Bolognese looking forward

Quick Facts


6 to 10 pounds


10 to 12 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12-14 years

Known For:

Not so much energetic, but clever and loving dogs.


The Bolognese, often referred to as the “Bichon Bolognese,” is a small, white, and fluffy dog breed that exudes charm and elegance. Originating from the Italian city of Bologna, from which it gets its name, the Bolognese has been a beloved companion of nobility and art enthusiasts for centuries.Β 


With its captivating appearance and affectionate nature, it’s no wonder that this breed has captured the hearts of pet lovers worldwide. As we delve deeper into the world of the Bolognese, you’ll discover the rich history, captivating appearance, and delightful temperament that make this breed truly special.

History and Origin

The Bolognese has a history that is as rich and luxurious as its coat. This breed is believed to have ancient roots, with some historians suggesting that it might have been around during the time of the Roman Empire. However, it was during the Renaissance period in Italy that the Bolognese truly flourished. The breed was a favorite among Italian nobility, especially in the city of Bologna, where it was considered a status symbol.


Famous figures in history, such as Catherine the Great of Russia and Madame de Pompadour, were known to have had a fondness for the Bolognese. Paintings from the Renaissance era often featured these little white dogs, showcasing their significance in high society.


While not as globally recognized as some other breeds, the Bolognese has had its moments of fame. For instance, the breed was often gifted to visiting dignitaries and royalty as a sign of respect and admiration.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Bolognese is a small dog, typically weighing between 4 to 9 pounds and standing about 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in presence.

One of the most striking features of the Bolognese is its coat. Unlike other breeds, the Bolognese has a singular coat of long, fluffy, and slightly curly hair that is always white.Β 


This coat gives the dog a cloud-like appearance, making it look like a little puffball. The texture is soft and cottony, which is delightful to touch.


The breed’s face is equally endearing, with dark, expressive eyes and a black nose that stands out against its white fur. The ears hang down and are covered in long hair, blending seamlessly with the rest of the coat.


While there aren’t different “varieties” of the Bolognese, there can be slight variations in coat texture and length. Regardless of these minor differences, one thing remains consistent: their undeniable charm.

Personality and Temperament

The Bolognese is not just a pretty face; it’s a breed with a heart full of love and devotion. These dogs are known for their affectionate nature, often forming strong bonds with their families. They thrive on human companionship and are happiest when they’re part of family activities.


Despite their small size, the Bolognese is quite lively and enjoys playtime. They have a curious nature, often exploring their surroundings with enthusiasm. However, they are not overly energetic and are content with moderate play and short walks.


One of the delightful quirks of the Bolognese is their tendency to shadow their owners. They love being close and will often follow you from room to room, just to be near you. This trait, combined with their gentle disposition, makes them excellent companions for both young and old.

Health and Lifespan

The Bolognese is generally a healthy breed with a lifespan ranging from 12 to 14 years, though some can live even longer with proper care. Like all breeds, they have certain health issues to which they may be predisposed.


Common health concerns for the Bolognese include:

  • Eye Issues: Like many small breeds, the Bolognese can be prone to certain eye conditions, such as cataracts or tear staining.
  • Dental Problems: Due to their small mouths, they can be susceptible to dental issues. Regular dental check-ups and brushing are essential.
  • Patellar Luxation: This is a condition where the kneecap can slip out of place. It’s not uncommon in small breeds.

To ensure a healthy and happy life for your Bolognese, regular veterinary check-ups are crucial. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and preventive care can go a long way in ensuring your Bolognese remains by your side for many years.

Care and Maintenance

Bolognese grooming

Caring for a Bolognese is a rewarding experience, as these dogs give back so much love in return. Their luxurious coat, while beautiful, does require regular grooming to keep it looking its best. Brushing several times a week will prevent tangles and matting. Additionally, regular baths will keep their white coat looking pristine.


Exercise needs for the Bolognese are moderate. A short daily walk, combined with some playtime, is usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy.Β 


They are adaptable dogs and can thrive in both apartments and houses, as long as they get their daily dose of love and attention.


Diet is another essential aspect of care. Feeding your Bolognese a balanced and high-quality dog food will ensure they get all the nutrients they need. Given their small size, it’s also crucial to monitor their weight and ensure they don’t become overweight.

Training and Behavior

The Bolognese is an intelligent breed, eager to please its owner, which makes training a relatively smooth process. However, like all dogs, early socialization and consistent training are key. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise.


While they are generally well-behaved, the Bolognese can sometimes exhibit a stubborn streak. Patience and consistency will help overcome these moments. It’s also worth noting that they can be a bit reserved with strangers, so early socialization is essential to help them become well-rounded dogs.


Housebreaking can sometimes be a challenge with smaller breeds, but with regular routines and patience, the Bolognese can be trained effectively.

Bolognese and Families

Bolognese with people

The Bolognese is a true family dog. Their gentle and affectionate nature makes them excellent companions for households of all sizes. They are particularly good with children, often forming close bonds with the younger members of the family. Their patient demeanor means they tolerate the playful antics of kids, but as always, supervision is recommended to ensure both the child and dog are safe.


While they get along well with other dogs, especially if introduced at a young age, their interactions with larger breeds should be monitored to ensure their safety. The Bolognese can also coexist peacefully with other pets, such as cats, especially if introduced properly.

Adopting a Bolognese

Bringing a Bolognese into your home is a decision that promises years of joy and companionship. If you’re considering adoption, it’s essential to do thorough research to ensure you’re prepared for the responsibility.


Start by visiting reputable breeders or rescue organizations. Ask questions about the dog’s health, temperament, and history. It’s also a good idea to spend time with the dog before making a decision.


Consider your living situation and lifestyle. The Bolognese is adaptable, but they do need regular care, attention, and love. Ensure you have the time and resources to provide for their needs.


Lastly, remember that adopting a dog is a long-term commitment. The Bolognese can be a part of your life for many years, so it’s crucial to ensure you’re ready for the journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of coat does a Bolognese have?

The Bolognese has a distinctive fluffy, white coat that is curly and does not shed much, making it a good option for people with allergies.

Are Bolognese dogs easy to train?

Bolognese dogs are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques.

How does the Bolognese get along with families and other pets?

They are known for being affectionate and loyal, making them excellent family pets. They generally get along well with other pets if socialized from a young age.

What is the exercise requirement for a Bolognese?

Despite their small size, Bolognese dogs require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks and playtime are sufficient for their energy levels.

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