Bolognese Dog

Canis Lupus

Last updated: February 3, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Grace Courbis / CC BY 2.0, Flickr – License / Original

From the northern Italian city of Bologna!


Bolognese Dog Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis Lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Bolognese Dog Conservation Status

Bolognese Dog Locations

Bolognese Dog Locations

Bolognese Dog Facts

Devoted and lively, yet docile
Should be trained from an early age due to their hyperactive nature
Average Litter Size
Common Name
Bolognese Dog
From the northern Italian city of Bologna!
Gun Dog

Bolognese Dog Physical Characteristics

  • White
Skin Type

Bolognese Dog as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
5.5-9 lbs
Female weight
5.5-9 lbs

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The Bolognese is a fluffy white toy dog breed from Italy.

Bolognese is part of the Bichon group, meaning they are cousins to Bichon Frises, Maltese, Lowchens, Havanese, and Coton de Tulear. Bolognese dogs go their name from Bologna, a city in Italy. It is believed that the breed was created in Bologna. The first recording of this breed was in the year 1200.

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Bolognese was bred in Italy to be companion dogs and truly do make great companions. These dogs are loving, sensitive, and playful. They make great family dogs for households with older children.

Bolognese infographic

Owning a Bolognese: 3 Pros and Cons

Hypoallergenic: Bolognese dogs do not shed and are a good choice for households where someone suffers from allergies.Not Great for Homes with Small Children: As a toy breed, a Bolognese dog could be easily injured by a young child pulling or grabbing.
Loving: These fluffy white dogs enjoy their family and love spending time together.Expensive: A pure-bred Bolognese is more expensive than many other breeds.
Low Exercise Needs: The exercise needs for a Bolognese dog are lower than many other dog breeds.Barking: Bolognese barks more than many other breeds.

History and Origins

The Bolognese breed of dog has a long history that dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries in Bologna, Italy. It grew in popularity among the nobility during the Renaissance era, and King Umberto gave one as a birthday present to Princess Jose of Belgium. Additionally, in 1668, Cosimo de Medici sent eight Bolognese to Brussels as gifts to several wealthy and influential families.

As the nobility fell away, the Bolognese dog breed almost disappeared. Fortunately, some breeders in Europe, particularly Gian Franco Giannelli from Italy, worked to preserve the breed, and it began to regain its popularity. Liz Stannard imported the breed to England in 1990, and it was first exhibited at shows in Imported Register classes. By 2001, it had its own classes at all shows and made its debut at Crufts Dog Show in 2002.

Health and Entertainment for your Bolognese Dog

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Bolognese Dog playing with ball

Bolognese dogs date back to the 11th century!

©Bolognese / CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons – License

Size and Weight

The Bolognese is a toy dog breed. Males and females are roughly the same sizes. They are generally between 10 and 12 inches tall and weigh between 5.5 and 9 pounds. At three months old, puppies typically weigh between 3 and 5 pounds. When they are six months old, puppies weigh between 4.5 and 8.8 pounds. Most Bolognese dogs are fully grown by the time they are nine months old.

Height10 inches to 12 inches10 inches to 12 inches
Weight5.5 pounds to 9 pounds5.5 pounds to 9 pounds
Bolognese sitting in fall leaves

The Bolognese is more intelligent than its closely related breeds.


Common Health Issues

Overall, these are healthy dogs. However, there are a few common health concerns that you should be on the lookout for in your dog.

Like other small dogs, dental issues are a common problem. Scheduling regular cleanings and brushing your dog’s teeth a few times a week will be important to prevent too much tartar buildup, diseases, or the need for tooth extractions.

Another common disease among these dogs is Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. In this condition, the amount of blood that is able to reach the thigh bone is less than it should be. This causes the thigh bone to shrink, which can cause a Bolognese to limp. Typically, you’ll begin seeing signs of this when a puppy is between the ages of 4 and 6 months old. This condition can be treated by surgery.

Hip dysplasia also affects some Bolognese dogs. This is a genetic condition in which the dog’s thigh bone doesn’t connect with its hip bone correctly. The two bones rub together, which can become painful and may cause a dog to start to limp.

