Lagotto Romagnolo

ANIMAL PLANET – Dogs 101: These rare dogs are cute, cuddly, great with kids, love to swim and do best in the great outdoors. Watch the Animal Planet video recently featuring this beautiful breed. . .

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an ancient Italian breed that was originally used as a hunting and water dog. The breed’s name comes from the Italian word “Lago” which means “lake”. Originating from the marshlands of Ravenna and the lowlands of Comacchio, which is in the sub-region of Romagna, Italy.


The breed’s roots are thought to go back at least to 1474 A.D, although there is evidence suggesting a Lagotto type of dog existed during the Roman era. When the marshlands were drained towards the end of the 19th century, the vast flocks of waterfowl disappeared and the Lagotto needed to find a new purpose. With their highly tuned nose for searching things out, their keen senses and natural agility they have proven to be very efficient in truffle hunting and are the only dog bred for this purpose.


The Lagotto is made to work. They are a sporting dog and do require sufficient exercise. They are easy to train and eager to please. Being intelligent it is important for their minds to be occupied; they do well at agility or obedience training. They generally have sharp senses, though their eyesight is more sensitive to motion than detail. They are an affectionate, undemanding and devoted dog. They make an excellent companion and enjoy being with their owners as they are very loyal and loving.

Whether working or playing, they have the ability to concentrate at the task at hand and are not easily distracted by other scents or animals. Due to their alert nature they make good watch dogs, but are not suitable as guard dogs, they would prefer to be a friend. The Lagotto are traditionally pack dogs who enjoy the company of other dogs and pets and are known to be good around children as long as they are socialized from an early age. Not all Lagotto are suitable as family companions, such as those from heavy working lines, and puppies for families with small children need to be carefully chosen. They can make excellent domestic companions provided they have sufficient exercise.

Some Lagotto are excellent swimmers, but some will only paddle. Some will retrieve from lakes, streams and other bodies of water without hesitation. Others, will not. Lagottos love to dig; many owners give them a sandbox, or have a designated place to allow them satisfy their digging urges. They also love to play seeking-games and have very active minds.

Solid white, solid off white, solid orange, solid brown, white with orange markings, white with brown markings, roan, brown with tan markings. While a brown puppy may be almost black when young, solid black or black markings are an unacceptable color.

Males: 17 – 19 inches; Females: 14 – 18 inches

Males: 29 – 35 lbs.; Females: 24 – 32 lbs

11 – 16 years

The Lagotto has a double coat which is water proof. It has a wooly textured, rough-surfaced coat of thick, ring-shaped curls evenly distributed all over the body except his head where the curls are less tight and form eyebrows, whiskers and a beard.

The Lagotto does not require frequent bathing. They have hair rather than fur and there is very little shedding, which makes them a good choice for people with allergies. Their coat is best when kept at about 1 to 1.5 ” in length. Show dogs are trimmed down and left to grow out naturally before showing. The signature look of the Lagotto is the tight curls that fit the body. They are to be shown as a natural rustic looking dog with no blowing, fluffing or brushing out of the hair. For showing in the United States, the coat should appear in a rustic style and it should match the lines of the dog so that the curls are evident. The dog should have the appearance of a working dog that it is actually ready to start working! If clipped down, the coat will need about 3 months of growth to be ready to show. Otherwise, shaping can be performed before the shows. Hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. If the ear shows irritation and buildup of dirt and earwax, the hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats matt easier than others.