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Meet The Bolognese Dog Temperament (Docile, Enterprising, Loyal)

The Bolognese dog temperament is one of absolute loyalty to his family. He’s a tiny white dog that will do anything for his owner’s approval. He will be the happiest when he’s sitting on your lap and relaxing during a slow Sunday afternoon.

Often called Bolos, their loyalty for their owners and family isn’t the only thing interesting about them. There are a lot of things that you must understand about this dog before bringing one into your home.

Bolognese Dog Temperament and Personality

The following characteristics will give you a better idea about how well the Bolognese Dog temperament fits your household.

Entertaining and Affectionate

A Bolo loves to be the center of attention. In fact, he thrives on it and will do everything in his power to ensure he’s the apple of your eye. There will never be a dull moment in your house because he’ll always be trying to win you over.

Cuddling with you is one of the main tactics to expect from this very loyal dog. Given their size, you can also expect them to be a lap dog as well. It’s not uncommon for this dog to spend a couple of hours sleeping on their owner’s lap.

Another tactic for winning you over is their playful antics. Bolos aren’t the most active pups around, but when they want to, they can incredibly playful. This side of them comes out the most during times that he isn’t the center of your attention.

It’s also essential we note that this affectionate personality might not extend to outside the family right away: Bolos tend to be shy around strangers. But with the right training, their playful and entertaining personality will start to extend towards others.


The most challenging part of a Bolognese dog’s temperament is their intelligence. Bolos are one of the most intelligent dogs you’re going to come across. This trait makes them easily trainable as they’re known to pick up things like potty training unbelievably quick.

But what makes their intelligence challenging is it also makes them quite stubborn. If a Bolo doesn’t get their way, they’re going to let you know about it. It’s not uncommon for them to pout or mope around when you do something they don’t like.

Another reason their smarts can be a challenge is their constant need for mental stimulation. Some dogs have massive appetites for physical exercise, Bolos have one for mental activity. If they don’t get it, you might find them chewing your shoes or digging holes in your backyard.

As a result, start their training sessions as soon as possible. It’ll keep them mentally stimulated and ensure that your shoes don’t feel their wrath.

On a more positive side, their intelligence does give them the unique ability to be watchdogs. Once a Bolo notices something unusual outside, they won’t hesitate to let their owners know.

However, this doesn’t mean that Bolos are constantly barking like some other smaller dogs. Instead, a Bolognese dog will quickly pick up on what represents a threat and what doesn’t. This trait can be a handy tool in keeping your home safe.


As mentioned previously, a Bolo is an incredibly loyal dog that loves their family. They’ll develop an intense devotion to their owner, and this connection will be the most important thing in their lives.

This heightened level of devotion means that it’s highly probable they will follow you all around the house. If you end up getting a Bolo, you should expect them to be around you at all times. These dogs aren’t independent by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, their sense of loyalty is so strong that your feelings about a person can influence theirs. For instance, if you feel uncomfortable with a stranger, a Bolo will respond by acting more aggressive towards that person.

On the flip side, if you’re having fun with a friend, a Bolo will open up more quickly.


Since these dogs lack a sense of independence, it’s not too surprising Bolos tend to suffer from separation anxiety. As a result, leaving these dogs alone for extended periods can result in a whole mess of issues.

This separation anxiety can cause a Bolo to hollow, soil in the house, and chew in your absence. This part of a Bolognese dog temperament makes it hard for 9-5 working people to take of them responsibly.

These dogs are better suited for retirees, big families, and working from home type owners: people who will be around most of the time.

Low Energy

Unlike other smaller dogs, Bolos don’t need a lot of exercises. These dogs aren’t going to be zooming around your home or causing much hyperactive mischief. Most of their time will be spent sleeping on you or following you around from place to place.

But their low-energy personality doesn’t mean a Bolo won’t enjoy a daily walk. After all, every dog needs a little bit of physical exercise now and again. And the Bolo isn’t any different; it just requires less than your typical dog.

If a daily walk sounds like too much, Bolos have been known to enjoy a good game of fetch in the backyard.  They also love playing hide and seek inside the apartment or being taught new tricks.

A Brief History of The Bolognese Dog

As a part of the Bichon family of dogs, the Bolos have been around for a couple of thousand years. These little fluffy white dogs first popped up in the Mediterranean and have remained a popular dog ever since.

Other breeds in their Bichon family include the Maltese, Coton de Tulear, and Bichon Frise. All of these dogs have been favorite trade items since their origination in the Mediterranean. Their docile personalities and cuteness made them must-have companions for women with high-standing.

Often, you’d see them in royal courts or noble homes, and you might see them in their owner’s portraits. Bolos got their names from their popularity spike in the Middle Ages and Renaissance: they were a fixture in the ducal court of Bologna.

From this association, the name Bolognese was born. It's also quite interesting to find out that all the noble Italian families had their own Italian Bolognese dog: Medicis, the Gonzagas, and the Estes.

After the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Bolognese fell out of style. It came to the point where the breed almost went extinct. Thankfully, the people who loved them such as Gianfranco Giannelli came together and saved these lovable animals from extinction.

