apple head chihuahuas vs. deer head chihuahuas: how they are different

applehead chihuahua

we have all heard the term teacup chihuahua, but what do the terms apple head and deer head mean when it comes to describing characteristics of the chihuahua breed and what exactly makes an applehead chihuahua different from a deer head chihuahua?

the term apple head is used to describe any chihuahua with a round or ‘dome-like’ head similar to the shape of an apple. the upper part of the chihuahua’s skull is wider than the lower part in the jaw area.

click to watch video! learn more about applehead and deerhead chihuahuas!

if you look close at the top of the skull of most chihuahuas, you will notice that it is slightly sunken in just like the top of an apple.  this area is called molera, a spanish word for ‘fontanel’, or any membranous gap between the bones of the cranium in an infant or fetus and it is similar to the ‘soft spot’ that human babies have on their heads upon birth.

adult apple head chihuahua

according to chihuahua breed standards, the term apple head is required in the description of the ‘head’ of a chihuahua that includes an apple domed skull with either the presence or absence of molera. it is also used when referencing chihuahua puppies at an age where it is noticeable.

close up of a chihuahua skull

the term deer head is used to describe any chihuahua that does not have the characteristic apple shaped head. deer head chihuahuas tend to have a longer noses and a head shape similar to that of a miniature young deer. they also tend to have less chihuahua health problems.

teaka the deerhead chihuahua

in this picture of teaka the famous chihuahua, you can see deer-like features, but she is an apple head chihuahua, so it can be confusing at times. at birth she was given the temporary name of fawn, which means a young deer under a year old.

apple head chihuahua puppy

related: what is a blue chihuahua

what is a teacup chihuahua?

apple head and deer head chihuahua names

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dog clothing for applehead and deerhead chihuahuas

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Comments 159

  1. Steph

    My Pebbles seems to be a mix of the two. She is about 10 lbs, 11 months old and has the slender body and long legs. Her eyes are large and slightly bulgy. Her ears smaller than the “deer” chihuahua I have seen. Her coat is tan with a cream white streak that goes from her neck to the rip of the bottom of her tail. She has black on her back.

    She really looks like the Techichi dog pictures. When she was a small puppy she looked like a tiny dingo. lol SOOO cute!

    Her favorite thing to do is to fetch a tennis ball that looks like it would be too big for her mouth…haha She’s a really fast runner, too. If she sees a tennis ball in your hand she’s in the other side of the yard already waiting for you to throw it.

    Her other favorite thing is to cuddle, mess with the cats, and follow me everywhere. It seems like she chose me as her favorite person, but, loves my husband and daughter, too. She’s great with other people and wants to make friends with every other dog she has met out on walks.

    Pebbles is a great dog and I love her!

    We adopted one of her brothers, Brutus, too. He was a beautiful tri-color and bigger than she was when we got them at 8 weeks old. (he could stand over her). Unfortunately, they BOTH (ugh!!!) tested positive for Parvovirus a few days after we got them. Brutus died. Man… that really hurt my heart to have to tell my 9 year old when she got home from school!! (They were born at a shelter… there mother were given up pregnant because the people who owned their mother had “too many dogs”… whatever that means).

  2. Amanda

    I have a deerhead and an applehead chihuahua that are very energetic. I love them very much and I think chihuahuas are a great breed.

  3. Trish

    I’ve always wondered what the difference is between appleheads and deerheads, now I know! Thanks for the info:)

  4. colleen murphy

    dont mean to sound stupid, but i have never heard of a deerhead chihuahua. applehead yes. i am a dog groomer for 30 years.

  5. Tammy

    I have a deer head that weighs 12 pounds. He has long hair and a long body. Both his parents were short hair chihuahuas. Is this a different breed of chihuahua? He is totally devoted to me and I once ran into a woman who knew exactly what breed he was (which isn’t the usual) because she had the same type and knew how loving and devoted they were. I’d love to get another some day but wouldn’t know where to look as I bought him through a friend that isn’t breeding anymore.

  6. Jillian

    i have a deer head named moses/momo/sillyface and he is the most special loving 9 lb baby that anyone ever knew. my husband and i werent too keen on chis until he came into our lives. he was and is so special anyone he meets animal adult or child is touched and loved when they meet him i think that all chihuahuas in their own way are special deer head apple head or just plain silly in the head becuase we all know our chihuahuas can sometimes be silly! mine is also a long hair and i have met long haired short haired deer head and apple head and i foundthat each one was unique in his or her own way i love chihuahuas big small mixed or purebread who cares where you get them from especially if you rescue them its a wonderful thing to have one of these little guys or gals in your life and i think sometimes we could all use a little CHIHUAHUA in our lives !

