Lots of people have no idea how amazing the Chihuahua truly is. These little guys are so small that they can be somewhat easy to overlook, but the Chihuahua is one of the most lovable breeds you can have with the proper training and attention. There are a lot of misconceptions about the chihuahua though, so if you’re considering caring for a chihuahua, here’s everything you might want to know.
Basically, there are two types of chihuahuas: long hair and short, aka smooth, hair within the overall chihuahua breed. These can come in a few different colors, but there’s no difference regardless of the coat color.
Have you heard of deer head chihuahuas? Or how about teacup or apple head chihuahuas? Many of us in the general public have, but to be honest, those breeds don’t actually exist. These types of breeds are mostly just made up by unscrupulous sellers who want to convince you to buy a “better” breed of chihuahua. Tags like these really just delineate cross breeds instead of a purebred chihuahua. If you buy one of these, you may end up with a cross that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, like a Jack Russell Terrier mix. It’s for this reason that many of these chihuahua mixes end up in shelters. For the rest of the article, when we refer to "deer head" you can simply read chihuahua, and we'll include the word "deer" in quotes.
That being said, there are no “rare” colors either, but you can find chihuahuas in white, black, chocolate, sable, and fawn. Any color or chihuahua type is not easier or more difficult to train either. If you have a purebred chihuahua, they will generally have the temperament of a chihuahua. The only reason a chihuahua may be more difficult to train is because it’s mixed with another breed.
Some people think that Deer Heads's are a special type of Reindeer Chihuahua, a breed that comes in several variations regarding color, shapes, and coats, but that's not true - "deer head" chihuahuas will have a cross breed somewhere in their lineage. All chi's are classified by their coats, not their head shapes and they two coat lengths i.e. short hair and long hair and color variations are usually chocolate, sable, white, black or fawn. Other colours aren't rare so don't be fooled by rare whites, rare blues, tri-colored, or other colours.
- Long coat vs. smooth coat Chihuahuas: The long coat Chihuahua has very long hair, sometimes slightly longer than that of the smooth coat Chihuahua. Both come in many color combinations. They may have long or short legs.
- Apple head Chihuahua: All chi's have an an 'apple domed' skull. All other names eg deer head, pear head, apple head, tea cup, micro ect are made up names for cross breeds eg 'deer head' is a cross between a miniature Pinscher, Jack Russel terrier, fox terrier, papillon ect. Note that the cross might be a few generations back. These terms are used by unscrupulous puppy farmers to sell cross breeds and con the general public.
- Teacup Chihuahua: Otherwise known as miniature or micro Chihuahua, this is a marketing description for small Chihuahuas often used by breeders to charge over inflated prices. They usually weigh about 2-8 pounds, and while smallness in not a trait used to classify Chihuahuas, teacups get their name from their size.
- Pear head Chihuahua: This is another name breeders have given to make the breed seem rarer, but don't fall for this trap. The shape of the head is almost similar to that of a deer head but more pear-shaped. This Chihuahua also has a flat skull and more prominent muzzle, but that's because of a likely cross breed. Buyer beware.
The chihuahua breed comes from Mexico, as many people might have guessed. These little guys are said to be descended from the dog breed known as they tenchichi, which was a favorite pet of the Toltecs. So as early as the 9th century, people owned the early chihuahua! The actual name came later though from the Mexican state Chihuahua where they found the earliest specimens of this breed.
Deer head characteristics
Compared to other types of dog breeds, Chihuahuas can be great companions, but you have to be sure that one can fit into your lifestyle. For more information on temperament and personality, let’s take a look.
- Temperament: This is one of the core things about them. These little dogs can be the most loyal, easy going and affectionate pets you can own provided that they are trained, handled and attended to properly.
Also, your temperament and behavior can affect the temperament of your chi. It is, therefore, important that you learn how to properly train your dog to prevent them from becoming ill-tempered.
It is also important to note that Chihuahuas do not always get along with other dog breeds. They have a clannish nature, meaning that they prefer the company of other Chihuahua dogs or Chihuahua mix (like the Shih Tzu Chihuahua) over other breeds.
Such traits make them unsuitable for households with children who are not calm or patient. They can, however, adapt to the lifestyle with a dedicated owner and if managed by older kids of age 13+.
They just love their dens, and you will often find them burrowed in their blankets, clothes hampers, and pillows. They also enjoy quality time in the sun.
- Personality: For the most part, chihuahuas are alert dogs, and have some terrier-like qualities. If you’ve ever seen one, you should know that they’ve got a lot of spirit, and are the epitome of a big dog in a small body! They’re great with kids though because they’re gentle and patient, so they might be a good family dog.
- Height: They grow to a height of 6 to 9 inches although some grow as tall as 12 to 15 inches.
- Color: As previously hinted, Chihuahuas come in a variety of colors, and the same goes for deer heads. Fawn is a light buff color that is found on most chi's. Varieties of liver and brown are common too. Other colors you will find on dear heads include silver, black, gray and white.
