Owing their name to the famous Italian city, Bologna, the Bolognese (pronounced "boh-luh-neez") is a rare toy breed that was bred to be a lap dog for the Italian nobility as early as the Middle Ages and is commonly found depicted in portraits from the time period. They are also one of several breeds that belong to the Bichon family, which also includes the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese, and Coton de Tulear. The Bolognese, also known as the Bichon Bolognese, was sought after by noble Italians, but as interest in them dropped, so did their numbers. Breeders in Italy and Belgium have restored the population of the breed to a stable number in the past century.
Sharing their name with the delicious Italian sauce, the Bolognese is a small, squarish-bodied companion breed. Similar to the Bichon Frise, the coat of the Bolognese only comes in the color white and does not lay flat on the body. However, their hair is comprised of long, wavy locks, unlike their cousins. They have dark-colored eyes that are a little larger than normal and long, dropped ears. The muzzle of the Bolognese is well-proportioned with black points consisting of dark-colored lips and nose. The tail of the breed has long locks of hair and is carried curled over the lower back.
The Bolognese is very curious, docile, and extremely affectionate towards their family. Do not let their small size fool you, these little dogs are very sturdy and resilient. They are not especially active and will tailor their activity level to their owner, but this toy breed does enjoy going on daily walks around the neighborhood or playing in the house to get exercise. Intelligent and attentive, the Bolognese is highly trainable and is always eager to please their human. They take well to positive reinforcement training with lots of love, praise, and affection. Like many toy breeds, these small dogs can develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time and small dog syndrome, where they become more dependent on the owner, form excessive barking habits, and may develop jealous behavior if not curbed from an early age. They tend to be both patient and playful with children and other household pets but are best suited for families with older children due to their small size. These sweet dogs always want to participate in whatever their owner is doing to be by their side; the Bolognese makes an ideal lifelong companion that will be your little shadow and cuddle partner.