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Bolognese Dog… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!


We are about to discuss perhaps one of the cutest dog breeds in the entire world. So… if the last thing you need in your life is a little puppy, we seriously advise you to stop reading now and turn back! Not only are these little “fur balls” some of the cutest little things you will ever see in your life, but they also have a personality that will make it impossible not to want to take one home with you!

But remember…

Just because this little guy looks like something out of a fairy tale doesn’t mean you should make them your next pet; this is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a Bolognese so that if you do decide to adopt a Bolognese puppy, you won’t be disappointed in your decision six months from now. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Bolognese Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Italy

Original Purpose:  Show Dog, Toy Dog

Height:  9 to 12 inches tall

Weight:  7 to 12 pounds

Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Currently not recognized by the American Kennel Club (As of yet, but we would have to assume that when they do decide to recognize the breed, it will fall in the Toy category)

Origins of the Bolognese Dog Breed

While the Bolognese isn’t officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), it is clear that this little dog comes from the Italian city of Bologna (Hence the name). The problem is that this particular dog isn’t yet considered separate from the Bichon dog breed from which he has been “developed.” This little guy is a variation of the Bichon breed that was once a favorite of the Italian nobility in the Royal Court of Bologna.

Now, it should be pointed out that…

The Bichon breed is a dog breed that once included the Coton de Tulear, Bichon Frise, and Maltese dog breeds before officially being recognized by the AKC as separate, distinct breeds. That is why we here at IndulgeYourPet feel that it’s only a matter of time before the Bolo is recognized.

But regardless of their…

“Current” standing, what is known is that throughout history, women and children have loved Bolo’s, especially during the Renaissance period. During this time, they were just about everyone’s favorite pet throughout Italy because they were so small, friendly, and portable! Loved for their temperament and incredible cuteness, they were often included in portraits commissioned by the wealthy elite in Bologna throughout the sixteenth century.

For example…

Some of Italy’s wealthiest and most powerful families, such as the Medicis, Estes, and the Gonzagas, used to have a Bolognese in their homes. Even Marquise de Pompadour, the royal consort of King Louis XV of France, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and Catherine the Great of Russia, had a Bolognese as their pet dog.

Unfortunately, as the nobility died, so did the interest in the Bolognese. He was almost forgotten, and if it weren’t for the famous Italian breeder Gianfranco Giannelli, this little “gem” might have become a relic of the past only to be experienced in old paintings! The good news is that this didn’t happen, and eventually, over the years, the breed continued to exist and thrive within Italy. While the species may have been taken to other parts of the world, it wasn’t until 1990 that it was “officially” imported to England, leading to its recognition by the United Kennel Club in 1995.

Does the American Kennel Club recognize him?

No. The American Kennel Club has not yet registered the Bolognese. But he is a part of their Foundation Stock Service and hopefully will be recognized by the AKC soon.

Physical Characteristics

The Bolo, as he is sometimes called, is a small, surprisingly stocky dog covered in long, fluffy white single-coat fur. When we say tiny, we mean small, like in never being over 12 inches in height and usually only weighing in at around 7 to 12 pounds. They’ll also generally have a somewhat “big” black nose (but don’t tell him that) and beautiful round-shaped dark eyes. He has large ears that hang down and a short tail that curves over the back. But believe us when we say this: it’s sometimes difficult to see any of these details combined; they create a cute ball of fur!

And while…

Few breeds can compare to the Bolo’s cuteness; if you do decide to adopt one, be prepared for folks to confuse your Bolognese for all sorts of other dogs, including the:

And even breeds like the:

Which we here at IndulgeYourPet find rather odd!

Lastly, you should know that you must spend much time grooming the Bolo as he is a high-maintenance breed. So, if you are thinking about making one of these little guys your own, you should give him a regular bath to keep his white, curly hair looking its best!

Personality and Temperament

The Bolognese is a brilliant, excellent dog, but he can also be a bit of a “stinker”! And by “stinker,” we mean that these little guys often learn that because they are so cute, they can get away with quite a bit and still be forgiven. This is why you must avoid the temptation to “spoil” your Bolo too much!

When you let him…

Get away with anything, such as snapping, nipping, and constant barking from day one; he can be irritating as he ages and begins to assume that his “type” of behavior is acceptable. That’s why training the Bolognese puppy is essential. That said, you should always use positive reinforcement techniques to ensure that he behaves well and does not become a nuisance to everyone around him, including yourself.

 How is he with children?

The Bolo loves children and enjoys playing with them. But always supervise the kids when they play with the Bolo because these little guys are so small, they can be injured by a” zealous little child. So you’ll want to be sure that any child playing with your Bolo doesn’t try pulling the dog’s tail, pinching his ears, or picking them up in a way that might hurt your Bolo. Now, this is obvious advice we would give to any parent exposing their child to a dog; however, because the Bolo is SO cute, even well-mannered children might mistake them for a toy or a plaything.

Potential Health Concerns

Are there any health problems you should worry about? The Bolo is generally a healthy dog, and while he could potentially develop health problems such as:

Their risk for these conditions isn’t any higher than any other dog breed. However, small dog breeds like these will often require preventive dental care, so keep an eye out for your Bolo’s teeth so that he doesn’t develop any serious dental problems as he ages.

Which brings us…

The last topic we want to discuss is the possibility of you purchasing a pet insurance policy. Now, we only mention this because the last thing you want to have happened four or five years from now is for your little bundle of joy to develop a medical condition or suffer from an injury that requires treatment you couldn’t afford.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be right for you?

Who knows, but unless you know what these policies will and won’t cover and how much they cost, chances are, you won’t be able to determine if it makes any sense for you to purchase one… right?

For more information about who we feel is currently offering the “best” pet insurance options, we encourage you to check out our article: Best Pet Insurance Companies.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Ursula, Dali'deRu's mom April 8, 2021, 4:46 am

    Dali’ is a 13.5yo Bolognese 🙂 lifelong puppy that unfortunately developed from november 30th 2020 a chronic Glaucoma and blindness on one eye with a 50% possibility to get in on the other, too.
    This is one of the lesser known but very frequent problems with them, as it is genetic.
    We are now waiting for a eye removal and prosthetic eye surgery, because he is adorable and still super lively as always.

    hugs from Dali’ and me
    bye from Italy

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