A chihuahua with a round apple head and short muzzle, a deer head chihuahua with a flatter, sloped head.

If you’ve ever perused a chihuahua forum or heard someone talking about their dog, deer head vs. apple head pops up a lot. These terms refer to the shape of the dog’s head. An apple head has a rounded forehead and often a short pointy nose. A deer head has a more sloping forehead and typically a longer nose.

The AKC only recognizes the apple shaped head as their ideal. Some people even go so far as to say there is no such thing as a deer head, only poorly bred animals that don’t meet the standard.

The Apple Head

The apple head is what most people think of when they imagine a chihuahua. Ideally, apple head chihuahuas should have a round head, full eyes, and short muzzle. The AKC also notes that the stop, or the angle between the dog’s forehead and muzzle, should be prominent.

In general, a well-bred apple head is a beautiful thing, and very healthy. Unfortunately, breeding for show traits has led to some cases where the breed standard is taken to an extreme.

Muzzles that are too short can lead to breathing problems as well as more severe dental problems. In an effort to make a very tall upright head, the eyes can end up bugging out, making them more vulnerable to their eyes popping out from a fall or other accident.

We believe moderation is key, and that a well-bred apple head should have a classic muzzle, full eyes, and a gently rounded head.

The Deer Head

The deer head is a chihuahua who has a more sloped head, longer nose, and often longer legs too. Although they won’t win a conformation show anytime soon, they often benefit from fewer health problems.

Their longer muzzle allows for fewer dental issues and more room for their eyes. They also tend to have fewer breathing issues.

While deer heads can be purebred, they seldom come from health tested lines. They also tend to be larger than apple heads, usually over the AKC’s maximum size of 6 pounds.

Which Type Is Right for You?

If you plan to show your dog in conformation, you’ll want an apple head chihuahua. Otherwise, there is no wrong choice.

Both styles of chihuahua have their advantages and disadvantages. The best dog is a healthy one, so it’s best to look for health testing and early socialization in breeders and ask about known health issues in rescues.

No matter how cute the pup is, or what its head shape is, you should never purchase a puppy from a pet store. Pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills, which are incredibly cruel breeders who keep hundreds or even thousands of dogs in poor conditions.

The best puppy is a healthy puppy, regardless of its head shape.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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