To review, some of the more common health concerns that can affect these dogs include:

  • Dental problems
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Hip dysplasia
Bolognese sitting in pile of leaves

Bolognese dogs are prone to dental cavities.


Temperament and Behavior

These dogs have a very devoted and sensitive personalities. They are relatively easy-going and are happiest when they are with their family; they make great companion dogs. If left alone, a Bolognese can develop separation anxiety and engage in destructive behaviors.

While they are very loving, these dogs can also exhibit stubborn traits, which can make training them a bit of a challenge. They are good with children but will do best in a home with older children who are able to appropriately interact with dogs, so they don’t accidentally injure the small Bolognese.

Bolognese puppy, 6 months old, sitting in front of white background

Bolognese dogs were bred to be companions. They get anxious when left alone.

©Eric Isselee/

How to Take Care of a Bolognese

There is a lot that makes the Bolognese a very unique dog breed. The care you will need to provide a Bolognese will be different from what dogs in different breeds require. Keeping the nutritional needs, health concerns, and other factors in mind when thinking about how you’ll care for your Bolognese dog is important.

The Best Dog Food

Since this is a toy dog breed, they will not need large amounts of food. However, they do have a fast metabolism, so it will be important to choose foods that are specially formulated for toy breeds. Always choose high-quality food from a reputable company to protect your dog’s health. If you decide you want to provide your dog with homemade meals, be sure to consult with your vet to make sure you are including all the nutrients your dog needs.

Some owners also choose to feed their dogs a raw diet. Raw diets include fish and meat. If you choose to go this route, be prepared to put in a little more work when preparing and planning your dog’s meals. Or, try a freeze-dried kibble infused with raw protein. Especially for small dogs that can get dental issues, crunchy, dry kibble is best.

The food a Bolognese eats should be high in both fat and protein. When looking for puppy food, you should also look for a special Omega 3 called Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA). This will help make sure the puppy develops properly.

The A-Z Animals choice of the best dog food for the Bolognese is Eukanuba Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food.

This food is perfect for your Bolognese’s dental health, with a crunchy texture, special shape, and polyphosphate that mitigates tartar and plaque accumulation. Also, this healthy food made with real chicken offers plentiful chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, clinically proven ingredients to protect the joints. Your hip-dysplasia pron Bolognese will have the best chance at long-term mobility.

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Best for Active Small Breeds
Eukanuba Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food
  • Chicken recipe kibble for active small breed dogs
  • Contains animal protein, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulfate for lean muscles and joint health
  • DHA and antioxidants to support brain health
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

These dogs are known for their fluffy white coat. While their hair doesn’t shed, and they are a hypoallergenic dog breed, they are a pretty high-maintenance dog. Their white curly hair will require frequent brushing and bathing to keep it clean and well-maintained. Ideally, you will want to brush your dog three or more times every week. You may also want to take them to a groomer to keep their coat shorter for easier maintenance or consider trimming them yourself.

Their nails should be trimmed once every month. You should also regularly check their ears to look for dirt or buildup. As a toy dog breed, Bolognese may be more prone to dental issues, so be sure to brush their teeth on a regular basis too.

Bolognese dog studio photo with black background

Bolognese dogs do not shed, but their coat does mat. They require frequent grooming.

©cherry williams/


Bolognese is an intelligent dog breed which makes them relatively easy to train. Positive reinforcement training methods will be most successful with this breed. However, they may become easily bored if you are too repetitive. Adding some variety to your training can help it to be more successful.


Bolognese dogs do not require nearly the amount of exercise that some other breeds need. Most times, they will be content hanging out with their owners in the house. However, it is important to take them out for a walk every day for about 20 to 25 minutes.


Because of their small size, you will want to be especially careful with your Bolognese puppy to avoid accidentally injuring them. It will also be important to begin training your new puppy as soon as you bring them home.

Puppies have very small stomachs, so they will need to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Puppies between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks should eat four meals each day, and puppies between the ages of 3 and 6 months should eat three meals each day. By the time your dog is 6 months old, you should be able to switch to feeding them twice a day.

