Not everyone can handle a giant breed of dog, or one who needs to visit the groomer every month! If you’re looking for a small, short-haired dog, this list is right for you.
Small, short-haired dog breeds can still be heavy shedders, but typically don’t need to be brushed often. However, they do need other grooming, such as brushing their teeth daily and trimming their nails at least once a month. Some small dogs still require plenty of exercise as well!
It’s important to keep this in mind before adopting.
In this list, we’ll talk about ten small dog breeds with short hair. These dogs require relatively little grooming and are all under 30 pounds.
Table of Contents:
Are Short-Haired Dogs Low-Maintenance?
Before we get into our list, let’s bust some myths about short-haired dog breeds!
- It’s true that short-haired dogs don’t require as much grooming as long-haired dogs, but it’s not true that they won’t shed. In fact, it’s the dogs with the longest hair that shed least! This is because those breeds have human-like hair that sheds like your own, rather than fur like the dogs on this list.
- Another common misconception is that these dog breeds will be low-maintenance all-around. Please remember that every dog needs attention!
Many small dogs were bred to be lap dogs or to hunt with either human or dog companions. This makes them quite clingy, as you’ll see as we move forward. They aren’t dogs that can be left alone all day while you work.
- Some of these pups are also high-energy, so keep a look-out as we go through our list. Whether you want a hiking buddy or couch potato, you’ll find both here!
- Lastly, remember that small breeds are typically more prone to dental problems. While you’ll get away without brushing these dogs too often, it’s very important that you brush their teeth daily and bring them to the veterinarian regularly for dental cleanings.
Small Short Haired Dog Breeds
Beagles are small dogs with big personalities and big voices! Male beagles are only 12-15 inches tall and weigh 20-30 pounds. Females are under 13 inches according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, and weigh under 20 pounds.
Beagles are typically tricolor with big, floppy ears. Their distinctive coat sheds year-round with a heavier shedding season in the spring.
They should be brushed once a week to maintain coat health and reduce shed fur around the house. Beagles only need to be bathed as-needed, like if they get into something stinky in the yard.
Beagles are sweet, clingy, and family-orientated. They’re true people-pleasers, which makes them easy to train. They tend to be good family dogs and get on well with other dogs, though some Beagles see cats as prey!
Don’t adopt a Beagle thinking they’re low-maintenance. They require at least an hour of hands-on activity a day, like a long walk, jog, or a game of fetch. These smart dogs also need something to do with their brain and their nose–scent games are great to get out that excess mental energy.
If your Beagle isn’t cared for properly, such as if they’re under exercised or left alone for long periods, they’re likely to resort to howling and destructive behaviors. Beagles are very prone to separation anxiety, so it’s important to get them used to being alone by starting in very small increments.
Beagles were bred to work in packs, so they love spending time around their human family–and it’s best if you have another dog at home as well. Rather than adopting one Beagle, consider two!
There are two types of Dachshund: standard and miniature. Standards are 8-9 inches tall and weigh 16-32 pounds, while miniature Dachshunds are 5-6 inches tall and weigh less than 11 pounds.
Both types of Dachshund are family-loving and tend to get along well with other dogs. However, I don’t suggest a Dachshund if you have young children, as the kids can easily hurt your Doxie’s back by picking them up improperly or roughhousing with them.
This can also lead to children being bit in retaliation for hurting the dog–it’s really a lose-lose situation unless they’re closely supervised at all times (as all dogs should be around children).
Doxies can be quite clingy and don’t like being left alone. They can be stubborn, which makes them harder to train than more people-pleasing breeds.
Dachshunds have three coat types, but the short-haired or “smooth-coated” Dachshunds are very low-maintenance when it comes to grooming.
The AKC recommends using a hound glove to wipe them down occasionally. They shed moderately throughout the year and only require baths as-needed.
They also require plenty of exercise–at least two walks a day.
Be careful how you exercise your Dachshund, as some movements put them at high risk for back injuries. Don’t allow your Doxie to climb stairs or jump on or off of furniture.
When adopting, please remember that Dachshunds are bred for cuteness–not for the wellbeing of the dogs. Their stubby legs make them prone to spinal problems such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). I highly recommend you avoid Dachshund breeders and instead opt for a rescue or shelter dog.
Chihuahuas are very small dogs, standing at 5-8 inches and weighing less than 6 pounds!
Neither short-haired nor long-haired Chihuahuas require a ton of grooming maintenance, but short-haired pups require only an occasional brushing and regular bath.
Short-haired Chihuahuas can have a variety of coat colors including black, chocolate, fawn, cream, red, and a combination of these.
Chihuahuas are known for being very close with one person. They can love the whole family, but will likely form a special bond with one of you in particular!
They love to cuddle and don’t like being left alone. Because Chihuahuas are prone to separation anxiety, it’s important that they adjust to being left alone while young. They should be left only in small increments that they can handle, slowly building this up over time. These aren’t dogs you leave alone for an entire workday, so they’re best suited to those who have a family where someone is usually home.
