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Types Of Chihuahuas: From Short-Haired to Apple-Headed!

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Breeds By K9 of Mine Staff 10 min read November 30, 2021 23 Comments

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types of chihuahuas

Chihuahua’s are a fascinating breed – and one that briefly took the world by storm, gaining more popularity after being spotted in celeb hands (and handbags) like Paris Hilton, Demi Moore, Reese Witherspoon and even, at some point, Marilyn Monroe, whose pooch was named Josepha.

Today we’re digging into the history of the Chihuahua and the different types of Chihuahuas than fans of the breed might seek out!

Types of Chihuahuas: Quick Facts

Learn about these Chihuahua variations, which ones are officially recognized by the AKC (hint: not as many as you’d think), and more below!

The History of the Chihuahua

history of Chihuahua

One of the theories we have available about the origin of the Chihuahua breed — and certainly the most plausible one if you ask us — is that they are descended from an ancient race of dogs called the Techichi who were kept by the ancient Toltec peoples.

These dogs were kept around as companions, and they eventually found themselves being sold to passesrby. Over time, they began going by the name of region they were most commonly found in: Chihuahua!

The Chihuahua breed was first registered as an official breed with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1904.

Chihuahua Breed Basics

Standing between 5 and 8 inches tall and weighing up to 6 pounds, the Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed, but he’s hardly tiny in tenacity. This lively little one has a personality far larger than his frame and is the most compact watchdog out there, quick to alert you to perceived intruders, whether it’s the mail carrier or a chipmunk. 

chihuahua basics

He’s an excellent companion who effortlessly earns his keep, providing aforementioned watchdog duties (albeit too enthusiastically at times), fantastic lap-warming skills, and endless entertainment. 

The AKC breed standard calls for a dog with a “saucy expression,” and boy does the Chihuahua deliver. He packs a lot of cuteness in his little frame, with large eyes and tall, pricked ears that forever broadcast his mood. He’s confident and poised, carrying himself well.

The Chihuahua gets a bad rep when it comes to snippy behavior, though this is less breed-specific and is more so an example of small dog syndrome — a common issue with toy breeds. 

Due to his size, it’s easy to overly pamper your Chihuahua and excuse naughty behavior like nipping and nuisance barking, but consistent training with plenty of positive reinforcement is critical in shaping him into the best example of the breed. 

7 Different Types of Chihuahuas

At the outset, we must point out that the American Kennel Club only recognizes two varieties of Chihuahuas: short (or smooth) coat Chihuahuas and long coat Chihuahuas.

The rest, which we’ll go through in a bit, are simply considered subtypes of these two recognized varieties.

Chihuahua Type #1: Short-Haired (Smooth Coat) Chihuahuas

chihuahuas are great for seniors

We’ll begin by discussing what is likely the most common type of Chihuahua you’ll see at the dog park: the short hair Chihuahua.

The only notable difference between the short-hair Chihuahua and the other recognized breed variety (the long-hair Chihuahuas) is, well, the coat. That’s it!

Believe it or not, the smooth-coat Chihuahua has short hair, while the long-coat Chihuahua has (wait for it…) long hair. Because the short hair gives the animals a bit of a streamlined appearance, they’re sometimes called smooth-coat Chihuahuas.

It goes without saying that short-haired Chihuahua owners will have less effort on the grooming front and a little less shed hair to clean up around the house. But you should also note that short-haired Chihuahuas will be more likely to catch a chill in cold weather, so make sure you pick up a dog sweater for your little wagger to wear.

Chihuahua Type # 2: Long-Haired (Rough Coat) Chihuahuas

long-hair-chihuahua

As explained in the previous section, long-haired Chihuahuas simply have longer hair than their short-coated counterparts.

The overall appearance of these long coats can make them appear somewhat “rough” (at least, when compared with short-haired Chihuahuas), which leads to the other common name for these doggos: the rough-coated Chihuahua.

It can take up to 24 months at most for a long-haired chihuahua to develop a full and luxurious coat. From this point forward, you’ll need to ensure you keep that coat clean (as you would with all dogs) and have him groomed regularly.

A weekly brushing is also a good idea, and your pooch will likely enjoy these little mini grooming sessions, which will give you another way to bond with your pupperino.

Chihuahua Type #3: Apple Head Chihuahua

Apple-Head-Chihuahua

Having discussed the two official varieties of Chihuahua, we can now move on to other types, which differ from each other without receiving official recognition. And to do that, we’re gonna start with head shape; all Chihuahuas have one of two types of heads.

