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Types of Chihuahuas: By Head Shape, Size, Coat Length, and Color

types of Chihuahuas

Last Updated: April 11, 2024 by Lisa Melillo

As I sat down to write this article, a cup of coffee in hand and my furry friend beside me, I pondered the remarkable diversity within this beloved breed. My thoughts wandered to the Apple Head Chihuahuas with their expressive, almost human-like eyes that seem to understand every word, and to the elegant Deer Head Chihuahuas, whose sleek form and alert posture exude an air of grace and mystery.

I also thought about their coat colors and patterns—from the deep, velvety blacks and rich chocolates to the striking merles and delicate creams—a vibrant palette that captures the eye and heart alike.

Consequently, this article explores the different types of Chihuahuas, shedding light on their characteristics, the nuances that set them apart, and why understanding these distinctions is crucial for any potential owner.

Types of Chihuahuas by Coat Length

This toy breed is broadly divided into two categories based on coat length: Smooth Coat Chihuahuas and Long Coat Chihuahuas. Each type has distinct grooming needs and aesthetic appeal, but both share the spirited personality and loyalty for which Chihuahuas are known. Let’s delve into the characteristics of each coat type.

Smooth Coat (Short-Haired) Chihuahuas

Smooth Coat Chihuahua

Short-haired Chihuahuas, as many call them, have captivated my attention with their sleek, glossy coats and vivacious personalities. There’s something undeniably charming about the low-maintenance elegance that makes them a favorite among Chihuahua lovers.

Physically, Smooth Coat Chihuahuas possess a coat that’s soft to the touch and lies flat against their body. One of the things I’ve admired is how their short hair accentuates their petite frame and expressive features, from their alert ears to their bright, curious eyes. The variety in color and pattern within this type is vast, showcasing everything from solid blacks and chocolates to vibrant tricolor patterns. It’s this diversity that makes each Smooth Coat Chihuahua uniquely beautiful.

I’ve learned that their temperament is as bold and confident as their long-haired counterparts, but I find a certain grace to their movements particularly endearing. They are lively and energetic, always ready for a game or an adventure. Yet, despite their enthusiasm for activity, they are just as content curling up in a warm lap, proving to be versatile companions for all kinds of households.

From my interactions and observations, Smooth Coat Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal and develop strong bonds with their owners. They thrive on attention and affection, often becoming a shadow to their favorite person. This breed’s intelligence shines through in their quick learning and problem-solving abilities, though their independent streak can sometimes present a playful challenge during training sessions.

Long Coat Chihuahuas

Long Coat Chihuahuas

Long Coat Chihuahuas have always held a special allure for me with their elegant, flowing coats and dignified presence. There’s a certain regal air to them that sets them apart, yet they retain all the delightful temperament traits of the Chihuahua breed. Their longer fur adds a layer of sophistication and beauty that’s hard to ignore, making them stand out in the world of small dogs.

The coat of a Long Coat Chihuahua is soft and fine, sometimes with a slight wave, giving them a fluffy appearance that’s incredibly pleasing to the touch. I’ve noticed that this longer fur can make their expressive ears and bright eyes pop even more, adding to their overall adorable appearance. The variety in their coats is impressive, featuring all the colors and patterns you might find in Smooth Coat Chihuahuas but with the added elegance of length. Each Long Coat Chihuahua carries its unique flair, from rich solids to intricate merles.

These pets are full of life, always ready to play or embark on new adventures with their owners. Yet, they also possess a gentle side, often showing a calm and affectionate demeanor that makes them excellent companions for quiet evenings at home. From my observations, their intelligence and keen perception mean they’re quick learners, eager to please but equipped with a streak of independence that makes every interaction interesting.

Despite their luxurious coats, Long Coat Chihuahuas are surprisingly low maintenance in terms of grooming. Their communication skills are as pronounced as their Smooth Coat counterparts, with vocal expressions that leave no doubt about their feelings or needs.

