The Chihuahua is the tiny little pup that you love to hate or love to love. Fiercely independent, at times troublesome to raise and train, yet full of character and personality, there are several different types of Chihuahua that are classified by their physical attributes.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Chihuahua dog breed, before delving into the different types of Chihuahua dogs and the subtle physical traits that distinguish them from one another.
A brief history of Chihuahuas
Chihuahuas are certainly an intriguing breed. These tiny pooches are so small they’ll almost certainly need a bed ramp for dogs to get up on the couch with you for a cuddle, but despite their small stature and size, they are notoriously independent and stubborn when they want to be!
In recent years, the Chihuahua, and its many variations, have become incredibly popular dogs, however. Despite their stubbornness, they are fantastically intelligent dogs to have around the house - they are full of character, and they’ll reward your faith in them with endless loyalty. They are also small enough to fit into a handbag, and so Chihuahuas were popularized by fashion icons and reality tv stars (Paris Hilton, famously).
Despite their relatively new claims to fame, though, the tiny Chihuahua has been around for centuries, if not longer!
The Chihuahua is named for the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, where the dog was most commonly found at the turn of the 20th century when the breed first became registered with the American Kennel Club. Before this, the Chihuahua - and larger forms of the Chihuahua - were popular dogs amongst the indigenous nobility, including the Toltecs and Aztecs.
Not all that much is known about the history of the breed, as much of their pre-Colombian history was lost in the Spanish conquest. Dogs similar to Chihuahuas do appear in works of art and culture across the pre-Hispanic Mexican world, though, and it’s very likely that the dog was bred down to be a royal lapdog or court dog.
Common features and common characteristics of Chihuahuas
The Chihuahua continues to evolve, particularly as they have been popular across the world, and demand for different characteristics has led to selective breeding.
Chihuahuas officially remain purebred dogs (although there are lots of types of Chihuahua mixes, too, these days), and the defining physical trait of a Chihuahua is that it must weigh 6 pounds or less. (Although you will find mixed breeds like the chihuahua terrier mix.)
There’s no height requirement, although on average, a Chihuahua won’t be more than 9 inches tall. Different types of Chihuahua all fall within these specifications, but they have different physical shapes and different colors or types of coats.
They are best known for their distinctive Chihuahua face - large eyes and pointy ears. They often have a distinctive tail, too, and either a short and smooth, or long and fluffy coat which can be found in a wide variety of colors.
Chihuahuas are known for their long lifespan. They can live for as long as 18 years when well cared for, and free from medical conditions or inherited diseases. Chihuahuas are generally very healthy dogs; however, they can be prone to obesity. It’s important to regularly exercise them and ensure they aren’t overfed.
Prospective owners need to be aware that while Chihuahuas are small dogs, they aren’t necessarily low maintenance dogs. Chihuahuas are intelligent, and that means they are independently minded and stubborn. However, treat these pups with respect, and they’ll respect you back.
Different types of Chihuahua
The following types of Chihuahuas are not distinctive breeds but simply different varieties of the Chihuahua breed itself. There are six major varieties of Chihuahua, which are all recognized to some extent or not by official kennel clubs around the world.
The most commonly used distinction is coat type. Chihuahuas are said to have either a long or short coat. Indeed, many kennel clubs (including the American Kennel Club) only recognize the Long-Hair Chihuahua and the Short-Hair Chihuahua as ‘official’ types.
The 6 major types of Chihuahua are:
- Long-Hair Chihuahua
- Short-Hair Chihuahua (Smooth-Coat Chihuahua)
- Apple-Head Chihuahua
- Deer-Head Chihuahua
- Fawn Chihuahua
- Teacup Chihuahua
Let’s take a look at these different types of Chihuahua in more detail.
#1 Long-Hair Chihuahua
The Long-Hair Chihuahua is a standard Chihuahua that’s characterized by its long coat of fur. These pups are popular in dog shows and are perfect for owners that love spending a lot of time grooming, brushing, and matting their pet’s fur.
