the obvious? The pug is an adorable chonk! That wrinkly face, those sparkly eyes, and that curly tail are simply irresistible! Now for the business side of this short-haired dog. Shedding is above average, but a weekly brushing minimizes clumps on the sofa. And they have a few respiratory issues you should be aware of. Pugs are a small short-haired “brachy” (meaning short head and nose) breed, so they snort and snore (in a cute way). Plus, because they have shorter snouts, they can’t draw in cooler air through panting as well as dogs with longer snouts, so be sure to know the warning signs of heatstroke.

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A puggle is a short-haired hybrid breed born of a male pug and female beagle. According to Rover, this is to dodge health complications that pop up when the male dog is larger than the female dog. So, what do you get when you mix a hound with wanderlust and a dog who’s more of a homebody? An outgoing pup with a delightful combination of curiosity and playfulness. While beagles and pugs are both short-haired breeds, there’s no escaping their genetic tendencies to shed a fair amount. Brush your puggle twice a week to minimize shedding. If you fancy dogs with a little more of the fluff factor but they make you sneeze, peruse this list of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds for people with allergies.

tired dane dog resting on wooden floor

Great Dane

Dubbed the “Apollo of Dogs,” the Great Dane is as kind and easygoing as it is tall. And when one stands on its hind legs, it’s taller than most people. As far as large short-haired breeds go, the Great Dane’s coat is pretty easy to care for. It needs only weekly brushing, but when shedding season rolls around, daily brushing helps the fur from flying. Despite this dog’s size, it’s not clumsy. “The Great Dane is known for its body sense, so it’s great for apartment living as long as it gets opportunities to stretch out,” says Dr. Cruz. These are some other gentle giants of the canine world.

Cute French bulldog with leash in room
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French Bulldog

Playful, affectionate, and a bit of a clown, these short-haired dogs sport an adorably compact frame covered with a short, sleek coat. Frenchies love kids and food. Actually, maybe that’s why they love kids so much, since their pint-sized playmates tend to drop a lot of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets on the floor. No trips to the groomer are necessary for this cutie, but those irresistible wrinkles deserve a daily inspection and should be kept clean and dry. Weekly brushing removes shed hair and distributes oils for a healthy coat. If your pup is scratching more than normal, check out these 9 possible reasons your dog is so itchy.

Close Up Portrait of a Boston Terrier dog at home on her blanket
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Boston Terrier

Dubbed the “American Gentleman” (or lady) for its impeccable manners and tuxedo coat, the Boston terrier is a small short-haired breed with a big personality. “They have lots of energy in a small package,” says Dr. Cruz. They’re lively, feisty, and comical at times, and they love kids. Energetic games, brisk walks, and obedience training are all musts. Their dapper tuxedo coat does shed a bit, but it doesn’t require a lot of fuss and muss to look like a show dog’s. Speaking of show dogs, here’s what really goes on behind-the-scenes at the National Dog Show.

boston terrier puppy playing with toy
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This delightful hybrid is a mix of a French bulldog and a Boston terrier. “Their good and bad traits are mellowed by mixing the breeds together,” says Dr. Cruz. For example, the Frenchton has the longer snout of the Boston terrier to help prevent the breathing problems Frenchies contend with. Yet, the Frenchie genes are usually more dominant in terms of the Frenchton’s bat-like ears, big eyes, and oh-so-snuggly compact body. Frenchies seek the companionship of all family members and don’t single out just one, making them ideal for households with multiple kids. They don’t shed much and only need weekly brushing to activate the natural oils to keep their skin healthy. Here are another 25 dog breeds that don‘t shed too much.

Young Boxer dog with painted nails looks into camera
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If you’re looking for a large short-haired dog with striking good looks, the boxer may be the one for you. “They have a protective attitude that is tempered with love,” Dr. Cruz says. Boxers are affectionate but aren’t likely to snuggle all day on the sofa. In fact, they have loads of energy to expend—for an early run with you or tiring out the kids in the backyard. Shedding is average, and a brushing every other week will keep their short and glossy coat looking sharp. They thrive with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation from obedience training and learning new things, like these 12 easy dog tricks.

A Weimaraner Dog sitting on the couch in the Living Room
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The Weimaraner embodies an aristocratic vibe of poise and grace with its distinguished silver-gray coat. Yet, that gorgeous coat is low-maintenance; shedding is average, and only weekly brushing is needed to remove dirt. Weimaraners are faithful members of the family, and whatever you’re doing, they’re up for it. “They are a good family dog if the adult family members are committed to the mental and physical needs, “says Dr. Cruz. That said, they do have an “off” switch and will cozy up with the family at the end of a long day. What do dogs dream about?

Summer portrait of smart chocolate brown and sable tan working Australian kelpie dog. Attractive national breed of Australia Australian sheep dog lies on a wooden pier outside with green background

Australian Kelpie

You might say that Australian Kelpies have a Type A personality. They are incredibly energetic, highly intelligent, and total workaholics. “Their energy and drive are boundless, and they need mental and physical stimulation to keep them out of trouble,” advises Dr. Cruz. Kelpies were bred to herd livestock, so they tend to “herd” small pets and children by nipping their feet. That’s not to say this medium short-haired dog won’t fit into an urban family home, but Kelpies need to “work” every day. In terms of grooming, their double coat is weather-repellent. Give them a well-deserved break with a weekly brushing. The Kelpie isn’t fully recognized by the AKC yet.

Labrador retriever is lying on the floor at home.
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Labrador Retriever

The forever family favorite, the Labrador retriever, takes home the “most friendly and outgoing” award on any given day. Super easy to train, highly affectionate, and oh-so-loyal to the entire family, Labs are a near-perfect short-haired dog breed. If only they didn’t shed! But hey, they can’t help it. The same thick, water-repellent double coat that makes them excellent swimmers and field retrievers on cold, crisp mornings sheds rather frequently, so aim to brush it weekly. Lots of outdoor play calls for the occasional bath—and don’t forget their ears!

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We covered some purebreds and hybrids, but what about dogs of a diverse ancestry? Does it really matter if the short-haired dog you fell in love with has no pedigree? We didn’t think so. Shelter dogs don’t have a “breed standard” based on appearance and temperament that purebreds do; nevertheless, they are chomping at the bit for you to visit and be dazzled by their gorgeous short-haired coats, oodles of affection, and undying love and devotion. But before you adopt, here’s what shelter dogs wish you knew.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.