Difference Between Bolognese Dogs & Bichon Frise Dogs

The Bolognese and the bichon frise are similar dogs. They both belong to the bichon family group of breeds, which includes the Bolognese, bichon frise, coton de tulear, Havanese and lowchen breeds. The Bolognese, in fact, was once called the bichon Bolognese; that is, the member of the bichon family from Bologna, Italy. While they share family group similarities, the Bolognese and the bichon frise have differences in their physical appearances, temperaments, trainability and suitability as family pets.

Bolognese: General Characteristics

  • American Kennel Club breed group: Currently, foundation stock status. Assigned to the toy group designation.
  • Body style and size: According to the Federation Cynologique Internationale standard, the Bolognese has a small, stocky, compact body that is square in length and height. Ideally, males stand between 10.6 and 11.8 inches at the highest point of the shoulder, while females stand between 9.8 and 11 inches.
  • Coat and color: The coat is long, but shorter on the muzzle. The coat on the body has a flocked texture. Must be pure white, no shading or patches are permitted.
  • Activity level: Low

Bichon Frise: General Characteristics

  • AKC breed group: Non-sporting
  • Body style and size: Ideally, both male and female bichon frises stand between 9 inches and 11 inches at the highest point of the shoulder. The body is slightly longer than tall and compact, built with substance without being heavy or coarse. The tail is long and has a thick coat of long hair and is carried arched over the dog's back.
  • Coat and color: The bichon frise's undercoat is soft and dense with a slightly coarse outercoat, resulting in a dense, springy texture. White, but up to 10 percent of the coat on the ears or body can be shaded with buff, cream or apricot.
  • Activity level: Moderately active and requires regular exercise.

Breed Temperament

According to the Federation Cynologique Internationale standard, the Bolognese has a "serious" and "docile" temperament. They are, however, enterprising as well and may find themselves tasks to do.

The AKC standard describes the bichon frise as being "gentle mannered, sensitive, playful and affectionate," with a "cheerful attitude [being] the hallmark of the breed." He enjoys playing with his family. Some bichon frises are overly sensitive with "soft" temperaments. They may become shy or engage in fear aggression.

Trainability and Intelligence

The Bolognese is highly intelligent and eager to please her owner. Bolognese dogs sometimes appear to do things that require independent and goal-directed thought.

The bichon frise is intelligent and responds well to positive training methods. He does not respond well to punishment or loud voices. Obedience training can start as early as 6 months of age. Regular training as a puppy is recommended to create a happy and well-adjusted adult dog.

Suitability as a Pet

The Bolognese insists on being near its owner. It is a devoted companion and will not voluntarily stray from human companionship.

The bichon frise is happiest when near his people and makes a loving companion. Some bichon frises are not suited to being left alone for lengthy periods, such as when the owner is at work. These dogs may develop separation anxiety or bark a lot. Older dogs are better at being left alone than are puppies.