The Bolognese dog was prized in its early existence in Italy, and has always been regarded as a great companion to people. This small Bichon type breed is calm and known to be very intelligent and playful, but is still a rare breed in the United States.
Looking out of a fluffy ringletted body are round dark eyes that draw you in with their sweet expressiveness. Beneath that cloud of curls, the Bolognese is a sturdy little dog who loves to have fun. He doesn’t need long walks every day, but if that’s what you want to do, he’s right there with you, willing and able. If being a couch potato is more your style, he’s good with that, too. He is curious, comical, devoted and smart.
The Bolognese, sometimes known as the Bichon Bolognese, is one of several little white dogs that have been known in the Mediterranean for at least 2,000 years. You may be familiar with his cousins: the Bichon Frise, the Coton de Tulear, the Maltese, the Havanese. The dog was popular at ducal courts in Italy, in particular, Bologna, from where he takes his name.
Other Quick Facts
- Works of art that feature the Bolognese include a Titian portrait of Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, which hangs in Madrid’s Prado Museum; paintings by Goya and Watteau; and 17th-century Flemish tapestries.
- When you look at a Bolognese, you should see a small, stocky dog with a squarish body covered in a long, fluffy white coat. He has a large black nose, dark round eyes and long ears that hang down. His tail curves over his back.
- Comparable Breeds: Bichon Frise, Maltese
For the most part, Bologneses are a typically healthy breed. But with most purebred dogs, there are some issues that may occur. These include hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and periodontal disease due to the small size of their mouth.
The Bolognese is a good dog for apartment life. It will do okay without a yard.
You’ll be glad to hear that the Bolognese is an intelligent and highly trainable dog. He takes well to obedience training, especially when you’re using positive feedback, praise, petting and treats. If you don’t take the lead and treat your Bolo like a dog, you run the risk of promoting small dog syndrome. This is when your small dog picks up human induced behaviors and believes he is pack leader. Make sure your dog knows the rules, and enforce them gently and consistently.
These are active little dogs that need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds it will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs that do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off-lead, such as a large, fenced-in yard.
This toy dog breed does not require an excessive amount of exercise, but should you be the exercising type, the Bolognese is likely to be able to keep up with you. The breed hardly sheds, but brushing its coat daily or a few times a week will keep the coat healthy and tangle free. The Bolognese can be an ideal apartment dog as it will do fine without a yard.
When it comes to grooming, the Bolognese is a high-maintenance breed. He requires considerable time for grooming and bathing to keep his white, curly locks looking their best. You should brush your Bolognese at least three times a week — daily is best — to keep the coat in good condition. To keep the coat bright white, bathe him whenever he gets dirty in a whitening shampoo. Some owners trim the coat short for easier care or take the dog to a groomer for a professional coif.
If you fell in love with the Bolognese because of the way the pure white coat sets off those dark eyes, you’d better be prepared to spend a lot of time cleaning away tear stains, which cause a rust discoloration that most people find unsightly.Wipe around the eyes daily with a soft cloth dampened in warm water to clean and prevent tear stains.
The rest is basic care. Trim the toenails at least once or twice a month. Check the ears every week to make sure they are clean and odor free. If they look dirty, wipe them out using a cotton ball dampened with a mild ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian. Sometimes, it is necessary to pluck out the hair that grows in the ear canal to allow for better air circulation inside the ear. Eye discharge tends to accumulate in the hair that grows around the eyes and if not cleaned regularly, can even lead to eye problems.
Did You Know?
You may have heard these dogs’ non-shedding coats make them a “non-allergenic” breed, but that’s not true. It’s a dog’s dander – flakes of skin – that triggers allergic reactions, not the coat. The non-shedding coat means less dander in the environment and sometimes fewer allergic reactions. But they still produce dander, and can still cause an allergic reaction.