5-10 lbs
Bichon Bolognese, Bolo, Bolognese Toy Dog

The Bolognese is considered a companion dog and is native to northern Italy. The breed is one of the oldest European companion dogs, dating back to the 12th century. A rare breed in the United States, they are very smart, quick to learn and are easily trained. However, they are known to be a little stubborn. This canine has a thick, curly white coat that needs be brushed daily and occasionally, professionally groomed.  Often described as serene, they are affectionately called Bolos. They are not a high energy breed and can adapt well to living in an apartment. Since they were bred to keep people company, they do not like being left alone. If lonely, your sweet Bolo may suffer from separation anxiety. This can bring out behavioral issues like barking, chewing on furniture, and urinating in the house. Due to their small size and potential fragility, Bolos are not recommended for households with young children.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Bichon Frise, Maltese

Bolognese Health

Sketch of Bolognese
Average Size
Male Bolognese size stats
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 5-10 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 5-10 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
Minor Concerns
  • Otitis Externa
  • Allergies
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Periodontal Disease
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Dental Examination

Bolognese Breed History

The Bolognese was named after Bologna, a city in Italy.  It is believed that Bologna is where the breed was first established. This spirited pup belonged to the Bichon group of dogs (Maltese, Havanese, Bichon Frise, and the Coton de Tulear). The first recorded mention of the breed was during the Italian Renaissance. They were kept as a companion dog by the wealthy and were gifted to nobility. The breed was depicted as a loving pet to royalty and dignitaries in tapestry work and artwork. Artists such as Francisco de Goya, Tiziano Vecellio, and Antoine Watteau painted the Bolos beside their beloved owners. Aristotle even mentioned the Bolognese in a few of his writings. King Philip 11 of Spain was gifted two Bolos and afterward, wrote a thank you letter saying, “These two little dogs are the most royal gifts one can make to an emperor.” Between the decline of nobility and the commencement of World War 11, this little  dog almost became extinct. Thankfully, there were a few European breeders who focused on rebuilding the breed’s numbers and popularity. Becoming a favorite at dog shows worldwide, the Bolognese was first shown in the famous Cruft's ring in 2002. 

Bolognese Breed Appearance

The Bolognese is a small, stocky dog. Spunky and bright, this breed has a square muscular build covered by a pure white, fluffy coat. The head is of medium length. Despite their petite build, the Bolo has strong jaws.  The teeth are white and evenly aligned. They have a perky black nose. Their eyes are big and round, giving an air of curiosity, and the rims of the eyelids are black. A full coat can sometimes almost hide the eyes from sight. The ears are set high and pendulum shaped. The tail is carried curved over the back.

Appearance of Bolognese
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Bolognese eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Bolognese nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white Bolognese coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Bolognese curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Bolognese Breed Maintenance

The long, fluffy coat of the Bolognese needs to be brushed daily to avoid matting. The eyes should be cleaned regularly with an eye cleaning product. The Bolognese can get tear stains under their eyes, although there are products available through your veterinary caregiver which can help prevent the staining. Tear staining can sometimes be caused by allergies, teething or ear infections.  Dog foods that contain soy, wheat, corn and food coloring (common allergens) should be avoided.  Many breeders suggest feeding Bolos hypoallergenic dry food. Monthly professional grooming is recommended which should include bathing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming. This breed does not usually shed making this canine ideal for people with allergies. Not a high energy dog, they will not demand too much from you, but do enjoy daily walks.  Once home from their walk, they are happy to join you on the sofa. They do well with living in an apartment or having a yard to play in. The Bolognese puppy is eager to please and does well with obedience training.

