Bolognese Dog Breed


The Bolognese is a breed of dog that is thought to have been around since 300 BC. These dogs were named after the city in the northern part of Italy called Bologna, the place where they came from.

These dogs were even mentioned in Latin by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) on several occasions, under the denomination of ‘Canes Melitensi‘.

The Bolognese originally became popular in the Mediterranean region,  carried on ships to be used as companion dogs, as presents, and probably as “on-board mousers”.

It belongs to the Bichon group together with the Lowchen, Maltese, Havanese, Coton de Tulear, and the Bichon Frise.

Some may confuse the Bolognese for a Maltese in the early 1600s, considering that it is its closest relative within that group. Both breeds officially separated in the early 1900s. However, it is unclear as to whether the Maltese are its direct ancestor or descendant.

Starting from approximately 750 BC to 500 AD or as far back as the Roman Empire,  the Bolognese were among the highly prized, most prestigious and appreciated gifts given by the Italian aristocrats and as well as the elites all around the world.

They were very popular among royals in countries such as Russia (during Catherine the Great’s time) and France. As evidence of their remarkable fame, they can be seen in many paintings/ tapestry works dating as far back as the 17th century.

The Bolognese breed is identified by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale),  KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain),  UKC (the United Kennel Club) and as well as the Rare Breed Network.

Traits and Behavior


This breed is intelligent, active, and fun-loving, which makes them great as house pets. They love to be the center of attention and would want nothing other than to spend time with their family.

They get along well with children and enjoy playing with them. Indoors, they tend to be subdued, but when stimulated, they are brave, feisty, and can become aggressive.

Even though they are friendly and welcoming, this breed has a keen judgment of character. When it comes to strangers, they are distant. They bark if someone they don’t know approaches which make them also good as watchdogs.

They are known to be aggressive towards other animals, including pets. Socialization and training should be done in the early years. Training Bolognese is easy but one needs to be firm and consistent.

Bolognese are smart and eager to please, but at the same time, they are stubborn, dominant, and willful.


Pet Care and Diseases

This energetic and active dog needs sufficient amounts of exercise to remain calm and happy. They require at least an hour of daily walks and at least some time to roam around an enclosed area. They are, however, not good jogging partners since they can get winded easily. If not properly exercised, the Bolognese can become hyperactive, aggressive, vocal, and destructive.

The Bolognese dog breed has low grooming requirements. Only occasional brushing and bathing is needed. They suffer from several health issues such as cancers, tumors, skeletal problems, breathing problems, and allergies.



One could see the close resemblance between this breed and its Bichon relatives.

The Bolognese’s height varies from10 to 12 inches for males while about 10 to11 inches for females. They have a very small weight which varies between 4 to 14 pounds.

The Bolognese is a small-sized and compact dog that has a distinctive white single coat. It has small loose waves in it with more tufts of fur around its face. The large muzzle has a rounded black nose, almost square; black lips, and evenly aligned teeth.

Its eyes are well developed, open and round. The rims of the eyelids are black and the iris is a dark ochre color. The long ears are hanging but sturdy at the base. The tail is bent over the back.


General Information

The estimated life expectancy for this breed is about 14 years. The average litter size is approximately 6-7 puppies. Other names include Bichon Bolognese, the Bolognese Toy Dog, the Bologneser, Bolo, the Botoli and the Bottolo.

Breed Club

Visit these dog club websites dedicated to Bolognese. Click this link:

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