Types of Chihuahuas by Head Shape

When categorizing Chihuahuas by head shape, we primarily differentiate between two main types: Apple Head Chihuahuas and Deer Head Chihuahuas.

The term “Pear Head” Chihuahua isn’t officially recognized in the breed standards or commonly used among reputable breeders to describe a specific type of Chihuahua. However, in casual or non-standard terminology, some people might use “Pear Head” or other descriptors to talk about Chihuahuas that don’t neatly fit into the typical head shape categories, possibly due to mixed breeding or natural variation within the breed.

Apple Head Chihuahuas

Apple Head Chihuahuas

The defining feature of an Apple Head Chihuahua is, as the name suggests, its apple-shaped head. This type of Chihuahua has a rounded dome of a skull, and is actually the breed standard, according to the American Kennel Club. I think this head shape, gives a baby-like appearance that many find irresistible! The eyes are large and luminous, set in a well-rounded head that seems almost too big for their petite bodies, giving them an eternally youthful look. Their snouts are shorter than other types, and their ears stand upright, large, and alert, adding to their expressive nature. I’ve noticed that this particular head shape, combined with their bright eyes, allows for a range of facial expressions that seem almost human in their emotional depth.

Deer Head Chihuahuas

Deer Head Chihuahua

Deer Head Chihuahuas have always fascinated me with their elegant appearance and spirited nature. Unlike their Apple Head counterparts, Deer Heads feature a more elongated skull and face, reminiscent of a deer’s sleek profile, which is how they get their name. I’ve learned that their forehead slopes rather than curves, giving them a distinctively noble and alert expression. Their eyes are full of life and a bit less prominent than those of Apple Heads, yet equally expressive. One thing that stands out to me is their larger ears, which sit atop their head, always ready to catch the slightest sound. Their snout is noticeably longer, giving them a more dashing appearance.

Types of Chihuahuas by Size

Chihuahuas, one of the smallest dog breeds, captivate hearts with their immense personalities and endearing appearances. However, within this breed, there’s a small variation in size, leading to the standard Chihuahua and the smaller, often called “teacup” Chihuahua.

Standard Chihuahuas

Standard Chihuahua

Standard Chihuahuas, as outlined by breed standards from organizations such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), are small dogs that do not exceed 6 pounds. Despite their diminutive size, they are well-balanced and graceful, with a compact body that exudes elegance and agility. These pets have the distinctive “Apple Head,” featuring a rounded skull, large, expressive eyes, and erect ears that contribute to their alert demeanor. They possess a short, slightly pointed muzzle with a well-defined stop, contributing to their characteristic facial expression. These Chihuahuas come in two coat types: the Smooth Coat and the Long Coat in various colors and patterns.

Teacup Chihuahuas

teacup chihuahua

The Teacup Chihuahua, though an informal classification not officially recognized by kennel clubs, has captured the hearts of many, including mine, with their diminutive size and overwhelming cuteness. The term “teacup” has been used to describe Chihuahuas smaller than the breed’s standard of 5 to 8 inches from the top of the shoulder. Breeders aim to be on the smallest end of the scale, often below 3 pounds and sometimes striving for weights under 2 pounds. Despite the debate surrounding the term, there’s no denying the appeal of these tiny canines.

Despite their petite frames, they possess the same bold and lively personality characteristic of the Chihuahua breed. They’re fiercely loyal, often forming a strong bond with their owner, and can be quite protective, a trait that’s both endearing and amusing given their small stature.

Their size makes them incredibly portable, able to fit into small carriers for easy travel, and well-suited to living in compact spaces. However, it’s important to remember that their small size makes them more fragile. I’ve observed that they require careful handling to prevent injuries, and they can be more susceptible to health issues, including hypoglycemia and dental problems, due to their reduced size.

It’s fascinating how, despite their miniature stature, Teacup Chihuahuas are just as capable of offering companionship, love, and entertainment as their larger counterparts.