- Coat: Chihuahuas are born with either short-haired or long-haired coats. The former is easy to manage, but such Deer Chihuahuas easily suffer from colds. Long-haired Chihuahuas, on the other hand, have a long, silky coat that sometimes needs brushing.
They come in various colors, and it is not unusual for them to have extra fur around the ears. They require extra care to prevent their coats from becoming coats. On the upside, you do not have to invest in winter wear if you own a long-haired Chi.
- Lifespan: They can live to be 15 to 20 years old and sometimes longer depending on the quality of care given among other factors. Chihuahuas are fragile pets, and something as simple as jumping from sofa can lead to serious injuries and broken bones.
- Weight: According to the American Kennel Club, the average (Deer Head) Chihuahua weighs between 7 and 10 pounds. Also, they tend to be larger than Apple heads.
- Chihuahua Care: Obviously chihuahuas are small in size, but if you don’t have the time to run around, you’ll probably like that. That small size means that these little guys don’t need lots of exercise, and will fit well even in a small apartment in the city. If you live in a rural environment, they’ll do just fine there as wellChihuahua Care
- Training: Yes, it’s necessary to train your chihuahua. These guys and gals are highly intelligent, and just might get the better of you if you’re not careful! Train them early to be sure they’re well-behaved. With the right training, most people find they’re great with kids, other pets, and even when they’re left alone.
- Words of Caution
- Words of Caution: Just be aware that when you get your chihuahua, they can still have differences in their personalities, like any other dog. You might get a lively fellow or a nervous little guy. How they turn out though really depends on the training; even though they’re small, you’ve still got to train them to be obedient.
- Keep in mind too that most chihuahuas prefer to be with other chihuahuas due to a pack mentality, so they’ll react poorly to other dogs unless you step in. It’s your job to put a stop to any poor behavior before it becomes difficult to change. You may have some trouble housebreaking a chihuahua too, since they’re one of the breeds that has the most difficult time adjusting. Try a doggy door or a little box at first if you’re noticing a lot of issues initially.
How it compares to the Apple head Chihuahua
By now, you know that there aren't various sub-breeds of Chihuahuas. Breeders, use the terms deer head and apple head to describe the most popular types of Chihuahuas based on their physical appearance. But what are the differences between the physical appearance? How can you distinguish them?
"Apple head" Chihuahuas have:
- Round apple shaped head, with or without molera
- A large prominent forehead
- Prominent jaw line
- Short muzzle
"Reindeer head" Chihuahuas are characterized by:
- Deer shaped head that may or may not have molera
- Narrow skull
- Long snout that protrudes further than that of an apple head Chihuahua
Healthcare of chihuahuas
Right away, you should know that chihuahuas can be very sensitive to cold temperatures. If you live in a cold environment then, or some place with harsh winters, make sure you wrap them up in something to keep them safe.Be sure to feed your chihuahua a formula unique to their digestive needs.
This means something for small or extra-small breeds, and checking with your veterinarian if you’re unsure. Of course, make sure fresh water is available at all times, and groom when you need to. You won’t have to deal with much grooming in general though, but you will need to trim their nails regularly.
Check up on your chihuahua’s ears to be sure that there’s no wax buildup that may lead to an infection. Giving your pooch hard bones and chew toys will help strengthen gums and remove tartar too, along with regular brushing.
Thankfully, chihuahuas are actually fairly healthy dogs. You may see something like patellar luxation, which is when the kneecap slips out of position, but you may not notice it right away. If this is a problem, you might see a slight skip or jump when your dog walks.
Patellar luxation is a rheumatoid condition that occurs as one of two types i.e. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It causes pain in the limbs, and as such the dog walks up and down stairs with a limp.
Osteoarthritis: This is a condition that causes the joint cartilage to break down due to insufficient exercise, poor
Rheumatoid arthritis: Occurs when the joint tissues are damaged, leading to pain and inflammation.
General care of a "deer head" Chihuahua
Proper care that’s inclusive of a balanced diet, exercise, weight control and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent the above health issues. Regular grooming of the nails, hair and teeth are a relatively easy and a must. The fact that the extent of teeth care determines the shape of ears is one that many pet owners do not know.
Interesting, right? Chewing intensively during their teething stage can weaken the muscles at the base of the ears, leading to droopy or floppy ears. Regular visits to the vet are essential. Using dental oral sprays at least two times daily can also help prevent the growth of plaque.
The "deer head" Chihuahua is a minuscule dog that requires a lot of love and care, what with its delicate, fragile structure. And despite its tiny size, it is quite the runner and can be easily stepped upon in a large crowd or injured. Extra vigilance on your part is, therefore, crucial to ensuring its health and survival in a harsh world.
"Deer head" Chihuahuas are a great pet to have around if you take care of them properly. Anyone who owns one of these will tell you that it means having big dog love in a small package and understandably so. They have a personality that’s way bigger than their size.
Moreover, they are able to keep in touch with you as they watch the world go by. And if you own a cat, the "deer head" Chihuahua will make a perfect companion for the kitty.