For centuries the Bolognese were the coveted companions of the European Nobles. Phillip II and Catherine the Great were amongst their admirers. They are depicted in Renaissance art and in writings; even mentioned by Aristotle.
Their bright, joyful temperaments made them a favorite in the Royal households where they warmed the hearts and laps of the mighty rulers.
The Bolognese is a breed belonging to the Bichons, a family of small companion breeds originating from the Mediterranean. Along with the Bolognese; Maltese, Havanese, Bichon frise, Cotton de Tulear and Lowchen (Petit chien lion) belong to this family. These breeds are not related to the toy breeds of the far east. They are classified by the FCI as group 9, section 1.
This enchanting breed has timeless appeal. They may not roam the homes of Kings anymore, but they do bless each castle they romp in.
The Bolognese have been making the lives of people happier and more complete for over 2000 years. Italian Nobility made the breed especially famous by giving puppies to friends during the Renaissance. They were celebrated as the most royal of gifts that one aristocrat could give to another. There are a number of examples of the Bolognese portrayed with their humans in the art of that period. As the popularity and power of the aristocracy began to diminish, this breed began slowly to wane. It was saved from near extinction by a small group of enthusiasts. In Italy, France and Holland, breeders have been working hard to restore the breed during the last couple of decades.
Bolognese love people. They have been selected for centuries in the direction of love and companionship towards humans. Bolognese suffer greatly if they are left alone for a long time. This breed is not suitable for individuals or families who spend a long time each day away from home.
In general, they get along with children, but need to be protected to some extent from the outbursts of love and affection of younger children who do not understand that the small bones of the Bolognese cannot withstand the "bear hugs" of an enthusiastic child.
Below are a few historical photos and paintings depicting Bolognese dogs thru the years.