Lagotto Romagnolo Dog Breed

Off-white Lagotto Romagnolo
iStock.com/Zlatko Neńćevski
  • Other names:
  • Lagotto
  • Water Dog Of Romagna
  • Romagna Water Dog
Overview

The Lagotto Ramagnolo, also known as the "Roman Water Dog", is an ancient breed that has been popularized in art and writings of scholars since the Renaissance. In fact, they are said to be the breed from which all other water breeds came about. Once marsh-dwelling water dogs of the Mediterranean region, they now are the only purebred recognized truffle hunters.

They are intelligent and love to please, making them easily trainable and extremely versatile; they are also presently employed as therapy/crisis dogs as well as allergen sniffing dogs for gluten and peanuts. Lagottos are quite low maintenance; they are hypoallergenic and require clipping as needed and monthly bathing. Members of this breed are affectionate and loving so they are great with children and make ideal indoor pets. Decreased prey drive allows them to be appropriate for multiple pet households. This breed needs an owner that can spend daily time exercising them physically and mentally. Lagottos have few major health issues and can live 15-17 years.

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Details

Breed Specs
TypeLifespanHeightWeight
Purebred15-17 yrs.16-19 in.24-35 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

Below are the details and facts for the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed.

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Description

This is a small to medium sized breed. Males will measure 17-19 inches at the shoulders and weigh around 28-35 pounds while females will stand 16-18 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 24-31 pounds.

Lagotto Romagnolos are everything you could want in a dog, they are: intelligent, sweet, affectionate, easily trained and controlled, hard-working companions. The only person who should not consider this breed is someone without the daily time to exercise them. They are great with children, good with other pets, and reserved with strangers.

This breed is fairly low maintenance. They are eager to please, very intelligent and easily controlled so training will be very manageable. Although they will need to be clipped regularly to maintain proper coat length, they rarely shed and require only a once per month bath. Lagotto Romagnolos are traditionally working dogs that will need daily mental and physical exercise; they love swimming, tracking, hunting, and generally any outdoor time spent with their owners.

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed History

These dogs, originating near Comacchio and Ravenna, Italy, are thought to be the water retrievers from which all other water breeds descended. Members of this breed have served as muses throughout history. What historians believe are depictions of the Lagotto Romagnolo are present throughout ancient Etruscan art (area of ancient Italy that includes present day Tuscany and parts of Umbria and Lazio). They were written of by scholars like Erasmus and incorporated into artworks of those such as Marcantonio Raimond. il Guercino, Andrea Mantegna and othersi in the 1400-1500s. This breed was also documented in the 18th century well throughout the Mediterranean Sea region. Famous naturalist Carolus Linnaeus even wrote about a Mediterranean water dog that many suppose is the Lagotto. However, with progress in the mid-late 1800's came changes in the land; marshes were drained and this gundog breed turned to a new career. During the 1900's records show these dogs were useful for hunting truffles; the increase in documentation during the World Wars attest to the fact that most truffle hunters indeed used the Lagotto. Presently, these dogs are also employed as crisis/therapy dogs as well as allergen sniffers for items like gluten and peanuts. The Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America is considered the parent club of the breed and was founded in 2007. Despite this breed's extensive history, it was not recorded in the Foundation Stock Service until 2001 and only was allowed entrance into the AKC sporting group in July 2015.

Lagotto Romagnolo Appearance

The AKC describes the breed as "rustic" which means they appear robust and have the ability to put in a hard day's work. The dog is square in proportion and of small to medium size. Members of this breed have a straight muzzle that is slightly shorter than the skull. They have hazel to dark brown eyes that have a keen, alert expression and ears that are triangular and loosely hanging. The thick wooly coat is rough and comprised of small, tight ringlet curls. The undercoat is visible due to the curled topcoat and is also waterproof. These coats are clipped relatively short, 1.5 inches, but can be longer on the head and face. When approaching, you will see they possess a lively trot which matches their equally lively personality.

Lagotto Romagnolo Coloring

The Lagotto Romagnolo is considered standard in the following colors: brown, orange, off-white, brown roan, white and orange, and white and brown. They are also permitted to have a "brown mask" as well as tan markings. The colors can fade as the dog ages, appearing silver, which is also permissible.

Lagotto Romagnolo Size

This is a small to medium sized breed. Males will measure 17-19 inches at the shoulders and weigh around 28-35 pounds while females will stand 16-18 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 24-31 pounds.

