Lagotto Romagnolo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lagotto Romagnolo
Lagotto Romagnolo.jpg
Other names Romagna Water Dog
Water Dog of Romagna
Common nicknames Lagotto
Origin Italy
Classification / standards
FCI Group 8, Section 3 Water Dogs #298 standard
AKC Sporting standard
ANKC Group 3 Gundogs standard
KC (UK) Gundogs standard
NZKC Gundogs standard
UKC Gun Dog standard
Notes The UKC does not have an official breed standard, it currently uses the FCI standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Lagotto Romagnolo [laˈɡɔtto romaɲˈɲɔlo] (plural Lagotti) is a breed of dog that comes from the Romagna sub-region of Italy. The name means "lake dog from Romagna," originating from the Italian word lago, meaning lake. Its traditional function is a gundog, specifically a water retriever. However, it is often used to hunt for truffles.



The appearance of the Lagotto can vary, and generally have floppy ears, and large round eyes in any shade color ranging from golden to a dark brown. Their water friendly coat is very thick and curly, but sometimes some Lagotti have a "flat coat" which means they do not have curly hair, which may result in some shedding. Solid colors include off-white, golden, or brown. They can also be found white with brown or orange patches or roan. It is a medium to large sized dog that is hypoallergenic, which also means it almost never sheds. A Lagotto often displays white markings that grow out in adult status.


  • Males
    • Height: 43–48 cm (17–19 in)
    • Weight: 13–16 kg (29-35 lb)
  • Females
    • Height: 41–46 cm (16–18 in).
    • Weight: 11–14 kg (24-32 lb).


A female Lagotto.

The Lagotto is made to work. They generally have sharp senses, though their eyesight is more sensitive to motion than detail. They are very loyal and loving, making them the perfect family companion. Some are easy to train, and many get along with other animals quite easily if they're socialized as puppies. Lagotti (the plural form of Lagotto) vary in their need for exercise, but should always be given stimulation to keep their intelligent brains occupied. Lagotti have a natural instinct for retrieving. The ENCI (Italian Kennel Club) Country of Origin standard indicates that the game-hunting instinct has been bred out, and they do not get distracted by game or other wildlife. The original standard was written by those who founded C.I.L. (the Club Italiano Lagotto) in Imola in 1988, who were writing a standard to get the Lagotto recognized by ENCI, and not necessarily as an absolutely true reflection of the breed. It is worth noting that the first pair (Reno and Rosetta) bought to pioneer the Lagotto in the UK in 1996 came from the Mandriole kennels on the edge of the Comacchio where the dogs were still worked from the traditional flat-bottomed punts as duck retrievers; those Lagotti, through subsequent exports from the UK which provided the foundation stock for Canada, USA and Australia, can be found behind many Lagotti world-wide. Visitors to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Great Britain breed stand at the world famous Crufts Dog Show in the UK, will have seen photographs of British Lagotti (including Rosetta) retrieving hare, rabbit and various types of wildfowl. It is also worth noting that the photograph on the back of the first official video produced in Italy circa 1996 showed a group of Lagotti going off working - not truffling but duck-shooting from a punt; in that punt were the parents and grandparents of Rosetta and Reno. Whilst the instinct to hunt, swim and retrieve is inborn and does not have to be encouraged, Lagotti have to be trained from an early age to look for truffles.

In modern times, the Lagotto has been bred primarily as a truffle-searching dog, and not as a retriever or hunting dog. Its highly developed noses makes it an excellent search dog.

Some Lagotti are excellent swimmers, but some will only paddle. Some will retrieve from lakes, streams and other bodies of water without hesitation. They are lovable family pets and tend to like attention. Lagotti 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, and clever minds.


There are conflicting ideas on how to groom this breed. Some say they should be brushed regularly and others believe their coat should be allowed to grow naturally into a big fluff. The coat will get matted easily and the mats should be carefully pulled apart without tearing the coat. They must be cut down at least once every year.

If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 1½ inches all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain and look neat. 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 more easily than others. Left untended, Lagotti hair will grow to cover the eyes and so the hair around their eyes should be periodically clipped to ensure that they can see.

Show grooming[edit]

In the United States, the coat should be shown in a rustic style with no fluffing or blowing out. The coat should match the lines of the dog and the curls should be evident. The dog should have the appearance of the working dog that it is. 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.


Lagotto live roughly 16 years. Some health issues, especially neurological disorders are associated with this breed however these are mostly attributable to poor breeding. Genetically testing prior to breeding is necessary to avoid the most common diseases in the breed. Issues include:

A new neurodegenerative disorder, called "Neuroaxonal Dystrophy", that was originally identified in Spanish Water Dogs has been identified in the breed in 2016. It is not known yet whether it is related to the disorders already associated with the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Lagotto puppies have been crucial in research into epilepsy. In July 2011, researchers in Finland reported the discovery of a mutation in a gene called Lgi2 that may be a new candidate gene for human benign childhood epilepsy.[3] Lgi2 is the first gene that can be linked directly to the remission that sufferers experience after the age of ten. Lagotto breeders are now using a genetic test to screen for this mutation.[4]


The Lagotto is an ancient breed of water retriever from the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna, Italy. Modern water retrieving dog breeds are believed to have descended in part from the Lagotto Ramagnolo.[citation needed]

Andrea Mantegna in the 1474 work titled "The Meeting" depicts a small dog in the lower left corner that is the perfect image of today's Lagotto.[5]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]