These pups are fairly low-energy, but they do benefit from a slow walk each day. Go at their pace, allow them to sniff to their heart’s content, and be sure to turn around before they get too tired!
Chihuahuas have a reputation for feistiness, but much of this comes from poor treatment. It’s common to force little dogs into things by picking them up, but this leaves a Chihuahua feeling powerless as if they have no autonomy.
Remember that little dogs can also be hurt easily. If you have children, you may want to wait until they’re old enough to respect a dog’s boundaries and how to handle dogs properly before you adopt a Chihuahua.
Remember to never leave children and dogs together unsupervised, no matter the breed. The little dogs on this list, especially, can be hurt by children and might bite in retaliation.
Lastly, make sure you give this little pup the same training you’d give a big dog. Chihuahuas thrive when they’re properly socialized, taught good manners, and engaged in fun training activities!
Miniature Pinschers are 10-12.5 inches tall and weigh 8-10 pounds. These pups are typically red in color with slim frames and deep chests.
Unfortunately, many puppies have their ears cropped and tails docked (both of which are unethical cosmetic procedures). This is something to look for if you consider adopting from a breeder–please know that anyone willing to hurt their dogs this way is not an ethical breeder, but one who puts breed standards above their dogs’ welfare.
This might be a breed best adopted from a rescue or shelter due to the prevalence of docking and cropping amongst breeders.
Appearance aside, Miniature Pinschers are playful, protective, and family-loving. They tend to be very loyal to their family, but can be wary of strangers due to their protective natures. It’s important to socialize these dogs well.
While they’re low-maintenance in the grooming department, requiring just a weekly once-over with a hound glove, they’re high-energy and need plenty of exercise.
Expect to go on multiple walks a day, or replace these with other hands-on activities like playing fetch!
Italian Greyhound is a small sighthound breed, standing at just 13-15 inches and weighing in at 7-14 pounds.
Sighthounds have lithe sprinter’s bodies with long legs, thin frames, and deep chests. This means Italian Greyhounds need space to run around! Luckily, even a small backyard will allow for this because of their size.
Sighthounds were bred to hunt using their sense of sight, and this makes Italian Greyhounds very prone to sprinting off after stray cats, squirrels, or even trash blowing down the road!
It’s important to always keep them on leash or in an enclosed space.
A Whippet’s coat is very short and only needs to be brushed occasionally. They shed moderately throughout the year.
Whippets are often compared to cats because they can be quite stubborn, aloof, and somewhat difficult to train. But just like cats, Whippets can be trained fairly easily if you know what you’re doing. Use force-free training methods and have patience!
Italian Greyhounds are known for being sensitive, clingy, and loving. They do best in a laid-back family where someone is home most of the day. Sighthounds are very empathetic breeds and don’t do well in households with a lot of drama or turmoil.
French Bulldogs are cute dogs with short snouts, upright ears, and naturally stubby tails. They are just 11-13 inches tall and weigh under 28 pounds.
Frenchies shed and drool moderately. They only need to be brushed once a week, but they do need extra maintenance due to the folds in their skin. These must be kept clean and dry at all times.
These pups make good family dogs, and tend to get along well with other pets. French Bulldogs are playful and active, but unfortunately, it can be difficult to get that energy out in a safe way. Despite their playful natures, these dogs’ bodies work against them–their short snouts make it difficult for them to breathe, which makes it difficult for them to tolerate heat or strenuous exercise.
While cute, French Bulldogs are incredibly expensive. They’re very poorly bred, which means you should expect to pay high veterinary bills, potentially on the regular. Frenchies are prone to breathing difficulties, Brachycephalic airway syndrome, dental problems, heart conditions, and other health problems.
Before adopting a Frenchie, I highly recommend looking into pet insurance. If you can’t afford the monthly premium, which will be higher than it is for other breeds, please don’t adopt!
Lastly, please don’t support unethical breeding. If you want a French Bulldog, adopt through a shelter or rescue. There are no ethical French Bulldog breeders, because the breed standard itself is very unethical.
These spunky dogs stand 10-12 inches tall and weigh 9-15 pounds. They have short legs, floppy triangular ears, and long tails.
Russell Terriers have three coat types: smooth, broken, and rough. None of them require much brushing, but the smooth coated dogs require the least grooming maintenance and only need to be brushed with a hound glove once weekly.
Russell Terriers are working dogs, and it’s important to give them lots of physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. They’ll enjoy nose work and puzzle toys at home combined with long walks, jogs, or hikes!
These aren’t the best dogs if you have cats in the home, because they do have a very strong prey drive. Make sure to keep them on leash or in an enclosed space at all times so that they don’t run off.
Though they’re eager to please, Russell Terriers are also very intelligent and can get bored easily if training sessions become too repetitive. Keep sessions short, varied, and engaging–be sure to bring along some high-value treats!
Rat Terriers are–you guessed it–dogs bred to hunt rats. They’re small dogs, measuring 10-18 inches and weighing just 10-25 pounds.
