8 Short-Legged Dog Breeds | Best Dog Breeds With Short Legs (With Pictures)

Short-legged dogs were once bred to hunt burrowing animals, but nowadays they are rarely used for their intended purpose. Today they are companion dogs and reliable friends who are often turned on to maintain a glamorous image. There are many types of dogs with short paws, but only a few of them are in demand.

Features of Small Legged Dogs

The World Cynological Organization identifies more than 400 dog breeds. Many of them are not at all similar to each other – some dogs are strong and powerful, others, on the contrary, are thin and fragile.

Some have long, strong limbs, but short-legged dogs are not uncommon. Their physiological characteristics are due to their purpose – for example, dachshunds can easily penetrate holes thanks to their shortened limbs, and Welsh Corgi can masterfully hide among the sheep herd and bite their “wards” by the legs, pushing them in the right direction.

Their small limbs do not affect the level of activity of the animals. Dogs remain vigorous and mischievous until old age. The unusual body structure, combined with the playful character, suggests that these dogs never age.

Many people planning to have a short-legged pet are afraid of the difficulties in caring – but their fears are completely unfounded. Such dogs require attention no more than dogs of other breeds, and sometimes even much less. The fact is that many representatives of hunting breeds are distinguished by a special wool structure, which repels dust and dirt. To cleanse, they only need to dust themselves off and they will look their best again.

However, you still have to wash their tummies – dogs with short paws are very fond of digging the ground with their nose, while the belly gets very dirty. Although if you do not want to mess with bathing your pet, then just wait 20-30 minutes and the dirt will fall off by itself.

Keep in mind that shortened paws create additional stress on the spine, therefore, representatives of these breeds often develop osteochondrosis, herniated discs, and vertebral injuries. It’s not recommended for the animals to sit in an upright position or jump.

It’s desirable to carry these dogs horizontally, especially for pregnant females. Exercise should be selected in such a way that it matches the physical characteristics of each particular breed.

Popular Short Legged Breeds

The Scottish terrier

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

These pets were bred in Scotland. Their original purpose was to hunt small burrowing animals, but today they are almost never used in this capacity. Such dogs are brought up “for the soul” as a pet. This animal can be a very loyal and reliable friend, it is sincerely loyal to its owners, it has a cheerful and friendly disposition.

Scotch Terriers are very intelligent animals, with a brave heart and a brave soul, but they are very curious dogs who are ready to explore new territories all day long.

Despite the fact that these dogs are short-footed, they can easily tolerate long walks, in addition, such a load is vital for them to maintain normal health. It is very important to educate such dogs from an early age – in the absence of training, they become too independent and it will be quite difficult to cope with them in adulthood.

These animals calmly endure loneliness and the temporary absence of the owner, but they really like to communicate with their own kind, so Scottish terriers are usually adopted in pairs.

The Basset Hound

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

People began to breed these short-legged dogs a long time ago – back in the 6th century, so this breed can rightfully be called one of the oldest in the world. Like all other breeds, they were created for the hunting of prey. These dogs carried through the centuries some stamp of nobility and aristocracy, which left an imprint on their character – these animals are proud, stubborn, independent, and self-sufficient.

Bassets are difficult to train, it is almost impossible to get them to do anything – you need to negotiate with them. Nevertheless, these dogs are completely non-aggressive, self-possessed, and playful towards their owners.

The appearance of the bassets leaves no one indifferent – they are real stalwarts with shortened strong paws, long ears, and a sad look, at the sight of which you want to immediately take the pet in your arms and regret it. In adulthood, dogs reach 50-60 pounds. They have short hair that sheds all year round, so owners must brush their pet on a daily basis.

Keep in mind that bassets absolutely cannot stand loneliness and at the same time love to bark, so in the absence of their owners they arrange long “concerts” – they bark in a deaf uterine voice that is well heard by all neighbors.

To avoid trouble, this dog needs to be trained, the sooner you do it, the better.

The Dachshund

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

Dachshunds are fun short-haired dogs that can be smooth-haired, wire-haired, or long-haired, as well as dwarf dogs. This breed is recognized as one of the most widespread in the world. Due to their narrow body, animals can easily crawl into any burrows, even very small and long ones.

Like all other long-hulled dogs, dachshunds need constant physical activity and long walks. When creating comfortable conditions for keeping animals, they can live up to 15 years and even more.

Caring for them does not require any specialized procedures – you need to monitor the condition of the dog’s coat and ears, which require periodic treatment with veterinary lotion to remove ear discharge.

If the weather is dirty and slushy, it makes sense to put on overalls on the dachshund so that the wool is kept clean. But you don’t need to wrap them up in winter – a dog trained to walk for a long time grows hardened and easily withstands sub-zero temperatures.

The character of dachshunds is truly multifaceted – they show sincere tenderness and devotion to family members, but at the same time they always try to do everything in their own way. Dachshunds are smart and fearless, while curious and not aggressive.

The Welsh corgi

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

This is a funny short-legged white-red-eared dog, which has earned the love of thousands of breeders around the world due to its balanced character and unusual appearance. Initially, these dogs were used as shepherds, the variety is one of the oldest – the first mentions of it appeared in the 10th century, although according to some data, images of dogs resembling corgi date back to 1500 BC. e.

These are the smallest representatives of herding breeds, but their size does not affect their physical characteristics.

