Deer Head vs. Apple Head Chihuahua - Main Differences & Characteristics

Deer Head vs. Apple Head Chihuahua - Main Differences & Characteristics

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 02 2023


You might have heard some owners referring to Chihuahuas as apple heads or deer heads, and you might be wondering what the exact difference is. Well, other than the shape of their head, there are some slight differences between these dogs that only true Chihuauha fans know how to spot. If you are ready to become a Chihuahua insider, keep on reading.

Apple head vs. Deer head

We need to mention that apple head and deer head Chihuahuas are not recognized by any major cynology associations. The “official” variations of the breed are long-haired and short-haired. The Chihuahua owner community uses the terms “apple head” and “deer head” to differentiate dogs with different head shapes.

1. Apple head

Apple head Chihuahuas, as their name suggests, have a domed, apple-shaped skull. The well-domed skull is closer to the official breed standard that mentioned these dogs should have a “well-rounded apple dome skull.”

chihuahua apple head

2. Deer head

The same goes for the deer head Chihuahuas, where nothing is left to imagine, and the name precisely describes the shape. These dogs have heads shaped like deer. Their muzzle is pointed and narrower than those of an apple head.

deer head chihuahua

Part of the same breed

There was some confusion regarding these dogs, and some owners were confused about whether this is still the same breed. To help clear this up - yes, apple-head and deer-head Chihuahuas are still a part of the same breed. They can be considered variations within a breed, and it is not the only breed that has slightly different dogs.

Main differences

As we already mentioned, the two varieties have a few subtle and a few less subtle differences. The shape of their heads might be the biggest one. Still, there are also differences in meeting the standard, general appearance, size, and health.

Meeting the breed standard

Getting a deer head Chihuahua is a great option if you are looking for a companion and have no show or breeding aspirations. However, if you are looking to get a competitive dog that could potentially win the Westminster dog show, then it will have to be an apple head Chihuahua.

Apple heads meet the breed standard, and deer heads are considered a fault. They can be a part of dog sports, such as obedience or agility. One deer head Chihuahua even became a part of the K-9 unit. He was used as a drug-sniffing dog because he could get into tight spaces that Beagles or Labradors couldn’t.

apple head chihuahua

General appearance

When it comes to these two varieties of the same breed, their head’s shape is not the only difference that is clear to see. The apple head Chihuahuas have bulging eyes and a molera, a soft spot on the top of their heads. Human babies have the same thing until the bones in their skulls don’t form completely, and the soft spot closes.

There is a huge difference in the shape and length of the muzzle. Deer head Chihuahuas have longer, pointed muzzles and an angular face. They have extended jawlines and longer necks. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is their size.


Chihuahuas are known as the smallest recognized dog breeds. Teacup dogs are not registered and recognized as separate from the main breed. Technically, a Teacup Chihuahua is still a part of the breed.

There is a difference between the sizes of the apple head and deer head Chihuahuas and deer heads are larger. They can reach a maximum weight of 12 pounds, which would be forbidden in show-quality dogs. Since the deer head isn’t allowed to participate in a show, the breeders didn’t focus too much on keeping them so small. These dogs are usually between 8 and 12 inches tall, which is more than your average Chihuahua.


Since the deer head Chihuahua isn’t constricted to being so small, breeders focused on improving their health and physical characteristics. With great care, these dogs can live up to 20 years! That is considered very old in the dog world. The main thing breeders focus on is improving their breathing issues.

Their longer muzzles give them stronger tracheas. They are less likely to suffer from a collapsed trachea, reverse sneezing, and other respiratory issues. Also, their eyes are less bulging, which makes them less prone to eye infections.

chihuahua longhaired apple head


The temperament of both deer-head and apple-head Chihuahuas are pretty much the same. These dogs can be cranky and snappy, but with proper socialization and training, they can become wonderful pets that form strong bonds with their owners. Chihuahuas are intelligent and love showering their owners with love and affection.

Some owners claim that deer heads are better companions than apple heads, but there is no evidence that supports that claim. Dog’s character will develop according to the training and socialization they receive.

If you want to know more about Chihuahuas, check this out - Chihuahua breed profile.

World Dog Finder team

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