Long-Hair Chihuahuas can be high maintenance purely because of their long coats. They need regular washing and grooming (you’ll need them professionally groomed if you don’t have much experience in this field), but the cuddly, furry results are particularly lovable!
Long-Hair Chihuahuas are probably the most recognizable Chihuahua type, and they can come in a wide range of different colors, from dark to light and everywhere in between
#2 Short-Hair Chihuahua
The Short-Hair Chihuahua is also recognized by most kennel clubs as an ‘official’ type of Chihuahua. After the long-haired variety, this is the most popular type of Chihuahua you can commonly find.
The Short-Hair Chihuahua is also known as the Smooth-Coat Chihuahua because its fur is naturally short and naturally smooth (in extreme cases, the Short-Hair Chihuahua can even appear to have a bald or hairless look!).
Short-Hair Chihuahuas are exactly the same size and temperament as their longer-haired brothers and sisters, but they need far, far less grooming!
#3 Apple-Head Chihuahua
The Apple-Head Chihuahua looks exactly as its name might suggest. These are Chihuahuas who literally have apple-shaped heads!
Apple-Headed Chihuahuas have become well known in recent years, in part because they are often the type of Chihuahua that appears in movies or on tv. Their apple-shaped heads give them that love-hate look, too; some owners love the look, others see them as ugly.
Regardless, these Chihuahua puppies still have that classic Chihuahua character - perhaps even more so. Combined with their prominent apple-shaped foreheads, many owners consider these pups to be the most regal and proud of Chihuahuas.
#4 Deer-Head Chihuahua
The Deer-Head Chihuahua is known for its distinctive deer-shaped head. Rather than the prominent, apple-shaped forehead of the Apple-Head Chihuahua, these pups have long, smooth foreheads that look slicked-back in comparison.
Again, Deer-Head Chihuahuas share the common character traits of their cousins; however, they are often thought to be heavier than standard Chihuahuas (which is one reason why kennel clubs often disqualify them as official Chihuahuas for the purpose of dog shows and competitive events).
#5 Fawn Chihuahua
The lovely Fawn Chihuahua isn’t so-called because of its super-tiny stature or because it looks deer-like; rather, these pups are known by the fawn moniker because of their fawn-colored fur coats.
To be considered a Fawn Chihuahua, these dogs must have a distinctive light brown or light tan color - that could be slightly tinged with red or auburn. Fawn Chihuahuas are considered a classic breed, although they aren’t recognized as such by kennel clubs (after all, they are the same in every other respect to standard Chihuahuas, the only difference is coat color).
Fawn Chihuahuas can be long-haired or short-haired, and they can have an apple or deer-shaped head. Fawn Chihuahuas are prized for their coat color, so you’ll want to make sure you keep their coats pristine!
#6 Teacup Chihuahua
The Teacup Chihuahua isn’t an official variety of Chihuahua, in part because of the fact that these pups are dangerously small - kennel clubs just don’t want to encourage dangerous down-breeding.
To be considered a ‘Teacup Chihuahua,’ these tiny pups have to weigh below 5 pounds and stand below 9 inches in height. That’s super-small, and this not only results in a fragile puppy but a Chihuahua that is very likely to be plagued with medical conditions and inherited diseases.
Types of Chihuahua: the last bark
From the Deer Head Chihuahua to the Apple Head Chihuahua, and everything else in between, there are a surprising number of different types of Chihuahuas to be found across the world.
Regardless of the look you prefer, though, all Chihuahuas are characterized by their tremendous temperaments. These feisty little fellas are independent, stubborn, yet full of character!
They might be small, but all types of Chihuahuas are a handful - but don’t forget, they are loyal to a fault too! If you’re looking for the perfect Chihuahua, then why not bookmark our guide to the many different types of Chihuahuas?