They belong to the Bichon family group, which includes the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Lowchen, Havanese and Coton de Tulear. Although there are some similarities, the Bolognese are a distinctive breed in their own right.
The Bolognese is an ancient breed of noble origins, and has its roots with Italian aristocracy. The precise ancestry of the Bolognese is unknown. Its closest relative within the Bichon group is the Maltese but it is unclear as to whether the Maltese is its direct ancestor or descendant. The Bolognese are named after Bologna, a city in northern Italy, thought to be the place of the breed's establishment. The existence of the Bolognese has been recorded since the year 1200. Bolognese dogs may be seen in tapestry work produced by Flemish craftsmen dating as far back as the 17th century. The Venetian painter Titian painted the Duke Frederico Gonzaga with his Bolognese.
The breed is also seen in paintings by Goya, Gosse and Watteau. Other notable owners of the breed include Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796), Madame De Pompadour (1721-1764) and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The breed was brought into England in 1990 by Liz Stannard and is first shown during that year in the breed registry. In 2001 the breed was able to be shown at all shows with their own classes. They were at Crufts, an annual international dog show, for the first time in 2002.
The Bolognese is a small, white, compact dog with a distinctive white single coat. It is of small size, stocky and compact. It is of square build and well-muscled. The head is of medium length. The skull is slightly ovoid. The muzzle is large, black and almost square. It has a developed jaw and the upper lips don’t cover the bottom lips. Its lips are black. It has white, strong and evenly aligned teeth. Its eyes are well developed, open and round. The rims of the eyelids are black and the iris is a dark ochre color.
The ears are set high and are long and hanging but rigid at the base. The tail is carried curved over the back. The Bolognese's height varies 10.5 to 12 inches for a male and 10-11 inches for a female. The weight varies between 6 and 14 lbs.
The Bolognese is a small breed of dog of the bichon type, originating in Italy. The name refers to the central North Italian city of Bologna. It is part of the Toy dog group and is considered a companion dog. They love attention, and make good house pets. They are good at socializing with other dogs, big and small. They have a strong bond with the person/s with whom they spend the most time.