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Life span: 12-14 Years

Height: 27-30cm (Male); 25-28cm (Female)

Weight: 8-14 pounds

This small dog was always meant to be a companion dog. They are sweet and caring with their owners, and cannot be left alone for long. Given their size, however, they are quite fragile, making them unfit to be around small children.

Physical Characteristics

Their body is small, compacted and squarely shaped. Their tail is curled over its back and its ears are small and set high atop its head, falling down. Its eyes are brown with a black nose. The coat is curly, dense and long, giving it a fluffy appearance and making it soft to the touch. It can only be pure white.


This breed originated in Italy, specifically in the city of Bologna, where the Bolognese got its name. They are part of the Bichon breed group, which includes the Havanese, Bichon Frise, Maltese and Coton de Tulear. It is believed that one of its ancestors is the Melitensis, which were brought to Italy from an island in Croatia, where they were originally used for hunting mice and rats. During the Italian Renaissance the Bolognese were used as companions for nobles, who deemed them loving pets, and appeared in many of their paintings sitting next to their owners. Nearly becoming extinct after the decrease in royalty, these dogs were saved by Italian breeders, and then brought to England in 1990 by Liz Stannard. That same year was the first year the Bolognese was shown in the breed registry and in 2001 they could participate in all shows, including an international show called “Crufts”, which they were part of in 2002.


The Bolognese are loving dogs who enjoy spending time with their family. They do enjoy being with children, as they do have a playful personality. However, they are quite fragile and young children can unknowingly harm them. Their bark does not seem like one from a small dog, and they do not tend to bark a lot, except when suffering from separation anxiety. To prevent them from suffering from this, they should not be left alone for long periods of time. They are not overly energetic but enjoy going on walks, making them the perfect companion for an elderly owner or a family that is not overly active. They are friendly with strangers and get along well with other pets.


This breed is considered relatively healthy, although they may sometimes suffer from eye problems, especially due to any hair bothering their eyes. They can also suffer from:

Patellar Luxation, a disease where their kneecaps are slightly out of place or even dislocated, although this disease is genetic, it can also happen through injuries.


Even though their coat is long, they do not shed nor need to have their coat trimmed except for around the eyes, unless you want to keep your pet’s coat short for easier grooming, as they do need to be brushed daily. Baths should only be given occasionally, along with its nails trimmed regularly, its teeth brushed and its ears checked for any dirt in order to prevent infections. Given that they are not highly energetic, the Bolognese makes a perfect pet for any owner that is not overly active, such as elders. They are great for apartment living and the exercise they require is minimum and can be satisfied by a playtime session in a fenced yard, a short walk, or simply playing and teaching them tricks indoors. They are easily trained but can also become bored quickly, as they need variety in order to provide them with mental stimulation. Positive reinforcement works best with this breed.


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