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The Differences Between Apple Head & Deer Head Chihuahuas

Updated April 17, 2017

Chihuahuas are the smallest of the dog breeds. They originate from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The main differences that exist in the Chihuahua breed are colour, length of fur and body type. One of the most noticeable differences between these dogs is that some have apple-shaped heads and others have deer-like heads.

Apple Head

Chihuahua's with apple heads have a short nose and muzzle. The top of their skulls are rounded and more prominent than the rest of their skull. As the top of the skull rounds over, it sinks in right above the eyes. This sunken area is called a "molera"; it is used to differentiate between apple and deer head Chihuahuas. The presence of a molera can be determined when the dogs are still puppies.

Deer Head

Deer hear chihuahuas do not have a molera. Their skull is uniformly shaped and the muzzle is in proportion to the rest of the head. Their noses are not as small and flat. If a Chihuahua does not have the apple head characteristics, then it is a deer head Chihuahua.

Breathing Problems

Deer head Chihuahua's tend to have less Chihuahua specific respiratory problems. Tracheal collapse in particular is a major health concern with Chihuahuas. Deer heads suffer from it less often because their tracheae are not as small and vulnerable as apple heads. Also, the longer muzzle gives the small dog more room to breathe and less chance of choking while trying to breathe.

American Kennel Club Standard

According to the American Kennel Club, there are only two different types of Chihuahuas. You might expect that to be apple head and deer head but, actually, there are either longhair or short-haired Chihuahuas. The breed standard for both states a preference for an apple-shaped head, but the dog is not required to have one to be considered a true Chihuahua. The terms "apple" and "deer head" are basically nicknames that people use to describe the difference.

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About the Author

Carolina Arana has been writing professionally since 2003. She has been published online and in "Cypress Dome," as well as academic research conducted for the University of Central Florida and various private companies such as Leading and Learning Inc. Arana is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in biology.