Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua – What’s The Difference?

If you've done any research into the Chihuahua breed, you've probably heard of deer head and apple head being used to describe them. Breeders, veterinarians, experts and owners frequently use these terms to describe specific Chihuahuas based on their physical characteristics and appearance. The fact is that most Chihuahuas can either be classified as deer head or apple head based on how they look. So, what exactly do these unusually-sounding terms mean? Keep reading and we'll reveal the differences between deer head and apple Chihuahuas and what you need to know about them.

Naturally, one might assume that deer head and apple head Chihuahuas are a specific breed. After all, with so many people referring to their Chihuahuas with these terms, common sense should tell you that it's a certain breed. If you check with the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC) or Chihuahua Club of America, you simply won't find these varieties officially recognized. This is a somewhat similar situation as the term "teacup Chihuahuas," which we also explained on another section of our site. Even though people use the terms apple head, deer head and teacup daily to describe their Chihuahuas, the truth is that none of these are officially recognized varieties by any major canine association.

Apple Head Chihuahua

Apple Head Chihuahua

Apple Head Chihuahua Characteristics and Information

As previously stated, no major canine associated, AKC or otherwise, recognizes apple head or deer Chihuahua varieties. You can check their website, send them an email or call them up in person if you don't believe me. However, they do place an emphasis on the "apple" shape of a Chihuahua's head as the breed standard. Both the Chihuahua Club of America and the AKC state the breed standard's head must possess "A well rounded 'apple dome' skull, with or without molera."

If you're wondering what a molera is, let me explain - Chihuahuas are frequently born with a soft spot in their skull where the bone did not properly form. Instead of having a hard, thick skull that fully protects their brain, a Chihuahua with a molera will have a cartilaginous patch under their skin. While it doesn't offer as much protection as a hard boney skull, it still offers a valuable line of defense against head injury. The exact number of Chihuahuas suffering from this condition is unknown, but some breed experts claim that up to 80% of Chihuahuas have a molera.

Here are some of the characteristics of an apple head Chihuahua:

  • Short muzzle
  • Prominent jawline
  • Large, prominent forehead
  • Round, apple-shaped head (with or without molera)
Deer Head Chihuahua

Deer Head Chihuahua

Deer Head Chihuahua Characteristics and Information

On the other side of the fence is the deer head Chihuahua, which are equally as popular as their counterpart the apple head. Because the breed standards set by the major canine associations specifically state that the head of a Chihuahua must be apple-shaped, deer head Chihuahuas are oftentimes excluded from tournaments and shows. Some people even regard them as poor breeding because of their informal shaped head. Don't let that stop you from owning one, though, as they can wonderful pets that are just as loving, playful and fun as apple heads.

Here are some of the characteristics of a deer head Chihuahua:

  • Like the apple head, deer head Chihuahuas can be found with or without a molera.
  • Tend to have less health problems.
  • Long snout protruding further out than apple head Chihuahuas.
  • More narrow skull that resembles the head of a deer, hence the name.
  • Many owners swear that deer head Chihuahuas are more obedient and less aggressive than apple heads.

Should I Get a Deer Head or Apple Head Chihuahua?

Whether you should own a deer head or apple head Chihuahua is a choice that only you can make. Because of their cute and small size, many people base their decision on looks alone. While there's nothing wrong with taking into account how a Chihuahua puppy looks, you should really be focusing on their personality and traits. Once you've found a breeder with a litter of pups, go over there a couple time to actually sit down and play with them. This will give you a chance to see which Chihuahua pups are playful, fun, loving and want to be around you. I remember choosing my second Chihuahua, Bitty, because she was the runt who came up to me and wouldn't go away. I immediately knew she was the one for me and have never regretted making that decision.

Something that's important to note is that apple head Chihuahuas are more susceptible to health problems that plague the breed. Compared to other dog breeds, Chihuahuas have relatively few health problems, but this doesn't mean they will stay 100% healthy their entire lives. Some of the most common health problems associated with Chihuahuas are diabetes, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), arthritis and bone fractures to name a few. Deer head Chihuahuas may still suffer from some of these conditions, but the chances are lower than those of an apple head's.


87 Responses to “Deer Head vs Apple Head Chihuahua – What’s The Difference?”

  1. Trisha says:

    I have adopted an apple head I think he was at least a year old, his previous owners mistreated him (they only wanted the puppy stage ) apparently he had to fend for himself and ran loose all over town ,when I got him he was timid and even scared of doggie toys I had bought him,he knows now what LOVE is, he is the sweetest, cutest little guy I love him so very much, I guess you could say we found each other we make each other happy.

  2. Lori says:

    I have had my apple head chihuahua Rocco for almost 15 years. He has a perfect bill of health, a great temperament and loves children as well as other dogs and cats! My little “old man”, has brought so much joy to my life!

  3. Deborah says:

    I have a applehead pretty baby girl. She loves everyone. She is 3.5 lbs. She wants to lick everyone that comes to the house. Her name is pee wee. She is 1 and 6 months old now. She is really smart and gets along with everyone and every dog. I couldnt live without her.

  4. Jackie says:

    I am so fortunate to have a little one that not only is loyal but protects me in my panic attacks depression episodes and anxiety episodes. He has not had any training but my doctor said he wants me to always have him with me because I am better when he is. So he is now registered and is always by my side. Love goes along way with this breed my apple head is forever my fur baby.

