The Bolognese is a rare toy breed of the Bichon group which originated in the Mediterranean area and is being introduced in the United States. This breed is a cousin to the Bichon Maltiase (Maltese), the Havanais Bichon (Havanese), the Bichon Teneriffe (Bichon Frise), and the Coton de Tulear. All of the Bichon breeds have some similarities, but differ in their main characteristics.
The Bolognese ancestry was all but lost in antiquity but many centuries ago in Bologna, Italy, they rose to a position of great popularity, hence the name. As far back in history as the eleventh and twelfth century they were greatly sought after by the nobility. The breed was prized in the court of the Medici, the Gonzaga, and Este. Famous people such as the Marquis de Pompa dur, Katherine The Great, and Queen Maria Theresia of Austria were devoted fanciers of these loveable little companions. 

As the influence of the nobility waned, the popularity of the Bolognese as a distinct breed waned also and in time became almost extinct. However, a few breeders in Italy and Belgium who loved the breed restored it to its present popularity in Europe. The breed is being shown widely there and is a member of and recognized by the F.C.I. Great popularity is predicted for this breed here in the United States. And it is now recognized in the United States by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and The American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). Their primary purpose down through the centuries has been as devoted companions.

At this point of their history here in the United States they are considered extremely rare, but we feel that because of their delightful nature this will not be the case for long. A national breed club, The Bolognese Club of America, was founded and formed by Bert and Dorothy Goodale to unify and assist the owners of these wonderful little dogs. The Bolognese Club of America holds the only U.S. Registry for the breed. Although no single book has yet been published in English for the breed, several rare breed books display pictures and brief histories of the Bolognese. 

In the mid 1970s, the Goodales were paramount in preventing the extinction and in the restoration of the Havanese breed. The extensive research done by Bert and Dorothy Goodale concerning the Havanese revealed yet another of the Bichon breeds that had never reached American shores. This was the Bichon Bolognese. At one time these little beauties were the "darlings" of the Italian court and palaces. The Goodales learned the Bolognese had now become rare enough to be considered almost extinct. Correspondence with European kennel clubs afforded the names of the few remaining breeders at the time.

The Goodales imported their first Bolognese in 1986. Since then they have imported Bolognese from Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, and Italy. The national breed club and registry for the Bolognese were established in 1987. The Goodales' dedication to this breed is limitless. Dorothy feels that in the 40 years she has worked with the various canine breeds, the Bolognese is by far the most intelligent and trainable. Their complete devotion to owner is absolutely amazing. This breed thinks and is a real "problem solver."

The Bolognese
Breed History
BCA History
BCA Officers
BCA Standard
Photo Gallery

To view the Tribute in honor of Dorothy Goodale,
American founder of the Bichon Havanese and Bolognese breeds,
click the link below.

A Tribute to Dorothy Goodale