Do you want a small, sweet, and serene companion dog? Maybe the Bolognese dog is for you! 

The Bolognese dog breed belongs to a group of small dog breeds called the Bichons or ‘Melitensis’. The breed originated from Itlay.

Although the Bolognese is part of the small breed category, their hearts are big enough to embrace anyone.

This dog is known for its calm but loving personality. They’re quite playful and nonchalant as well. Quite chill for a dog, right?

Let’s check out a brief history of the Bolognese puppy!

Small Dog Breed #6: Bolognese

History of the Bolognese Dog Breed

Although it is often mistaken for the Maltese breed due to its breed origin, the history of the Bolognese is found back during the Roman era and Renaissance. 

The Bolognese dog breed is found in Bologna, Italy. 

The temperament of the Bolognese breed complimented the lifestyle of the extravagant.

So they were given as gifts to royalty and nobility. They became a symbol of wealth and luxury. 

They were to Princess Jose of Belgium on her birthday by King Umberto. Several Bolognese pups were also given as gifts to influential members by Cosimo de Medici.

Duke d’Este has also given Philipe II, King of Spain, Bolognese pups as gifts.

Since then, Philippe II also has shared his love for the Bolognese dog breed as he quote “The little dogs are the most royal gifts one can give to an emperor”.

During the waning prominence of the royalty, the same thing goes for the Bolognese dog breed which resulted in their popularity and population decreasing.

Before the extinction occurred breeders, such as Gian Gianneli, from Europe revived the Bolognese adrift popularity. 

Thus, the Bolognese population and demand returned. 

Physical Traits

The Bolognese breed is known for its white, long, fluffy coat. This breed is small, compact, and has a squarish built trait.

The Bolognese weighs 6-10 pounds and stands at  10-12 inches. 

The Bolognese are only found in White color and there are no markings found with them as well. 

Their eyes are round and set on the front quite near each other.

The pupil, iris, and eye rims are also dark or black while the sclera is not visible.

The nose is quite extensive and black. The teeth are evenly aligned. 

The Bolognese head shape is round in shape. The muzzle is squarish and long in shape.

The length of the neck is parallel to the head. 

Their shoulder width is quite wide compared to their lower body.

Similar to their muzzle, the Bolognese’s body has a squarish build.

The chest is not prominent and the back is straight. The tail rises as well.

The forelegs and hindlegs are stout and long while their feet are round in shape


The Temperament of a Bolognese

The Bolognese dog breed is known for its calm and loyal temperament. 

They have a balanced sense of affection toward their owners.

Although they are not overly affectionate, they do enjoy spending time with their owners.

They are not excessively cuddly but they’re the type that would love to be by the side of their family or owners all the time. 

The Bolognese breed does okay with children.

Early exposure and socialization may be of help when it comes to building their tolerance but it’s not recommendable to leave a child and a dog alone. 

The Bolognese breed is quite a social butterfly when it comes to humans.

They will welcome everybody and befriend them as well. Strangers may not have a hard time getting along with a Bolognese. 

Still, even when the Bolognese dog has a low vigilant temperament, they have a fair and sensitive awareness when it comes to safety and comfort. 

The Bolognese dog breed may need a gradual introduction with other dogs before getting them together.

After a brief introduction and careful evaluation, the Bolognese will open themselves to other dogs happily. 

Like all dogs, Bolognese dogs need to have early exposure, early socialization, and basic training while they’re still puppies.

This can help shape their personality to be less timid and vigilant towards others.

Living with a Bolognese

The Bolognese dogs may do well with apartments or huge homes as long as their daily requirements are provided.

It’s important to expose your dog outside as well so it will not be frightened and aggressive. 

Bolognese dogs have velcro tendencies. They cannot be left alone at home by themselves for long periods.

If owners are planning to be out for more than a couple of hours, it’s best to leave the dog with someone they know instead.

Leaving the dog unattended may result in anxiety, destructive behavior, and depression. 

The Bolognese dog breed is not a ‘yappy’ dog normally. They may be vocal about alarming their owners of danger or for their attention.

