Bolognese: Dog Breed Information

Bolognese is not only a delicious Italian sauce, it is also a miniature decorative dog breed with a calm, affectionate disposition and soft, slightly curly snow-white coat. Other names of the breed: Italian Lapdog, Bolognese Bichon.

History of the Breed

Bolognese belongs to the Bichon family, which includes the Maltese lapdog, Bichon Frise, Havana Lapdog, and Coton de Tulear. All these breeds have a similar appearance and temperament, but some breeders believe that it is the Bolognese that is the smartest and most resourceful. They are, of course, the rarest.

Often the history of the Bolognese is confused with the origin of the Maltese since their distant ancestors were the same small white dogs known collectively as the Canis Melitenses. They were born about 2000 years ago and gave rise to all modern Lapdogs. For centuries they have been popular trade items, companions of noble ladies, and expensive gifts from kings. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance were especially popular in Bologna, hence the name.

As the number of kings in Europe decreased, so did the number of these dogs. Only thanks to the true fans of the breed, one of whom was Gianfranco Gianelli, they managed to save them. Bolognese was imported to England in 1990 and is shown in the ring of unrecognized breeds. Soon they were recognized by the English Kennel Club, and then by the International Cynological Federation called Bolognese.


Bolognese is a small, stocky, and compact dog with long, fluffy white hair. The format of the case is square.

  • Height at withers: 25-30 cm.
  • Weight 2.5-4 kg.

The head is of medium length. The skull is oval. The stop is quite pronounced. The length of the muzzle is 2/5 of the total length of the head. The bridge of the nose is straight. The lobe is black, with large, black lips. The jaws are well developed. Scissor bite, the straight bite is allowed. The eyes are located almost frontally, rounded, rather large. The whites of the eyes should not be visible. The iris is dark brown. The ears are set high, long, drooping, raised at the base, which makes the head appear larger. The neck is equal to the length of the head, without dewlap.

Square body. The back is straight. The loin is slightly arched. The croup is wide, slightly sloping. The chest is voluminous, well round. The tail is carried over the back. The forearms are straight and parallel. Paws are oval with strong black nails and dense pads. Hind feet, viewed from behind, vertical and parallel. The knee and hock joints are moderately pronounced. The coat is long throughout the body, slightly shorter on the muzzle, rather fluffy. Never creates a fringe. The color is white. The ivory shade is allowed.


Bolognese is calm, strong-willed, very intelligent, loyal, and playful. Among all family members, he chooses one owner, to whom he is infinitely loyal. Sensitively recognizes the mood and easily adjusts to the rhythm of the owner’s life. Absolutely cannot stand loneliness. Left for a long time, it can bark a lot, ruin things. Bolognese is curious, attentive and so adept at learning human body language that he appears to be telepathic. Good for children if properly socialized.

Bolognese is responsive and tries to please the owner in everything. He is easy to educate and quickly learns simple commands. For a Bolognese, versatile socialization, meeting different people, animals, and sounds is very important. Without this, natural caution can develop into shyness and suspicion. Bolognese has a pronounced sentinel instinct and will definitely report by barking about extraneous rustles. Not aggressive. Usually gets along well with other animals.


Bolognese is suitable even for living in a small apartment. He does not require a lot of space and is content with minimal physical activity. In bad weather, he will be happy to stay at home. Molting is very weak.

Bolognese is considered the ideal companion for seniors. He is calm, intelligent, and empathetic loves to be around is content with leisurely walks.

If the coat is not cleaned daily, it will quickly become tangled. Owners who do not have time for the procedure should trim their dog regularly to help the short coat with fewer tangles. They bathe once a month or a little more often. Be sure to use a soft coat shampoo. Additionally, bleaches, conditioners, and hair detangling sprays are used. Monitor the condition of your dog’s eyes, ears, teeth, and claws. It is recommended to trim excess hair in the ear canal. The claws are trimmed as they grow.


Like all animals, the Bolognese Dog cannot be overfed, taught to eat from the table. The last condition is sometimes not easy to fulfill, since the pet will certainly beg the owners for treats. In this case, you need to show persistence. Puppies need vitamins and mineral complexes, especially vitamin A, half of the introduced feed is of animal origin.

Bolognese up to 5 months should be fed 4 times a day, and it is recommended to feed an adult dog 2 times a day. Sharp bones of birds and fish are excluded. For daily nutrition, food is selected that is suitable for a particular dog. As a rule, seek advice from veterinarians or breeders who have experience in these matters. The dog is susceptible to allergies, so they try to pick up the food, focusing on the absence of allergens in it.


Bolognese belongs to healthy breeds, but some hereditary diseases do occur: hip dysplasia, dislocated patella, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, eye problems.

The first vaccination is given to a dog at about 7 weeks of age and then repeated at 18–20 weeks. The set of necessary vaccines will be determined by the veterinarian, among the diseases against which vaccinations are made – distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, etc.

Life expectancy is 12-15 years.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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