bolonka breed information

common health issues

A luxating patella is a knee cap that moves out of its groove � sometimes referred to as a "trick knee". It is usually caused by several inherited factors including a shallow patella groove. In individuals with moderate or severe disease, surgical correction in often recommended to prevent a progression that includes severe lameness, chronic pain and thickening of the knee.

Also known as aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, Legg-Calve-Perthes is a disease of the femoral head (or ball) of the hip and causes lameness in young, small breed dogs. The blood supply to the femoral head is cut off, causing the bone to die. Treatment inevitably requires surgery to the affected hip.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition in which the ball and socket of the hip joint do not fit well together, resulting in a hip with increased laxity. This laxity can lead to degenerative changes and depending on the severity, may require surgical correction.

The trachea, or windpipe, is supposed to be a rigid tube. In some breeds, the cartilage rings that hold the trachea open are undeveloped or become weak and allow the trachea to flatten during respiration. Mild cases can be managed medically with cough suppressants and bronchodilators, but surgical placement of tracheal stents is recommended for some severe cases.

In this condition, only some of the blood from the intestines passes through the liver, and the rest mixes with the general circulation, so dogs with a liver shunt have excess amount of toxins in their blood. Symptoms generally emerge by 6 months of age and include failure to gain weight, vomiting, and hepatic encephalopathy. Surgical correction is usually curative.

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.

Use the condition checker tool to learn what common conditions your pet may have.

claim calculator

  • your share of the cost: $450
  • Petplan's reimbursement to you: $1,550
  • coverage remaining in policy period: Unlimited
    (full policy limits are reinstated upon renewal)