4-9 lbs
Bichon Bolognese, Bolos, 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. The Bolognese is a rare canine 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.  The Bolognese has a thick, curly white coat that needs be brushed daily and occasionally professionally groomed.  The Bolognese are affectionately called Bolos.  They are not a high energy breed and can adapt well to living in an apartment.  Since the Bolognese was bred to be a companion, it does not like being left alone. If left alone your sweet Bolo may suffer from separation anxiety, which may bring out behavioral issues like barking, chewing on furniture and urinating in the house. Due to their small size and potential fragility, the Bolognese is not recommended for households with young children.

mouser, companion
Date of Origin
bichon frise, melitensis, maltese

Bolognese Health

Sketch of Bolognese
Average Size
Male Bolognese size stats
Height: 10-12 inches Weight: 4-9 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats
Height: 10-11 inches Weight: 4-9 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. The Bolognese belong to the Bichon group of dogs (Maltese, Havanese, Bichon Frise and the Coton de Tulear), which might have originated from the dog breed Melitensis. The Melitensis were known for catching mice and rats in Mediterranean ports. It is believed that the Melitensis were brought to Italy from an island in Croatia. The first recorded mention of the Bolognese 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 Bolognese beside their beloved owners. Aristotle even mentioned the Bolognese in a few of his writings. King Philip 11 of Spain was gifted two Bolognese and afterwards 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, the Bolognese almost became extinct.  Thankfully, there were a few European breeders who focused on rebuilding the breed’s numbers and popularity.

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. The Bolognese has strong jaws.  The teeth are white and evenly aligned. He has a black large nose. Their eyes are big and round, giving an air of curiosity, and the rims of the eyelids are black. 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
Sparse Normal Dense
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. His eyes should be cleaned regularly with an eye cleaning product. The Bolognese can get tear stains under their eyes.  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 Bolognese breeders suggest feeding Bolos a hypoallergenic dry food. Monthly professional grooming is recommended which should include bathing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming. Hair inside the ear canal should be pull off to help prevent ear infections. This breed does not usually shed making this canine ideal for people with allergies. The Bolognese dog is not a high energy breed but does enjoy daily walks.  Once home from their walk he is 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
Flea Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Bolognese requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Bolognese Temperament

The Bolognese is a happy, playful and friendly dog, who enjoys the companionship of his owner. He enjoys his walks but is not overly energetic.  The Bolognese 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 him to bite. If the Bolognese has been properly socialized, they will enjoy meeting new people and other dogs. The Bolognese is a small breed but it does not have a small dog’s “yappy” bark.  The breed has a deeper sound when vocalizing, though he is 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 Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Bolognese Popularity

Popularity ranking
Popular Hybrids
Shih Tzu
Cocker Spaniel

Bolognese Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
Daily Cost
$0.75 - $1.00
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00

Bolognese Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at six months
Male Bolognese size stats at six months
Height: 9 inches Weight: 2 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at six months
Height: 8 inches Weight: 3 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at 12 months
Male Bolognese size stats at 12 months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 5 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at 12 months
Height: 9 inches Weight: 5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Bolognese at 18 months
Male Bolognese size stats at 18 months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 6 lbs
Female Bolognese size stats at 18 months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 6 lbs

Top Bolognese Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Bolognese breeders of 2019.
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 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
Top Bolognese breeder White Raven Bolognese
White Raven Bolognese
Live Oak, 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!
1 year, 2 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd