Chihuahuas have adorable little heads – but have you ever noticed that some Chihuahuas have heads that look different than others? You’re not imagining things! There are different shaped heads within the Chihuahua breed.

The American Kennel Club only recognizes two types of Chihuahua – short-haired and long-haired. Yet in the world of dog lovers, Chis are often broken down into two subcategories – deer head Chihuahuas and apple head Chihuahuas.

We’ll look in detail at deer head vs apple head Chihuahuas so you understand the key differences. Let’s get started!

Key Differences

There is one main key difference between a deer head and an apple head Chihuahua –  the shape of their head. 

Apple head Chihuahuas have a round head that’s like the shape of an apple (as their name suggests). Their muzzle connects to their forehead at a 90-degree angle. 

Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua - Key Differences & How to Tell

On the other hand, deer head Chihuahuas have a narrower, longer head that is more ‘deer-like’. Their muzzle joins their forehead in a slope, rather than at a sudden angle. This slope is usually at about 45 degrees. 

Apple head Chihuahuas tend to be smaller in size than deer heads and have smaller heads. 

Apple head Chihuahuas might be what you traditionally think of as a Chihuahua, and depending on where you live they’re the type you’ll most commonly see out and about. 

Only apple head Chihuahuas meet the breed standard set by the American Kennel Club. However, this doesn’t mean deer head Chihuahuas are ‘less than’, it just means they can’t compete in official dog shows!

It’s worth mentioning that some Chihuahuas will have traits of both apple head and deer head Chis, making for a unique mix. 

Both apple head and deer head Chihuahuas share the same Chihuahua temperament and personality traits. Of course, all dogs are individuals and will have their own quirks. 

Apple Head Chihuahuas

Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua - Key Differences & How to Tell

  • Dome, apple-shaped head
  • Short snout
  • Snout connects to head in an ‘L’ shape, at a 90-degree angle
  • Smaller head than deer head Chis
  • Short jaw
  • Short neck
  • Smaller bodies than deer heads
  • Shorter legs than deer head Chis
  • Large eyes that stand out against their small head
  • Moleras/open fontanelle when they’re puppies 
  • Meet breed standard and can compete in official dog shows

Apple head Chihuahuas are absolutely adorable to look at. Although, I am biased as my girl is an apple head. 

Their small heads and short snouts make their eyes look even bigger, giving them an irresistibly cute look (especially when they’re asking for treats or attention). 

They can come in both short or long coats, in a wide variety of coat colors. 

Apple heads tend to have a more stocky body that is lower to the ground, with short little legs. 

If you see a Chihuahua in the show ring, it will be an apple head Chi as they’re the only type that meets the breed standard. 

Most apple head Chis are born with a moleras, which is a soft spot where their skull hasn’t fully fused together. It’s the same as human babies!

In most Chihuahuas, the moleras will close up by the time they’re three or four months old, but for some, it can remain open but get gradually smaller.

Since apple heads are smaller and more delicate in general, they can be more prone to getting hurt accidentally. Careful handling is vital. 

It’s generally understood that apple head Chihuahuas are more prone to health issues than deer head Chihuahuas. 

Due to the angle that their snout meets their head, they’re more likely to have respiratory issues including reverse sneezing, tracheal collapse, and even brachycephalic airway syndrome. 

Due to their prominent eyes, they’re more prone to eye infections and other eye issues. 

I’m always cleaning my Chihuahua’s eyes because she seems to constantly have debris in them (probably because she’s so low to the ground and her eyes are so big). I highly recommend having some eye wipes and eye drops in your home if you have an apple head Chi!

Their tiny little heads and short jaws can make them more susceptible to dental issues. It can be really hard to get into the back of their tiny mouths to clean their teeth well!

Due to the shape of their little skulls, they can be prone to hydrocephalus. This means that the cerebrospinal fluid has built up around the brain, causing brain swelling and several associated health issues. Hydrocephalus is a serious condition but thankfully when it’s caught early, it can be effectively treated in most cases. 

Deer Head Chihuahuas

  • Narrow, ‘deer-like’ head
  • Longer snout
  • Snout connects to the head at a gradual slope of roughly 45 degrees
  • Longer jaw than apple heads
  • Less prominent eyes
  • Longer neck than apple head Chis
  • Larger bodies than apple heads
  • Longer legs 
  • Many have larger ears than apple head Chihuahuas
  • Can have moleras but far less common
  • Doesn’t meet breed standard – can’t compete in official dog shows 

Deer head Chihuahuas are just as cute as apple heads, and are just as popular!

Their narrow heads and longer snouts give them an elegant, beautiful appearance. 

They can have either a short or long coat. They can come in a range of colors but they’re most commonly seen in tan or fawn. 

Deer heads have longer legs and are bigger overall. Their bodies are further from the ground and they often look more delicate. 

They tend to weigh more than apple heads, but appear less stocky. 

Despite not being able to compete in the show ring, deer heads are still ‘real’ Chihuahuas and make wonderful pets. 

Although they can have a moleras, it’s far less common in deer heads than it is in apple heads. 

It’s generally understood that deer head Chihuahuas are less prone to health issues than apple heads. Since their snout and jaw is longer, they’re less likely to struggle with breathing issues and dental issues. 

Their eyes are less pronounced so they’re less likely to have recurrent eye infections. Due to their longer skull, they’re also less likely to have hydrocephalus. 

Despite this, deer head Chihuahuas can struggle with health issues like any other dog. So, it’s important to get them regularly health checked at a vet and keep an eye on their health at home. 

How Can You Tell Whether Your Chihuahua is an Apple Head or Deer Head?

Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua - Key Differences & How to Tell

Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua - Key Differences & How to Tell

If you look at your Chi from the side and their head is more rounded, with a snout that is at a 90-degree angle to their forehead, you have an apple head. 

If when you look at them from the side, the connection between their snout and their head is more sloped and their snout is quite long, you have a deer head.

If you can’t tell, you could always check with your vet to be sure. If they don’t meet either of these descriptions, they might be a mix of both!

Which is Better – Deer Head or Apple Head?

Neither apple head nor deer head Chihuahuas are better than the other! They’re both adorable and loving pets. 

Unless you want to compete in the show ring with your Chihuahua, it doesn’t matter much which type you bring into your home. 

Of course, being aware of the health issues that an apple head Chihuahua can struggle with is helpful. But at the end of the day, as long as you take good care of your Chihuahua, you can thrive together for many years to come!

FAQs Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua

Can my Chihuahua be a combination of deer head and apple head?

Yes, Chihuahuas can have traits of both deer head and apple head Chihuahuas. For example, a Chihuahua could have a little domed head but a longer snout. 

Are deer head Chihuahuas rare?

No, deer head Chihuahuas are actually quite common, although you won’t see them in the show ring or on TV as much since they don’t meet the breed standard. 

Are deer head Chihuahuas healthier?

Deer head Chis are less prone to health issues than apple head Chihuahuas, but this varies greatly.