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Bolognese: The Ultimate Guide

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The Bolognese dog breed is one that is both affectionate and loving and that is known for being the perfect companion for most people.

Although, while this might all sound great, there may be other things about this breed of dog that mean it is not the perfect breed for you, which is why it is so important to do your research when you are choosing the right dog to bring into your home.


If you have been doing some research to find the right dog breed, one that you may have come across is the Bolognese, and we can understand why you might be looking for some more information about this dog breed. 

Thankfully, they do have lots of amazing and wonderful traits, and we are going to help you to get to know these dogs in this article. Just keep reading to find out more about the Bolognese breed. 

Bolognese Key Facts

Before we get into everything you need to know about the Bolognese dog breed, we will share some key information you will need to know about them. If you are happy with all of these things, you can keep reading to learn more about them. 

Average Lifespan

The first thing you need to know about this breed is how long they will live for. Getting a Bolognese dog is a long commitment, as they will live on average for between 12 and 14 years. 

Minimum Exercise (Per Day)

Due to the fact that the Bolognese is a toy breed of dog, they do not require lots of exercise. You can take them for walks either once or twice a day for around 30 minutes of total exercise.

However, Bolognese dogs are known for enjoying being in your company, so if you want to exercise them for longer, you could. However, it is important not to over-exert them as they are only small dogs.

Coat Length

Bolognese dogs have long fur, which is why it is important that you keep on top of regular grooming and maintenance of their coat. Otherwise, it can easily get tangled and matted, making your dog uncomfortable and even painful.

Minimum Cost (Per Month)

Owning a Bolognese dog is going to cost you at least $55 per month. You will need to factor in these costs when you are thinking about buying or adopting a dog of this breed and work it into your monthly spending budget.

While it doesn’t sound like a lot, it can become more expensive than this, depending on what food they eat, how much their insurance costs, and more. So, you will need to make sure that you can afford at least an additional $55 per month to care for your dog.


The Bolognese is a small, white, and compact dog that has a distinctive white single coat.

They are small dogs that are both stocky and compact, and they are of a square build and well muscled. They have a slightly ovid skull with a head of medium length, and they have large muzzles. 

These dogs have a developed jaw and their upper lips do not cover their bottom lips. Their lips are black in color, and they have white, strong, and evenly aligned teeth. Their eyes are also well developed, open, and round.

The rims of their eyelids are black and the iris is of a dark ochre color. Their ears are typically set high and are long and hanging yet rigid at the base. The tail is carried curved over the back.


The Bolognese dog is a toy dog breed, and so they are classified as small dogs. 

Average height

The average height of a Bolognese dog is between 10.5 and 12 inches for a male dog and between 10 and 11 inches for a female dog.

Average weight

A male and female Bolognese dog’s average weight can vary between 4.5 and 9 lbs.


Bolognese dogs are both entertaining and affectionate, and they thrive on being the center of attention. You can be sure that there will never be a dull moment in your household with this breed of dog around, and they will always try to win you over.

These dogs also love to cuddle, and you can expect them to be a loyal dog. Due to their small size, it also isn’t uncommon for them to want to sit on your lap.

These are also very playful dogs. Even though they don’t have the highest of energy levels, when they want to, they can be very playful. They are also highly intelligent, which can make them challenging at times.

However, it does make training them a lot easier. Although, their intelligence can often make them quite stubborn, and they do like to get their own way and sulk when they don’t.

As we have previously mentioned, these dogs are incredibly loyal and love being around their family. They will develop an intense devotion to their owners, which creates a brilliant bond and connection.

However, you should know that their high levels of devotion will ensure that they follow you all around the house, wherever you go. If you do decide to get a Bolognese, you should expect them to be with you at all times as they are not particularly independent dogs.

Apartment Living

Due to the fact that Bolognese dogs are small and great at adapting, they are the perfect companion to introduce into apartment living. They will get on well living in an apartment as long as their human companions are present most of the time.

Good For Novice Owners

Bolognese dogs are also great for first-time dog owners as they are very people-oriented and live to please.

As long as you are prepared for life with a Bolognese through doing lots of research, you shouldn’t encounter any issues, even if you have never owned a dog before.

Sensitivity Level

As these dogs are so loyal, they can be very sensitive to your feelings, so much so that it can influence their own emotions. For example, if you are feeling uncomfortable around someone, your dog may be on high alert around them.

Alternatively, if you are having fun with someone, your dog is more likely to open up to them quickly.

Tolerates Being Alone

Unfortunately, the Bolognese breed is well-known for developing separation anxiety, even more so than other breeds. They need a lot of companionships and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours at a time.

Otherwise, they can become anxious, and you may notice that their behavior becomes destructive when you are ot home. 

This can often lead to chewing and excessive barking in your absence. If you work outside the home all day and there is nobody else in the house, this might not be the right breed of dog for you.

They are much happier and more content when they are in your company.

Tolerates Cold Weather

These dogs are very adaptable, and due to this, they are tolerable cold weather. They are also small and lightweight, which means they can warm up and cool down faster than some other dogs.

However, you can get them a jacket to wear during the winter. You should also know that they don’t like to get wet, so you should be surprised if they refuse to go outdoors on a rainy day.

