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Bolognese: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Bolognese temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Bolognese dog breed

Bolognese Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

Bolognese Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2013

The Bolognese belongs to a family of dogs that include the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese, and Coton de Tulear. These breeds have a similar appearance and very similar temperament and behavior. Of the group, some breeders believe that the Bolognese is the brightest thinker and problem solver.

He is also, by far, the hardest of those breeds to find.

Devoted and attentive, the Bolognese shadows his owner possessively and is such a skilled reader of body language and expression that he often appears telepathic.

Indeed, this breed doesn't do well without a great deal of companionship. If you're home all day and looking for a lap buddy, consider this breed. Otherwise, the dog will be lonely and unhappy.

Quick to learn and responsive to gentle training, some Bolognese do well in competitive obedience and agility.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is small but sturdy
  • Is polite (though often reticent) with people and other animals
  • Is healthy and long-lived
  • Has a long coat that doesn't shed (often a good choice for allergy sufferers)

A Bolognese may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
  • Shyness or suspiciousness toward strangers when not socialized enough
  • Frequent brushing and combing (or clipping the coat short)
  • Housebreaking difficulties (this whole family of breeds can be difficult to housetrain)
  • Tendency to bark when he sees or hears things
  • Waiting lists (very hard to find)

A Bolognese may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the Bolognese

If I was considering a Bolognese, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Bolognese need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They become anxious, which they express by chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.

  2. Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Bolognese need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution could become shyness or suspiciousness, which are difficult to live with.

  3. Grooming. Without frequent brushing and combing, Bolognese become a matted mess. If you can't commit to the brushing, you have to commit to frequent trimming to keep the coat short, neat, clean, and healthy.

  4. Housebreaking problems. The Bolognese belongs to the same "family" of dogs as the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese, and Coton de Tulear -- all of which can be slow to housebreak. Consistent crate training is mandatory. Sometimes a doggy door is necessary.

  5. Barking. Bolognese are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.

  6. Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, this breed is very uncommon. Expect a long waiting list and a price tag of $1000 and up.


book cover To learn more about training Bolognese to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Bolognese the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Bolognese. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Bolognese might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your Bolognese home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT Bolognese...

When you're acquiring a Bolognese PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Bolognese who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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