If the Bolognese is too vocal, owners may have their dogs undergo correctional training. 

Italian dog breeds Bolognese

Training & Exercise

The Bolognese will need moderate training and exercise.

They may also need a fair amount of physical and mental stimulation as well. 

Bolognese is quite fast to pick up tricks as well.

Using positive reinforcement and praise can help them learn tricks and commands easier. 

Bolognese dogs are quite easy to train as they’re also eager to learn and please their owner.

Training Bolognese dogs from a young age is a must. This can be done continuously even when their adults. 

It’s important to be absolute with the rules owners set up with their dogs.

Positive reinforcement is good for training with Bolognese but rewarding bad behavior is a no-no.

Bolognese is prone to “small dog syndrome” and may develop it once exposed.

The Bolognese needs moderate exercise.

This breed is prone to bone and joint problems so it’s a must to keep their exercise in an adequate amount only.

They can have a 20-30 minute walk every day. Owners may alternate their exercise regimen with other activities as well.

Since they’re quite playful, playtime can also be used as exercise. This can be done inside the home or even out in the yard. 

Bolognese Dog

Bolognese Health Care

The Bolognese dog is a generally healthy breed. They can live from 10 to 12 years.

Proper screening before breeding can decrease the chance of congenital diseases.

Aspiring owners would adopt Bolognese dogs through reputable breeders and have their adopted Bolognese checked and tested promptly. 

Eye Problems (Cataracts, Entropion)

The Bolognese dog breed is known to be more prone to eye problems like cataracts and entropion.

Problems with their eyes can be prevented with regular check-ups and proper grooming around the eyes.

It’s best to trim the hair around the eyes regularly if possible to avoid any possible injury as well.

A cataract is an obstruction of lens fiber in the lens of an eye. the gradual clouding of the lens in the eyes.

Although this is more common in elderly dogs it can also be acquired through genetics, traumatic injuries in the eyes, nutritional deficiencies, or diabetes. 

Have your pet get an ophthalmic examination to detect small cataracts as early as they step four to five years old.

To determine whether it is blinding or not, it is better to check with your veterinarian to be informed what procedure should be done. 

Entropion is the condition where the eyelid rolls inward, creating friction in the sensitive part of the cornea.

Usually, this condition requires surgery when it is quite damaging and may progress quicker than expected. 

If Bolognese is suspected to have Entropion, owners should bring their Bolognese to the veterinarian for further examination.

Italian small dog breeds are suspected to have sensitive eyes, like the Bolognese, they may also develop another disease if left as is.

The Bolognese dog breed is also prone to bone and joint problems when exposed to excessive exercise, activities, weight, and injury.

Regular check-ups are a must to prevent these conditions. 

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is a rare condition where the femoral head loses its blood supply resulting in inflammation or the destruction of the hip joint.

This disease is disabling and painful as well. It’s best addressed as soon as suspected.

Veterinarians may prescribe medications at first but will recommend procedures to reposition the femoral before any further damage.

Owners should deal with this condition immediately as it may progress quickly. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition wherein the socket of the joint and ball becomes distorted.

When diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, it’s important to keep their weight within the normal range and have them exercise with activities that promote joint therapy.

Veterinarians may prescribe medications for anti-inflammatory/ pain relievers and supplements.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is the patella shifting alignment out of the femur.

This can range from high to low levels of luxation, and each requires different treatments.

Symptoms may include skipping and kicking off the leg.

It’s best to consult with the Veterinarian for treatments, therapies, or procedures needed to help Bolognese with this condition. 


Periodontitis is a severe gum infection caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the cavity.

This may lead to inflammation and eventually tooth loss.

Bolognese with Periodontitis may undergo professional dental clean-up.  

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative disease that affects the rod and cone cells in the eyes that leading to blindness. It is an inherited disease and it’s known for it has no treatment.

It can progress quickly from a year or two. Have your Pug checked regularly to guarantee less risk to their health.

