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 recognised varieties by any major canine association.

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 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 be 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 of times 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.

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.