Average Adult Height

16-19 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

24-35 lbs

Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament

Lagottos are easily controlled and trained. They form close, affectionate bonds with their owner making for an excellent companion. This also means that they will generally want to be around their family and should not be kept outdoors alone. They are alert in nature so they can be capable watchdogs. Owners looking for a game hunter may want to consider other breeds first as these dogs have more recently been bred for truffle hunting and display decreased prey instinct, however, this quality makes them an acceptable dog for a multi-pet household. Members of this breed are typically shy around strangers but can overcome this trait if socialized at a young age. Due to their sweet, loving nature they are perfect to have in a household with children. Lagottos do best with an owner or family that has time to exercise them both physically and mentally every day; letting them romp in the yard for a bit probably won't do it for this breed. They enjoy obedience training, tracking and finding, swimming, hunting and retrieving. These dogs are easy to handle and enjoy pleasing their owners, which should make training manageable for even the inexperienced owner.

Lagotto Romagnolo and Children

These dogs are everything you would want around your children: sweet, affectionate, easily controlled, obedient, active, etc. the list goes on and on. Their size also makes them less of an accidental hazard to children.

Lagotto Romagnolo and Other Pets

Lagottos are fine around other pets and due to decreased prey drive should even do well around small animals.

Lagotto Romagnolo and Strangers

This is a happy and adaptable breed that, if socialized as a puppy, will break free of its potential shyness. Lagotto Romagnolos are keen and alert so they can make good watchdogs; however, they are not typically aggressive so those looking for a guard dog should perhaps look elsewhere.

Lagotto Romagnolo Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Lagotto Romagnolo dog breed.

Brown Lagotto Romagnolo
Brown Lagotto Romagnolo
Off-white Lagotto Romagnolo
White & Brown Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo Maintenance

This breed is fairly low maintenance. They are eager to please, very intelligent and easily controlled so training will be very manageable. Although they will need to be clipped regularly to maintain proper coat length, they rarely shed and require only a once per month bath. Lagotto Romagnolos are traditionally working dogs that will need daily mental and physical exercise; they love swimming, tracking, hunting, and generally any outdoor time spent with their owners.

Grooming Requirements

Members of this breed typically do not receive the brush and blow out of the coat that other curly haired breeds do. The show dog standard for clipping the coat is 1.5 inches maximum and groomers maintain that 1-1.5 inches is the best length to maintain the "rustic" hair of every Lagotto. This breed does not typically shed but will need occasional clipping to keep the coat within the desired range. Bathing should be done around once per month. Special attention should be paid to remove dirt and wax from the ears; bear in mind when clipping the hair around the ears should be kept short.

Exercise Requirements

Lagotto Romagnolos do best in an active household that has time to spend with them daily. This is an intelligent and active working breed that needs to have both mind and body exercised. They love pleasing the owner and having jobs to do. Obedience training is one are they will excel in and is great mental exercise for them. Lagottos enjoy hunting and finding games and it would be considered a bonus for an owner to have an interest in truffle hunting. Members of this breed also are athletic swimmers and capable competitors in agility, rally and tracking events. Due to this breed's tendency to dig, owners sometimes provide them with a sandbox or other stimuli to satisfy this urge.

Living Requirements

Lagotto Romagnolos are best kept as indoor dogs simply due to the affectionate, loving bond they make with their owner or family. They enjoy being indoors where the action is and will be content in an apartment or house. Although outdoor exercise and playtime is important, this is not a breed that should be left in a yard by themselves.

Temperature Range

This breed is adaptable to a wide variety of climates. Their original region of the Mediterranean has a climate that changes with the season from hot to cold so they likely have no temperature restrictions.

Lagotto Romagnolo Health

Hip and elbow dysplasia along with juvenile cataracts are the most common health problems for Lagottos. This breed sometimes suffers from Juvenile Epilepsy which will be apparent by 9 weeks and can often resolve itself by 13 weeks. Storage Disease and cerebellar abiotrophy are neurodegenerative diseases that can be tested for via genetic screening. Rarely puppies can be born with an "incorrect coat" which appears short and flat; this is yet to be proven as reason for concern healthwise.

  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Juvenile Cataracts
  • View all 4...

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Lagotto Romagnolo as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America's Pet Registry
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • National Kennel Club
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • View all 8...