Not all shorthairs are shedders, but it IS pretty common. Someone my sister knows gives her cats this enzyme that eases things for HER allergies. I don't know what it's called, but maybe once you've established a relationship with a vet, they may be able to help you.
I have two shorthaired boys, and I think my tabby sheds a lot more than my black cat does. I don't know if I'm just not noticing it because of the color or what though.
OH, and an interesting little fact is that black cats/dogs suffer from lower adoption rates because of their color. People still think that black cats are bad luck, but I've always found them to be the most friendly, and loving cats of all the colors. If I have cats, I will always have at least one black one. :)
Good luck in your search, and figuring out how to make it easy on your dad.