The first is the so-called apple head (or apple-headed) Chihuahua. These cute little canines have heads that are rounded and vaguely apple-shaped. These Chihuahuas are likely the type most people envision when thinking of the breed (anyone else remember the Taco Bell Chihuahua?), and they’re fairly common too.

In addition to having a more rounded head, apple head Chihuahuas have a slightly shorter muzzle too. They’re also born with something called a molera — a soft spot in the skull that may or may not completely close, much like the fontanel in human newborns.

Chihuahua Type #4: The Deer Head Chihuahua

deer head chihuahua

While most Chihuahuas have apple-shaped heads, others have heads that are described as being more deer-like. Accordingly, these little four-footers are called deer-headed (or simply deer head) Chihuahuas.

Deer-headed Chihuahuas differ from their apple head counterparts in a few ways, but two of the most notable are that deer head Chihuahuas have slightly longer heads and no slope on their noses (as is seen on the apple-head chihuahua).

There’s one other important difference between these two types of Chihuahuas: The deer head Chihuahua often grows a little bit larger than its counterparts — a fact which may mean your dog is unable to compete in dog shows with weight limits.

Chihuahua Type #5: The Teacup Chihuahua

teacup chihuahua

While we’ve previously discussed Chihuahuas who differ in things like coat length or skull shape, we need to take a moment to discuss a variety that differs in overall size.

Of course, we’re talking about the teacup Chihuahua.

Now, all Chihuahuas are small, but the so-called teacup Chihuahua is ridiculously small. As their name implies, they’re said to be small enough to fit in a teacup.

According to Teacup Daily, to satisfy this criteria, teacup chihuahuas have to weigh less than 5 pounds and be no taller than 9 inches. We’d say that qualifies as pawsitively puny!

It’s worth noting that many folks disapprove of the breeding of teacup Chihuahuas. Teacup dogs are abnormally tiny and tend to have painful lives due to the genetic issues that come from being purposely bred to be unnaturally small.

Chihuahua Type #6: The Pear-Headed Chihuahua

Pear-Headed Chihuahua

A mashup of apple-headed Chihuahuas and deer-headed Chihuahuas in appearance is the “pear-headed Chihuahua.” While the fruity moniker is fun to say and sounds exotic, it isn’t really a thing, so don’t let anyone charge you a premium for one. 

As the name implies, so-called “pear-headed Chihuahuas” have a skull that resembles a pear, with a wider apple-like top that narrows slightly before flaring into a wider muzzle than seen in deer-headed Chihuahuas. Sometimes, these pups are taller and heavier than other Chihuahuas, exceeding the six-pound limit of the standard.

If you see a breeder advertising “pear-headed Chihuahuas” or other strange labels, it’s a definite red flag, particularly if they’re charging extra or listing the pup as a rarity. As with the “teacup” title, it’s one we’d avoid. Ethical, responsible breeders seek to meet or exceed the breed standard, not reinvent it.

Chihuahua Type #7: The Fawn Chihuahua (or Any Other Colored Chihuahua)

chihuahua

Coat length, skull shape, and size are some of the most common ways Chihuahuas are classified, but these little lads and ladies also come in a variety of coat color and pattern varieties. Accordingly, you may seem them referred to as fawn Chihuahuas, or white Chihuahuas, or any of the other colors seen in the breed.

For whatever reason, the term fawn Chihuahua is the one most commonly seen (and Googled). Like most other fawn colored dogs, fawn Chihuahuas are basically brown to reddish brown in color. They may also have markings of different colors.

In total, the AKC recognizes the following Chihuahua coat colors:

  • Black
  • Black & Tan
  • Blue & Tan
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate & Tan
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Fawn & White
  • Red
  • Black & Red
  • Black & Silver
  • Black & White
  • Black Sabled Fawn
  • Black Sabled Silver
  • Blue
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Brindled Fawn
  • Blue Fawn
  • Chocolate & White
  • Chocolate Blue
  • Chocolate Brindled Fawn
  • Chocolate Sabled Fawn
  • Cream & White
  • Fawn Brindled Black
  • Gold
  • Gold & White
  • Red & White
  • Silver
  • Silver & White
  • White

But colors are only half the story! There are also a number of markings that Chihuahuas can sport, including:

  • Black Mask
  • Black Brindling
  • Black Sabling
  • Merle Markings
  • Spotted on White
  • White Markings
  • Black Mask with White Markings
  • Blue Mask
  • Cream Markings
  • Fawn Markings
  • Red Markings

Caring for Your Chihuahua (No Matter the Type!)

caring for Chihuahua

Whether you have a long hair Chihuahua, a smooth-coated Chihuahua, or a tiny little teacup Chihuahua, their care is largely similar.

