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Types Of Chihuahuas

Types of Chihuahuas


There can be a lot of confusion in regard to how many types of Chihuahuas there are. People hear of short coat, long coat, deer head, apple head, teacup and miniatures. So, how many different types of breeds exist and what are the differences?

Here we will discuss:
  • Exactly what each term means
  • Why these terms exist
  • Which ones are official and which are not

One Chihuahua Breed

Though there are variations of the Chihuahua dog, there is only one recognized breed. All major kennel clubs around the world recognized the 'Chihuahua' as one purebred dog. That one purebred has 2 official varieties:
  • The smooth coat (also referred to as the short coat)
  • The long coat (also referred to as the long haired)
The long and short coats are the only two type of Chihuahua recognized by all major clubs. This holds true for the American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom (KC) and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI - International club with 80+ member countries around the world).

There are physical traits and characteristics that show up in this breed in regard to head shape, body structure and size; but these are not official, recognized types. (more ahead). 

It is important to note that variations in the dog's size, head shape, snout and body structure that deviate from the recognized set breed standards may be due to improper breeding and experimentation that leads to dogs that do not meet written standards.

Over the years, some breeders worked to produce Chihuahua dogs that did not fit the standards, but rather satisfied the public's urgency for dogs that fit popular trends. This led to certain terms becoming so over-used that people began to believe that different types were accepted by kennel clubs.
black and white smooth coat Chihuahua
A black and white smooth coat (4 year old male)
Photo courtesy of Ruth at YankeeBelle Chihuahuas
Fawn and white long coat Chihuahua
A fawn and white long coat (male)
Photo courtesy of Cathy's Charming Chihuahuas

Coat Variation - Long and Short Haired - The Only Accepted Types

According to breed standard, a Chihuahua may have long hair or short hair. Aside from the length of fur on the coat there is no other physical or behavioral difference with the dogs. They are simply two different types, but do not stand on their own independently, as they are both of the same breed.

No one type is considered 'better' than the other. In show, no preference is made for one or the other. The long coat type should be full (thinning is considered a fault).

Either type of coat is expected to have same alert, erect ears, expressive large eyes, small nose, moderate snout and apple domed shaped head.
Professionally bred dogs and quality, champion dogs will be both long and short haired.

Size Differences - Teacup and Miniature

This is a term that was created by unethical and unprofessional breeders. The media played a role in making it a household term; although there is no official dog breed in the world that is a 'teacup' of any sort. 

Sadly, in a rushed effort to breed unnaturally tiny dogs, runt dogs would often be paired together to produce exceedingly tiny dogs. This was done with just about all toy breeds including the Pomeranian, Shih Tzu (sometimes referred to as an 'imperial'), Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle [despite the term 'toy' the dog should be between 6 and 9 lbs. 2.72 and 4.08 kg)] and of course, the Chihuahua.

This often created pups that were too tiny, with underdeveloped bones and a variety of health issues. The breeders would then deem them to be teacups or mini's and sell them for a higher than average price.
Two types of Chihuahua dogs
Two beautiful best friends: a long haired and a smooth coat
JMJ's Tiny Treasure Chihuahuas
As the terms became more well known, this sparked a competition in the "Backyard" breeder world, as these highly greedy people would race to create smaller and smaller dogs, doing whatever it took to have the smallest puppies available.

Now that this term has become so popular, some professional and reputable breeders use this term, but in good faith. In competition with "Backyard" breeders, ethical breeders have begun to use the term of teacup or miniature Chihuahua in reference to their natural and healthy Chihuahua dogs that are small, just as they should be: between 2 and 6 pounds (.9 kg-2.7 kg) - in most countries - fully grown.
Since you cannot produce a dog much smaller than the Chihuahua already naturally is, this term is really just redundant in most cases. If an adult were under a pound, he could be referred to as a teacup type. However, this would not make him and official type and he would be extremely prone to health problems. 

Head Shape Differences - Deer Head and Apple Head

In the show ring, the head in general is of the utmost importance. The stand-up ears, large expressive eyes, small nose, and moderate snout are all elements that are judged carefully. However, it is the shape of the skull that most judges will focus on. In conformation - per breed standards around the globe - the only recognized type is the apple head. The skull is described as a well rounded and apple domed.

Despite this, there are many deer head type Chihuahuas as pets that are quite popular with Chi lovers.

It should be noted that many people mistakenly think that a deer head refers to the snout and that a long snout equals a dear head and a short snout equals an apple. While the snouts are often a tad longer on the deers, the main element is the top shaping of the skull where it curves at the top and the snout is not involved.

How did the "Deer Head" come to be? Most likely, it was a combination of poor breeding practices and a desire to appease the public and not the judges. As more and more of these types of Chihuahua came into existence, they were bred together, which only served to created a stronger gene pool of deer-head types with a more elongated and narrow head.

There is nothing wrong with a deerhead Chihuahua as a family pet; it is simply a variation that became an off-shoot of the breed but has not become recognized by kennel clubs. See also: Applehead VS Deerhead Chihuahuas

A Word About Colors 

This breed can be found in an amazing variety of colors. There are solids, parti's (two tone Chi) and tri-colored dogs. There are Chihuahuas with spots, brindling (stripes) and black tipped hairs (sable). With this said, a completely solid colored Chihuahua is not considered a different type of dog than a tri-colored Chi.

If you took a long coated, solid one-color Chihuahua and put him next to a tri-colored smooth coat, the dogs would look very dissimilar. It is not surprising that a person may think that they are indeed two different types. 
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