  5. Natalie Henry says:

    I’m the owner of a hyper, clever, obedient,intelligent and loyal deerhead chihuahua.

  6. Dale Akers says:

    We have a chihuahua-jack Russell mix named 6-volt & a deer head chihuahua named Srae, (ears spelled backwards), both are well behaved, although voltie is more vocal. They are the first small breed dogs we’ve ever had & wouldn’t trade either of them for the world!

  7. Jess Morton says:

    Im the proud owner of a little, jealous, protective, loyal, clingy, spoiled Chiwawah named Gizzy. That my husband and I adore, he’s our child, literally! I would love to receive daily info on my bff♥♥~~ Thanks so much Michael, Jess, and Gizzy Danner

  8. Cathy says:

    Sheva, 6 years old, 3 pounds. Apple head and loves all people. She hates our female mixed, 6 pounds and All cats. She is vicious and will knock the huge cats down & eat them up. None of the cats attack her. As a pup of 10 ounces one cat did chase her. Just want her to not want to kill our little Bella. I flip her on her side and make her lay till she quits growling. I feel so mean but have no clue what else to do. Help us have a happier home. None of my dogs or cats will be given away ever!

  9. Darlene says:

    I have a second hand apple head and she is the most sweetest dog . I inherited her from my daughter after she moved out and had to leave her behind. my daughter never trained her so she barked at everyone and every thing. I dont tolerate that so she now only barks when nessessary. She loves all people and a hollow leg… does’nt like strange dogs though. We have a bulldog , the bulldog thinks she is a chihuahua Im sure… they play together and wrestle all the time, every so often the bulldog forgets her size and the chihuahua promply reminds her by chomping on her lip. Then all is good again.

  10. Kate says:

    The photo you have on this article of a deer head chihuahua actually looks like a Jack Russell.

  11. Laura says:

    Just got two chihuahua puppies that are 14 weeks old. Told both parents are purebred chihuahuas. Seen the mom looks like she is purebred. Only dad has papers (don’t know dad dog). How do I get my puppies registered. Also how to tell is mine are apple-heads or deer-heads…Google pictures are hard tell difference. Also any other info on training welcomed. Thanks!

  12. Hope Hale says:

    I’ve been told that Lindy my rescued chihuahua is a Mexican Chihuahua. She is long legged , has a long Snout, and her head isn’t Apple shaped, she has a arrow chest and long body. She was rescued from a kill shelter down south 2 days before she was to be put down. Lindy is now a therapy Dog, working at a residence for mostly People with memory loss. She also works with special needs children I do respite for and adhd kids I tutor. She is the sweetest calmest chihuahua I have ever had.

    • Carla says:

      A reputable breeder should have both parents registered. You register them from their paperwork. Chihuahuas and Pitbulls are the 2 most killed breeds in shelters. I sincerely hope you did not knowingly or unknowingly buy these from a puppy mill and sincerely pray you do not plan on breeding them.

  13. Lorraine says:

    We have an apple head. He is definitely aggressive. We have a German shepherd whom is very, very patient with him. Max has nipped many people and will attack other dogs. When the door bell rings, he is in attack mode. He’s almost bitten me a few times as well. He also has the breathing difficulty from time to time as well. However, he is a good watch dog and after reading the difference between the apple head and deer head, next time I will definitely search out a deer head. Max is a rescue and I attributed his behavior difficulties to his possible negative past treatment. I now there is a difference. I believe in obedience training and have competed many times over the years for obedience titles and have also judged the performance of many breeds. It was always a pleasure to see a well trained Chihuahua in the ring. Max is my first Chihuahua, my husband had several prior to our marriage. I do love the little guy, I just keep working at his less than friendly attitude.

  14. ceejay says:

    I have a little apple head she only weights 5 lb. and travels every where with me . She is my little service dog she is very smart . But they only thing I can’t change is she dislikes other dogs out side her family and she lives with a pit-bull and two other dogs , 4 cats and she just plays with them all.

  15. Randall Lane says:

    I have an apple head, she is not friendly to strangers and barks when she hears a noise even whenever the ice maker dump. She is very protective of my wife and me, she was potty trained in one week. She does not like outside and the smartest thing ever and love her so much

  16. Donald says:

    I own both an apple head and a deer head .. my deer head is the father(Matthew) my apple head is his daughter(pepper) .. Matthew is 2 1/5 had him since he was 2 months old .. self house broken by 4 months (I have never heard of animals house braking themselves .. until this one .. pepper i have had since birth .. the mother was also a deer head .. she had 4 puppies .. 3 apple heads 1 dear head .. pepper was fully pad trained/house broken by about 3 month .. I personally do not see an intelligence difference between the two breeds .. my two are the opposite both guard dogs but the apple head is generally the first to bark .. but as the guard dog bark .. if I’m walking them it’s the deer head that’s first ..(Matthew was my first small dog I have ever thought about owning now I don’t know what I would do without him .. or both at this point)

  17. catherine furr says:

    have adeerhead and anapplehead, Mocha and cocoa, had 3 and let them out to potty and someone got my bigger one, they are sisters and will not go anywhere without the other one. Mocha the deerhead is very protective and barks at every thing Chocoa is the applehead and never barks at anything, they are very sweet and different but adorable.

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