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The Lagotto Romagnolo [laˈɡɔtto romaɲˈɲɔːlo] (plural Lagotti) is a breed of dog that comes from the Romagna sub-region of Italy. The name derives from Romagnol can lagòt, meaning "water dog".[1] Its traditional function is a gundog, specifically a water retriever; however, it is often used to hunt for truffles.

Lagotto Romagnolo
Lagotto Romagnolo.jpg
Other namesRomagna Water Dog
Water Dog of Romagna
Common nicknamesLagotto
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
NotesThe UKC does not have an official breed standard, it currently uses the FCI standard
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)




The Lagotto Romagnolo is a curly coated dog with an appearance of being robust and hardy. All colors are allowed except black, the coat is dense and wooly in texture. The body is square and classified as medium in size.

  • 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 a Sporting breed. They generally have sharp senses, although their eyesight is more sensitive to motion than to detail[citation needed]. The breed is very loyal and loving, making them the perfect family companion[citation needed]. Some are easy to train, and many get along with other animals quite easily if they are socialized as puppies. Lagotti vary in their need for exercise, but should always be given stimulation to keep their minds occupied. It is worth noting that the first pair[citation needed] (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. These Lagotti, through subsequent exports from the UK which provided the foundation stock for Canada, USA and Australia, can be found behind many Lagotti worldwide. Visitors to the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Great Britain breed, which 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 working - not truffling, but duck-shooting from a punt. In that punt were the parents and grandparents of Rosetta and Reno. 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[citation needed], and not as a retriever or hunting dog. Its highly developed nose makes it a prime search dog[citation needed].

Some Lagotti are excellent swimmers, while some will only paddle[citation needed]. Some will retrieve from lakes, streams and other bodies of water without hesitation. They are lovable family pets and tend to like attention[citation needed]. Lagotti love to dig[citation needed]. Many owners give them a sandbox, or have a designated place to allow them to satisfy their digging urges. They also love to play seeking games and have very active and clever minds[citation needed].


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 to a naturally fluffy coat. The Lagotto coat gets matted easily, and the mats should be carefully pulled apart without tearing the coat. The Lagotto has a thick, waterproof double coat of hair rather than fur and should be groomed on a regular basis. It is recommended that the coat be cut down at least once every year.

If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 1.5 inches all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain. Hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. If the ears show irritation or buildup of dirt and earwax, the hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats matt more easily than others. If left untended, Lagotti hair will grow to cover the eyes. The hair around their eyes should be clipped periodically to ensure that they can see.

Show groomingEdit

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 a competition.


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 are crucial in research regarding 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 carriers experience after the age of ten. Lagotto breeders are now using genetic tests to screen for the mutation.[4]


The Lagotto is a 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 Romagnolo.

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 referencesEdit

  1. ^ "Orthopedic Foundation for Animals: Hip Dysplasia". Archived from the original on 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  2. ^ "PennHIP Home". Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  3. ^ Seppälä, Eija H.; Jokinen, Tarja S.; Fukata, Masaki; Fukata, Yuko; Webster, Matthew T.; Karlsson, Elinor K.; Kilpinen, Sami K.; Steffen, Frank; Dietschi, Elisabeth; Leeb, Tosso; Eklund, Ranja; Zhao, Xiaochu; Rilstone, Jennifer J.; Lindblad-Toh, Kerstin; Minassian, Berge A.; Lohi, Hannes (2011). "LGI2 Truncation Causes a Remitting Focal Epilepsy in Dogs". PLoS Genetics. 7 (7): e1002194. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002194. PMC 3145619. PMID 21829378.
  4. ^ "Sniffing out a cause of childhood epilepsy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2011-08-10.
  5. ^ "The Meeting, detail from west wall of the Camera degli Sposi, Palazzo Ducale at Mantua, Italy".

External linksEdit