The Lagotto Romagnolo is a lively, agile, adaptable breed known for its sense of humor. Though durable and hardworking, these dogs come in cute, curly-coated packages. As if that's not enough, the Lagotto Romagnolo is also considered the world's finest truffle dog.
Lagotto Romagnolo History
Many experts think the Lagotto Romagnolo (Lagotti Romagnoli, when pluralized) is the founding breed of all water dogs. Images of dogs resembling this ancient Italian breed existed in the necropolis of the Etruscan city Spina. But written evidence of the Lagotto Romagnolo didn't appear until the 1600s.
Lagotto Romagnolo means "lake dog from Romagna," and refers to the breed's original job retrieving waterfowl from the marshes of Italy. However, the drainage of marshlands and decline in waterfowl populations in the 1800s left the Lagotto Romagnolo in need of a new job.
Fortunately, the breed's keen sense of smell and natural searching skills made it a great candidate for truffle hunting in the Romagna countryside. Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo is the only breed in the world recognized as a specialized truffle dog.
First recorded in the Foundation Stock Service in 2001, the Lagotto Romagnolo became part of the sporting group in 2015.
Lagotto Romagnolo Traits
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a well-proportioned, powerfully built breed with a rustic appearance and dense, curly coat.
Coat and Coloring
The Lagotto Romagnolo's tight, ring-shaped curls have a wooly, semi-rough texture. The topcoat and undercoat combine to repel water.
The breed comes in various shades of brown (with or without white), orange (with or without white), off-white, white with brown or orange patches, and brown roan. Some Lagotti Romagnoli have brown to dark brown masks, and some may have tan markings.
As this breed ages, the coat color tends to fade. A coat that starts off brown can end up as a silver/grey roan coloration.
Distinctive Physical Traits
The Lagotto Romagnolo has a broad head and square, compact body. Ranging from ochre to hazel to dark brown, the dog's eyes are large and rounded. The ears are medium-sized and triangular with rounded tips.
Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a lively, affectionate, adaptable breed that wants nothing more than to be part of everyday family life.
Lagotti Romagnoli bond strongly with their families and get along well with kids and other pets. Since they always want to be in on the action, they don't do well when left alone or excluded from family activities. They are devoted housemates with good guarding instincts.
Though they are very social, Lagotti Romagnoli do tend to be shy. Early socializing can help them overcome this shyness so they may grow into well-adjusted adult dogs.
Lagotto Romagnolo Care
Lagotti Romagnoli need a high-quality diet that's appropriate for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior) and activity level. To prevent them from becoming overweight, keep a close eye on their food portions. And be sure to take treats into account when tracking their daily calorie intake. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog's calories.
Because their coats are hair and not fur, Lagotti Romagnoli make excellent pets for people with allergies. Plus, minimal shedding means they only need to be brushed once every 1-2 weeks. However, Lagotti Romagnoli do need regular haircuts, ideally from a professional groomer.
All dogs' nails wear down during daily activity. But they still require regular inspection and occasional trimming to prevent pain and other problems caused by overly long nails.
Maintaining good dental hygiene is also important for the overall long-term health of your Lagotto Romagnolo. In addition to professional cleanings, aim to establish an at-home dental care routine that includes teeth brushing and dental chews or treats.
Active but not hyper, Lagotti Romagnoli need daily exercise—preferably alongside their favorite humans. Long walks, family hikes, and play sessions in the backyard are great activities for this fun-loving breed. And because they're naturals in the water, most Lagotti Romagnoli love to swim.
Bred to be working dogs, Lagotti Romagnoli need to work out both their minds and their bodies. Dog sports—such as rally, agility, tracking, obedience, and nose work—are an entertaining way to satisfy this need.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a highly intelligent breed that's relatively easy to train. These dogs love to work and are eager to please. So, they get the most out of a regular, consistent training program.
Lagotto Romagnolo Genetic Health Conditions
Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy
Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE) is a neurological disorder causing epileptic seizures.
Lagotto Storage Disease
Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD) is a neurological disorder resulting in a progressive incoordination, poor balance and behavior changes.
Hyperuricosuria (HUU) is a condition that predisposes affected dogs to the formation of urinary stones, such as kidney or bladder stones.
Knowing if your Lagotto Romagnolo is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup’s lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.