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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. 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 in decline, but today they are back to healthy numbers.


The Bolognese is a loving, affectionate lap dog. They are far more patient and less 'snappy' than many small dogs. They love being with children. They tend to latch on to one particular family member more than others, but still enjoy attention from any other member of the household. They will always bark if someone comes to the door and can be reserved with strangers. But they usually get on just fine with cats and other dogs, if introduced from an early age. They will usually pick the softest place in the room to sleep.

Like many small dogs, they can suffer 'small dog syndrome' - i.e. they think they're leaders of the pack. To get over this they need fair, consistent training. They usually lean quickly, and are good at picking up new tricks. You need to be consistent to prevent behavioral problems. The dogs are very cute and cuddly, and this often leads to owners spoiling them through such habits as hand feeding, and generally treating them like small children. This is to be avoided, as it often results in a spoilt, snappy dog! They thrive on praise and like to please kind of dog, so that makes training easier.

Bologneses don't have high energy needs, but still need regular walks to keep them healthy and to prevent obesity, which can be a common issue in the breed. A couple of short walks a day, plus a good play session in the house, should suffice. Recall is not usually a problem with this breed as long as they have been trained, and they rarely stray too far from their human friends. They enjoy the company of other dogs when out walking. They can transform into quite boisterous 'rough and tumble' dogs when outdoors playing - the complete opposite to the chilled out lap dog on your sofa!

The dogs' coats need regular brushing to keep it white and neat, but they don't shed much fur. They are hypoallergenic, ideal for allergy sufferers.

This is a very healthy breed with a long life. It is prone to tooth-related problems, like many small breeds. This is due to the teeth being over-crowded in a small mouth, so it is a good idea to get your dog used to having it's teeth regularly cleaned at an early age.


The Bolognese is companionable and attentive. They crave company and hate being left alone. So much so, in fact, that they are likely to be clingy and possessive, and very unhappy if left alone. Apart from this, they are good-natured house companions, intelligent enough to excel in training and surprisingly agile. A moderate daily walk is sufficient.

Health Problems

The Bolognese is prone to 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), Patellar Luxation, urinary stones, and tooth problems.

Breed Details

  • Status: Endangered
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 14 years
  • Weight: 6 - 14 lb
  • 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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