Their ears sit naturally upright with some variation–they can also be “button,” meaning part of the ears flop downward, or “tipped,” meaning only the tips of the ears flop down.
Similarly, their tails are sometimes naturally stumpy and sometimes long. Never dock your dog’s tail or purchase from a groomer who hurts their dogs in this way!
The Rat Terrier breed standard allows for many coat colors, most of which are bi- or tri-colored.
When it comes to their coat, expect moderate shedding and to brush them weekly with a hound glove. The AKC recommends bathing your Rat Terrier around once a month.
These dogs aren’t super high energy, but still need at least one daily walk. Because of their high prey drive, they must always be kept on-leash or in a fenced area to prevent them from running off.
These aren’t typically good dogs if you have cats or smaller dogs in the home, but they do tend to get along well with children and dogs that are the same size or larger than them.
They make good watch dogs, but also tend to be incredibly friendly to strangers.
Training is fairly easy with these dogs, though you will need to keep them mentally stimulated. This means wearing out their mind as well as their bodies, so that you don’t see the problem behaviors that come along with a bored dog (such as barking and destructive behaviors).
It also means that keeping training sessions short and engaging, rather than long or repetitive, is your best bet.
Boston Terriers are 15-17 inches tall and weigh 12-25 pounds. These tiny pups are typically black and white with pointed ears, short snouts, and naturally bobbed tails.
Their fur doesn’t shed much, and they only need to be brushed once weekly. Any skin folds in their faces need to be kept clean and dry to avoid skin infections and other problems.
These dogs are usually incredibly friendly, whether it’s with their family, kids, strangers, or other pets. Of course, you should always supervise any dog with children or other pets in the home, as even during play accidents can happen!
These pups are clingy to their owners and don’t like to be left alone. Socialize them when young and slowly get them used to being left alone, but never expect them to stay by themselves for too long.
They do best in families where someone is home most of the day. Boston Terriers are pretty easy to train because they want to please their people. Always use force-free training methods, never harsh punishments or any aversives (though this goes for any breed, Boston Terriers are more sensitive than most!).
Though these dogs aren’t super high-energy, they do need at least one daily walk. Keep in mind their poor breeding–their short snouts can make it more difficult for them to manage hot temperatures or strenuous exercise. Always go at your dog’s pace and stop when they’re tired.
Alongside this, it’s important never to buy a Boston Terrier or any other short-muzzled breed from a breeder. These dogs are not bred ethically, so it’s best to find them at a rescue or shelter instead!
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers, or Parson Russell Terriers as they’re now called by the AKC, are 13-14 inches in height and weigh 13-17 pounds.
These dogs are white with markings of varied colors. They have short, floppy ears, long tails, and short fur that comes in two types: rough and smooth.
Smooth coats are the easiest to upkeep, requiring only a quick brushing with a hound glove once a week. Jack Russell Terriers only shed a little, but they do shed all year long.
These pups are family-loving and good with other dogs, but can be somewhat wary of strangers. It’s important to socialize any dog as young as possible by introducing them to a variety of people, places, and experiences.
Due to their playful, high-energy natures, Jack Russell Terriers need lots of exercise. Since they were bred to hunt, they have a strong prey drive. They should always be kept on a leash or in an enclosed space so that they don’t run off.
Aside from recall, which will be difficult to impossible to train reliably, Jack Russell Terriers are easy to train. They’re eager to please and very intelligent. Keep training sessions short and fun to prevent boredom, as your dog might look for something more interesting to do if you’re asking the same thing of them again and again!
Tips for Adopting a Small Dog Breed with Short Hair
- Check breed-specific rescues if you’re looking for an adult dog of a specific breed. This is often easier than finding them in shelters.
- When adopting from a breeder, remember that this industry is unregulated and most aren’t breeding ethically. Avoid adopting breeds with health problems bred in, such as those with short snouts or long backs, from breeders.
- Reputable breeders almost always have wait lists–they find homes for their puppies before they’re born, not after. If someone can offer you a puppy today, they likely aren’t a reputable breeder.
- Other things to look for in reputable breeders include health testing for genetic conditions, extensive knowledge about the breed, a limited number of litters, and a contract stating you must give the puppy to the breeder if you can no longer care for them, and never to a shelter.
- The older the dog, the less exercise they tend to require! Remember that senior pups need love too, and are often the perfect fit for your family.
- Avoid adopting a puppy if you don’t live in a family where someone is home most of the day. Puppies can’t be left alone for more than a couple of hours, and require plenty of attention and training.
- Puppies will change as they grow–one who’s a cuddle bug today might be the most hyper of the litter when they’re older. If you’re set on a specific personality, contact a rescue or shelter that keeps their dogs in foster homes. They’ll be able to tell you how the dog acts in a home environment, and their temperament is less likely to change over time.
- Look into pet insurance or set aside funds in a savings account for your dog. The time to prepare for vet costs, training costs, and emergency expenses is before adoption, not during a crisis!