Diet Needs of a Bolognese

The Bolognese breed may intake 1 ½ cups of high-quality dry food split into two throughout the day.

Owners may also introduce wet food into their diet and alternate them as well.

Home-prepared food can also be an option. Frequency and restrictions are a must-know for owners.

They may ask their veterinarian for any food restriction, amount of food, or frequency home prepared food their Bolognese may intake.

Owners may consider giving their Bolognese hypoallergenic dog food, especially for those who have sensitive skin or allergies. 

Overfeeding Bolognese may arise stomach problems. If your Bolognese has a problem guzzling down food.

You may check out ways how to stop food-guzzling in pets. Keep in mind to give treats in an appropriate amount.

Excessive amounts of treats may risk Bolognese obesity.

The Bolognese dog breed is prone to bone and joint problems. Being overweight or obesity can escalate these conditions.

Make sure to feed your Bolognese according to their age as well. 

Grooming a Bolognese Dog


Although the Bolognese does not shed as much, they may still need frequent grooming due to the length and intensity of their coat. This dog has a long, fine, and wavy coat.

The Bolognese is known for its soft coat but some Bolognese has a coarse type of coat.

These will need much more attention with grooming.

The Bolognese fur does not have a definite shape, may grow very long, and is fine.

This may become a problem as it may accumulate matting, grime, and a messy coat.

Although this breed does not need regular trimming for its fur, for more undemanding grooming maintenance, a short coat is best with Bolognese.

Owners may go through professional grooming to schedule these cuts. 

The Bolognese will need extensive attention to the length of their fur around their eyes and ears.

Since they are prone to eye problems and injury, it’s a must to keep the length minimal at all times.

It’s also best to trim down their hair around the ears to avoid ear infections. 


The Bolognese dog will need frequent brushing, at least once a day, especially if the coat is long.

Owners should pay attention to the areas below the armpits, stomach, and behind the ears.

Bolognese dogs with shorter coats may be brushed less frequently.


This breed will need occasional baths. A bath thrice or four times a month may suffice.

To keep their white coat in its best health, it’s important to keep it neat as well with brushing and baths after water or messy activities.

The Bolognese is prone to eye stains. Tear stain products can be used to clean the area surrounding the eyes for any stains. 


Bolognese dogs have fur on their pinna, so it’s best to keep the length very short and pat their ears dry after a bath.

This can accumulate moisture and grime that may result in ear infections.

It’s best to clean their ears twice to thrice a week and every after bath.


This breed should clean its teeth regularly as well.

Some Bolognese is prone to Periodontitis, so it’s best to watch out for their dental health as well.

Nails Trimming

Bolognese dogs should have their nails trimmed or filed regularly. Trimming or filing their nails biweekly will do.

Owners should not trim their nails often but file them if the length isn’t that long. 

The Bolognese breed does not drool as much but it’s best to wipe their mouths after drinking water or consuming colorful food.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Bolognese Dog Breed

What type of dog is Bolognese?

The Bolognese is a Bichon type of dog. Bichons are a non-sporting type of dog.

They are known to be from Mediterranean regions such as Malta, Italy, and the Canary Islands.

The Bichon includes Bichon Frise, Havanese and Bolognese.

How many litters does a Bolognese dog usually have?

The Bolognese dog breed can have 4-6 litters. There are instances that they may birth less or more. 

Are Bolognese dogs yappy?

Although the Bolognese dog is a small breed, they are not as vocal as we ought to be.

They even have a lower register in terms of vocal pitch. Bolognese dog does not bark unless they deem it necessary. 

Bolognese dogs playing

Bolognese Dog Breed Profile: Summary

Although the Bolognese dog breed is still rare in other parts of the world, adopting one will make you want another or even two!

This small breed’s personality is unparalleled!

If are planning to adopt a Bichon Bolognese, make sure to research it thoroughly and adopt one from a reputable breeder.

Make sure to have it checked and tested as soon as possible.

Adopting Bolognese puppies from puppy mills, backyard breeders and disreputable breeders may cause the dog’s quality of life and longevity. 


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.