|Sensitivity to strangers
|Affection for family
|Suitable for first-time owners
|Ease of grooming
The Bolognese, also known as Bichon Bolognese, was the favorite dog of the Marchioness of Pompadour, Louis XV, and a vast majority of European nobility. It is a four-legged dog with an adorable character and gets along very well with children.
With its adorable snout, the Bolognese is one of the sixteen Italian dog breeds recognized by the ENCI (“National Entity of Italian Cynology”). Only a few years ago, thanks to passionate fans, the breed was rediscovered centuries after its great success as a companion dog, especially with ladies.
With its cheerful and friendly nature, this Bichon is an intelligent and affectionate companion who develops a strong bond with the people he spends most time with. It is a small-sized dog (classified as a Toy) with a beautiful white coat, but with a strong physical structure and a height at the shoulder that does not exceed 10 inches (25 cm) and weighs approximately 11 lb.
It is an ancient breed, it comes from the “melitae” dogs, as Aristotle called them, that traveled in Greek and Phoenician ships with the purpose of capturing mice.
After its “debut” as mice hunters, well-suited for boats for its small size and low nutritional needs, the Bolognese soon became the ultimate dog.
It was also especially adored by women, in particular by Roman ladies: you can still admire many vases and various pieces of furniture depicting the small Bolognese dog in the company of its female owners.
It is not entirely true that it originated in the Italian city of “Bologna”. Many believed it comes from the “Boulogne”, in France. In any case, the great success of the Bolognese in courts throughout Europe came in the 1200s, when it became one of the most popular dogs among nobles and aristocrats.
The Gonzaga family, as well as the Marchioness of Pompadour, a friend of King Louis XV (who adored him) and the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, had Bolognese dogs.
Even Philip II, upon receiving a Bolognese from the Duke d’Este, declared that it was the most royal gift that could ever be offered to an emperor. Today it is a very popular breed, even in Russia, where they arrived in the 18th century.
There is no shortage of pictorial representations of the Bolognese dog in works by Brueguel, Titian, Goya, Watteau, Bosse; Paul Scarron, the brilliant French author of burlesque plays, wrote a novel entirely dedicated to his sister’s dog.
The Bichon Bolognese has a fantastic character: it is docile, obedient, cheerful and playful, always looking for its owner to spend time with him, but let’s say that it can adapt to more “serene” families such as older people. It is smart and loyal if trained. And it’s not hyperactive or overly shy like other bichons.
It is a fast-learner, but the Bichon Bolognese can become a very stubborn dog if it is not pleased: for this reason, it is better to show leadership immediately, you must be the guide it needs, as this dog has an excellent ability to discover all your “weak points” and use them to its advantage.
It loves human contact and the company of people, it brings liveliness to a very solid relationship with its owner, always seeking attention. Bolognese are friendly even with strangers, as long as they were socialized since they were puppies.
It especially needs to spend a lot of time with its owner, so it is certainly not a suitable dog if you want to leave him alone in the apartment for many hours. In these cases, the Bolognese is better off having a companion, it befriends other dogs with great ease, even if they do not belong to his breed.
It is important to regularly take it out for walks because it is by no means a “pocket” dog. Special attention should be paid to its hair, it requires daily grooming (better to get used to it from early puppyhood) to avoid matts. Also pay attention to excessively dry climate at home, which could damage its coat.
On the other hand, the Bolognese does not shed, or at least does it in a practically imperceptible way, without losing entire strands like other dog breeds.
Bolognese: Care and Feeding
When it comes to feeding, it needs very little, 10 to 20 oz (250 to 500 gr) of food a day: it really loves being pampered with the finest products. The Bolognese is an excellent pet, due to its people-oriented trait, however, this means stifling the owner by constantly demanding affection.
Its small size makes it suitable for apartment living, but don’t forget that you should regularly take it out for a walk.
It is also a good watchdog, it is territorial; despite this this is not a dog that barks incessantly. They are very careful, thanks also to a specially developed sense of hearing, they are able to notice when something is wrong and warn their owners.
The Bolognese lives well indoors with its owner: it is not recommended to keep it outside, its health and mood would be affected.
The Bolognese is a dog breed that enjoys excellent health and does not have a particular predisposition to genetic diseases. The only health problems that can appear with some frequency are hereditary eye disorders and patellar luxation, problems that are shared with other small dog breeds.
They can also suffer from cardiorespiratory diseases and conditions due to its hair length that covers their eyes, such as conjunctivitis. Hair care is essential, it must be brushed at least once a day to prevent knots.
Regarding the Bolognese’s life expectancy, we could say that it lives up to 14 years, and until it reaches 10 years of age it usually has no problems; very often, a 10-year-old Bolognese dog is almost completely indistinguishable from a puppy of the same breed, also because of its great active personality that continues through the years of maturity.
We are talking about a small breed: it is considered primarily a companion dog and is recognized for its hanging ears that frame its curious and expressive nose. It is an intelligent and affectionate dog. The Bolognese is characterized by a beautiful coat, soft and white. It is important to feed it with adequate food.
For this little dog the quantity is not as important as quality: apparently, the Bolognese has a fine palate and if there is something at lunch that it does not like, it will leave it in the bowl. It is a breed that only eats the food it likes.