With his pint-size frame, the Chihuahua is a relatively easy-keeper, with a manageable food bill and modest exercise needs. He does, however, have some health issues you’ll want to be aware of.

He should be encouraged to eat a crunchy kibble to help clean his teeth between brushings, though a meal topper or wet option can be offered as a treat here and there. A daily walk for enrichment is ideal, but the breed is just as happy running around indoors and engaging in backyard play, too.

cute chihuahua

That said, his size does come with a danger you may not think about with larger breeds: birds of prey. Your Chihuahua should always be monitored when he’s outdoors, with leashed walks the best way to keep him safe from harm. This includes during day and night, as owls are as much of a threat as hawks. In many areas, coyotes are a danger to be concerned about as well.

Unfortunately, two-footers can also represent a danger to Chihuahuas. These tiny doggos are exceptionally fragile and should never be left unattended around children, as accidents happen.

Roughhousing can quickly lead to broken bones, and on the Chihuahua’s tiny frame, the effects can be devastating. The breed gets along great with other well-behaved, gentle canines and even cats, but the breed tends to prefer his own kind. With his size, he’s best-suited for playdates with equally small dogs to avoid accidental injury.

Due to his limited exercise needs and size, the Chihuahua is an excellent candidate for apartment life, though early training is needed to curb his propensity toward excessive barking. He may be small, but he can be quite loud when he wants to be, which wouldn’t earn any fans in your building. 

Chihuahuas are also one of the most difficult breeds to housetrain, so prepare yourself for a long, sometimes messy road. Focus on reward-based training and consistency, and in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a well-mannered companion who potties appropriately.

Chihuahua Clubs: Mingling with Other Chihuahua Owners!

chihuahua clubs

As the Chihuahua breed’s popularity has grown, many clubs focused on the breed have popped up. This gives owners the chance to learn from other Chihuahua owners, share fun (and not-so-fun) stories, and allow these cute little floofs to play with other members of their own breed!

Some of the most noteworthy Chihuahua clubs include:

If you have a little Chihuahua at home or you’re thinking about adding one to your family, do yourself a favor and reach out to one of these clubs — they’ll usually prove to be invaluable resources!

***

What type of Chihuahua do you have? What’s your favorite? Share in the comments!

And before you go, be sure to check out our other Chihuahua resources:

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23 Comments

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Gabby

I have 2 Chihuahuas there brothers and sisters, and I can’t tell if there a deer headed, or apple headed and how can I find out if there really siblings, cause the male looks like a deer, and both of my chihuahuas are white and the female looks like a Taco Bell dog

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Ben Team

Hey there, Gabby.
To determine if your pups are deer- or apple-headed, I think looking at them from the side is often helpful.

As for verifying that your pups are actually siblings, you could obviously ask the breeder. But if that’s not possible (or you don’t trust the breeder to be honest), you could always try a dog DNA test. Some of the better tests on the market will actually show you known relatives of your pooch.

Check it out and let us know what you find!

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Margaret m

My sister friend has a dog they say is a chi she had puppies they are trying to sale but I looked at the momma and she looks like a Winnie dog. I wanted to post a picture but I don’t know how to do it on here. I just wanted to make sure

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Ben Team

Hey there, Margaret.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell what breed a dog is by looking at it. The only way you can know for sure is through a dog DNA test.
Best of luck!

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Maya

I have a teeny weeny little fawn applehead boy who was the only boy in the litter and was known as the runt. I have never seen a chihuahua behave so beautifully with all children and be so placid with cats. He prances around gracefully when walking, but hates getting his precious little feet wet. He is also a great doorbell before visitors even get out of their car.

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Ben Team

He sounds wonderful, Maya! Thanks for sharing.
🙂

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Monica Nitti

I have two adorable chihuahuas. They are brother and are a mix of long hair apple and short hair deer. They are black and white and have a lovely thick coat.

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Frank

On my second long haired apple dome cant imagine a better companion so loyal just amazing dogs through and through

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Kimberly Trejo

Thank you for all the info about chihuahuas I have a a deer head chihuahua and she is the love of my life so thank you very much and have a great day

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Ben Team

So glad you found the article helpful, Kimberly! Thanks for reading.

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Christie

My Digger, aka Diggy Dig ,or Smiley (yes he smiles) has the deer look. He is a honey .. lover boy! Loves everybody ALWAYS wins them over when his smile! Not a big barker.. Now he does have a mind of his own and thinks he is Boss..all in all he minds pretty good !He is extremely smart!! Love my baby !!

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laurel

i have a little black dog that i recued but i dont know ,not that it matters if she is a chihuahua or not. all black pointed ears pointed face tiny skinny body. i love her but just want to know. she is a rescue

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Ellen shopland

I am looking for a teacup chihuahua puppy. Can you give me any leads?

