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Bolognese Dog Picture


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It is thought that the Bolognese is a descendant of the Bichon Frise, a breed that hails from Malta and southern Italy. They were given their name having been first bred and developed in Bologna, northern Italy and the breed has been around for a very long time, first appearing on the scene in 11th and 12th centuries. During the 15th century, these little dogs were extremely popular with the Italian nobility when they were kept as companion dogs.

Other dog breeds they are related to include the Lowchen, Havanese, Coton de Tulear and the Maltese, but they are a recognised breed in their own right and one that boasts noble origins. With this said, like many older breeds, their exact origins remain a bit of a mystery and there is some debate as to whether the Maltese is a descendant or ancestor.

The breed was given their name after the northern Italian city of Bologna which is where it is thought these little dogs may have originated from. It is also thought that the breed has been around since the 1200’s. There are images of similar dogs found in Flemish tapestries that date back to the 17th Century and other dogs were painted by the famous artists Titian, Goya, Watteau and Gosse. Catherine the Great of Russia, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and Madame de Pompadour owned a Bolognese too.

The Bolognese first arrived in Britain around 200 years ago when they were imported from the Canary Islands by enthusiasts of the breed. However, these charming dogs are a rare breed both in their native Italy and elsewhere in the world. Luckily, European breeders are now producing Bolognese through careful and selective breeding with an end goal being to increase the numbers of these delightful, loyal and affectionate dogs.

Interesting facts about the breed

  • Is the Bolognese a vulnerable breed? No, they have consistently remained one of the more popular small breeds in the UK thanks to their adorable looks and nice natures
  • Catherine Medici was later Queen of France) owned Bolognese
  • The breed was popular in royal courts and European noble houses
  • The first time the Bolognese was exhibited at Crufts Dog Show was in 2002

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