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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Bolognese Facts

  • Group
  • Toys
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 9" - 13" (22.9 - 33cm)
  • Weight
  • 8 - 12lbs (3.6 - 5.4kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White
    • White / Cream
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Bolognese is also know as Bichon Bolognese or Italian Bichon.


Although it takes it's name from the northern Italian city of Bologna, theory supports that the Bolognese is a decedent of the Bichons of southern Italy.

Date Of Origin

Descriptions of the Bolognese breed have been recorded since the 1200's.


The Bolognese is closely related to the Maltese, and also related to the Bichon Frise, and Havanese. Many people confuse the origin of the Bolognese with that of the Maltese, because they share some of the same distant ancestors. History suggests that this dog was a popular gift among nobles during the Renaissance. Catherine de Medicis; Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great; and Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, were all Bolognese owners.

As their popularity with nobility faded, the general popularity of the Bolognese as a distinct breed also faded, and in time almost became extinct. However, breed fanciers in Italy and Belgium restored the Bolognese to its present popularity in Europe.

Bert and Dorothy Goodale, the founders of The Bolognese Club of America, imported the first Bolognese to the USA in 1986.

The Bolognese was recognized by the UKC in 1995.


The Bolognese is a toy breed with a sturdy body that is only slightly longer than it is tall. It has a medium length head and muzzle with a black nose and lips. The eyes are dark and round with dark rims. It has drop ears and the tail is carried over the back. It has a long, cottony coat that covers the entire body. The Bolognese is all white, although it may have some cream coloring on the ears or occasionally on the back.


The Bolognese is a sweet and affectionate dog that is eager to please, enjoys the companionship of people, and will form a close relationship with it's owner. It is very intelligent and highly trainable. The Bolognese are curious and playful by nature and quite comical in the games they make up. They get along well with children and other animals. This breed is very devoted to it's family.

Most Bolognese are weary of strangers and will bark excessively. Early training will help reduce the severity of the barking before it develops into a problem. House training may be difficult. The Bolognese should be supervised in the presence of smaller pets.

Bolognese do not require excessive exercise but will thrive in agility training. Although small, this breed will gladly adventure with their owner.


The Bolognese is a companion dog, but will also excel in agility and therapy work.

Health Concerns

The Bolognese is a relatively healthy breed with no instance of breed specific disease.

Additional Information

The Bolognese needs constant grooming to keep the coat free of mats. Brushing and combing will be required daily for highly active dogs, and bi weekly for average dogs. Although the coat is long, it does not require regular trimming and does not have an undercoat. The cottony coat makes it suitable for hot climates.

This is an extremely rare breed.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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