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Characteristics, History, and Health


The Bolognese, named after the city of Bologna, Italy, where they originated, is a small breed known for its distinctive fluffy white coat. The Bolognese is an ancient breed with a history that traces back to the Roman Empire. Belonging to the Bichon family, which includes other breeds like the Bichon Frise and the Maltese, the Bolognese was a favored pet of the Italian nobility during the Renaissance. It was considered a symbol of wealth and nobility and often given as a precious gift among nobles and royals. The breed almost became extinct in the 20th century but was saved by Italian breeders who were dedicated to preserving the breed. However, the breed remains relatively rare, even in its native Italy.

Main Info
Bologna, Italy
Alternate Names
Bichon Bolognese
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
10-12 inches
Average Female Height
10-12 inches
Average Male Weight
6-10 pounds
Average Female Weight
6-10 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Coat Pattern

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Bolognese can suffer from cataracts, patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy, progressive retinal atrophy (prcd), retinal dysplasia, and urolithiasis (urate). Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosuria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.

Personality and Behavior

The Bolognese is characterized by its playful, friendly, and affectionate personality. They are intelligent dogs, quick to learn and eager to please their owners. Known for being good with children and other pets, the Bolognese can make an excellent family pet.

They can, however, be a bit shy and reserved with strangers, which makes early socialization important. Despite their small size, they are alert and can make good watchdogs. Bolognese dogs are known for their loyalty and tend to form strong bonds with their human families. They tend to get separation anxiety when not around their owners, and should be trained to tolerate normal separation early on.

Fun Facts

The Bolognese breed was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2015. They have also been recorded in the AKC's Foundation Stock Service since 1999.

According to the AKC, Flemish craftsmen included Bolognese in their tapestry work as far back as the 17th century.