The Bichon Bolognese is considered a toy breed that is very similar to the Maltese, but with some physical and origin differences. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at the most relevant characteristics of this adorable dog. Do you have one at home? Find out more about it thanks to the history of this dog and the rest of the facts about the breed.

History of the bichon bolognese

It is a very ancient breed, as it is known that it comes from those “Melitan” dogs (as Aristotle called them) that travelled on Greek and Phoenician ships ready to catch mice.

After their task as mouse hunters, perfect to be carried on ships because of their small size and low food requirements, the Bolognese breed dog soon became a dog idealised by the upper classes in many periods of history.

It was particularly adored by women, especially Roman women: one can still admire many vases and various pieces of furniture where the small Bolognese Bichon dog can be perfectly distinguished next to its owners.

As for their name, it should be noted that it is not entirely true that the Italian town of “Bologna” is where they were born, as for many others, it is the French “Boulogne”. However, the great success of the Bolognese at the courts of Europe came in the 1200’s, becoming one of the most famous dogs among nobles and aristocrats.

Both the Gonzaga family and the Marquise de Pompadour owned Bolognese dogs.

Even Philip II, when he received a Bichon Bolognese from the Duke d’Este, said that it was “the most royal gift that could be offered to an emperor”. Today it is still a very popular breed, even in Russia, where they did not arrive until the 18th century.

Looking a little into art, there is also no shortage of pictorial representations of the Bolognese dog, in works such as those of Brueguel, Titian, Goya, Watteau, Bosse… Even Paul Scarron, the brilliant French author of burlesque plays, wrote a novel dedicated to his sister’s dog: a little Bolognese bichon.

Appearance of a bichon bolognese

The back of a bichon bolognese is: broad, muscular and somewhat arched. His chest is well developed and his flanks are tucked up at the belly. Its head is flattened at the top and its skull is longer than its muzzle. It has a black, round nose. His dark, rounded eyes have an expression somewhere between cheerful and alert. Its ears hang on the sides of its head and are covered with long, fine, somewhat curly fur.

The tail of the Bolognese bichon is set a little low, coming a little below the line of its back. The bichon bolognese usually carries its tail raised and elegantly folded, but without curling or touching its back.

The bichon bolognese has a unique coat of hair, which is fine, glossy and silky. Its coat can be long, reaching between 7 and 10 centimetres depending on the different parts of the body. The colour of the Bolognese bichon is officially white.

Character of a Bolognese bichon

Bichon bolognese tends to be: cheerful, dynamic and playful but at the same time sensitive, affectionate and gentle. Because of their dynamism, they tend to need more exercise than other dogs of the same size. They also need a lot of company.

The beautiful Bichon Bolognese tends to socialise easily with people, dogs and other animals. They are especially sociable with children, which is rare for such a small breed. Even so, it is important to socialise this breed from puppyhood to reduce the risk of shyness or aggression in adulthood.

Bolognese Bichons are very intelligent dogs and therefore react very well to dog training. However, they do have difficulties when it comes to toilet training and it usually takes a little longer for this breed to learn than others.

These dogs were also used as circus dogs and therefore respond very well to freestyle training. It is important to encourage positive training with the use of positive reinforcement, as they are very sensitive and do not respond very well to rigid and strict training methods.

These dogs generally do not present many behavioural problems. But in some cases they may bark excessively. Also, if left alone for a long time, they can become somewhat destructive.

This breed is a great companion dog for single people as well as families. Although they tend to get along well with children, they are very small and fragile animals. If you have a small child, you should make sure that they know how to handle the dog so that they do not pull their ears, tail, etc.

Bichon bolognese health and care

The bichon bolognese is a generally healthy dog that is not very susceptible to many diseases. However, heavy exercise should be avoided with this breed, as they have occasionally been prone to patellar dislocations. Other relatively common diseases, but not as frequent in this breed, are tooth loss and cataracts.

As with other long-haired companion dogs, caring for the Bolognese Bichon’s coat requires time and effort. The breed’s coat tends to tangle easily, so it should be brushed and combed at least every other day. We recommend taking the dog to the groomer’s every two months, and bathing only when necessary. By the way! These bichons are hypoallergenic dogs, so they can be perfect for allergy sufferers.

Even though they are small dogs, don’t ignore their need for exercise, as they are dynamic for their size. We recommend that they get moderate exercise every day, through one or two daily walks and playtime.

These dogs can adapt very well to flat living because they adapt well to small spaces and will be able to play indoors without problems. However, they are not dogs that can spend a lot of time alone. Therefore, they are not suitable for people who are not at home all day, or who do not have enough time to devote to their animals. Neither can they live isolated in a yard or garden, as they need a lot of company.

Do you have a bichon bolognese, what is it like, what peculiarities do you find? Tell us more about your bichon and don’t hesitate to bring it to us if you are looking for a vet in Barcelona!