Bolognese

Type: Companion Dog

Height: Males: 11 - 12 inches; Females: 10 - 11 inches

Weight: 5 - 14 lbs.

Life Span: 13-15 years, although some have lived up to 20 years.

Litter Size: 3 - 7 puppies.

Country of Origin: Italy

Activity: Medium. They love to go for walks on a regular basis. Bolognese are bouncy, vivacious and playful. They are always at your heels are are known to follow their owners around.

Watch-dog: High. Bolognese have keen eyesight and hearing and will alert their owners of anything new or unusual.

Guard-dog: Low. Bolognese can be suspicious but aren't known to attack.


Description: Bolognese anticipate what you want and believe that they are smarter than you. They are true companions and thrive on your attention. Bolognese are known to follow their owners wherever they go. They are show-offs and love to play. Owners have reported their ten-year-old Bolognese playing like puppies. Bolognese are excellent watchdogs and a great judge of character. They are often high on alert for new and interesting things, and have even been known to make up their own games. Being highly trainable, they are intelligent little dogs who originated from Italy. They are of the Bichon family, by which their dense long locks of fur form the beautiful white soft coat that you love to bury your face in. They are well muscled small dogs with large round eyes and a short stature. They enjoy exercise but are not extremely high-energy dogs. They will spend time with their owners to no end follow people like shadows. They also get along with other pets and children. They love their whole family and must always be part of what you are doing.

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Other Names: Bichon Bolognese

Colors: The coat is pure white or ivory white, and can have yellow or crème shading.

Coat: The Bolognese has a long soft and fluffy coat that does not shed. Their coat is flocked and these tufts cover the entire body. The coat may become tangled and matted, which requires grooming.

Temperament: Bolognese are serious dogs, not very lively, creative, docile, devoted to their master. They have an amiable personality and are very adaptable to new circumstances. They are sweet, affectionate and eager to please. Bolognese are intelligent and playful. Some owners say they can be ten years old and still play like a puppy. They love to follow their owners around.

With Children: Bolognese puppies are not suited to very young children who may be clumsy, however do very well with older more careful children.

With Pets: Good. Bolognese are gentle with other animals.

Care and Training: The coat of the Bolognese demands regular grooming. They should be combed daily to avoid frizzing and tangled mats. Grooming should also include regular bathing, eye/ear care, nail trimming and teeth cleaning. Time should be set aside each day for exercise. A walk around the block or a game of fetch, you can also jog or bicycle with your Bolognese running along side. The Bolognese are difficult to housebreak. Consistent crate training is necessary. Socialization is needed as they are standoffish by nature. Bolognese need exposure to people, sights and sounds or their natural caution could become shyness or suspiciousness. They tend to bark a lot as well.

Learning Rate: High. Their intelligence is shown by their ability to learn quickly, as well as their ability to obey. They make up their own games and enjoy outsmarting you.

Special Needs: Attention, grooming, and socialization.

Living Environment: Bolognese need a lot of companionship and do not do well when left alone for hours on end. They become anxious, destructive and noisy when left alone too much. The Bolognese is very adaptable to different owners and living environments. They can live in an apartment with a devoted owner, but a fenced yard with a doggy door to the house is ideal.

Health Issues: The Bolognese is actually a very healthy breed and does not have many health concerns. Possible health concerns include luxating patellas.

History: Originally from Bologna, a region in northern Italy, the Bolognese are closely related to the Maltese and the Bichon Frise. They are believed to have existed since the 1200s in Malta and southern Italy. For centuries the Bolognese have been used as mousers and were said to have been kept on ships to hunt the rats and other rodents. During the Renaissance, they were exchanged as presents among the nobles. Catherine de Medicis, Catherine I, Maria Theresa Empress of Austria, and La Pompadour, Catherine of Russia, were all owners of Bolognese. After having received two Bolognese as a gift from the Duke d'Este, King Phillip II of Spain thanked the donor by writing "These two little dogs are the most royal gifts one can make to an emperor." Although rare, this breed is making its way into the world and becoming more popular outside of its home country. Bolognese were known to have black in their coats in the past, but it is no longer accepted by the AKC. These dogs served as rodent hunters and watch dogs in the past. More recently they have achieved status as a companion.

First Registered by the AKC: Bolognese was only recognized by the AKC Stock Service in 1999.

AKC Group: FSS - Foundation Stock Service

Class: Companion dog

Registries: FCI, AKC