  7. stephanie morris

    i have a deer head and a apple head my deer head is a female and my male is a apple head , he looks like he taco bell dog . they both weigh 5 lbs.

  8. Patti

    I also have both types (4 total) one I bought from a backyard breeder. He’s now 12 lbs, and I saw both of his parents, mom a long hair and dad a short hair. The other 3 are rescues, one from the pound. I have 3 dear heads and 1 apple head, and they all range in size from 4 lbs to 12 lbs. I love them all with a passion. They’re my babies! They have brave hearts and lots of personality and energy. My 4 lbs is a dear head and she dances to the tune of “Dancing Queen”.

  9. Bams

    Both are cute. However, the national breeding standards in my country specifically mention the apple head as the characteristical trait of the chihuahua. Deer heads are not bred according to their standard. It’s something to take into account if you would like to show your chi. But even if you aren’t planning on showing your chi, you might want to think twice about your deerhead seller if he isn’t breeding according to standards. Make sure to buy from a shelter of certified chihuahua breeder. Too many sellers are covering up that they’ve actually gotten their puppies from puppy mills or flown in from developing nations, which could leave you with high vet costs not to mention a broken heart.

  10. Sandi

    Oh no Chi Momma you are right, they are a beautiful breed indeed. I also have both deer & applehead Chi’s. I love them all the same. What I have noticed is besides their differences in appearence, the deer Chi’s seem to be a little bit more spastic and full of energy compared to the apples. Not to say apples aren’t full of energy, they are but my deers seem to be more spastic and they do tend to shake more. Probably because they are smaller. Both types are loving lap dogs and boy are they all cuties! Anyone else tend to agree? Id love to hear what other owners of both types have to say.

  11. chi/momma

    I am lucky enough to have one of each an apple and a deer and I love them both, they are all adorable I have never seen an ugly chihuahua !!

  12. plasticwool

    we caught a good photo comparison of our applehead and deer head chihuahua:

    copy this link to your browser to see it

  13. Quinn

    I have had a chihuahua before and I am getting another one very soon! I am so excited I want a thick dark shorthaired applehead chihuahua! They are so adorable especially with the floppy tips on their ears!! GOSH i love it!

  14. Sandi

    Mariana, I get the same thing from people too about my Chi Mr.Pants. His mama was an applehead and his father was deer. The mix of the 2 different kinds made Mr. Pants larger than most chis with an applehead but long snout. Lol but he’s adorable nonetheless.

    I recently got another baby chi I have no idea what she will turn out like. I didn’t get to see her parents. She’s small, her head looks larger but at 7 weeks she is the size of a medium sized rat! Very hard to tell. I came here looking to see if there was a distinct difference so I can tell now.

  15. Marianna

    I have a deer head chihuahua and many people ask me if she is a mix. Her body is much longer than typical chihuahuas too. Her papers say she is pure bred chihuahua but the longer shape of her head really throws people off. She’s adorable nonetheless!

  16. Sarah

    can you tell whether a small pup will be apple head of deer head right off the bat? We are getting a pup and he will be 8 weeks on July 6th, but I am not totally sure if he is apple head or deer head. His mother is deer head, but I have not seen his father yet. He looks pretty round as of now, but i also have a side profile photo of him and he looks like he could also go deer head. Any ideas?

  17. Debbi

    I have 2 deerhead chihuahuas…they both are very small and petite but their legs seem longer then other chi’s that I have seen. they both come from the same breeder and have the same father… different mothers though

  18. Jme

    I have two chihuahuas both have round heads. but one of my girls is alot bigger than the other. and she has a square like nose. the other girl is very small and petite bur her nose is small and from nose to lip theres an angle? does this have anything to do with their breed of chihuahua?

  19. Post
    famous chihuahua editor

    You would have to look at factors such as the genetics of the parents, the kind of nourishment the chihuahua puppy will receive so it grows to it’s full potential and how active you intend to keep your chihuahua pup.

  20. Alison H.

    I am looking into buying a chihuahua pup and I have my eye on one that I believe is a deer head. When it is full grown, is there typically a difference of size between appleheads and deer heads?

  21. Post
  22. Sarah Collins

    My chihuahua, Timmy, seems to have a deer shaped head but also has a fontanel, does this mean he is an apple head or can deer heads have them too?

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