Types of Chihuahuas by Color

Chihuahuas are not only diverse in terms of size and head shape but also boast a remarkable variety of colors. Let’s explore these categories in more detail.

Standard Chihuahuas

Standard Color Chihuahua

Standard Chihuahuas come in a wide range of colors and patterns, recognized and accepted by dog breed standards. These colors include, but are not limited to, fawn, black, white, chocolate, cream, and gold. They can also have various patterns such as solid, marked (with spots or patches of another color), and sabled (a darker overlay on a lighter coat). The diversity in coloration allows for a broad spectrum of appearance within the breed, providing potential owners with many options. Standard colors are typically determined by genetics, and while color can influence aesthetic preference, it does not affect the Chihuahua’s health or temperament.

Merle Chihuahuas

Merle Chihuahua

This pattern, known as merle, involves a mosaic of dark blotches against a lighter background, creating a stunning visual effect ranging from subtle to striking. Over time, I’ve grown increasingly fascinated by the merle pattern, not just for its aesthetic appeal but also for the genetics behind it. The merle gene affects not just coat color but also eye color and skin pigment, which can result in Merle Chihuahuas having blue or odd-colored eyes, adding to their enchanting appearance. Their coats can be of any base color, with the merle pattern superimposed, making each Merle Chihuahua uniquely patterned. No two Merle Chihuahuas look the same, which is something I find incredibly intriguing.

Their striking looks don’t affect their temperament; these dogs are as lively and affectionate as their solid-colored counterparts. They form deep bonds with their owners and can be protective, making them wonderful companions. I’ve noticed that their unique appearance often makes them a topic of conversation, drawing attention and admiration from those around them.

Rare-colored Chihuahuas

Lavender Chihuahua

Rare-colored Chihuahuas have always held a special place in my heart for their unique beauty and the sense of wonder they inspire. These Chihuahuas sport colors that are not commonly seen, making them stand out in the canine world.

Lavender Chihuahuas, for example, have a coat that appears to be a soft, diluted shade of purple, a form of the blue gene diluted further. This color, combined with their expressive eyes and petite stature, gives them an almost ethereal appearance.

Despite their unique coloring, rare-color Chihuahuas share the same spirited, loyal, and affectionate temperament known to the breed. They’re as lively and energetic as their more commonly colored counterparts, with a penchant for adventure and a deep bond with their owners.

Tips on How to Choose the Right Chihuahua

Whether you’re drawn to the sleek elegance of a Smooth Coat Chihuahua or the fluffy allure of a Long Coat, understanding more about what makes each type unique can help you find the perfect match for your lifestyle. I suggest you do the following to find the most suitable pet:

Consider Size and Coat Type

Chihuahuas are known for their petite size, but there can be variations. While some may prefer the tinier “teacup” variety for its portability, it’s crucial to consider the additional care and health considerations these small sizes entail. Ensure you’re prepared for the responsibility of owning a tiny dog.

Grooming is another area where the needs of Chihuahuas diverge based on their coat type. Smooth Coat Chihuahuas are relatively low maintenance; a weekly brushing is often sufficient to keep their coat healthy and remove loose fur. This simplicity in grooming is something I appreciate, as it makes care routines more straightforward.

Long Coat Chihuahuas, however, require more attention to their grooming needs. Their longer fur can easily become tangled or matted if not brushed regularly. I’ve noticed that using a soft-bristle brush a few times a week can keep their coats in good condition and reduce shedding. Regardless of coat type, all Chihuahuas benefit from regular dental care, nail trims, and ear cleanings to prevent common health issues.

Personality and Temperament

Chihuahuas are known for their bold and lively personalities, but individual temperaments can vary. Some may be more outgoing and energetic, while others are calm and cuddly. Think about your personality and lifestyle. Do you want an adventurous companion or a lapdog who’s content with quiet evenings at home? I’ve learned that spending time with potential puppies or adult dogs can help gauge a good fit.

Health Considerations

While Chihuahuas are generally healthy, certain types may have specific health concerns. For example, Apple Head Chihuahuas can be prone to respiratory issues due to their distinct skull shape. It’s important to research and understand these potential health issues and to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their puppies.

Nutritional Needs

I’ve noticed that despite their diminutive stature, some Chihuahuas have energy levels that rival those of much larger dogs. This means their diet needs to be rich in high-quality protein to support their muscular health and energy. However, the exact amount and type of food should be tailored to their size, age, and activity level.

For example, the more petite or “teacup” varieties may require food that’s higher in calories relative to their body weight to maintain their energy levels. Nonetheless, monitor their intake to prevent obesity, which is a common issue in small breeds. On the other hand, an active Deer Head Chihuahua might benefit from a diet that supports their higher energy expenditure without risking weight gain.

Exercise Requirements

Despite their size, Chihuahuas possess a spirited nature that requires regular exercise to keep them healthy and content. However, their exercise needs must be tailored to their physical capabilities. I’ve found that while all Chihuahuas enjoy playtime and short walks, the intensity and duration should be adjusted based on their type and individual health.

For instance, an Apple Head Chihuahua may enjoy playful interactions indoors or short, leisurely walks, as their compact build doesn’t suit strenuous activity. Meanwhile, a Deer Head Chihuahua, with their slightly larger frame and longer legs, might be more capable of handling longer walks and more vigorous play. Regardless of type, it’s important to keep activities varied and engaging to stimulate their minds and exercise their bodies.

Health Issues that Affect Chihuahuas

Recognizing the signs and understanding the causes behind common health issues in Chihuahuas can greatly aid in providing timely and effective care. The following are some of the common health problems:

Dental Problems

Chihuahuas are particularly prone to dental issues, which isn’t surprising given their small jaws. This cramped space often leads to overcrowded teeth, making it challenging for owners to keep up with dental hygiene. The symptoms of dental problems in Chihuahuas can include noticeably bad breath, which is more than just a nuisance; it’s a sign of potential periodontal disease. You might also observe reluctance to eat, chewing on one side, or even pawing at their face due to discomfort.

I’ve learned that in more advanced cases, there can be visible tartar buildup, and the gums might appear red, swollen, or even bleed upon touch. The primary cause of these dental woes is the lack of proper dental care, though genetics also play a significant role in predisposing them to such conditions.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is a condition that I’ve noticed affects Chihuahuas more than some other breeds. It occurs when the kneecap slips out of its natural position. Symptoms can range from intermittent limping, an odd gait, or sudden yelps of pain when the displacement occurs. Sometimes, the dog might stop and shake its leg in an attempt to realign the kneecap. The cause of patellar luxation is usually congenital, meaning the dog is born with the condition due to the malformation of the leg bones. However, obesity or physical trauma can exacerbate it. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage this condition, preventing further joint damage and pain.


Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is especially common in younger Chihuahuas and those of the smaller variety. It’s a condition that can manifest through signs of weakness, lethargy, and in severe cases, seizures. A dog suffering from hypoglycemia may appear disoriented, shaky, or even unconscious if the blood sugar levels drop significantly. The causes of hypoglycemia can vary but often include poor nutrition, stress, or a prolonged gap between meals. For puppies, the risk is higher due to their faster metabolism and higher energy requirements. Ensuring your Chihuahua eats regular, nutritious meals can help prevent episodes of hypoglycemia.

Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a condition where the trachea, or windpipe, becomes weak and begins to collapse, leading to difficulty breathing. This issue is marked by a distinctive honking cough, which can be alarming to hear. The cough is often triggered by excitement, eating, or drinking. As the condition progresses, the dog might exhibit signs of labored breathing or intolerance to exercise. The exact cause of tracheal collapse is not fully understood but is believed to be related to genetic factors, obesity, and environmental irritants. Managing this condition often involves weight control, avoiding neck collars in favor of harnesses, and medication to reduce symptoms.


