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
- Short-Hair Chihuahuas
- Long-Hair Chihuahuas
- Apple Head Chihuahuas
- Deer Head Chihuahuas
- Teacup Chihuahuas
- Pear-Headed Chihuahuas
- Color-Named Chihuahuas (such as fawn Chihuahuas)
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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 & Tan
- Blue & Tan
- Chocolate & Tan
- Fawn & White
- Black & Red
- Black & Silver
- Black & White
- Black Sabled Fawn
- Black Sabled Silver
- Blue & White
- Blue Brindled Fawn
- Blue Fawn
- Chocolate & White
- Chocolate Blue
- Chocolate Brindled Fawn
- Chocolate Sabled Fawn
- Cream & White
- Fawn Brindled Black
- Gold & White
- Red & White
- Silver & 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!)
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.
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!
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:
- The Chihuahua Club of America
- The British Chihuahua Club
- The Dallas Chihuahua Club
- The Chihuahua Club of Canada
- The Chihuahua Club of Victoria Inc. (Australia)
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: