Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Appearance Diversity - Genetic Diversity

Types of Chihuahuas

From: Totally Chihuahuas   photos sourced from Google images.  Most were unattributed.  Italicized text is my commentary, and was not part of the original article.

The Chihuahua breed has the most variations of any other breed in regard to their shapes, colors, and coats. While Chihuahuas only have two coat lengths (either long-hair or short-hair), they come in a wide array of colors; fawn, brindle, sable, chocolate, black, tri-colored, rare blues, and rare whites just to name a few. Many other color combinations can be found on our Chihuahua Colors & Markings page.

When it comes to a Chihuahuas body there can be big differences from one dog to another. Some Chihuahuas have longer bodies, with long slender legs, while others have short compact (cobby) bodies with short legs. These differences can result in some Chihuahuas being over a foot tall, and others as short as 4 inches.

How many different types of Chihuahuas are there?
Officially there is only one "breed" or one "type" of Chihuahua. Within the Chihuahua breed there are two official varieties of coat lengths according to the AKC (and other dog kennels) breed standards; the long-coat and the smooth-coat. It is the different coat varieties that people commonly refer to as being different types of Chihuahuas, and that can be confusing because the AKC only recognizes one type of Chihuahua. Unofficially the term "type of Chihuahua" is used way more loosely and is used to refer to distinctions in the breed like coat length, head shape, and body type. Using the unofficial standards, there are many different types of Chihuahuas. Listed below are all the different types of Chihuahuas (not including color types).

Why don't they just separate the Chihuahua into two breeds - The Long Coat and the Smooth Coat?
There are many reasons why they don't and why they can't separate them into separate breeds. The first and foremost being that they are technically still the same breed. Another reason is that when you breed two smooth coat Chihuahuas together it is entirely possible to get a long coat offspring (see why on our Chihuahua Genetics page). This lack of breed predictability disqualifies the Chihuahua from being considered for a separate breed.

Long-Coat Chihuahua:

The long-coat Chihuahua also commonly referred to as a long haired Chihuahua is one of two officially recognized varieties. 

Long-hairs can come in many different colors, and their coat length can be very long or sometimes only slightly longer than a smooth-coat. 

The long-hair can be an apple-head, a dear-head, and may have long legs or short legs.
I recently read that the Chihuahua is one of the least inbred purebred dogs.  I was surprised, but looking at the pictures of these two long coated dogs I was immediately reminded of the great variety of coat length, texture and color in the working Border Collie.

Smooth-Coat Chihuahua:

The smooth-coat Chihuahua or short-hair is the other officially recognized variety of the Chihuahua. Short hairs can come in many different color combinations, and like the long-hair, the short-hair can have an apple-head, and deer-head, long legs or short legs.

Apple-Head Chihuahua:

The Apple-Head is the only officially recognized type of head for the breed and accepted in the show ring. For a Chihuahua to be considered a true Chihuahua, it must have a well rounded apple domed head or it is disqualified. It is called an apple-head for the obvious reason that the shape of their head resembles an apple.

Typically the Apple-Heads have a shorter snout than the Deer-Head, and have a much more prominent stop (closer to 90 degrees).

This is the sort of thing that I expect to see from an AKC dog.       

 These two dogs are freaks.  Like the Bulldog and the Pug, they have been turned into caricatures of somebody's sick fantasy about what a dog looks like.  They are called "cute."      
But there is nothing cute about them.

The health problems that come with such sick distortions are a cruel price to pay for the dogs.  I only wish that their breeders and owners could be forced to spend some time in these deformed little bodies.  Perhaps then they would reconsider the breeding and buying choices they've made.

Deer-Head Chihuahua:

The Deer-Head Chihuahua is called a deer head because of it's resemblance in shape to that of a deer. The deer head is more elongated than that of an Apple head and also has a longer, narrower snout. 

A deer heads stop is less prominent and more slanted and they are typically have a longer body and longer legs than the apple head, but not always.
The deer head is not considered a favorable trait within the dog show community as they do not meet the breed standards, but it is a desirable trait for some people and many breeders purposefully breed for the deer head look. They are usually healthier with fewer genetic problems.

No kidding! What a surprise! A dog with a normal head has fewer problems.

Fawn Chihuahua:

A Fawn type of Chihuahua does not exist. It is simply a misunderstanding. Fawn is actually a color of Chihuahua and does not mean anything other than that. Perhaps the confusion is that a Fawn is also the name for a baby deer.

Teacup/Miniature/Micro Chihuahua:

A "Teacup Chihuahua" is a popular marketing term for breeders trying to make their Chihuahuas seem more unique. While "Teacup" may be a fitting description for small Chihuahuas, there is not really such a thing as a Teacup Chihuahua. This description simply refers to a Chihuahua that is really small. Chihuahuas can range in size from 2 lbs to 8 lbs, but smallness is not a trait that can be predictably bred (although many have tried and are still trying). 

It is somewhat misleading for a breeder to use the term "Teacup Chihuahua" as it gives the impression that they are a distinct type of Chihuahua. Just be aware that the term usually refers to a smaller than average Chihuahua. Some Chihuahuas simply turn out smaller than others, and many Chihuahuas can fit inside of a teacup, especially when they are young, but they are still just a Chihuahua.

 This is the worst. This is not a dog - it's a nightmare.   

Pear-Head Chihuahua

The Pear-head Chihuahua is an uncommon and usually undesirable type of Chihuahua. You will most likely never hear this description unless you are a Chihuahua breeder, as the term is very specific. The pear head is similar in shape to a deer head, but the head is more pear shaped (as the name suggests), they usually have a flatter skull, a larger more prominent muzzle. 

Pear-head Chihuahuas can be pretty large for the breed and the trait most often appears, when a breeder has bred an apple-head Chihuahua to a deer-head Chihuahua.

 Even, though they do not have the desired looks, they are still Chihuahuas. It does not appear it is a dominant trait as when they are mated to an excellent mate they produce beautiful pups.

These are the most appealing to me of all the dogs pictured here.  The dog above is especially so.  It looks like a "regular dog," Un-exaggerated, happy and healthy.



LA County Chi Rescue said...

I think it might be a good idea for you to refrain from speaking of different chi’s as superior based on your own personal preferences, if you’re trying to speak as an authority.

geonni banner said...

Last I heard it was still legal in this country to have an opinion. I have worked as a groomer, trainer and vet's assistant. I have also studied dogs and breeding. I don't claim to be an expert in many things, but I've done my homework on the issues I comment on.

If you have a problem with the main substance of the article I suggest you take it up with the author. (Source is cited in bold type at the top of the post.)