Tolerates Hot Weather

Generally, Bolognese dogs are very tolerant of hot weather, but they should avoid being in direct sunlight for a long period of time in the summer. If it is excessively hot outside, try to keep them in a cool and shadowy place to avoid heat stroke.

Affectionate With Family

These dogs are known for being highly affectionate towards their families and often cuddle up with you on the couch. They are the perfect companion dog, which is great for those looking for a loyal and dependable dog.


Even though Bolognese dogs can make great family pets, it is important to be aware of the fact that they may not be suitable for families with young children. However, this doesn’t have anything to do with aggression or an inability to get along with children.

Instead, this is because these dogs can easily be injured if play becomes too rough. 

Although, they do love children, and they will get along with them well. So, if you do have young children in your family, you could still get a Bolognese, but you would have to supervise children with your dog 100% of the time.

Dog Friendly

These are happy and playful little dogs, which is why they get on so well with other dogs and animals. So, if you already have a dog and want to bring a Bolognese into the family, they will slot well into your existing lives and get along with your new dog.

However, this is providing that your existing dog is accepting of them. These companion dogs, after all, usually get on well with anyone.

Friendly Toward Strangers

You might find that your Bolognese dog is shy around strangers, but it shouldn’t take long for them to come out of their shells. With the right training and socialization from a young age, their playful and loving personality should extend to strangers too.

Health And Grooming


Now that you know more about the loving nature and wonderful characteristics of the Bolognese dog, and you are also prepared for some of the challenges that they can present, it is time to look at everything you need to know about their health and grooming routines.


Bolognese dogs are among those that do not shed a lot, which is why they are considered hypoallergenic. This might be the right dog for you if you or someone in your home suffers from allergies.


These dogs are not known for drooling, and any excessive drooling can be a sign of an underlying health issue.


The Bolognese has an all-white coat that is both soft and fluffy, and they are also non-shedding. Their coats should be unshaped and untrimmed, except around their eyes for sanitary reasons and to avoid the hair from blocking their vision.

Regular grooming is required if the Bolognese is kept in its full coat. For easier maintenance, some people choose to keep their dog’s coats shorter, leaving an untrimmed head. 

They will need to be brushed every day to keep their coats free from mats and tangles, and the occasional bath will keep your dog looking clean. Their nails will also need to be trimmed occasionally with a nail clipper to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking.

Their ears will also need to be checked on a regular basis to avoid a buildup of wax and debris, which can result in an infection. Finally, their teeth will need to be brushed regularly to keep on top of dental hygiene.

General Health

The majority of Bolognese are healthy dogs, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions, like luxating patellas and eye anomalies. Good breeders will make use of health screening and genetic testing to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.

Common Health Problems

  • One common health condition for Bolognese dogs is hip dysplasia, a genetic hip deformity that will require fixing surgery and can lead to arthritis later in life.
  • As well as this, they can develop luxating patellas, which is when their kneecaps get knocked out of place.
  • Bolognese dogs can also suffer from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is a condition that causes a reduced blood supply to the head of the thigh bone, causing it to shrink.
  • This can only be treated by surgically removing the head of the leg bone.
  • They can also develop eye issues, which is why their eyes will need to be examined yearly, and they can also experience bad dental problems, which is why dental care is so important for them.

Potential For Weight Gain

Bolognese dogs don’t typically gain too much weight unless they are being overfed.


Due to the fact that Bolognese is so intelligent, they are typically quite easy to train. However, their stubbornness can sometimes make it challenging, especially if you are trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do.

You should start their training as soon as possible when they are puppies, as this will keep them mentally stimulated too.


As we have previously mentioned, Bolognese is known for being very intelligent, and while this is great when it comes to training, it can present its own challenges at times too.

Don’t be surprised if they sometimes yield their intelligence as a weapon to get their own way.

Potential to Bite

Bolognese dogs will not typically bite unless they feel extremely threatened by something or if something is causing them harm. 

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

These dogs do have a tendency to bark if they notice something unusual, and they will not hesitate to let you know about it. However, they don’t bark quite like other small dogs.

Bolognese don’t have the yappy-sounding vocals that some other small dogs do, and they have a much deeper-sounding bark. More often than not, they will bark if they feel that they need to alert you of something.


The Bolognese is a dog breed that was developed centuries ago in Bologna, Italy.They became a favorite during the renaissance due to their charm, and King Umberto of Italy gave a Bolognese to Princess Jose of Belgium on her birthday.

In 1668 Cosimo de Medici sent eight Bolognese by royal courier to Belgium as gifts to several of Brussels’s wealthy and influential families.

After some time, Bolognese went almost extinct, but some breeders in Europe that loved the breed, made it their mission to restore it to its present-day popularity.

The breed was brought into England by Liz Stannard in 1990 and was first shown that year in Imported Register classes.

In 2001, the breed was able to be shown at all shows with their own classes and, in 2002, they were at Crufts dog show for the first time.


Due to the fact that these dogs are a designer breed, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $2500 for just one puppy. 

Bolognese Fun Facts

  • This dog is named after Bologna, a city in Italy
  • Bolognese dogs are related to Maltese dogs
  • These dogs are considered to be hypoallergenic

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.