A Guide to the Apple Head Chihuahua

Updated on June 2, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

What Is an Apple Head Chihuahua?

When it comes to Chihuahuas, the "apple head" variety deserves a spot of honor. Why is that? An apple head Chihuahua is the breed's specimen par excellence. In other words, it conforms to breed standard and, therefore, reflects what one should expect to see when the word "Chihuahua" comes to mind. In other words, it is the poster child for the Chihuahua dog breed.

The apple head feature is a distinguishing physical characteristic that is expected of the breed standard. According to the American Kennel Club standard for the breed, the Chihuahua is expected to have "a well rounded, 'apple dome' skull, with or without a molera."

A molera is a term that depicts a sunken area on the top of the dog's head, which appears at birth. In a sort of way, the molera is similar to the "fontanelle," or soft spot, that is often present on a human baby's head. This sunken area makes the Chihuahua's head assume a shape that has been compared to the top of a cooking apple. In addition to this, the dog's head is also compared to the fruit because the dome of the skull is much broader than the jaw.

The Chihuahua Club of America describes the breed's head as having a distinctive "stop" at an almost 90-degree angle when looking at its profile. The stop is a term that is used to depict the angle that goes from the forehead to the muzzle, a feature that is more pronounced in certain breeds.

Apple Head Chihuahuas
Apple Head Chihuahuas

Did You Know?

The American Kennel Club accepts two coat varieties in its Chihuahua breed standard: the smooth coat and the long coat.

Cost of an Apple Head Chihuahua

If you are interested in opening your heart and home to an apple head, you may be wondering how much it costs? Reputable and ethical breeders will not jack up the price tags on these dogs because they know for a fact that apple heads are simply Chihuahuas that are bred to standard.

However, unethical breeders tend to inflate their prices by trying to make buyers believe that they are selling a rare variety. Again, apple heads are not difficult to find; they are simply bred to standard.

So what's the average price for this particular dog? Generally, prices range between $300 and $800. But prices may be significantly higher (more than $1,500) for a dog with championship lineage.

If you find a breeder that sells at a premium price without providing a reasonable explanation and documentation of lineage, consider it a big red flag. This means you may be dealing with an unethical breeder.

Gidget, the famous Taco Bell Chihuahua, was a deer head.
Gidget, the famous Taco Bell Chihuahua, was a deer head. | Source

Apple Head vs. Deer Head Chihuahua

If an apple head is a Chihuahua with a head that conforms to standard, then what are other specimens of Chihuahuas with other head shapes called? I'd like to introduce to you the deer head Chihuahua. Because they commonly boast a fawn coat, they look similar to a little deer, hence the name.

The Head Shape

Unlike the apple head with its moderately short muzzle, the deer head has a longer nose and narrower muzzle. And rather than a 90-degree angle at the stop, the deer head has more of a slope when you view its head from the side. This slope gives the deer head a "foxy" expression that many people find appealing.

Size and Weight

Other differences may be seen in general size and appearance. An apple head may have shorter legs, while the deer head may have longer legs, and thus, a taller body. The weight is also different, with the deer head generally weighing more.


While the deer head may not adhere to the breed standard, its less developed, dome-shaped head comes with many perks. For instance, deer head Chihuahuas are less likely to suffer from dental problems or breathing problems. On top of that, they endure easier deliveries, as the apple head Chihuahua's big skull is more difficult to pass through the birth canal and often a C-section is required.


Deer head Chihuahuas with their longer muzzles, larger ears, and wider set eyes were very common from the 1950s to the 1960s. Unfortunately, they quickly fell out of fashion once the Chihuahua Club of America developed a list of traits that were considered appealing in the breed. These traits included a rounded head, smaller ears, and larger eyes. However, just because a deer head does not conform to breed standard doesn't make this dog any less of a Chihuahua. They may not win in the show ring, but they are just as lovable. In fact, many Chi lovers find the deer head to be more appealing. Consider that Gidget, the famous Taco Bell mascot, was a lovely deer head Chihuahua!

So regardless of head shape, Chihuahuas have the potential for making wonderful companions, and a deer head can be just as valuable.

What's Your Favorite Chihuahua?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • How much does a full grown Apple Head Chihuahua and a Deer Head Chihuahua need to weigh?

    In general, Chihuahuas are expected to not weight over 6 pounds. This information comes from the American Kennel Club standard for the breed.

  • How long do Applehead Chihuahuas live?

    Chihuahuas are small dogs and therefore are blessed with a long lifespan compared to medium and large dogs. In general, a healthy Chihuahua may live an average of 15 years and there are some who even make it to 17 or even 20 years old.

  • How can I tell what type of Chihuahua I have?

    Try to look at the head from the side. Does your Chihuahua show a 90-degree angle at the stop or more of a slope? If there is a 90-degree angle, you likely have an apple head. If there is a slope, you likely have a deer head.

© 2017 Adrienne Farricelli


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    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      4 months ago

      Sharon, you should have your apple head see the vet because scratching and gnawing can be due to some type of allergies and other skin issues. Also, some dogs may develop itching as side effect of medications.

