Bolognese Breed Standard
Small white Toy dog with square, compact
outline and distinctive coat.
Head and Skull
flat skull. Nose to stop slightly shorter than from stop to occiput.
Accentuated stop. Nose large, black.
Large, round, dark with
well pigmented rims.
Set on high, long, pendulous, carried away
from head giving a broad
appearance to head.
with perfect, regular scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely
lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Shoulders well laid, legs straight with
slightly sloping pasterns. Elbows
close to body.
Well sprung ribs, brisket reaching to elbows making half overall height
withers. Level back, loins slightly arched. Point of shoulder to point of
buttock equals height at withers.
moderate turn of stifle, hocks well let down.
Oval, black nails
and pads. Dewclaws customarily removed.
Set on at level of croup
carried curved over back. Well feathered.
smart. Legs moving parallel. Ambling highly undesirable.
flocked without curl covering entire head and body. Shown in natural
Pure white without markings, not even simple
shadings. Lips, eyelids, nose
and nails black.
cms (101/2-12 ins). Bitches 25.5-28 cms (10-11 ins).
departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the
seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact
proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles
into the scrotum.
This breed was
developed centuries ago in Bologna, Italy. They were already valued there as
early as the 11th and 12th century, according to paintings and literature, going
back to that time. Some of the history of this toy breed has been lost in the
mists of time, often confused with the Maltese, because it's distant ancestors
are the same dogs mentioned in Latin by Aristotle (322-384 B.C.) under the
denomination of "canes melitenses". It is of the Bichon group which include 10
different breeds, some of the more well known being, Bichon Frise, Maltese,
Lowchen, and more rarely known the Bolognese, the Havanese and the Coton de
Tulear, all of which are now shown in this country. These days the Bolognese are
rare even in their homeland.
Many little Bolognese were much valued
as very special gifts, during the renaissance they were favourites of the courts
and nobility. Cosimo de Medici gave eight to Brussels as gifts to Belgian
noblemen, and even to day, Belgian bloodlines of Bolognese show first class
breeding results as in the case of the famous little dog, "Eliane" who was the
1981 World Champion.
The Duke d'Este gave two to King Philip 11 of
Spain, who in return wrote a letter to him saying "that these two little dogs
are the most royal gifts one can make to an Emperor". Ex King Umberto gave two
to his fiancée Princess Marie Jose of Belgium on her birthday. Other well known
owners were Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796), Madame De Pompadur
(1721-1764), and Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, who loved her little dog so
much that at the time of its death, engaged the services of a well known
taxidermist to preserve and mount the little dog, so it would be with her
always. The body can still be seen today at the Natural Museum of History in
Vienna. As time passed and the nobility passed as such, the Bolognese became
street dogs, close to extinction.
Bolognese can be seen in tapestry
work produced by Flemish craftsmen dating as far back as the 17th century. The
Duke Frederico Gonzaga was painted caressing his Bolognese by the Venetian
painter Titian, born in 1477. The breed features also in paintings by Goya,
Bosse, and Wattenau and noticeably hasn't changed much at all over the
This antique breed finds its origin in Bologna, Italy.
But it is uncertain how exactly it al started. What we do know
in ancient times, 400 years B.C., the Bichon was already known.
Greek and Roman writers wrote about this small dog.
Plinius called it:
"Catulus Melitaeus". Tombstones and vases
with a small white dog and
description "Melitae" were found.
Long time ago Melitae was the name
for the island Malta.
There was an ancient breed called: "Barbet", which means "with a beard".
The diminutive is Barbichon, which will actually lead to the breed
It was in 1860 that the Bolognese was recognized as
a different breed within the
Bichon group. Until then it existed as a
variety of the Maltese, the only difference
being the curled fur
instead of the silky straight hair the Maltese have.
An other piece of history we know is that the Bolognese were used as rat killers
on ships. This probably enabled them to spread around the world.
Something must have changed their position because in the renaissance they
became very valuable. They were given as presents to many rich people.
We know that Cosimo de Medici (1349-1464) brought eight Bolognese to Brussels as
a gift to Belgian noblemen. The Duke d'Este gave Philipe II (1527-1598), King of
Spain, two Bolognese as a present. Philipe II thanked him by saying: "These two
little dogs are the most royal gifts one can make to an emperor".
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