Bolognese Puppies
History, Characteristics, Personality and More

Whether you call them Bolognese puppies, Bichon Bolognese, Bolognese Toy Dogs, Bolo, Botoli or Bottolo, these fluffy, white dogs boast a history of being pampered by the Italian aristocrats, and they certainly seem to be aware of that!

If you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, you will find the answers to your questions right here!

But if you do decide to open your heart and home to a Bolognese puppy, consider that they make particularly loving and devoted pets because they were selectively bred to provide companionship towards humans.


Breed History

Developed several centuries ago in Bologna, Italy, the history of the Bichon Bolognese is a bit shrouded in mystery. Belonging to the Bichon group, a Bolognese dog is closely related to the Maltese, the Havanese, the Coton de Tulear, the Lowchen and the Bichon Frise.

The Bolo's dignified attitude may likely derive from living along with the Italian nobility during the Renaissance Era. Indeed, back then, it was tradition to give out Bolognese puppies as gifts to other noble families.

This enchanting white dog was considered by many women a symbol of wealth. It was not unusual for these creatures to be seen romping around the castle. Many women considered their "Bottolo" a "fashion accessory" worthy of being spoiled, pampered, powdered and even perfumed.

It is not unusual to see Bolognese puppies and dogs make their appearances in ancient Renaissance paintings and Flemish tapestry work. Whether they were filling up the home with joy or warming up a lap, these dogs were certainly greatly appreciated and much admired back in time. Still as today, many families feel fortunate in owning a dog belonging to the Bolognese breed.

Among famous admirers of this breed were La Marquise Pompadour, Catherine the Great of Russia and Queen Marie Therese of Austria. In particular, Queen Maria Theresa of Austria loved her Bolognese to such an extent that she asked a taxidermist to preserve its body. This little fellow can still be admired in the National Museum of History in Vienna.

As the power and glory of the aristocrats began to fade, this breed almost risked extinction at a certain point. Thankfully, a small ring of enthusiasts were able to save this breed from extinction. Still as of today, the breed is pretty scarce. Italy, France and Holland enthusiasts have been working hard to preserve and restore this breed in the last few decades.

Bolognese dogs have been registered with the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service since 1999.

Physical Characteristics of Bolognese Puppies

Overall, the breed presents as small, compact and stocky. The breed's gait is energetic and the head is carried in a distinct manner, boasting a noble expression.

The length of its body, when measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock, is equal to that of the height at the withers. It has level back, full chest with well sprung ribs and medium length neck. The tail is well feathered and carried curved over back.

Both the front and back legs are straight and parallel to each other. The front feet are oval shaped, with well cushioned dark pads and black nails. The back feet are similar but less oval then front feet.

The head is of medium length and width. The nose is large and must be black. The eyes are large, round and dark. The ears are long, set high and pendulous.

The coat is long and fluffy and covers the entire body. Facial hair is shorter than on the rest of the body. The coat color must be pure white. There is no undercoat.

    Height Weight
  Male 10.5 to 12 inches 5 to 10 pounds
  Female 10 to 11 inches 5 to 10 pounds


There is no hiding the fact that Bolognese dogs love people. Because they were purposely bred to provide love and companionship, they are naturally inclined to being good family dogs. Therefore, they may not be suitable for families who have little time on hand leaving this dog alone for extended periods of time. Failure to provide sufficient attention may result in excessive pacing, whining and even separation anxiety.

These dogs can be somewhat reserved around strangers, but they can warm up quickly to them if they have been properly socialized. In poorly socialized specimens this natural caution may flourish into troublesome shyness. Make sure you put some effort and time into socializing your Bolognese puppy!

When it comes to barking, Botolis may be prone to sound the alarm easily when they hear or see things, a quality that makes them excellent watch dogs.

They are quite eager to please even though they may have a bit of a stubborn streak at times. As with other small dogs with small bladders, expect potty training in Bolognese puppies to be a bit of a challenge.

Bolognese dogs generally get along well with other pets, but close supervision is required when exposed to larger dogs.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

Bolognese can make optimal companions for seniors and great travel pals for retirees. If introduced to a household with children, children must learn how to handle this breed properly. Exposure to very young children is not recommended due to the risk of being mishandled and getting easily injured.

Since Bolognese can't get enough of humans, the more integrated they are into the family, the happier they are.

While this breed can easily adapt to life in an apartment, it does best when provided with a daily opportunity for moderate exercise.

Activity and Exercise

Bolognese dogs are not very high-energy dogs, but they do require moderate exercise to be happy. At a minimum, take your pet for at least one daily walk.

They are very playful dogs that bring joy just by watching them engage in their antics. This breed learns quickly and does best with gentle, positive training methods.


This breed is blessed with a single coat that falls into a cascade of soft, woolly ringlets. While the coat does not require any trimming or clipping, it does require daily brushing to prevent mats from forming.

Bolognese dogs have been erroneously categorized in the past as dogs that do not shed. However, all dogs with hair will eventually shed. The Bolognese may appear to shed less though because the dead hairs get trapped within the ringlets of hair versus falling to the floor or attaching to on clothes, furniture and carpets.

Health Concerns

From a health standpoint, Bolognese puppies are overall relatively healthy. They may be prone to a few hereditary and non-hereditary disorders such as progressive retinal atrophy, luxating patella and skin allergies.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Purchasing your puppy from a reputable breeder along with good veterinary care may help prevent problems. Visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Bolognese puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

There is no doubt that Bolognese puppies can make the perfect family dog. But the shortage of Bolognese puppies comes at a price. If you are considering this breed, expect paying a high price tag and being put on a waiting list.

If you think this is the breed for you, your next step is finding reputable Bolognese breeders who specialize in producing happy and healthy Bolognese puppies.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Bolognese rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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