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Meg Marrs

Sorry Ellen, we don’t recommend any specific breeders at the moment. I’d also recommend that you steer away from teacup puppies, as they are quite controversial and have many health issues. You can read more about the issues with teacup puppies here.

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Linda

I have a teacup, and she has never had any serious issues. Just the normal thing’s like the teeth. She is just over 13 year’s and healthy as can be

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Stephanie Parks

I have 8 Chihuahuas. I just love them. I would have never saw myself as being a Chihuahua lover or owner as I’ve always liked bigger dogs. The first time I met a chi chi though I was hooked and in love with the breed. They are a very misunderstood breed, just like pit bulls. Yes they can sometimes be a bit crotchety as some people would say but their amazing personalities and their adorable looks make up for it. I have bought a few of my fur babies and I’ve rescued quite a few. They are very appreciative and they will be loyal and love you as soon as you bond. Some you have to be more consistent with but its well worth it and I have to remind myself what they had been through. They are already a breed born scared due to their size but then they get unlucky because they end up with a horrible abusive owner. I can’t even begin to fathom how anyone could or even would want to hurt, neglect or treat these little guys so bad. Our last rescue is so sweet and he doesn’t chew on anything that’s not his, he is pad trained and also outdoor trained as are all of my chi chis. He was beat, starved, and neglected. Someone we knew took him and brought him to us. He was timid at first of course but after he learned that he could trust us which is incredible that he was able to trust again he became the most amazing loving little guy. Everytime we are in the car and pass another dog all we have to say is “where are the puppies” and he will jump up and start talking and begging to say hi to them. Whenever we get a new dog he is the 1st to greet them and make them feel like one of the family. They are very intelligent. I’ve found that their only downfall is that they have very small bladders but that’s an easy fix (just have to let them go on the pads) they are as easy to train as it is to train a cat to use a litter box in our experience)maybe a bit expensive but they are worth it. Ellen I don’t know if you ever found the teacup you were looking for as this article is a few years old but we have one more puppies left. We are not breeders but his parents just both happen to be teacup apple heads. The puppy is all white and he is healthy and his parents are healthy also with no genetic problems. Thank you for the article I always love reading about Chihuahuas and learning new things about them. Thank you for letting me share about my fur babies. I definitely recommend a Chihuahua to someone looking for a dog. Even your a big dog person, please don’t eliminate the Chihuahua off your list because I promise if you give them a chance you will fall in love immediately. They are the most amazing breed. Im so glad I met one because he completely changed my mind of what I thought about this amazing breed and their bigger then life personalities. They really do have the heart of a pit bull and even though they are very small they will protect you if they feel you are being threatened. If my dudes not in the car our dogs won’t let anyone near the car because they think they have to protect me at all costs. Although small they can be very intimidating. Lol

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Stephanie Parks

Hi Ellen, my name is Stephanie. I know that you were looking quite a while ago but if you are still looking for a teacup. Two of our dogs got together by accident. We had an appointment to get our male fixed but our girl went into heat before he got fixed and they just had 3 beautiful male Apple head teacup babies. They are all white. They had no complications during birth and they are healthy and amazing. They just opened their eyes and they are walking around all over their little area for them and their mommy Their mommy is an all white short hair teacup apple head and their daddy is a fawn short hair teacup apple head. They are both also very healthy and have never had any health problems and they have good genes. We are not breeders in anyway but I just happen to have one puppy left. If your interested feel free to contact me at 6147497104. I just wanted to help. I don’t know much about breeding but my guess is if both their parents are teacups then that would make them teacups as well. I hope you have found or find your amazing chi chi that you want. He or she will make you so very happy and you will never be lonely with one of these little guys and no matter what kind of mood your in or if you need to smile or need cheering up they will do the trick everytime. Good luck to you Ellen

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Amy Shipley

I have a tiny deer Chihuahua she only weighs a pound she curls up in my bra

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Mary J Ballard

Here is a photo of my Chihuahua.
Trying to find out what kind of Chihuahua he is.

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Deena Newell

I thought for sure I had a Papillion and not a long haired Chihuahua. But I just had his dna done and my boy is 75% Chihuahua 12.5% Italian Greyhound and 12.5% Jack Russell Terrier. I never would have guessed it.

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Meg Marrs

Those DNA tests can be so fun! Sometimes people get such surprises.

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John Hinojos

How can I check his DNA?

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Ben Team

Hey, John. Not sure if Meg will have time to respond during the holiday season, but check out our review of the Embark DNA Test.
Best of luck!

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