Their feeding requires special attention: the portions administered to puppies are different from adults. Bolognese puppies will have to eat three times a day portions of food that do not exceed 4 oz (120 gr), once it is an adult you will have to eliminate a meal.
Feed it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, increase the amount to 6 oz (180 gr), never make the dog eat the entire food portion at once, as it runs the risk of suffering a stomach twist. Do not forget to leave a bowl of fresh water, change it frequently, if you notice that it does not drink it and places its feet inside, it means that the water is not clean.
Bolognese: How to Keep its Coat White
To give the Bolognese a beautiful, shiny, white coat, forget about buying them manufactured croquettes: they contain large amounts of colorants, corn, salmon and shellfish that do not help to maintain the coat white.
The dog’s hair is likely to take a yellowish color, forming red spots around the eyes, this is due to tearing, a clear sign of an incorrect diet. You should choose natural croquettes that contain the best ingredients with a low cereal content, choose those with chicken, turkey, ham, potatoes or peas.
The Bolognese is immediately recognizable by its “curly hair” that must be well cared for and neat, long hair may cause the dog greater stress. To help it you must keep its coat healthy.
It has a very fine coat: take care of it by giving it the recommended foods
The food of the Bolognese should be light and healthy, avoid all products that are for human use and consumption, do not give them cookies or even cheese, since it contains a large amount of calcium that is inadvisable for proper bone development.
If you have recently given it a dog food that has been proven harmful, do not suddenly withdraw it: decrease the portion slowly until it is finally eliminated and then you can fully feed him with the new food.
The Bolognese is a small dog, by the size it can be taken anywhere, it does not take much to feed it, as long as the food is to its liking. The dog’s skin and hair have the function of protecting and thermoregulating the organism of your 4-legged friend: keep in mind that it does not sweat, but rather expels moisture through the lungs. Hair insulates the body and protects it from heat and cold, externally recreating a constant temperature.
If your dog has an ugly coat lately, you should visit the vet. If the hair is dull and has been recently losing it, you should check the dog’s diet and, if necessary, modify it.
Elements that contribute to having a beautiful coat:
- Fatty acids,
- Vitamins A and E,
Dog hair is made up of keratin, a protein that, if not present, causes the hair to break down and become damaged. Dogs on a vegetarian diet are more likely to be protein-deficient. Fatty acids contribute to the production of sebum, which has a protective function: it is a substance produced by the sebaceous glands of the hair follicle.
Fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 are found in fish and vegetable oils like corn. Vitamin A and E deficiency is rare and occurs if the dog’s diet is based on the “home menu” that is prepared without consulting the vet.
Zinc is the most important element for maintaining a beautiful dog’s coat: it is possible the deficiency is due to a decrease in the immune system and causes hair loss that makes it difficult to reproduce.
Copper is another integral element of hair: a deficiency weakens, thins and breaks hair. Copper deficiency can be a consequence of an unbalanced home diet, or the result of an excess of iron, calcium or zinc.
If you want your dog to have a well-groomed coat with healthy hair, you must provide him with an adequate diet. Eating healthy is synonymous with the health and beauty of your dog.
Bolognese: Relationship with the Owner
The ideal owner of the Bolognese dog is one who is willing to give it a lot of attention, since it is not a suffocating dog, but a breed that loves to be with people. The only type of families in which they might not be well are those with toddlers, who do not treat the dog with finesse.
It is an ideal dog for those who live in the city, for families with children, for retirees. Although it likes to go out, it is an apartment dog, and cannot be left out because it would suffer from both a physical and psychologically.
We must also remember that, despite its abundant hair, it is a dog that suffers from the cold, so the ideal owner will ensure it is always warm.
Bolognese: Relationship with Children
As for the relationship with children, the Bolognese is a great dog that interacts with children of all ages, with the exception of those who are too young and with children who have not been properly educated to treat a dog.
In all other cases, it can develop a really excellent relationship with the children of the family and become the ideal playmate, as it is at the same time discreet but enthusiastic and can play for hours non-stop until the child gets tired.
The Bolognese is a sweet dog, friendly and always ready to play, but calm if it realizes that the child at that moment does not have time for it.
Bolognese: Relationship with other Dogs
Even in the relationship with other dogs, the Bolognese stands out for its excellent character, it is not difficult for it to make friends even with different breeds of dogs, both large and small.
Much depends, of course, on the reaction of the other dog, but if it is playful and affectionate, they will immediately become friends. In other cases, the Bolognese is cautious, it will hardly be the first to approach.
It has no problem being the only dog in the house, but if there are other “companions” it will be very happy, especially if it is left alone for hours at home.
Bolognese: Price, Breeders and Puppies For Sale
The Bolognese was very successful for centuries but it nearly ended up in oblivion in recent times. In fact, it was considered the canine symbol of the monarchy (the Savoys adored it) and therefore, after World War II it was no longer very popular, it was even close to disappearing.
Thanks to bichon breeding establishments (F. C. Casabella in the 1950s and M. Persichi in the 1970s) the breed has once again flourished and is now very popular.
The cost of a Bolognese puppy ranges between 800 and 1100 dollars, about 700-1000 English pounds, obviously, look for a certified establishment that can guarantee maximum health and the perfect pedigree of the specimens.
You may be interested in reading another article related to other dog breeds such as:
- Bichon Frise
- Little Lion Dog (Löwchen)
- Japanese Chin (Japanese Spaniel)
- Shih Tzu