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    Welcome to Buoncasa. We are now online!   Here I hope to update any recent wins so please come back every now and then to see our progress.   Irish Ch. Buoncasa Bruichladdich (Ir Jun Ch) ( aka Marti) Border Union 19.06 11  -  2nd AVNSC Toy Open Dog  Judge  Les Aspin We have just returned [...]

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History and Origins

The Bolognese originated from Bologna in the north of Italy and its existence has been recorded since the 11th century in art and literature.  Their origins have been lost in the mists of time but they are one of the ten different breeds belonging to the Bichon family group which include the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Lowchen, Havanese and Coton du Tulear.

By the time of the Renaissance the Bolognese had become a favourite of the nobility.  The Gonzages and the Medici bred them and in 1398 Cosimo di Medici sent eight Bolognese from Italy to Belgium with instructions that they were to be given to a high ranking citizen in his name.  The Duke d’Este gave a pair to King Phillip II of Spain, who was rumoured to say that they were the best present he had ever received.  In diplomatic circles they represented a distinguished, refined and very fashionable gift.  Other well know owners were – Madame Pompadour, Catherine the Great, Ex-King Umberto of Italy, the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa and of course more recently Marilyn Monroe who was given ‘Mafi’ by Frank Sinatra.

These little white dogs were depicted in paintings by Goya, Bosse, Wattenau and Titzian and are very similar to the present day Bolognese, so they have not altered much through the centuries.

These small white, fluffy, charming little dogs resembling a cross between a Maltese and a Toy White Poodle have been famous as companions for centuries.  As they adapted to the role they developed endearing qualities which made them much valued favourites notably in the households of the nobility in Northern Italy.  Four hundred years ago small long-haired mostly white dogs were bred in the countries around the Mediterranean.  From these five breeds developed under the collective name of Barbichon (the diminutive of Barbet).  The Barbet was the old French long-curled dog used in water-hunts.  The Bolognese is therefore a member of the Bichon family and as such is related to the better known Maltese and the Bichon a Poil Frise.  The Bolognese reached England fairly recently through the Canary Isles, but existed in Bologna amongst titled families as early as the 15th cenutry.  They were fashionable lap-dogs in the Courts for centuries and were widely exported as prestige gifts.

Basically they are a square dog, the length of the shoulder to the point of buttocks being equal to the height at the withers.  The ears are high set and carried away from the head making the head appear broader. The eyes are large and dark as is the nose.  Their most distinctive feature is the coat, it is of medium length, white, although apricot shadings are allowed on the ears and back.  It is a single coat i.e. no undercoat and falls in loose open curls called ’flocking’ all over the body with shorter hair on the face.  It is never trimmed or clipped, is non shedding, but requires regular combing to prevent matting, it is woolly as opposed to silky.  With their pure white dense soft coats, gaily plummed tails curled over their backs and dark friendly eyes, they are very handsome proud little dogs.  Even-tempered, slow to get exited, calm and rather reserved by nature, they are rather gentle creatures but far from delicate and not over-sensitive.  Stable, docile and relaxed, they seem to exert a soothing influence on the owner and the household as a whole.  Unlike many small breeds, they do not yap incessantly or jealously demand constant attention but adapt to the environment of their own and provide canine friendship when needed.  An ideal companion for an older lady living alone in a flat or town house, they need little exercise but their superb coats do call for regular attention.

They are a very intelligent breed and love the companionship of people.  They become very attached to their owners and follow them like shadows.  They are quite reserved with strangers but have very acute hearing and will bark at strange noises but they are not a yappy dog.  They will adapt to their family’s lifestyle whether it be active walks or just playing in the garden.

Robust in health and resilient in spirit, they have in a way been preserved by their lack of popularity.  Throughout the centuries they have remained as quiet, undemonstrative, devoted and remarkable contented companions, affectionate without being fawning and in no way troublesome.  With this friendly disposition, their famed beauty and considerable charm they have to be one of the most charismatic small breeds around today.  Aristotle referred to these small dogs of the Mediterranean as ‘Ladies favourites’  – they are certainly my favourites!

Height:  9.5 – 12 inches (24 – 30cm)

Weight: 8 – 12 lbs (3.6kg)