Dog Breeds

Apple Head VS Deer Head Chihuahua

November 10, 2017 — by Carol Reddy0


Dog Breeds

Apple Head VS Deer Head Chihuahua

November 10, 2017 — by Carol Reddy0

Did you ever think there could be different variations of the same breed? Well get ready to learn about the apple head and deer head chihuahua.

Most people know what a Chihuahua is, but most people don’t know there are different types of chihuahuas.

Although they are the same breed, the variations of chihuahuas are different in many ways.

In this article we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the unofficial categorized breeds of a chihuaha,  As well as what breed standards are accepted by the AKC.

So, if you’re ready to learn everything you need to know about the differences between the apple head and deer head chihuahua, lets get started.


History of Chihuahua

Although the Chihuahua is one of the most popular breeds to date, a lot of their history is a mystery.  But most historians agree that the Chihuahuas ancestry can be traced back to Mexico.

Evidently the Chihuahua is from Chihuahua, Mexico. Chihuahua city is the capital of Northwestern Mexican state, Chihuahua which borders New Mexico and Texas.

It is thought that people with a special interest in dogs found some of the earliest Chihuahuas around the mid 1800’s.

During this time period the Chihuahua had no universal name. Instead, people would name the dog after the region they were in. This lead to many names popping up including:

  • Texas dog
  • Mexico dog
  • Arizona dog

But, eventually one name stuck.

The Chihuahua.

Even though the Chihuahua can be traced back to Mexico, what would we call the original Chihuahua?

The Chihuahua is believed to be a descendant of the Techichi, this was a small mute dog that was originally kept by the Toltec people of Mexico.

The Techichi is generally larger than the modern day Chihuahua, but looks more like a Deer Head Chihuahua.

What Do They Look Like?

Group of Chihuahuas

There is only one breed of Chihuahuas, but there are other unofficial breed categorizations. These categories are the Apple head Chihuahua, and the Deer head Chihuahua.

The names Apple head and Deer head Chihuahua are used to describe the differences between the characteristics of the dogs face.

Apple head Chihuahua– has a vertical/round apple-like shaped head

Deer head Chihuahua– has a longer sloped deer-like shaped head

From their names alone you would think the only difference between the two are the size of their head.  But you would be wrong…

Surprisingly enough they have a lot of differences.

Characteristics of Apple Head

Smiling chihuahua

The most prominent feature of the Apple head Chihuahua is its apple head shape.

When the muzzle meets the forehead it makes a 90 degree angle, essentially forming an “L” shape. This “L” shape on both sides of the Chihuahuas head suggests an apple shape.

Having a head that resembles an apple is actually a breed standard of facial features recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The AKC states that the official standard of a Chihuahua’s head should have a “apple dome” head “with or without molera”.

Most apple head chihuahuas are born with molera…

Molera– a sunken area in the dogs head that appears at birth and resembles a hole.

The molera of a dog is similar to the “fontanel” or soft spot of a babies head. Virtually being a space between the bones of an infants skull.

However, this opening usually closes around 3 to 4 months of age.

Due to the apple like shape of the chihuahuas head, their eyes tend to stick out more than the Deer head Chihuahua.

But, the jawline and neck of the apple head chihuahua are shorter in comparison to the deer head chihuahua.

The apple head chihuahua has a stout body with lean and muscular hind and forequarters.

With this shape the apple head chihuahua is the ideal image of a chihuahua, and is the only kind of its breed allowed to participate in competitions.

Characteristics of Deer Head

Adorable white and brown chihuahua puppy white brick background

The Deer head Chihuahua has facial characteristics that resemble the face of a young deer.

The muzzle of the deer head chihuahua is longer than the apple head chihuahua, and they also have much larger more prominent ears.

When fully developed the deer head chihuahua has large pointed ears, BUT during the dogs development they may be floppy.

Variations in the stiffness vs. floppiness of the chihuahuas ears can occur. By the time your dog is fully grown their ears will be pointy.

While the apple head chihuahuas head resembles a 90 degree angle, the deer head chihuahua has a slope where the muzzle meets the forehead, making a 45 degree angle.

Generally the deer head chihuahua will have a longer

  • neck
  • jawline
  • legs

Having longer legs leads to the deer head chihuahua having a taller leaner frame, compared to thickset apple head chihuahua.

While these dogs are very different both types of dogs are impacted by molera. Although, it seems to be more common in apple head chihuahuas.

The deer head chihuahua is actually thought to be healthier than the apple head chihuahua, and not as aggressive.

