Breed Summary

The Bolognese is a small, white, compact dog with a distinctive white single coat. They are small, stocky and compact. They have a muscular, square build. The head is of medium length. The skull is slightly ovoid. The muzzle is large, black, and almost square. They have a developed jaw and the upper lips do not cover the bottom lips. Their lips are black and they have white, strong, and evenly aligned teeth. Their eyes are well developed, open, and round. The rims of the eyelids are black and the iris is a dark ochre color. The ears are set high and are long and hanging, but rigid at the base. The tail is carried curved over the back of the body.

Country of Origin: Bologna

AKC Classification: Foundation Stock Service

UKC Classification: Companion group

Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day

Height: Female: 10-12 inches.; Male: 10-12 inches

Weight: Female: 5.5-9 lbs.; Male: 5.5-9 lbs.

Physical traits: Small, Compact, Well-balanced

Coat: Length: Short

Characteristics: Wooly

Colors: White

Overall Grooming Needs: High

Personality traits/Temperament: Playful, Easy-Going, Devoted

Energy Level: Very energetic

Tendency to Drool: Low

Tendency to Snore: Low

Tendency to Bark: High

Tendency to Dig: Low

Social/Attention Needs: High


Bolognese are healthy dogs. Their life expectancy is 12 to 14 years. Some dogs can develop itchy skin conditions where baths with a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner is recommended. Flea control is also essential. A responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as luxating patellas (compared to “trick knee” in humans) and eye anomalies. They should also utilize health screening and genetic testing to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.


The Bolognese should do well on high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared. Add a high-quality dog multivitamin to complete the nutritional circle. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.


Small dog breeds, such as the Bolognese, can be prone to “small dog syndrome.” This is a human-induced behavior where the dog thinks they are the “pack leader” to humans and can lead to separation anxiety and timidity. Those wishing to own a Bolognese should gain the knowledge they need to know to prevent or correct this behavior.


Bolos would make great apartment dogs, provided they would still have a moderate exercise schedule. As a calm, easy-going dog, they would do well as companions for retirees and seniors. Options for exercise could include playtime in the backyard, preferably fenced, or taken for walks. Use paw balm daily to protect and moisturise their feet.

Fun Fact

Despite its small size, Bolognese dog has deep voice and it barks whenever he sees or hears something unusual. This may cause problems with neighbors.


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