In 1990, the Bolos came over to England and was shown among other unrecognized breeds for the Kennel Club. Within England, the Bolognese garnered significant popularity and had its own classes by 2001. It even participated in the 2002 Crufts dog show.

Training Your Bolognese Dog

The moment you get your Bolognese dog, it’s imperative you start the training process. These dogs are incredibly smart and can handle all the information you throw at them. Even Bolos as young as eight weeks old can soak up all the commands you want to teach them.

If you delay the training too long, your Bolo could end up becoming set in their ways. At this point, it becomes incredibly difficult and frustrating to teach them anything. The best way to avoid this is by getting them into a puppy class at around the 12-week point.

This class will allow them to socialize with other dogs and make it less likely you have any future problems. But you should also be aware that most of these classes require up to date vaccines for your dog.

These include vaccines for parvovirus, rabies, and distemper, which have all become standard operating procedure these days. And it's recommended your puppy has limited exposure to other dogs unit all these vaccines are complete.

If you can’t get into a puppy class, training a Bolo at home is fine too. Just remember, you must include socialization in your training: such as having friends or family come over to meet the dog.

It’ll make them open up more quickly and ensure future situations such as meeting other dogs isn’t as threatening.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your Havanese dog take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

The Bolognese Dog Grooming Requirements

Concerning grooming, the Bolognese dog is a very high-maintenance dog. It comes from their long, curly white locks being trap keepers of things like dirt, mud, and dust. To keep their fur looking its best, you should brush them daily or at least three times a week.

The bathing process is less strenuous as you should only do it when it becomes clear a bath’s needed. You should use a whitening shampoo to make sure the coat stays their signature white color.

Aside from bathing and coat maintenance, tear stains are another grooming issue for Bolognese dogs. These pesky nuisances can cause a rust discoloration around the eyes, which some owners find genuinely unappealing.

You can make this issue a non-factor by wiping around their eyes daily with a soft water paper towel. The rest of the maintenance required for this breed is general care such as clipping their toenail once a month.

It’s also a good idea to check their ears every week for strong odor or excessive dirtiness. If they do look dirty, use a cotton ball that’s dampened with vet recommend ear cleaner to clean them.

But one thing that's great about the maintenance requirements of this breed is the Bolognese Dog doesn’t shed. When you’re looking for a new dog, a lack of shedding is always a plus.

A Bolognese Dog’s Health Problems

As with any dog breed, there are specific health issues a Bolo will be prone to getting. It’s a sad thing to talk about; but if you’re going to be an owner, being aware of these issues will keep your Bolo in fantastic shape:

To avoid these issues as much as possible, it’s essential you buy from a reputable breeder. If a breeder asks you to sign a contract about neutering the dog, it’s a good sign that they’re reputable.

Getting them spayed or neutering can have a massive impact on their lifespan as well.  Animals who go through this procedure face fewer health problems. As a result, these animals live longer.

It’s also a great idea to establish a relationship with your veterinarian right away. A yearly vet visit can go a long way in ensuring their health stays in pristine condition.

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Finding Your Bolognese

If a Bolognese dog temperament sounds like a good fit, there are two available options to finding one: you can either adopt or buy.

Bolognese Dogs For Adoption

If you’re more comfortable adopting a Bolo, a great resource to check out is American Bolognese Club. This club works to help find the appropriate homes for all the Bolos that are in need of a home.

With this particular club, they usually work to find older Bolognese dogs homes rather than puppies. If you’re looking for a puppy to adopt, you can use online sites like Adoptapet.com or Petfinder.com.

You could also try your luck at your local shelter or humane society. It’s rather unlikely you’ll find one of these dogs at these places, but you never know. Plus, you can always let them know you’re looking for one.

If you do end up adopting, the price will vary from organization to organization. But generally, an adopted Bolognese dog cost about $75 to $150.

Bolognese Dogs For Sale

If you’re looking to buy a Bolognese dog, you can also go through the American Bolognese Club as well. The club has a network of reputable breeders they’ll connect you with and get the process started.

You could also use sites like PuppyFinder.com that’ll point you toward a top-notch Bolognese dog breeder. Once you do find a breeder, make arrangements to visit the facilities yourself. It’d be a good idea to take a tour and see the other dogs as well.

Make sure everything’s on the up and up before proceeding any further. You should ask for the medical records and genetic testing results as well.

But regardless, the price for buying a purebred Bolognese puppy will be more much than you’d spend adopting one. Most likely, you’re looking at anywhere from 1800 to 2500 dollars.

And one last thing, never buy from either a pet store or over the internet. If you do, you’re just asking for trouble.

Conclusion: Why the Bolognese Dog?

If you’re looking for a lovable, loyal companion, the Bolognese Dog would be a fantastic option for you.

The Bolognese dog temperament makes it an ideal pet for anybody who spends most of their time at home: retirees, people who work from home, big families, etc. All of these people would represent amazing owners for a Bolo.

It also helps that they’re so darn cute!