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Bolognese Dogs

a cute bolognese sitting down The head of a beautiful bolognese a young and fluffyl bolognese a cheeky bolognese having his hair clipped a handsome bolognese sitting on the grass a happy bolognese having his hair done


The Bolognese is closely related to the Bichon Frise and originates from the Italian City of Bologna. Having been bred in the Mediterranean by crossing large water dogs with small white dogs, the Barbichon (later called Bichons) type of breed was created and the Bolognese is one of these. They were bred as lap dogs for wealthy ladies and were generally given as gifts by the rich. After World War II the breed was falling in popularity but a number of breeders continued to work on the breed and today they are back to healthy numbers.


The Bolognese is a loving, affectionate dog that loves to sit on, and be cuddled by, people. They are very patient and rarely snappy as can be the case with small dogs. They adore children and are playful and active with them, but not overly so. They tend to latch on to one family member more than others, but relish attention from any one who is prepared to give it. They will bark at the door and can sometimes be reserved with strangers at time. Bolognese usually get along very well with cats and other dogs, if introduced from an early age. They like nothing better than curling up on your lap and sleeping. They are renowned for picking the softest place to sleep.

Like many small dogs, they can suffer small dog syndrome where they think they are the leader of the pack. They need fair, consistent training and are quick to learn new tricks. They will try and twist you around their paw, but you need to be consistent to prevent problems further down the line. Many owners spoil their Bolognese, by hand feeding and treating them like small children; this is asking for trouble and often results in a snappy dog! They do like praise and are a willing to please kind of dog, so that makes training easier.

They don't have high energy needs, but need regular walks to keep them physically stimulation and prevent obesity which can be common in the breed. A couple of shorts walks a day, plus vigorous play session in the house is usually enough to wear them out and keep them fit. Recall is not usually a problem as they rarely stray too far and like the company and play of other dogs when out walking. They can be a bit 'rough and tumble' when out play, the complete opposite to the chilled out dog on you lap when at home!

Their coat needs regular brushing to keep it white, but they don't shed much fur. They are quite a clean dog and well suited to allergy sufferers.

They are a very healthy breed with a long life, but can suffer Patellar Luxation and are prone to tooth related problems, like many small breeds. This is mainly due to over crowding of the small mouth, so it is wise to get your dog used to having it's teeth cleaned often.


Bolognese have a companionable and attentive temperament. They absolutely have to be with you and hate to be left alone. So much so that they are likely to be possessive and incredibly unhappy if left alone. This aside they are easygoing house companions who are intelligent enough to excel in training and surprsingly agile. A moderate daily walk is sufficient for these sweet natured dogs.

Health Problems

Health problems that may affect the Bolognese include allergies, ear infections, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina which can lead to blindness), Legg Calvé Perthes disease (degeneration of the femoral head which can cause lameness and joint swelling) and urinary stones.

Breed Details

  • Status: Endangered
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 14 years
  • Weight: 2.7 - 6.4 kg
  • Height: 10 - 12"
  • Rare: Yes
  • Coat: Long
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Country
  • Minimum Home Size: Flat
  • Minimum Garden Size: No Garden
  • Breed Type: Toy Dog
  • Size: Small
  • Energy Level: Medium

Bolognese Pictures

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