The Bolognese is a small breed that comes from the Bichon family. They are true companion dogs that are the happiest when they are surrounded by their family. Best suited for the indoor living, this companion breed will surely win you over with its lovely temperament and beautiful white fluffy coat.

The Bolognese has developed as a breed centuries ago in the Italian town of Bologna. Some of the richest Italians owned and bred this breed. These dogs were a status symbol and companions to the noblest of families.

Bolognese Height


9,8 - 11,8 in (25-30 cm)

Bolognese Weight


5,5 - 8,8 lb (2,5-4 kg)

Bolognese Origin



Bolognese Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy:

12-14 years

Breed History

The Bolognese, as well as the Maltese, Lowchen, Coton de Tulear, and Bichon Frise, are all a part of the same breed family - the Bichons. They are quite similar but the Bolognese is a unique breed with its own rich and colorful history. The Bolognese has a noble origin and was extremely popular among the Italian aristocracy.

This breed is closest to the Maltese but their exact origin is still a bit of a mystery. It is unclear which breed is oldest, the Maltese, or the Bolognese. However, it is known that this breed got its name after the Italian town of Bologna where their existence was recorded as early as the beginning of the 13th century.

These dogs have been a motive in many works of art from many famous artists such as Goya, Watteau, and Gosse. Works of art depicting this breed have been dated back to the 17th century. Since this breed was popular among the richest Italian families, it is no wonder that a lot of the world leaders and royalty got these dogs as gifts. Some of these royals and nobles include the likes of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Catherine the Great of Russia, and Madame de Pompadour.

The Bolognese were very popular in the European mainland but were brought rather late to the United Kingdom. The first Bolognese were imported to the UK in 1990. by Liz Standard and shown in a dog show for the first time the same year. In 2002 these dogs participated in the famous Crufts dog show for the first time.

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

This is a fairly “old” breed so it is a bit of a surprise that it is not yet accepted and registered by the majority of cynology associations. The ones that have registered and accepted this breed have a standard in place for them and the standards describe them as being small and compact. Their length is the same as their height and that means these dogs have a square build. They have a medium-length head with a slightly ovoid skull. They have a distinctively curved tail that goes over their back.

This breed is not fully accepted in the United States of America but instead, it is in the American Kennel Club’s “Foundation Stock Service”. That means that this breed is on the waiting list for full acceptance and registration by the governing cynology association. That association is, of course, the AKC (American Kennel Club). They are the regulatory cynology association for the United States of America and are in charge of keeping records on all purebred dogs bred in the US. They are also in charge of all nationwide dog shows.

The Bolognese are accepted by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) and all of its member states. The FCI is a union of 98 national cynology associations from 6 different continents.

FCI standard

The FCI standard describes the Bolognese as being stocky and compact. They have a long, white coat that is one of the most impressive features of this breed. They placed these dogs in Group 9 (Companion and Toy Dogs), Section 1 (Bichons and related breeds). It is no wonder that these small companion dogs don’t have a working trial.

The standard has a required size for these dogs and it is 10,6 – 11,8 in (27 – 30 cm) for the male dogs and 9,8 – 11 in (25 – 28 cm) for the females. The average weight of these dogs is between 5,5 – 8,8 lbs (2,5 – 4 kg).

The Bolognese was accepted and registered by the Federation Cynologique Internationale on the 5th of March 1956.


Bolognese has long hair all over the body. They must be pure white by the breed standard. These dogs don’t shed and they are percent for people with allergies.

They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, bathe them every 4-5 weeks (more if they live inside the house), and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.


Bolognese is a low active dog that doesn’t require a lot of daily activities to be happy. They are great apartment dogs and a few walks will do the trick and keep these dogs happy and satisfied. Playing games like hiding and seek, chasing balls, or learning a new tricks can all be a fun way for them to spend energy.


Like any other dog breed, the Bolognese should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with. 

There are many ways you can socialize with your Bolognese, and the most important thing to do is to get your dog familiar with different situations they can find themselves in. Take your dog to dog parks where they can meet other dogs and people. They can learn to react accordingly and understand that they don’t need to be scared of strangers and other dogs.

Bolognese and kids

Early socialization and proper training can teach them to behave even when children are around. Their temperament makes them more suitable for families with older children. However, Bolognese will not tolerate aggressive behavior towards them or even between other children and may stop their quarrel before it escalates.

Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.

Bolognese and other animals

These dogs get along well with other dogs and animals. However, they can in some cases stand up to much bigger dogs. Correct and early socialization is essential for your dog to well behave.

Health problems

Like any other dog breed, the Bolognese can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents.

The Bolognese is generally considered a very healthy breed that can live 12-14 years.

To be sure that your dog will be healthy always buy him from a responsible dog breeder who regularly tests their breeding dogs to secure that their puppies will be healthy as well.

Bolognese breeders

Before you go searching for the Bolognese breeders, make sure that this is the right breed for you. These dogs require a lot of attention and are a true companion breed. They like nothing more than to spend time with its owner and its family. Make sure you have enough time to spend with your dog and see if your dog can come with you wherever you go.

If you think you can provide your new dog with all of that, you can start looking for a reputable and registered Bolognese breeders. Ask the breeder to present you with all the necessary breeding documents and registrations. Ask them about this breed and ask for advice. Great breeders will be glad to answer all your questions and will be glad their dogs are going to a knowledgeable household.


World Dog Finder team


Updated at14.06.2020.