bolonka breed information
common health issues
In early 18th century, a breed of little white dog similar to the Bichon Frisé or Bolognese of today arrived in Russia. There are differing accounts of how she got there — some say that a small dog from the courts of Louis IV of France was presented to a member of the Russian nobility, as a gift. Others claim the breed migrated to the Russian Empire with Napoleon’s army and were known as “Bolonka” (which translates to “Bolognese” in several Slavic languages). Regardless of how they arrived, these adorable lapdogs became fashionable among wealthy families in both countries. But after the Russian Revolution in 1905, working dogs were emphasized over toy breeds, and their numbers declined. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the breed gained in popularity and developed further. Even then, however, export of the dogs was strictly regulated.
Eventually, two color varieties developed — the French or “Franzuskaya”, which remains solid white, and the “Tsvetnaya”, which translates to “colored”. These were likely developed through cross-breeding with Lhasa Apsos, Toy Poodles, Shih Tzus and Pekingese. In the 1990s, the French Bolonka became recognized in Europe as a variation of the Italian Bolognese, and ceased to be called Bolonka. Today, the only Russian Bolonka is the “Tsvetnaya” (colored) variety, though it is not recognized in any official capacity.
The Bolonka is a small, sturdy dog, generally around 10 lbs., with a soft, curly coat of black, brown, gray, beige, red or a mixture of colors. All colors are accepted except solid white, and no more than 20% white markings are allowed in the standard. She is very active indoors, so plenty of play time is needed, as well as at least one daily walk. Without both mental and physical exertion, she may become destructive. Known to be very easygoing and amicable, the Bolonka is a wonderful companion for children, other pets and senior citizens. She bonds strongly with her family and is personable with visitors. Obedience training is necessary to encourage good behavior, but overall she is a sweet, affectionate member of the family.
Sturdiness aside, the Bolonka is still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect her health and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Bolonki are prone to include knee and hip problems such as Legg-Calves-Perthes disease, hip dysplasia and luxating patellas; liver problems such as portosystemic shunts; and respiratory problems such as tracheal collapse.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Bolonka inherits his father’s trick knee or his mother’s bad hips, you’re protected.