Brushes for Bolognese
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Bolognese requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Bolognese Temperament

The Bolognese is a happy, playful and friendly dog, who enjoys the companionship of their owner. They can make a good family pet or a sweet companion to an elderly individual. The breed loves children; however, they should always be supervised when interacting with a child. Children can sometimes play a bit too rough, which may hurt the dog or cause them to bite. If they have been properly socialized, they will enjoy meeting new people and other dogs. They are a small breed, but do not have a small dog’s “yappy” bark.  The Bolognese has a deeper sound when vocalizing, though they are not known to be a big barker. Obedience training is always recommended with any breed of dog as proper socialization and the obeying of commands at an early age makes for a happy canine and a happy family.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Bolognese Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.75 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Bolognese Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at six months
Male Bolognese size stats at six months
Height: 8.0 inches Weight: 4.0 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at six months
Height: 7.0 inches Weight: 4.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at 12 months
Male Bolognese size stats at 12 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 6.0 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at 12 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 6.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at 18 months
Male Bolognese size stats at 18 months
Height: 12.0 inches Weight: 10.0 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at 18 months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 10.0 lbs

Top Bolognese Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Bolognese breeders of 2024.
Top Bolognese breeder Bellissimo Bolognese
Bellissimo Bolognese
Scottsdale, Arizona
Top Bolognese breeder Snow White Bolognese
Snow White Bolognese
Portage, Michigan
Top Bolognese breeder My Darling Dogs
My Darling Dogs
Lees Summit, Missouri
Top Bolognese breeder Renaissance Bolognese
Renaissance Bolognese
Cedaredge, Colorado
Top Bolognese breeder Purdy Neat Place
Purdy Neat Place
Lockport, New York
Top Bolognese breeder Charmin Bolognese
Charmin Bolognese
Lake Shore, Minnesota
Top Bolognese breeder White Raven Bolognese
White Raven Bolognese
Live Oak, Florida
Top Bolognese breeder Jarbeth's Kennel
Jarbeth's Kennel
Rolla, Missouri
Top Bolognese breeder Hoosier Bolognese
Hoosier Bolognese
Ellettsville, Indiana
Top Bolognese breeder Starlight Bolognese
Starlight Bolognese
Plantation, Florida

Bolognese Owner Experiences

6 Years
My experience walking with a little bolognese was a very enjoyable one! When I arrived in the apartment I was terrified the dog has escaped because I couldn't find her. She was sleeping in a floofy white pillow that matched her fur perfectly! Once I got her sleepy self out of bed we were off on our walk! She was a very sweet girl, and kept a pretty steady pace, except to sniff and greet other furry friends. She was very well behaved, and responded well when I said “no” to her eating trash on the sidewalk. She trotted right along with her jingling collar and got the attention of many passersby, how can they not their so adorable! She was such a sweetheart, I do hope to have the pleasure of walking with a bolognese again soon!
6 years, 6 months ago
9 Years
4 People
House & Yard
Going Outside
watching TV,
Our Puppy is very sweet. He loves every member of our large family and is always melting our hearts. He’s the perfect size for us (which is quite small but not Toy sized) and he has a very quick and easy adaptability to anything. He’s ecstatic when he gets to go to his Nana’s house and adapts to his schedule there very well, and when he comes back he’s also ready to sink back into our schedule. The thing is, if you don’t have consistent schedules, they might not be a good idea. We don’t have a COMPLETELY consistent schedule but it’s filled with most of the same things (breakfast, kids come back from school, swimming if wanted, TV time, and bed time). If we waste TV time for something else that we’re doing he gets a little anxious but he survives ;)
5 years ago
11 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Hanging out
Playing fetch
Our Bolognese, Jeter, is my husband's and my first dog. My husband is highly allergic and we are so grateful to have this darling little boy in our lives. He gives us great joy. Jeter is a wonderful companion. He is friendly, ongoing and a true little boy... Meaning that a mud puddle is grounds for potential fun. He loves other dogs and loves people as well. We call him the 'mayor' of the neighborhood.
3 years, 2 months ago
9 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Great companion! Nine years old anD still behaves like a happy pup. Always eager to please and take part in whatever we are doing.
3 years ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Other

My Bolognese has wavy fur but a year ago his fur on his back become fuzzy, like a bad perm Now it is spreading down toward his ribs. Why

Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd