How to Tell What Type of Chihuahua You Have

by Rob Harris
Chihuahuas don't all fit in the same box ... but they all need small boxes.

Chihuahuas don't all fit in the same box ... but they all need small boxes.

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One of the smallest dogs around, a Chihuahua brings enthusiasm and love regardless of his type. With only two recognized types of Chihuahuas, it's not difficult to determine which one you have -- just look at the length of his coat. However, a few other differences help separate dogs inside the breed.

Coat Length

Officially, the two types of Chihuahuas are long-haired and short-haired. Recognized by the American Kennel Club, these two types share the rest of the breed's characteristics, such as big, round eyes and large, upright ears. Short-haired Chihuahuas have smooth, glossy coats that typically fluff more around the neck and tail. The long-haired type can have hair several inches long, especially on the tail. The hair can be straight or slightly wavy.

Head Shape

Although not an official type of Chihuahua as recognized by the AKC and other professional dog clubs, some Chihuahuas sport a head shape slightly different than the traditional apple shape: the deer head shape. The apple shape, which is the only one recognized by conformation dog clubs, includes a short nose and a dome-shaped skull, where the top section is significantly larger than the area where the jaw sits. The deer head shape appears as longer noses and narrower skulls, resembling the head of a deer. The ears are closer and more forward than those with apple heads.

Size Variances

Chihuahuas should weigh no more than 6 pounds, although some weigh as little as 2 pounds when fully grown. Regardless of where your dog falls within this weight range, he's still the same type of Chihuahua as every other one with the same coat type. Breeders sometimes advertise smaller Chihuahuas, such as 3 pounds or less, as teacup or toy versions of the breed. However, the smaller sizes aren't different types of Chihuahuas; the size variances are standard in the breed, according to the United Canine Association.

Color Options

Chihuahuas offer many color choices, but none of the different colors denotes a separate type. So many options exist that the AKC accepts any color or mix of colors. Many short-haired Chihuahuas wear the traditional fawn color, but short- and long-haired dogs can be any color including white, black, brown, red or a mixture of two or more colors, often called "splashed."

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