There is debate over which feature should be a breeding goal: to meet AKC breed standard guidelines for the betterment of the breed or meet the high demand of potential owners who favor one shape over the other.
Which Head Shape Fits the Standard
Surprisingly to many people, it is the apple head that is the standard and not the very popular deer head. In fact, so many breeders purposefully breed for the deer shape and so many owners have them, that many people mistakenly believe it is the standard or that it is an accepted variance.
It is very popular and if you look at photographs
of this breed, you'll see just as many deerheads as apples.
Let's Take a Look at the Head/Face/Skull Standards from Around the World
According the AKC guidelines a Chihuahua should have:
Head: A well rounded "apple dome" skull, with or without molera. Muzzle – Moderately short, slightly pointed. Cheeks and jaws lean. Stop - Well defined (the stop is the angle of change between the skull and the nasal bone near the eyes).
Take note of the term “moderately short” in regard to muzzle. Appleheads have shorter muzzles, while deers have much longer muzzles.
The CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) calls out for the exact same physical traits:
Well-rounded apple-dome skull, with or without molera. Cheeks and jaws lean. Muzzle moderately short,
The UK (Kennel Club of the United Kingdom) calls out for a very similar appearance:
Well rounded 'apple dome' skull, cheeks and jaws lean, muzzle moderately short, slightly pointed. Definite stop.
The FCI ( (Fédération Cynologique Internationale - International kennel club with 84 member countries) defines the face and skull shape in this way:
Skull : Well rounded apple head (a characteristic o f the breed) Stop : Well marked, deep and broad as the forehead is rounded above the set-on of muzzle.
There are many Chihuahuas that fall somewhere in the middle between the 2 types. Each dog is an individual...he or she will vary in size, body structure, weight, etc...And the exact shape of the head will vary as well.
Mixtures of Both Types
Many look at the muzzle and apply the term that they feel would fit best, however both terms also refer to the dome (skull).
Therefore, there are many Chihuahua dogs that have a medium to long muzzle (which looks "deer type") that is combined with the round apple shape that is set in the AKC guidelines.
These are the ones that through many cross breedings are a mixture of the two types.
Some argue that producing Chi that do not meet the AKC standard is not for "betterment of the breed" and should not be done. Others counter this by stating that all dog breeds over the centuries have been "tweaked" and over time their size, coloring
and features have changed.
Sometimes, the change is so great that after a certain point, if a particular look is widespread and consistent, it has broken off into its own variety. And in some cases, it has even branched out to become its own separate breed.
For example, the Akita breed has two types: The American and the Japanese Akita Inu...They are different sizes and with very distinct and different coloring. Some countries now recognize them as one breed but 2 varieties and other countries see them as 2 distinct and separate breeds.
We don't see this happening any time soon with the Chihuahua. This breed already has both longcoats
and shortcoats varieties and they have not been separated into their own breeds.
Since the deerhead is not even in the written standards of any clubs or kennels, one would be hard-pressed to make a case that both would not only be acceptable and recognized but in addition, off-shoots of the purebred Chihuahua.