A true companion dog, the Bolognese is a small breed with distinctive curls which are not unlike the famous Bolognese pasta. This adorable dog has ancient and noble roots, and was very popular with the Italian aristocracy. King Phillipe II of Spain has mentioned this breed as the “most royal gift one can make an emperor”.

Bolognese Breed Information

The Bolognese belongs to the Bichon family, and traces its origins back to the little dogs listed by Aristotle as canis melitenses. For this reason, it is sometimes confused with the Maltese, who has also descended from the same dogs. The breed is named after Bologna, the city it was conceived in, and has been recorded to have existed since 1200 AD. The Bolognese has inspired many artistic works, and features in the works of renowned artists such as Goya, Watteau and Goss. The breed was recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1995. The Bolognese is working its way towards AKC recognition, and is a part of the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.
Being a toy dog, the Bolognese is very friendly and human oriented. It will shadow its owner across the house, and grows disconsolate if left for any duration of time. This breed is very intelligent and trainable, and loves to be the centre of attention with its delightful antics.
  • Activity level: 2.5/5 (quite active)
  • Intelligence level: 4/5 (very intelligent)
  • Curiosity: 3/5 (curious)
  • Friendliness: 3/5 (quite friendly)
  • Vocal: 3/5 (quite vocal)
Small, short and compact, the Bolognese is the ultimate toy dog. Despite being small in stature, it is robust and well muscled. Its ovoid head and curly fur give it an adorable appearance. The most common physical characteristics of the Bolognese are:
  • Fur: Single, short coat with woolly texture; minimal shedding.
  • Eyes: Round, open, well developed black eyes.
  • Body structure: Small stature, muscular; body is square and compact.
  • Facial features: Ovoid skull, large black muzzle. High set, hanging ears.
  • Weight: The Bolognese may weigh anywhere between 6 to 14 lbs.
Health and Care
The most common problem that the Bolognese suffers from is hip dysplasia, which can be diagnosed through X-rays and hip scoring tests. Arthritis may also develop as a result of hip dysplasia; surgery is required for correction of this condition. Moreover, being a small breed, the Bolognese can also suffer from patellar luxation, which leads to hip dislocation. Patellar luxation is diagnosed by multiple X-rays tests (Skyline, craniocaudal, mediolateral) and by synovial fluid analysis. The curly coat of a Bolognese requires frequent grooming; daily brushing is recommended to remove dead hair. Even though the moulting is minimal, it is advisable to bathe this breed on a regular basis, as matted fur could cause a lot of pain and may result in the development of various skin infections. Brushing to avoid gingivitis is also recommended.
We have gathered this information from our breeders based on their experience with this breed. However, remember that each animal is different with its own personality and needs (just like people!), so use this information wisely. Do you know more about this breed and want to share your knowledge with us? Send us an email at