But, the deer head chihuahua is not recognized as a type of chihuahua by the AKC. Meaning that this particular variety of chihuahua cannot participate in dog shows.

Can They Share Traits?

Chihuahua photo shoot with wooden letters

Although the apple head and deer head chihuahua are categorized as different types of the breed, they can share certain characteristics.

At the end of the day, these dogs still belong to the same breed.

Therefore, it its possible for a Chihuahua to have traits similar to both the apple head or deer head.

It’s common to see a litter of Chihuahuas with a mixture of apple head or deer head features, regardless of what type of head the parents have.

Sometimes you can have a dog that more so resembles an apple head chihuahua, but has deer head features.

While in other cases, a deer head chihuahua might have certain characteristics of the apple head.

Its not out of the ordinary to have a chihuahua with features similar to both the apple head and deer head.

But, if you want your dog to participate in competitions you’ll have to know whether they are apple head or deer head.

Luckily, most chihuahuas are sought after as companion dogs and not show dogs. So there’s really no need to go crazy wondering what variation of chihuahua you have.

They will both love you unconditionally.

They Are The Same Breed

Three chihuahuas running on a beach

Although they have differences. the apple head and deer head chihuahua ARE the same breed.

During some point of the Chihuahuas history they started bearing differently shaped heads. No one really knows when or how this started occurring, and the complicated history of the breed doesn’t help.

We don’t know which came first, the apple head or deer head chihuahua.

Remains of both apple head chihuahuas, and deer head chihuahuas have been found dating back thousands of years. Which had noticeable differences in the

  • size of their jaw
  • shape of their head
  • length of their legs

So, it remains debatable as to whether the apple head or deer head chihuahua came first.

But, there is no doubt that the deer head and apple head chihuahua belong to the same breed.

They are simply just sub-types of the Chihuahua/teacup chihuahua.


Chihuahua Health

The Chihuahua is generally a very healthy dog, but some dogs may face health issues including:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Patella Luxation
  • Tracheal Collapse
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cardiovascular disease

While the deer head chihuahua is thought to be healthier than the apple head Chihuahua, both breeds are prone to the same health problems.


All health issues should be taken seriously, especially hypoglycemia.

In dogs, hypoglycemia is the term used to describe extremely low levels of sugar in the bloodstream.

The main source of energy used in an animals body is their blood sugar/glucose. A drop in these levels will cause lower energy levels, which if left unattended can lead to unconsciousness.

Although this condition is not considered a disease on its own, it is linked to other health problems such as diabetes.

If this condition goes untreated it has the potential to be life threatening.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • confusion
  • weakness 
  • loss of appetite
  • jitters
  • low energy levels

If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms bring him/her to the vet as soon as possible so you can treat the underlying health condition and avoid a hypoglycemia episode.

If an episode occurs its essential to raise their blood sugar levels immediately, following a visit to your vet.

Patella Luxation

Another common health issue of the chihuahua is patella luxation. Luxating patella can occur in ANY dog, so its important to be aware of the condition.

Luxating Patella is when the kneecap moves out of place from its normal location, this is also knows as kneecap dislocation.

Generally, if your dog is experiencing luxating patella you will see lameness of the leg, and strange movements including skipping.

Tracheal Collapse

In addition to hypoglycemia and luxating patella, chihuahuas are also prone to tracheal collapse.

Tracheal collapse is when the windpipe cartilage is weakened it changes from its natural shape, and will eventually collapse.

When your dogs windpipe collapses it becomes virtually impossible for your dog to breathe. Imagine trying to breathe through a small straw, it’s pretty hard.

If your dog is experiencing tracheal collapse they will

  • have a dry cough
  • gag when eating/drinking
  • refuse participating in any exercise

Catching this congenital condition early on is essential if you want to avoid your dog going into surgery,

An obstruction of your dogs airway is no light matter, but if caught in the beginning stages it can be treated with medicine.


Besides being prone to tracheal collapse chihuahuas are known for developing hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus is best described as “water on the brain” or an accumulation of fluid inside the skull.

There are two stages of hydrocephalus, primary and secondary hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus occurs due to a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and skull.

The primary form of hydrocephalus is congenital, while secondary hydrocephalus develops later in life.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is found in the brain and the spinal cord. CSF is produced in the choroid plexus and absorbed into the systemic circulation.

The two types of hydrocephalus are obstructive and compensatory.

Obstructive hydrocephalus occurs when there is a blockage of spinal fluid in the blood stream.

