Let's talk Bologneses

A companion dog if there ever was one, the charming Bolognese is a faithful, very affectionate, and docile breed. Their admiration for people, not to mention their incredibly playful manner, have won hearts worldwide. The breed’s tendency to be shy springs only from an unwavering devotion to their owners, but warming up to strangers happens soon enough. Hailing from their namesake Bologna, Italy, the Bolognese breed was once given as a gift between nobles and the wealthy - already perfectly wrapped in that fluffy white coat!

Official name: Bolognese

Other names: Bichon Bolognese, Bichon Bolonais, Bolognese Toy Dog, Bologneser

Origins: Italy

Bolognese sitting down looking at the camera
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Very low
Suited to apartment living?  Very high
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* Medium Family Pet?* 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets Very high
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
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Illustration of a Bolognese
Male
27 - 30 cm Height
2.5 - 4 kg Weight
Female
25 - 28 cm Height
2.5 - 4 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 10 months
 Adult age  10 months to 8 years
 Mature age  8 to 12 years
 Senior age  from 12 years

Bolognese walking across path with rubble

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Get to know the Bolognese

All you need to know about the breed

Their beginnings date to ancient Rome, where they lived among royalty and were particularly fancied by aristocratic ladies. The Bolognese dog had a sumptuous start, which has only continued with his favour among breeders and owners alike. This breed - classified as a toy - is part of the Bichon family, a category of small dogs with similarly fluffy fur, large eyes, a curved tail, and a docile demeanor. They are perfectly suited to apartment living, but take well to any environment, as long as their owner is right nearby.

Maybe it’s all that giving and good will that’s given the Bolognese such amenable behaviour and conditioned the dog to enjoy being around people so much. Today’s breed bonds very closely with family, so much so that they hate to leave their side. With the Bolognese’s compact size, taking them practically anywhere is easy. Kind and loyal are just some of the better characteristics of the Bolognese breed; aggression isn’t part of the mix so don’t expect a dog that will guard the home in any way.

Their other signature trait: That plush snow-white coat. It’s a pleasure to behold and silky to the touch. Keeping the Bolognese groomed will keep them a prized pet, and the envy of the neighborhood. Playful and easygoing, this is an all-around super breed to bring into any home.

Bolognese bounding through a field, photographed mid-air

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2 facts about Bologneses

1. Calories can count

Believe it or not, this gentle little dog has an inordinate propensity to gain weight. The fluffy fur of the Bolognese breed can easily cover excess pounds that may be building up. The Bolognese’s health issues are few so feeding them a high quality food is key to keeping them fit - and even more important if they are neutered.

2. Mr/Mrs/Miss Congeniality

The Bolognese dog easily gets along with most everyone, cohabitating well with other animals in the house (including cats) and all people who enter. They are known to be affable and calm. Their temperament is such that the Bolognese dog is often used in therapeutic situations in hospitals, offering comfort to those in need.

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History of the breed

A petite dog with an aristocratic beginning, the origin of the Bolognese is traced to the Roman Empire where they were a domestic favorite. The toy breed continued to rise to popularity in Italy during the Renaissance when they were treasured at the highest echelons of society, often given as a gift between royalty and nobility, their plush fur fitting for the class of humans with which they mingled.

Over the centuries, the Bolognese found favour as the subject of artists, depicted in works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Titian, and Francisco de Goya.

Recognised as a breed in 1956 by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the Bolognese first made a splash in England in 1989 through an introduction there by by Liz Stannard, the Chairperson of the British Bolognese Club. The breed is still considered rare.

Black and white portrait of a sitting Bolognese

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Bologneses

1. Ears

Ears set high on head, long, and hanging down.

2. Head

Head is rounded in nature, flat on the top.

3. Body

Substantial body, square in shape.

4. Tail

Small tail, carried curved above the back.

5. Coat

Pure white coat, long, silky and dense in texture, formed in ringlets.

Bolognese sat on rock with its mouth open

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Bolognese
Bolognese sat on grass looking away from camera

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Caring for your Bolognese

Grooming, training and exercise tips

A well-groomed Bolognese is always a sight to see. Their cottony-soft fur can be brushed a few times a week, with a de-tangling comb, and bathed every two to three months with a special white dog shampoo (there is such a thing). Nails should be trimmed regularly to keep their small bodies well-balanced and clean their face, but carefully. Runny eyes tend to leave reddish streaks. Moderate exercise is the way to go for the Bolognese dog as he is not a highly active breed. They enjoy twice-daily strolls, as long as you don’t leave their side. Training the Bolognese is not always so easy; keep in mind, discipline must be firm with this small dog who will try to assert themselves and get their way. Sensitive yet devoted, they will come to understand, with patient, repetitious training, that it’s you who is in charge.

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All about Bologneses

Although the retiring sort, the Bolognese breed is known to have above-average hearing, which causes them to bark at curious noises as they arise. He’s got a big bark for his diminutive state. Hey, you have to do something in this world to get noticed!

The Bichon Frisé and Bolognese breeds are very similar - both part of the Bichon family and both adorable white fluffy dogs delivering loads of affection. The Bichon Frisé however is better suited to a more active family than the Bolognese, whose temperament is a tad more cerebral and timid.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/