Beautiful bolognese puppy dog in the grass

Bolognese puppies have tiny stomachs. It is best to feed them frequently in small amounts.


With Children

A Bolognese can make an excellent family pet. Bolognese are loving and enjoy spending time with the people in their family. However, they are best suited for families that no longer have toddlers around the home. Young children that haven’t yet learned how to appropriately interact with a dog could injure a small dog like a Bolognese. It is always important to supervise children when they are around a Bolognese to prevent an accidental injury of either the child or the dog.

Beautiful bolognese dog resting in the garden

Small dogs have all bones, so it is necessary to supervise young children around dogs until they learn to be gentle with their furry family member.


Dogs similar to Bolognese

Bichon Frises, Maltese, and Havanese are three dog breeds that are similar to these dogs.

  • Bichon Frise: Bichon Frises and Bolognese dogs are both small, white fluffy dogs. Both breeds are affectionate and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long. A Bichon Frise is larger than a Bolognese, though. The average weight of a Bichon Frise is 10 pounds, while the average weight of a Bolognese is just 6.75 pounds.
  • Maltese: Maltese and Bolognese dogs both originated from Italy. They both have white coats that do not shed. A Maltese is slightly less intelligent than a Bolognese and may be more difficult to train. Both breeds are very social and affectionate.
  • Havanese: A Havanese is a companion dog breed, like a Bolognese. Bolognese is all white in color, but Havanese dogs may be white, black, reddish-brown, or other colors. Both breeds are easy to train and have a pretty strong impulse to protect their territory.

Bolognese Dogs are smart and easy to train.

©Pleple2000, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Looking for the perfect name for your Bolognese? Here are a few to consider:

  • Luna
  • Lily
  • Roxy
  • Zoe
  • Gracie
  • Bailey
  • Milo
  • Oliver
  • Tucker
  • Winston

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

Bolognese Dog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does Bolognese cost to own?

Buying a purebred Bolognese can be quite expensive. These dogs can cost between $1,800 and $2,500. If you find a Bolognese from a shelter or a rescue organization, the amount you’ll pay will be significantly less, and will likely cost a few hundred dollars to cover the vaccination fees and application costs.

After you have budgeted for what you’ll need to pay to bring home a Bolognese, you will also need to make sure you have money to cover veterinary bills, training, food, supplies, and toys for your dog. The first year owning your dog will likely be the most expensive, and you could end up spending over $1,000. For the subsequent years that you own your dog, you’ll want to budget between $500 and $1,000 to cover expenses.

Is Bolognese good with kids?

Yes, a Bolognese is good with kids. This breed is gentle, loving, and likes hanging out with its family members. Younger children, however, could accidentally injure a Bolognese by being too rough. A Bolognese could make a great companion for an older child, though.

Do Bolognese dogs bark a lot?

Yes, Bolognese dogs do bark a fair amount. They can make a great watchdog.

Does a Bolognese shed?

No, Bolognese dogs do not shed. They are considered a hypoallergenic dog breed.

How big do Bolognese dogs get?

Bolognese dogs are very small. Fully grown males and females only weigh between 5.5 and 9 pounds.

How long does a Bolognese dog live?

The average lifespan of a Bolognese is between 12 and 14 years.

Are Bolognese Dogs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Bolognese Dogs are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Bolognese Dogs belong to?

Bolognese Dogs belong to the genus Canis.

What type of covering do Bolognese Dogs have?

Bolognese Dogs are covered in Hair.

How many babies do Bolognese Dogs have?

The average number of babies a Bolognese Dog has is 4.

What is an interesting fact about Bolognese Dogs?

Bolognese Dogs are from the northern Italian city of Bologna!

What is the scientific name for the Bolognese Dog?

The scientific name for the Bolognese Dog is Canis Lupus.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


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  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  5. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Wikipedia, Available here:
  7. Vetstreet, Available here:
  8. American Kennel Club, Available here:
  9. American Bolognese Club, Available here:,plus%20shipping%2C%20absent%20special%20circumstances.
  10. Animal Care Tips, Available here:

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