Unless a buyer plans to enter their pet in competitions, there is not a whole lot of difference between apple-head and deer-head Chihuahuas. There are no distinguishing variance in their available forms, coats or colors, temperaments, or care needs. You can also find teacup apple head and teacup deer head Chihuahuas.
The primary difference between the two is their bone structure and their ability to compete in national events.
Apple-heads and deer-heads differ in their general head shape, but they are still considered to be the same breed. They both come in the long-coat and short coat varieties, and they can be any color or pattern imaginable. Apple-heads and deer-heads have the same general personalities and temperaments. Neither variety is easier to train or socialize, and both make great companions.
Apple-heads and Deer-heads are equally susceptible to the cold and need protection in low temperatures. Both are born with soft spots in their skulls known as mulleras that shrink with age but do not always disappear. Also both varieties are susceptible to the same maladies like arthritis, dental problems, bone fractures, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
In almost every way the deer-heads and the apple-head are one and the same breed. Their primary differences are related to their bone structure.
Apple-heads have a short muzzle, prominent jawline, and a large rounded forehead. The muzzle forms a 90 degree angle where it joins the jaw and there is very little slope from forehead to nose. In contrast Deer-heads have a longer snout, a narrow skull and a distinct slope that is much like a deer.
Apple-heads generally appear short and stocky, also known as a “cobby” appearance. There is very little distinction in girth of the rib cage, abdomen, and groin. In contrast, deer-heads appear taller with longer legs and a more distinct barrel chest. They have a longer neck than the apple-head. Overall, they have a leaner appearance and are often mistaken for other dogs. Because they do not fit the breed standard, deer-heads are often excluded from shows and tournaments.
Apple-head Chihuahua Equals Superior Breeding?
The American Kennel Club defines a Chihuahua eligible to represent the breed in official events as having “a well-rounded ‘apple dome’ skull, with or without mullera.”
Since deer-heads do not fit this description they are unable to compete. Some regard deer-heads as hybrids or believe the non-standard head shape is the result of poor breeding and defective genetics.
Some claim that the Deer-head is not bred for purity like the apple-head variety is. Many breeders sell the deer-heads at a lower price vs apple-heads as they cannot be used at competitions and they do not have the typical Chihuahua appearance. Still they make great companion dogs with all the benefits and challenges of the breed.
Deer-head Chihuahua Advantages?
There are advantages to the deer-head variety despite not being ‘breed standard’. They tend to have a lower frequency of health issues. Some believe this is because they may have lineages with other breeds. Some breeders and owners also claim deer-heads tend to be more obedient and social, but the claims have yet to be validated by major canine associations or studies and is purely anecdotal evidence.
When choosing between an apple-head vs a deer-head Chihuahua, a person can afford to base their choice on personal preference if they do not plan to compete.