Named after Bologna, a city in northern Italy, the true origin of the Bolognese breed is largely unknown. Records indicate that the breed has been in existence from as early as 1200. Despite the mystery of its origin, the Bolognese is believed to be a direct descendent of the popular Maltese breed, which is part of the Bichon group of canines. The breed features prominently in various ancient tapestries and paintings, having been owned by some of the most notable figures in history, including Catherine the Great of Russia.
Part of the 'toy' group of canines, the Bolognese is a compact breed with a white coat, characteristic ovoid-shaped skull, a black nose and high-set ears. The distinctive woolly-textured coat characterises the breed, shedding little to no hair, and requires regular grooming to maintain manageability and appearance. The Bolognese is a notoriously faithful watchdog, but not an incessant barker. Non-aggressive by nature, the Bolognese is companionable and suited to small domestic environments that might not have an outdoor space.
The Bolognese might be small, but it does not lack in intelligence or energy. The breed has high trainability, weighs in at 2.5-4 kg depending on its gender, and has a life expectancy of roughly 14 years. In general, the Bolognese is a friendly, loyal and quiet breed, with a gentle and easy temperament that is suited to family life.
The Bolognese is not particularly susceptible to any common health complaints, although, as with most breeds within the 'toy' group, the Bolognese can experience behavioural problems, including separation anxiety and issues relating to leadership.