While compensatory hydrocephalus is caused by spinal fluid building up in areas of the nervous system that failed to develop or were damaged.

A build up of spinal fluid is what causes such extreme pressure and pain in your dogs skull.

There are many things that cause hydrocephalus, including:

  • prenatal infection
  • drugs during fetal development 
  • shock from a difficult birth

Also, hydrocephalus can be hereditary, so its important to know its symptoms. Which consist of: abnormal breathing, growth of the head, showing signs of lethargy, seizures,

If your dog is to get the medical procedure needed to relocate the buildup of spinal fluid to a location where it can properly be absorbed.

Unfortunately, most dogs don’t receive this treatment due to its high expense.

But, your dog can still take medical treatments that will reduce brain swelling and seizures.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is an acquired heart disease that is actually VERY common in dogs, especially in older dogs.

Cardiovascular disease effects the performance of your dogs heart, and overtime congestive heart failure will occur.

Side effects of cardiovascular disease might be hard to recognize in its early stages.

But, when your dogs heart is no longer able to meet the demands of their body, you are much more likely to see the symptoms and effects of the disease.

Your dog is likely to experience:

  • weakness 
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite 
  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing 

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms you should bring them to the vet immediately, and get them checked for heart diseases.

Unfortunately, if your dog has congestive heart failure there is no cure. BUT you can put your dog on a dose of medication that will enhance the performance of their heart.

Apple Head Chihuahuas Meet AKC Standards 

Happy Chihuahua laying in grass

Technically there are two types of the teacup chihuahua, apple head and deer head.

But, only the apple head chihuahua is recognized by the AKC, as the standard for the chihuahua breed.

By AKC standards chihuahuas should have an

  • apple shaped head
  • round eyes
  • short muzzle
  • straight ears

For competitions the length and color of a chihuahuas hair can vary, but you will only see apple head chihuahuas competing.

But if a chihuahua is spayed/neutered or is over the standard weight of 6 pounds, they will not be allowed to compete.

Not all apple head chihuahuas are cut out for the dog show/competition life…

Some apple head chihuahuas would much rather be home cuddling up with their owner.

Should Deer Head Chihuahuas Meet AKC Standards?

Chihuahua researching on computer wearing bow tie

Although the deer head chihuahua is not recognized as a breed by the AKC, some breeders DO recognize the deer head chihuahua as a sub-type of the breed.

Even though the deer head chihuahua cannot participate in shows, they are still widely popular.

If you like a chihuahua with a longer muzzle and longer legs, the deer head chihuahua might be right for you. It is also SO adorable how the deer head chihuahua resembles a baby deer.

These characteristics are some of the small differences between the apple head and deer head chihuahua.

You’d think that since the apple head and deer head are SO similar that they would eventually both be recognized as a variation of the chihuahua.

It is not uncommon for clubs, including the AKC, to revise their standards of breeds.

However, this usually takes some time.

It is possible that in the future the deer head chihuahua will be accepted by AKC as a variation of the chihuahua, as it should.

The Bottom Line 

Super star chihuahua wearing cool sun glasses

When someone hears “chihuahua” they probably don’t have much thought about their history, they’re cuteness is just too distracting.

But if you look into this breed you will find that there are SO many interesting things you didn’t know.

First off, the chihuahua is thought to be from Mexican decent, being related to an ancient dog known as the techini.

The breed is so old that its hard to fully understand their ancestry.

But, we do know that the chihuahua has two variations, the:

  • Apple head chihuahua 
  • Deer head chihuahua 

While these variations of the breed are extremely similar only the apple head chihuahua is recognized by organizations such as the AKC.

Luckily, this only really matters if you want your chihuahua to be able to participate in dog shows/competitions.

But it becomes sticky when you have a chihuahua that has traits resembling both the apple head and deer head chihuahua. Which is one of the many reasons people are working towards the recognition of the deer head as an official type of chihuahua.

Interestingly enough, although these dogs are viewed to be different, they virtually share ALL the same health issues.

There is much controversy around the chihuahua breed.

But, the one thing that is consistent about BOTH the apple head and deer head chihuahua is that they both will love you unconditionally and be wonderful additions to your household.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the apple head and deer head chihuahua.  Do you have anything to add about the apple head or deer head chihuahua?  Comment below…

Carol Reddy

Hi, I'm Carol Reddy, Founder and Editor of CommonPaw and Pawthentic. When I'm not sharing my love for and knowledge of dogs, you can usually find me at the gym or the beach, living a healthy lifestyle.