    • profile image

      Sharon conlee 

      4 months ago

      I have a apple head and he has seizures I have to give him phenobarbital twice a day and now he's scratching and gnawing on his self tell me what I can do to prevent this thank you

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      I posted once before on my Applehead she passed November 3rd, it is only getting worse for me not better I DO NOT think I can get passed this! I hate myself she was put down every vet said it was best! But they didn’t know her like me! I feel like I gave up on her and guilt is eating me alive she had a lot of bladder infections almost constantly lived on antibiotics her heart was 4-5 she was on heart meds then vets suspected brain tumor I know there were a lot of medical issues but I would have nursed her till I died l never loved a dog so much she had my heart and soul and I miss her so bad I ache to to hold her hear her anything I just want my Bella back so bad I think about getting another Applehead but will it help me and prices are so high! I bought her 6 weeks old in a flea market unplanned on the spot papers everything $375 worth every cent I don’t care bout blood lines papers because I spayed every animal I’ve ever had if anyone can help me please help me! Ty Terri

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      5 months ago

      Joyce, so sorry for your loss. With Chihuahuas, the primary concern is mitral valve disease which can cause a murmur of various grades. Other concerns are luxating patellas and eye problems. A reputable breeder who health tests breeding specimens would therefore be helpful. The extra initial costs may be saved in the long run considering that a poorly bred specimen with a host of health problems can turn quite costly in the long run. Caution with breeders who charge a whole lot as sometimes those are backyard breeders advertising the apple head as being rare.

    • profile image

      Joyce Stracke 

      5 months ago

      I just lost my little girl sophie, I love the applehead chihuahua, she was like my child not a dog...I am having so many problems looking for reputable breeders without paying an arm and a leg...I just dont trust those sites...any ideas out there? I live in iowa...My house is to quite I have to get other one it can never replace sophie but it can sofen the blow..

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      I had and applehead chihuahua 13 and a half years she just passed November 3, a month tomorrow I am so upset tore up she was my life! She’s always had bladder problems but I nursed her since she was like a year old I didn’t care then her heart got very bad vets suspected brain tumor I feel horrible and I cannot get past her death I feel like I need to wake up from this horrible nightmare I’m sorry I just need my baby girl back so horribly bad I’m so lost!

    • profile image

      Myrna Mayorga Shimrado 

      8 months ago

      I am looking for an apple head black that weighs 6 lb I have one she was sick at 8 months old and somebody poisoned her so I would like to find another one can you please let me know I would appreciate it

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I have an apple head Chihuahua she's 19 mos and she think she's a human. My question is what type of food to feed her I have been through so many and they pet place where she get vaccination at says she allergic to corn but the only food she'll eat is wet food mostly but Rachel Ray. Second question is do she supposed to kinda skin I see some Chihuahua they are bigger then her. Help me understand my dog even though she act like she's human.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I have had an apple head Chihuahua for the last six years and it is been such a blessing and our lives she's sweet she's smart she's adorable lovable very charismatic and has her own personality and I'm truly thankful to the Lord that she's in our life and she had 5 babies 4 years ago so the dad is a Yorkie so they're Chihuahua and Yorkie mix beautiful one girl and four boys

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I just lost my little guy, Chico, in December, after 15 years and a 3 year long battle with Cushing's disease. I never imagined how much I could love my little man and now life without him is unbearable, and I haven't stopped crying since. Life will never be the same, and I will never be the same.

    • profile image

      Lynne King 

      18 months ago

      If you want nonstop love from a dog adopt a chihuahua. Early training is a must. Both of mine were potty trained within a week & they know many "requests!" They are GREAT companions & you will wonder how you ever lived without a chi!

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      If you are going to get a chihuahua, A apple head is the best of the best.

      Loyal, out going,easy to train,best bed partner,(better than a wife).

      They love to go for rides,and shop.

      If raised with cats their just fine.

      their fun little guys(mine tells me when to go to bed and wake up)

      They tend to like people food better though.

      So this little guys for you.

    • profile image

      Delia jones 

      22 months ago

      God I prefer the deer headed chihuahuas.I think thier just so adorable!

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      I have a morkie and a apple head. I know Chihuahuas are a bit feisty but she is super chill and wants to be picked up all the time. She will even stretch her arms out for me to hand her to my mom. She also lick alot! She would put her paw on my face and hands to hold it down and lick it. The kind of sad part is she won't eat unless someone feeds it to her first. So my other dog eats both foods if she doesnt eat fast enough. Something crazy is my Chihuahua wraps her arms around my morkies neck and chokes him! I have no idea where she learned that.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      2 years ago

      Sheri, it's hard to say why your apple head Chihuahuas don't like you watching them eat. They may be a bit possessive of their food or feel intimidated or they're just plain submissive.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Both of my apple heads as little ones don't like me watching them eat. Why is that.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I've had large to giant dogs all my life. For the first time I now have a little tiny 3lb apple head chihuahua. It's an amazing change and I'll never have a large dog again. I'm totally sold on these tiny sweethearts.

    • profile image

      Ruth Cline 

      2 years ago

      I have a black & tan apple head weighing 5 lb. Loves blankets & burrowing.

      Adversely shes extremely high strung & bites quickly when aggravated. Has allergies & frequent ear infections. Bonded to one person only. Hard to take care of her because of that. Would get another though because she's so small & beautiful !

    • profile image

      Sharon Don 

      2 years ago

      I have a Deer Head and looking for another one!❤️❤️❤️

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I could not choose so I got one of both. They weigh 4lbs each

    • profile image

      Grand Old Lady 

      3 years ago

      I think both of them are adorable, but the deer head is cheaper and healthier, so if I could afford either, I'd go for the deer head:)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 

      3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Considering I've had large breed dogs for 25 years, a Chihuahua of any kind seems like a welcome change. :) So cute! I didn't realize there was a difference.


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