The Bolonka (originally, Tsvetnaya Bolonka in Russian, meaning ‘colored lapdog’) is a very rare toy dog that developed in Russia in the 18th century. This breed is known for its adorable looks, matched with its sweet temperament.
They have a small body wholly covered with curly hair, along with a round face and short tail, enhancing their sweetness. The eyes and nose are dark and button-like, the ears are floppy, and the muzzle is short and blunt. Their chest is relatively broader while the legs are quite sturdy.
|Other Names||Russian Colored Bichon, Colored Bichon, Russian Lapdog, Toy Bolonki|
|Coat||Curly, long, dense, soft, silky, wavy|
|Colors||Breed standard (AKC) accepts any color including Black, Brown, Gray, Red, and Wolf-Gray, except white|
|Group (of Breed)||Toy Dog, Companion Dog|
|Weight||4-9 pounds (full grown male/female)|
|Height (Size)||Small; 26-32 inches|
|Personality Traits||Playful, sweet, affectionate, protective, loyal|
|Good with Children||Yes|
|Good with Pets||Yes|
|Good for New/First-time Owners||Yes|
|Litter Size||1-3 puppies at a time|
|Country of Origin||Russia|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||AKC/FSS, DRA, ARBA, NATBC|
Video: Bolonka Puppies Playing
History & Development
The Bolonka breed developed during the 1800’s in Russia’s Moscow and Saint Petersburg region after their ancestors migrated to the country as the ‘French Bolonka’ that was gifted to the Russian Czar by a French ambassador from the court of Louis IV.
Russia was never known to have developed toy breeds since they never gave it much importance because of the increasing demand for working dogs. Also, the harsh weather conditions of the country were never friendly for any toy dog to survive. However, Russia fought over the ownership of the dog and never allowed the dog to be bred outside of its geographical borders, naming it the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka.
It took over a century for the Bolonka to be able to breed outside the country for the very first time. They were later revived after the historic fall of the Iron Curtain in Russia.
In the 1960s, they were exported to some parts of Europe, though their fewer numbers compelled the breeders to opt for inbreeding.
By the 1980s, it gradually went on to gain popularity in other parts of Europe. They came to be known as Bolonka Zwetna or Deutscher Bolonka in Germany, and Barevny Bolonsky Psik in the Czech Republic. Though, all of them shared a common bloodline.
Finally, by around 1999 or 2000, the dog was exported to the United States, where they have presently been a popular breed, getting recognized by UKC, as well as included as an FSS breed by the American Kennel Club in February 2015.
Temperament and Behavior
The Bolonka is an extremely fun-loving, playful and high-spirited dog that expects everyone it knows to be its playmate. They are also intelligent and affectionate, being quick enough to understand the minds of their family members very quickly. When caressed, they would sit quietly on the lap, giving company to its loved ones.
They share an excellent rapport with kids as well as other pets. Since the Bolonka was initially developed for defending its territory, it can also be a good watchdog. The breed is suitable for both city and country life.
A scheduled daily walk is very much necessary for these energetic dogs not just to fulfill their exercise needs, but also to meet with their primal instinct of walking, without which they might develop behavioral issues. Engage them in fun games where you and your family kids (if any) can take part. In fact, since they are quite comfortable with apartment living, you can also spend some time playing with your dog indoors.
Since the curly coat of this dog is its most distinctive feature, you must take extra care of it. Use a large-bristled comb to brush its hair 3-4 times a week. You can keep its facial hair tied with a bow or ribbon to prevent its vision from getting blocked. Bathe them when you feel the need.
Since these dogs are very rare, their medical records have been less documented. However, there have been some reports from owners regarding certain issues common to most small dogs including luxating patella, hip dysplasia, liver shunt, thyroid, etc.
- Early obedience training is essential. You should be a firm and confident trainer whom your dog should follow and obey. But do not be too loud or rude with your dog, since they will never appreciate any extent of physical or mental abuse.
- Chances of developing small dog syndrome in them are less since they are not introvert or shy. Nonetheless, if you discover that your dog is developing an inferiority complex towards larger breeds, never force it to get closer or do something if it is not comfortable. Instead, train your Bolonka to keep a safe distance from its larger counterparts.
Feed your dog ¼ to ½ cup of dry kibbles daily (both meals included).
- In recent times, the Bolonka breed has gained more fame after being the chosen breed of the Prince of England William and his wife, Kate Middleton.