Hydrocephalus is characterized by the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, leading to increased pressure. In Chihuahuas, particularly those with a dome-shaped skull, this condition can be congenital. Symptoms include a bulging fontanel (the soft spot on the head), seizures, difficulty walking, and in some cases, blindness. The cause of congenital hydrocephalus is typically genetic, while the acquired form can result from injury or disease. Treatment options vary depending on the severity but may include medications to reduce fluid production or surgical interventions in severe cases.

FAQs on Types of Chihuahuas

What are the different types of Chihuahuas?

There are two main recognized types of Chihuahuas based on their physical features: the Apple Head Chihuahua and the Deer Head Chihuahua. The Apple Head variety features a rounded skull similar to the shape of an apple, with shorter ears and legs. The Deer Head Chihuahua has a longer muzzle, a flatter skull, and resembles the head shape of a deer. Additionally, Chihuahuas are also classified by their coat types into Smooth Coat (short-haired) and Long Coat (long-haired) varieties.

Can all types of Chihuahuas participate in dog shows?

In most official dog shows, such as those organized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), only Chihuahuas that adhere to specific breed standards are allowed to participate. These standards often favor the Apple Head Chihuahua with a smooth or long coat. Deer Head Chihuahuas, while equally beloved as pets, may not meet these strict criteria due to their different head shape and body proportions.

Are Teacup Chihuahuas a separate breed?

No, “Teacup” Chihuahua is not a recognized breed or type but a term used by breeders and pet sellers to describe exceptionally small Chihuahuas. These dogs do not constitute a separate breed; they are typically smaller individuals of the breed that might weigh less than the breed standard. It’s important to note that breeding for extremely small size can come with a host of health issues.

Do Merle Chihuahuas have specific health concerns?

Yes, Merle Chihuahuas, known for their distinctive mottled coat pattern, can have unique health concerns, particularly if bred improperly. The merle gene, which causes the pattern, is associated with increased risks of auditory and ocular abnormalities, including deafness and vision problems. Prospective owners should ensure their Merle Chihuahua comes from a reputable breeder who tests for these health issues.

How do I choose the right type of Chihuahua for me?

Choosing the right type of Chihuahua involves considering your lifestyle, living arrangements, and personal preferences. If you have ample time for grooming, a Long Coat Chihuahua might be a good fit. For those looking for a more low-maintenance companion, a Smooth Coat Chihuahua could be preferable. Consider also the size and energy level that matches your home and activity level. Spending time with different types of Chihuahuas and talking to breeders or rescue organizations can help you make an informed decision.

Are rare-colored Chihuahuas more valuable?

While rare-colored Chihuahuas, such as those with lavender or blue coats, may be marketed as more valuable due to their uncommon appearance, it’s essential to prioritize health, temperament, and compatibility over color. A Chihuahua’s worth shouldn’t be determined solely by its coat color. Responsible breeders focus on the health and well-being of the dogs, rather than breeding specifically for rare colors.

Small But Scrappy

Each type of Chihuahua offers something distinct, reflecting the breed’s versatility and a wide array of preferences among dog lovers. Their small size makes them excellent pets for apartment living and people with a less active lifestyle, as they don’t require vast spaces to roam or extensive physical activity. However, their spirited nature ensures they’re also up for adventures, making them great companions for more active individuals who enjoy taking their pets along on outings.

On the other hand, Chihuahuas might not be the best fit for families with very young children. Their small size and fragility can put them at risk around overly enthusiastic toddlers who may not yet understand the concept of gentle play. Additionally, the breed’s bold and sometimes feisty temperament requires an owner willing to invest time in proper socialization and training to ensure their Chihuahua is well-behaved and comfortable in various situations.

Ultimately, choosing a Chihuahua means embracing not just a pet but a lifelong companion with a personality larger than life itself.

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