Today, we’re going to start off this article with some dog jeopardy for all of you dog breed trivia masters out there. Most of us have heard of at least one dog breed ending in “-ese” before, but very few people can name all of them.
How many dog breeds ending in “-ese” can you come up with? Spoiler alert! The answer is in the next paragraph.
There are 4 dog breeds that end in “ese.” They include the Bolognese, Havanese, Maltese, and Pekingese breeds. When asked out loud, the Great Pyrenees may also be included as it ends in “ees,” which has an identical pronunciation to “-ese.”
Follow-up trivia question: Three of the “-ese” breeds are descended from the same breed family. Do you know which breed family it is, and which “-ese” breed is the odd one out?
The answer is that the Bolognese, Havanese, and Maltese are from the Bichon family, which has Mediterranean origins. The Pekingese, on the other hand, come from China.
If you’re interested in learning more about the complex history between breeds in the Bichon family, check out this article from the Bichon Frise Club of America. Otherwise, keep reading to learn about each “-ese” breed individually, as well as the Great Pyrenees as a phonetic honorable mention!
The first of our small “-ese” breeds is the Bolognese, often affectionately called the “Bolo.” This intelligent little pup is named after the Italian city they come from, Bologna.
The Bolognese is a highly adaptable, intelligent small white dog that makes the perfect pet for a wide range of families with different lifestyles. As calmer dogs, they are perfectly happy with only thirty minutes of exercise each day.
At the same time, they are quite playful and often have little hesitation when it comes to joining in on the adventures of more active families. Whether you live in a tiny city apartment or a large rural home, this pup doesn’t judge. They’re just happy to be by your side!
A Bolo that has been properly trained and socialized is great with children due to their overwhelmingly friendly personality. However, it’s not just youngsters whom they love to be around.
Due to their low exercise needs and sweet personality, they also make the perfect canine companion for the elderly. There’s nothing this sociable dog would love more than to have a retired friend to spend all of their time with.
While this small dog is intelligent, they can also be very stubborn at times. Consistency during training is key to convincing them to do what you want. Speaking of consistency, regular grooming is a must for the Bolo. Whether you learn to trim them yourself or pay a professional groomer to do it for you, consistent grooming is necessary to prevent their beautiful coat from becoming a knotted disaster.
The eight-minute video above is a great resource if you are interested in learning more about this lovely little companion dog!
Before we dive into the Havanese, why not take a peek at the short video above? It’s a great glimpse into a fun life with two quirky Havanese pups!
This “ese” breed is named after Havana, the capital of Cuba. They have a long family history dating back to the 1500s. At that time, Tenerife dogs of the Bichon family from the Mediterranean area were brought to Cuba.
Over time, these Cuban residents descended directly into the Havanese breed, granting modern-day Havanese dogs their Bichon lineage with a twist. While most Bichon family dogs have a pristine ivory white coat, Havanese dogs refuse to have their style cramped by one look. Instead, this dog has over ten recognized color variations!
While we’re speaking of coats, this dog has earned several nicknames for his beautiful, silky coat. If you ever hear someone mention the Havana Silk Dog or Spanish Silk Poodle, they’re talking about the Havanese.
As for temperament, the Havanese is a very lively, sociable lad. While most people think of small dogs as lazy little lap dogs, the Havanese will jump at the opportunity to prove you wrong! While it is true that he is a lap dog, who says that a lap dog can’t be athletic? Many Havanese are top-notch competitors in the toy breed division of canine agility.
While the next “ese” dog on our list is the smallest, Malteses do experience a few growth spurts between their puppy days and adulthood as seen in the adorable video above.
Even so, most adult Malteses weigh under 7 lbs according to the American Kennel Club. However, being small comes with many advantages, such as being able to fit next to their favorite person in a small airplane cabin!
Don’t let their tiny size trick you into thinking they’re meek. Working in a vet clinic has convinced me that there must be some universal rule that the smaller the animal, the more fierceness they possess, and the Maltese is no exception.
While their energy can be channeled into intellectual challenges such as learning tricks or competing in agility, some individuals possess enough stubbornness to give the entire breed a bad rap.
In most cases, reward-based training methods such as positive reinforcement are an easy way to work around their stubbornness if you use an irresistibly mouth-watering reward. Some Malteses are very picky eaters, so it can take a little trial and error to learn which treats your pup would do absolutely anything for.
While this hardy white dog is named after Malta, an island in the Mediterranean that was a bustling place throughout much of history, their true place of origin is heavily debated.
There is no doubt that they were a popular pup in Malta, but no one knows if they were descended from native dogs there, or if one of the many cultural groups crossing through Malta such as the Egyptians or Phoenicians introduced her.
While many modern dog owners think the Pekingese looks like a floppy mop head, the ancient ruling class of China believed that their long, billowing fur looked like a majestic lion mane. These little dogs possessed much dignity during those days, as they were specially bred to live out their lives in royal palaces!
The Pekingese pup was known for forming tight-knit bonds with their regal owner. Not much has changed and this devoted dog will often pledge their loyalty to only one person. While they love being around their person, the Pekingese is also a confident, independent dog who has no problem with doing their own thing.
Not surprisingly, ancient Chinese emperors were often quite busy ruling the land and protecting themselves from coups. While their owner was away, these little dogs would roam the palace as if they owned it, finding their own entertainment along the way. This Pekingese behavior still exists today, so don’t be surprised when your Pekingese treats your house like a royal palace made especially for her!
Adding to their royal ego, the Pekingese is loved for their dignified rolling gait in which their shoulders rock back and forth as they walk, resulting in the hypnotizing sway of their long fur coat as they move.
To see the movement yourself, check out the video above. The Pekingese pups start walking about thirty seconds into the clip. Do be aware that if you want to grow out your Pekingese’s beautiful coat like the show dogs shown above, it will require a lot of maintenance to keep it looking soft and sleek.
A Note On Pekingese Breathing Problems
One final consideration is that the Pekingese is not only an “-ese” breed but also a brachycephalic breed. In layman’s terms, that means they have a short snout, resulting in the adorable smush-faced look that many dog owners love.
While cute, the appearance of their face can be dangerous as it changes the shape of their nose and airways, putting them at risk of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. This is a condition where dogs have difficulty breathing because of their smushed-face appearance.
If you’re thinking about bringing home a Pekingese (or any brachycephalic breed for that matter), consider looking for individuals with moderately sized, wide-open nostrils and a less flattened snout. Not only will they be more likely to be healthier, but their improved ability to breathe means you can play with them for longer periods of time before they tire!
5. Honorable Mention: Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees, an “-ese” breed in sound but not spelling, is a gentle giant in comparison to the small toy breeds above. While this polar bear-like dog is 100lbs of muscle that was bred to protect sheep from wolves and bears, he is a calm, relaxed dog who easily gets along with everyone as long as no one is threatening his family.
While the Great Pyrenees is highly faithful to his family, he is known for having a stubborn streak at times. As with all breeds, the purpose of a breed heavily determines common behaviors exhibited by the breed.
As the Great Pyrenees was bred to protect flocks at night while his owners are asleep, he is much better at making decisions on his own than he is at following instructions. If you want to learn about modern Great Pyrenees who take on the role of a livestock guard door, check out the video above!
Regardless of whether a Great Pyrenees is a working dog or a normal canine companion, be aware that these lovable dogs can be quite noisy at times. While there is good intention behind their barking (they believe they’re keeping their loved ones safe by scaring away nocturnal predators), it can, understandably, be quite frustrating to many dog owners, especially those who have insomnia or young children.
If you are considering adopting a Great Pyrenees as your newest furry friend, Not A Bully has your back. Check out our large collection of Great Pyrenees articles!
What To Consider Before Adopting
Prior to taking the plunge and finding your new fur-ever companion, it is crucial to consider all factors of owning the specific breed.
Once you pick out the dog that you think will best fit your lifestyle, do plenty of research on the breed. Check out their specific requirements all the way from grooming, training, exercise, and possible genetic health conditions to expect.
It cannot be stressed enough to make sure you can fully care for the dog and that this care will be feasible for the dog’s entire life. Unfortunately, too many pups get adopted only to be surrendered to a shelter years later because the owner doesn’t realize what the dog really needs to be happy and healthy, and thus problems arise.
Equally as vital as knowing the breed’s needs is knowing if the individual you are interested in gets along with other dogs.
If this is your first dog, then you won’t have to worry about this. However, for those of you with multiple dogs at home, determine if they are compatible with other dogs (especially the breed of interest). This will be a great head-start to adding a new furry friend to the pack. Ensure you have a solid plan to introduce the pups and be patient!
The last thing we want is a couple of unhappy, beefing doggos!
This concludes our educational journey on dog breeds ending with “ese.” If you are interested in learning more about any of the breeds mentioned above, the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed pages and American breed club websites are the most reputable, highest-quality sources for breed information.
If you are currently going down an internet rabbit hole on dog breeds as a means of procrastination (no judgment here as I’m also guilty as charged!), I recommend this article on dog breeds starting with the letter “Z,” especially if you have never heard of a Zuchon, Zerdava, or Zwergspitz!