There are about 10 ancient dog breeds from which all our modern descend. The Molossus, a giant breed that is the ancestor to our big dogs, Mastiffs, Great Danes, Rottweilers, etc. Chow Chows, Basenji's. The northern breeds are ancient as they are the closest to the wolf: Malamute, Siberian Husky, etc. Also the sight hounds, highly valued in Arabic countries for their beauty, swift speed....Saluki etc., have been depicted in ancient ruins for about 6,000 years, And of course the Maltese; Revered for about 3000 years or more for their tiny size, their beauty and intelligence. How they came about is unknown but they do belong to antiquity as all the Greek philosophers/writers spoke about a little white wonder, a lovely little dog brought over from Malta. These dogs, known as Maltese, were only allowed to be owned by nobles, aristocrats as was any purebred dog. Peasants could not own a Mastiff, for example or any other purebred dog.
So the Maltese is a name that covered tiny white dogs which probably didn't resemble our Maltese of today but are the ancestor for the Maltese, Bolognese, Bichon and under these breeds, the Havanese, Coton du Tulear, and other breeds.
Scientists, Behaviourists have studied the difference between a wolf's and a domestic dog's intelligence and it is major. A wolf pack has a well governed hierachy and is very disciplined. When moving from one place to another, the elders are the first in the line as they need to set the pace because of their age, then the females with children while the alpha male is at the end so he can protect them all. Wolves have been maligned for centuries when they have a perfect society that humans should learn from. Wolves stay away from humans; All those ridiculous films, books saying that wolves attacked humans are pure fabrication because they never have. Wolves' intelligence is very high and their brains are very big. Our domestic dogs are very intelligent as well but we have created them and their brains are much smaller than a wolves'. As intelligent as dogs are, this shows you that Wolves are of a much higher intelligence and should be protected from hunters and all those who murder them.
But what about our little white dogs? Are they less intelligent? Than a wolf, certainly. Than the big dogs like German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, etc., perhaps. Dogs are one of the most amazing creatures, certainly the most amazing domestic being next to equines without whom humans could never have created civilization. Dogs can detect all sorts of diseases or conditions, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy; when someone is depressed they console them, they ask for help for their parent, they rescue and protect. They alert us to dangers and the list could go on and on, they are so talented and kind and loyal: perfect. Humans have a lot to learn from animals, especially dogs as no animal kills for pleasure except, perhaps, the domestic feline. However, they are not my specialty but have observed cats toy with a mouse for hours, torturing it and then leave it instead of eating it. Is this psychopathic behaviour? I would say yes but I am not a feline expert.
Down to your little fluff ball....is a Bolognese intelligent? Yes, they are, not Einstein intelligent like working dogs, but they can be trained to do many things . What may keep them back is their size but there are Bolognese competing in obstacle courses which requires intelligence and memory. They are wonderful emotional support dogs; just holding one makes you feel happy, their smiles and tails wagging make a difference to most pet parents. They have alerted people to fires, or a human baby in trouble. The Bolognese is more intelligent than the Maltese, probably because they have not been over bred like the Maltese. As breeders we try very hard to choose from extemely healthy dogs but the gene pool is not as large as other breeds, because the Bolognese is a rare dog; finding puppies with different ancestors from ones own, is a monumental task requiring a great deal of research and hoping, once you have found a breeder who you respect and has the gene pool you want, they have puppies for sale or will work with you in either selling the semen to you or breeding your dog to theirs for a sizable fee.
Biewers, because they are basically Terriers, ergo working dogs, are very intelligent in a small package. Biewers are not Yorkies, they are Biewers and I find they are not as yappy as Yorkshire Terriers, at least mine are not but I am a disciplinarian so barking dogs is not something I allow and it is a behaviour that can be controlled. Biewers have high energy for short spurts but are wonderful lap dogs. They also are very rare but too many non reputable "breeders" are overbreeding them because they seem to be the "in" breed. So if your heart is set on a Biewer, or Yorkie, be careful to choose your breeder wisely. Breeding is a lot of work, very expensive to do it right. My clients have commented that the amount of work and money I spend must be monumental. They see this when they come to my house and see how well my dogs are, how healthy, the supplements, etc.