Their stamina, stocky, muscular torso and powerful, albeit short legs combined with agility make them excellent livestock beaters, but as a companion dog this animal with a cute face and protruding ears would be ideal.

Corgi is a friendly dog ​​with a stable psyche, loyal, funny, very intelligent, so the animal is very easy to train. These pets get along well with the owner’s family members and with other pets. However, the external calmness of this dog is deceptive – It’s able to watch Its master and the people around It for hours while walking, trying to keep everything under Its control.

Corgis can accompany a person on walks, on morning jogging and other sports activities – by nature dogs are very active, so it would be wrong to make a “sofa” dog out of them.

The Pekingese

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

This is another loyal breed of dog with short legs. Pekingese were taken out so that they would accompany royal personal, therefore the appearance of this animal is distinguished by the exceptional aristocracy as if confirming their high status. These are small pets, the weight of which does not exceed 6-10 pounds. Colors can be very diverse.

These dogs are distinguished by beautiful, truly luxurious coat, which requires constant care – combing and washing.

Unlike the corgi, the Pekingese is just a typical “lap” dog that prefers to lie on the sofa, delighting the household. This dog will easily keep its owner’s company for a walk, but significant loads are contraindicated for animals of this breed, so the best Pekingese lives in a homebody family. If we talk about character, then this is a devoted and loyal pet who can show stubbornness and disobedience.

The Skye Terrier

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

These are small dogs with a very amusing appearance originally from Scotland. Nowadays, the animal is used as a companion, although the blood of their ancestors endowed them with high protective and protective characteristics.

Skye Terriers are rather squat, they are distinguished by powerful legs and a luxurious coat. In their structure, the hairs resemble goats and grow even on the tips of the ears, so if you take proper care of your pet, it will always attract attention with its chic and imposing appearance.

The temperament of the Skye Terrier is not easy – this dog is very proud and extremely stubborn, it knows its worth well and does not tolerate neglect. Pets from an early age show loyalty, sincerity, and courage, they are very active – a measured life within four walls is not suitable for them.

If you intend to become the owner of such a short-legged puppy, be prepared to walk It at least twice a day, while the walks should be long and athletic.

The Portuguese hound

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

This variety is also called Podengo Pequeno. It has become widespread among dog breeders. Initially, the breed was bred for hunting small prey and rabbits, which had a significant impact on the temperament of the animal. With its exterior, the Podengo resembles a Chihuahua but has all the characteristics of a hound.

Such pets need regular and long walks, active games, so they are not suitable for people who prefer an inactive lifestyle.

The English bulldog

8 Dog Breeds With Short Legs

This dog breed was bred in ancient times. Then It was used as a pickling dog, necessary to provoke bulls for the amusement of the English nobility. Thus, the name of this dog appeared: bull (bull) and dog (dog).

It is hard to believe, but the owners of such animals claim that their four-legged pet has an open soul and a quivering heart.

English Bulldogs are quite large, their weight reaches 50 pounds. These animals have a disproportionate build and wrinkled skin, which makes them incredibly charming. They are very attached to their owners, they are easily trained, they are distinguished by intelligence and balanced character.

It’s very important to socialize them from the very first days. Despite the fact that it has not been used as a fighting dog for a long time, nevertheless, it is not a decorative dog, so early training and education will only benefit It.

How to choose a short-legged puppy?

There are many short-legged dogs, each of them has its own character traits and features of appearance, therefore, first of all, it is necessary to assess your ability to take care of the animal and arrange long walks. It is important to decide who you need – a shepherd, a security guard, a companion, or a decorative dog that will lie on the bed and demand the adoration of the household.

it’s a big mistake to think that all dogs with short legs are only meant to be carried on arms, hugged and cuddled . This is far from the case – many animals are distinguished by their independent character, physical activity and stubbornness.

As a rule, the cost of dogs with short legs is high, so when choosing a pet, preference should be given to kennels with a reliable reputation. Keep in mind that unscrupulous sellers often try to sell the smallest animals in a litter to buyers. In order not to be deceived, even at the stage of choosing a pet, be sure to request photos of the selected puppy in the circle of Its brothers and sisters.

It will be good if the breeder sends you a video – then you can fully get an idea of ​​the dog offered to you. Purchase an animal with all the necessary veterinary documents, which confirm the absence of hereditary diseases, and also contains information about all the vaccinations delivered. When examining a dog, make sure that it is active, cheerful, does not show aggression and fear.

If the animal is too indifferent, starts barking, takes submission poses or tries to run away, most likely, you have a pet with a disturbed psyche in front of you, you should refrain from buying it.

Rules Regarding Small Legged Dogs

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You must adhere to the following rules for keeping dogs with a disproportionate body:

  • independent descent of the animal up the steps is not recommended;
  • Jumping from a bed, chair and other high surfaces is strictly prohibited;
  • games in which they must bounce, for example, tossing the ball upward, are contraindicated for animals;
  • beware of joint games with taller and larger dogs;
  • when walking your dog, icy or slippery surfaces can be very dangerous;
  • it is important not to overfeed the dog, as this will increase the load on the spine and lead to pathologies of the musculoskeletal system;
  • during active growth, regular training is very important for short-legged dogs, since this significantly strengthens the muscle corset, increases overall tone, improves cerebral blood circulation, enzyme activity; all this significantly reduces the risk of injuries that occur due to uncompensated loads on the spine.

Important! The longer the animal’s body, the stricter the restrictions are set.


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.