Bolognese Breed Information and Buying advice


Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Bolognese?

Quick Bolognese Facts

Average Size of Adult
Very Small (1/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Low (1/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Toy (5/8)
Yes (1/2)

Good things often come in small packages. Italian glamour and charm are apt defining characteristics of the miniature Bolognese, named after Bologna, the famous centre of learning, art, and culture to this day. This lovable breed is ideal for families as a house pet and companion that’s playful and affectionate. Bolognese puppies are cute and easygoing and can be raised from puppyhood to become loyal companions in many different environments. As such, they don’t mind living in flats and small homes and can get along just fine with families, the elderly, and older children. There are many great reasons to purchase a Bolognese puppy.  

Why Bolognese Puppies are Great

Some highlights of Bolognese puppies:

  1. Affectionate: Bolognese puppies are known to be affectionate and loving companions.

  2. Playful: this breed loves to play and will make owners and their families surely smile.

  3. Healthy: as a very old breed, Bolognese have few hereditary health issues.

  4. Shedding: this breed doesn’t shed very much hair and is a sensible choice for those suffering from allergies.

  5. First-time owners: for first-time puppy owners, Bolognese are a superb choice for their low maintenance and manageable size.


Things to Consider when Looking at Bolognese Puppies for Sale

Some downsides to the Bolognese:

  1. Barking: some Bolognese love to bark, perhaps a little too much. This can be reduced with proper training and plenty of attention.

  2. Training: many miniature breeds such as the Bolognese can be difficult to train and may show signs of stubbornness, particularly if they don’t get what they want.

  3. Grooming: this breed requires frequent professional grooming to ensure their coats of fur are well-maintained and healthy.

  4. Child-friendly: although Bolognese puppies get along well with older children, their small size may expose them to injury from toddlers and young children.


History of the Bolognese

Some claim that the Bolognese can be traced back to the 13th century in Bologna, Italy. It is known that the Bolognese was bred throughout the Renaissance and was highly prized for its beauty and temperament, having been owned by various members of the Italian aristocracy as companion dogs. This can be attested to by their presence in many portraits of nobility during the Renaissance by famous painters such as Titian and Goya. Monarchs and members of the aristocratic class valued the companionship of the Bolognese through the centuries, including figures such as Catherine de’ Medici, Catherine the Great of Russia, and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Marilyn Monroe also owned a Bolognese. This breed gained popularity in the UK in the 19th century when it was imported from the Canary Islands. Since then, the breed has seen a rise in popularity although their total numbers are still quite low, making them relatively rare despite their historical fame.   


The Bolognese can be recognised easily by its tiny, compact, sturdy physique. They resemble the Bichon Frise, a cousin breed.  This breed has a single flocked white coat of fur which is often contrasted with darker pigmentation. Their coats are relatively long, but their faces have shorter, more manageable hair. Shedding is not common, but tear stains can discolour their coats and as such they should be groomed professionally.  

How big is the Bolognese?

Bolognese are tiny-sized dogs. Males grow on average to 27–30 cm in height, whilst females can grow up to 25–28 cm high.  

How heavy is a Bolognese?

Fully-grown adult male Bolognese weigh between 2.5-4 kg on average. Females weigh between 2.5-5 kg on average.  

What colour is the Bolognese?

This breed has the following commonly-accepted coat colours:

  • White.



Bolognese are ideal household pets that enjoy plenty of attention and dislike being left alone. They form strong, affectionate bonds with their owners and as such are an ideal choice for owners with families, elderly, and older children. Young children and toddlers should be supervised whilst playing with Bolognese puppies since they’re so small that they can be injured or hurt easily. Compared with other toy dog breeds, Bolognese tend to bark less and are less energetic, although they do enjoy playing. This doesn’t mean that they don’t bark, however. They may bark frequently and can be wary of strangers.  

Do Bolognese make good guard dogs?

Bolognese do not make good guard dogs. They can act as watchdogs due to their ability to detect visitors and to alert owners to suspicious behaviour.  

Do Bolognese Puppies bark a lot?

This breed tends to bark frequently, but less so than other toy breeds. Compulsive barking can be mitigated through proper training, but some barking is always to be expected.  

Are Bolognese easy to train?

Bolognese are intelligent, so training them is not difficult at all. They can, however, behave stubbornly at times and develop bad habits if they are not taught their boundaries from puppyhood. Some positive reinforcement will be necessary as they are a sensitive breed.  

Are Bolognese playful?

This breed loves to play, especially as puppies but also well into adulthood. They may also behave in a playful, witty manner in order to get what they want.  

Are Bolognese good with children?

Bolognese puppies get along well with children, but they should be supervised whilst playing with toddlers due to their small and fragile size.  

Are Bolognese good with other pets?

Bolognese tend to get along well with other dogs. They have a high prey drive, however, which may lead them to chase and play more aggressively with smaller pets and cats.  

Can I leave a Bolognese alone?

This breed can tolerate moderate amounts of time spent alone, but this doesn’t mean owners should neglect them either. Bolognese are a sociable breed that thrive on interaction with owners and their families, so avoid leaving them alone for extended periods of time.  

Do Bolognese like water?

Although they aren’t famed for their ability to swim, Bolognese do tend to enjoy swimming. As with all puppies, introduce your Bolognese to the water gradually and allow him to dip his paws in on his own so that he doesn’t become frightened of the water.  


How long do Bolognese live? 

Generally, Bolognese are expected to live anywhere from 12-15 years.  

How much exercise does a Bolognese need?

Bolognese don’t require much exercise in order to remain happy and healthy. Half an hour of walking or playing in the garden is all that’s required to keep them stimulated.  

What are Bolognese’s common health issues?

This breed is generally very healthy and is not prone to many hereditary diseases. Bolognese may suffer from the following health issues:

  • Ear infections;

  • Hip dysplasia;

  • Dental issues.



How much space do I need for a Bolognese? 

Not much space is required for a Bolognese to remain happy and healthy. They are an ideal choice of companion pet for apartment dwellers and don’t mind smaller spaces.  

What should I feed my Bolognese?

A fully-grown Bolognese should be fed 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into two meals. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.  

How much grooming do Bolognese Puppies need?

This breed requires substantial grooming. The Bolognese’s coat of fur is long and doesn’t shed, but it can easily stain, tangle, and collect bacteria which can lead to infections. Have them groomed professionally and ensure that their ears and eyes are checked for signs of infection.  

Do Bolognese Puppies shed?

This breed does not shed much hair at all. They are therefore ideal for owners with allergies since they do not tend to trigger allergic reactions easily.  

Average Costs

How much does it cost to keep a Bolognese?

As a rough guide in pricing:  Cost to buy: roughly £600-1,000 for a well-bred Bolognese puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £60-90 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your Bolognese puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder.  More specifically, here is some Bolognese puppy buying advice:

  1. The British Bolognese Club is able to assist prospective buyers of Bolognese puppies by providing a list of reputable breeders that use ethical breeding practices. As a rare breed, don’t take your chances with questionable dealers. Scams abound.

  2. Tiny toy-sized puppy breeds are fragile and need to be given to good, safe homes where owners can care for them as puppies well into adulthood. Always approach Bolognese puppies carefully and never hit them or punish them harshly since they are highly sensitive and can be easily hurt.


Other Reading, Adopting Bolognese Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: British Bolognese Club:  Kennel Club of Great Britain:  UK Dog Trust: Blue Cross: Federation Cynologique Internationale: