Welcome To Your Guide To The Deer Head Chihuahua!
Few dog breeds are as iconic as the chihuahua. Whether settled in the handbag of a celebrity or yapping at passersby from behind a fence, chihuahuas pack a lot of personality into that small frame.
While major kennel associations don’t distinguish between chihuahua breeds beyond long and short hair varieties, there are two commonly accepted types of chihuahuas: apple head and deer head.
The deer head chihuahua’s rise to popularity was cemented in the 90’s by the energetic Taco Bell Mascot, Gidget. Since then, people have fallen in love with the breed because of its fierce loyalty and saucy attitude.
What is a Deer Head Chihuahua?
A deer head chihuahua has, as you may have guessed, a head shape similar to that of a deer (or hound). They have a relatively long snout that meets their skull at a 45-degree angle. It’s quite distinct from the apple head variety, which has a round, domed head and a snout that meets the skull at a perfect 90-degree angle.
While the shape of the head is the easiest way to tell the difference, there are a few other tricks. Deer head chihuahuas are bigger overall – they have longer legs, larger ears, and weigh more than their apple head counterparts.
Apple Head vs Deer Head Chihuahua
The differences between these two dogs are mostly superficial. There’s no real difference in personality or energy levels. The proper care for apple head and deer head chihuahuas is the same.
The only important differences are those regarding health issues. While anecdotal, many people who have owned both types claim that deer head chihuahuas are less afflicted by the diseases that plague toy breeds.
There is little hard evidence to support this, but apple heads more often have a molera (a soft spot on the head, like a human baby’s). Moleras are linked to hydrocephaly – an unfortunately common issue for chihuahuas.
Deer Head Chihuahua Size and Lifespan
Deer head chihuahua lifespan can vary due to the likelihood of health issues. However, a healthy chihuahua can easily live 15 to 20 years.
While they come in a variety of colors, fawn-colored is most common. Black deer head chihuahuas are topped in rarity only by pure white ones!
Note that the color of a dog’s coat doesn’t have any effect on temperament or health.
Like previously mentioned, the deer head chihuahua weight is usually greater than that of an apple head. Deer heads tend to weigh in at 4 to 7 lbs.
Deer Head Chihuahua Personality
When you envision a chihuahua, the first thing that comes to mind is their larger-than-life personality.
Words like saucy, sassy, and feisty are often used to describe chihuahuas – and with great accuracy. They have some intangible quality that other dogs lack. Perhaps they’re just particularly expressive with their face.
That’s not to say they don’t express love and devotion like other dogs. On the contrary, chihuahuas are loyal to a fault. They’ll ferociously defend their ‘pack’ against any perceived threat, no matter how big it is.
An interesting quirk of the breed is that they tend to latch onto one person in particular, usually whoever spends the most time with them. They’ll show preference to this person in obedience, as well as defending them against anything (even other members of their ‘pack’).
Deer Head Chihuahua Temperament
Like all dogs, deer head chihuahua temperament is determined by that of its parents and by the level of training.
Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive notion that small dogs and toy breeds don’t require the same training or socialization as large dogs. That’s patently false, and the cause for many poorly trained chihuahuas.
It’s a shame, because chihuahuas are fairly easy to train. Since they develop close relationships with one person, they can learn quickly when time is regularly devoted to training.
Remember, though, that chihuahuas are not a breed known for their patience. They’ll get irritated by poking and prodding from children. Be sure to watch children playing with chihuahuas carefully.
Deer Head Chihuahua Health
The unfortunate reality of chihuahuas is that they often suffer extensive health problems. The same breeding that made them so cute has inadvertently conferred many congenital and chronic health issues.
Kirk N. Gelatt noted in his book, Essentials of Veterinary Ophthalmology, that chihuahuas have a high incidence of senile iris atrophy. As the dog ages, the muscles in the iris decay, causing sensitivity to light and vision loss. There’s no treatment for this disease.
Small breeds, or those with oddly-shaped faces, are particularly susceptible to brachycephalic airway problems.
Chihuahuas are no exception. They’re predisposed to suffer from reverse sneezing.
Rowena Packer found in her 2015 study that the ratio of muzzle to cranial length is an influencer of brachycephalic airway issues, such as tracheal collapse. Her findings do suggest, however, that deer head chihuahuas might be less affected than apple heads since they tend to have longer snouts.
Furthermore, as veterinary doctor Ross Clark notes, chihuahuas are well known for periodontal issues such as early tooth loss and mandibular degeneration.
Is a Deer Head Chihuahua Right for Me?
This is an easy question to answer.
Do you want a fun-loving, energetic, cuddly dog that will defy all odds to protect you?
If the answer is yes, get a chihuahua.
Keep in mind your circumstances, though. Do you have enough time to play and use up that energy? Are you able to devote time to training and socializing your dog properly?
Do you have access to an experienced vet? Chihuahua health care is manageable, but it can be difficult and expensive. Choosing a deer head chihuahua can alleviate some of that burden.
If you’re ready for the challenge and looking for a lovable, long-lived companion, look no further than the deer head chihuahua.
References and Further Reading
- American Kennel Club http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/chihuahua/
- Gawor, Jerzy. “Skull and Dental Radiography using Medical X-Ray Techniques.” Practical Veterinary Dental Radiography (2017).
- Gelatt, Kirk N. Essentials of Veterinary Ophthalmology. 2014
- Packer, Rowena M. A. et al. “Impact of Facial Conformation on Canine Health: Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.” Ed. Carlos E. Ambrósio. PLoS ONE 10.10 (2015): e0137496. PMC. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
- Clark, Ross D. DVM. Medical, Genetic and Behavioral Risk Factors of the Toy Breeds. 2017