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Bolognese Breed


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Energy Level

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Dog Trainability

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Physical Characteristics:
Height: 10-12”
Weight: 5-8 lbs.
Energy Level: Moderate
The American Kennel Club recognizes the Bolognese in only one color:

  • White

Health & Longevity

Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Not to be confused with the Italian pasta sauce of the same name, the Bolognese dog is a fluffy, sweet canine companion with overall good health. These pups, however, are prone to the usual health issues that could plague any breed, such as heartworms, parvo, and heart disease, which is why vaccinations go a long way towards keeping your pup happy and healthy. More breed specifically, the Bolognese can develop a few minor and serious health complications around middle age or 6 to 7 years old. Be sure to keep regular vet appointments for early detection of any health conditions that your Bolognese could suffer from.

Two of the most prevalent health issues that your Bolognese could encounter include:

White Shaker Dog Syndrome

This condition, unfortunately, lacks a solid cause in the medical world. Vets are often perplexed when a pup shows signs of this condition, which makes a dog shake uncontrollably for several minutes throughout their entire body. These tremors can make walking difficult, and they may cause seizures if the shaking is strong enough. Vet-prescribed nerve medications have been known to manage the condition, but treatment is lifelong.

Bladder Stones

This condition occurs when excess protein, sodium, and calcium form hard stone-like masses in the kidneys, bladder, and ureters. Very painful, the symptoms include excessive urination, bloody urine, lethargy, fatigue, violent heaving or vomiting, and immense pain in the abdomen and kidney area. Most commonly, vets will either prescribe pain medications until the stones pass naturally, Or, surgery is required to break the stones.

Other health problems that may affect your Bolognese are diabetes, urinary tract infections, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. These pups are also apt to develop skin allergies as a result of fleas, grass, dust, or mites. On average, the Bolognese dog lives a lengthy lifespan between 12 to 14 years.

Temperament & Train-ability

Bolognese pups are some of the easiest to train because of their extremely high intelligence levels and eagerness to please their loved ones. These pups are mostly obedient and compliant to commands, but it really depends on how you treat them. Bolognese pups respond to your mood and tone, so keep your voice positive, patient, and kind to yield the best results during training sessions.

Bolognese purebreds are sweet, affectionate, and clever, but they are also alert, protective, and energetic. They love to romp and play with other dogs, but socialization is important from an early age. It teaches them better acceptance and tolerance of other pups, especially larger dogs with deep, loud, sometimes scary barks.

The Bolognese needs constant attention and love. They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. So, if you plan on staying gone for a while, take them on a few walks beforehand to use up their excess energy. Then give them a treat before you head out and assure them that you will be back soon. Try to run your errands and get home, so you’re not leaving your Bolognese pup alone for too long.


Wooly-textured and lengthy, Bolognese pups are low shedders who need regular daily brushing to keep their coat soft, healthy, and free of tangles. Bathe your purebred once a month. Or, whenever she gets smelly and obviously dirty. In which case, try to limit her baths to twice every six weeks. Too much bathing can strip your Bolognese of the important natural oils in her coat, making her skin prone to allergic reaction and bacterial infection.

Other basic care requirements for your Bolognese include brushing her teeth 4-5 times a week, clipping her toenails every 2-3 weeks, and cleaning her ears once a week. If you are uncomfortable with any part of the grooming process, aside from brushing your Bolognese, take her to a professional groomer for the complete spa-style treatment.


Prone to becoming overeaters, the Bolognese needs a meal schedule every single day to keep her satisfied, happy, and healthy. Feed your pup twice a day with ½ cup of dry, high-quality kibble per meal. You should also invest in an automatic water dish, as these purebreds are intolerant to extreme temperatures. She needs to stay in tip-top hydration, especially in the summertime.

Food-wise, nutrient-rich kibble is important because it provides exactly what your Bolognese needs to fulfill her nutritional requirements. Check the labels of different dog food brands to compare and find the best kibble that would meet the nutritional needs of your Bolognese. Or, ask your vet which brand she would suggest.

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Initially, you may pay $1,000 to $2,000 for a Bolognese pup, as these are rare dogs with few breeder choices. If you are lucky enough to find a Bolognese in an animal shelter, you can expect to shell out around $250 for the initial adoption. Then another $200 to $300 for updated vaccinations, spay or neuter services, and a general health check before the pup leaves the shelter.

However, all of those costs are for starters. You still need to factor in the long-term prices of basic necessities that your pup will need to thrive and survive as your new companion. For example, your Bolognese will need toys, wholesome kibble, a microchip, a leash and a collar with up-to-date dog tags, gentle dog shampoo, a brush and comb, toenail clippers, a medical emergencies fund, and routine vet check-ups.

Over time, you could rack up thousands of dollars spent on your Bolognese, so make sure you are ready for the responsibility and commitment before you invest in the breed.

Paws ‘N’ Pups Ranking

Paws ‘N’ Pups ranks every breed out of 4 with 1 being easiest to integrate into your life and 4 being the toughest – The lower the ranking the better.

Ranking takes into account a few basic factors including cost, skill level needed, high vs low maintenance and how critical regular training is to success. The Bolognese ranks a 1.5 on the integration scale. These pups are active, energetic sweethearts who would do well with a fitness-minded family. However, they require immense dedication and commitment, so someone with lots of time to give would be the best owner for these pups. Training is as much a challenge as it would be with any small canine, but overall, the Bolognese would make a sweet, quirky companion.


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