Lagotto Romagnolo

Table of Contents

lagotto romagnolo portrait
Meet the Lagotto Romagnolo, a curly-coated bundle of joy with an uncanny talent for sniffing out truffles! This lovable and energetic Italian breed is winning hearts worldwide, thanks to their adorable looks, intelligence, and loyalty.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a perfect match for active families and individuals who adore outdoor adventures. With their keen intelligence and loyalty, they also make excellent companions for those seeking a trainable and affectionate dog.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMELagotto Romagnolo
ORIGINItaly
BREED GROUPSporting Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT16-19 inches
WEIGHT24-35 lbs
LIFESPAN15-17 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERLow
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSHigh
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELLow
POPULARITY RANK76th
lagotto romagnolo lying on green grass
Photo: UroshPetrovic/Getty Images

Appearance

The Lagotto Romagnolo (plural: Lagotti Romagnoli) is a medium-sized, well-proportioned dog with a distinctive curly coat that’s impossible not to fall in love with. Their appearance exudes an energetic and friendly demeanor, making them a joy to be around.

Standing between 16 to 19 inches tall at the shoulder, males typically weigh between 28 and 35 pounds, while females are slightly smaller, weighing between 24 and 31 pounds. This makes them an ideal size for families or individuals looking for a dog that’s neither too large nor too small.

Taking a closer look at their physical features, you’ll notice that the Lagotto has a sturdy, muscular body built for agility and endurance. Their slightly rounded head is adorned with a pair of expressive, round eyes that seem to sparkle with curiosity. These loving dogs have a gentle, sweet expression that easily captures the hearts of those around them.

Their ears are another standout feature – medium-sized, triangular, and covered in thick curls, they hang close to their cheeks, giving them an adorably fluffy appearance. The Lagotto’s tail is also quite unique, being set high and carried in a slight curve over their back, often wagging enthusiastically as they explore their surroundings.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is famous for its dense, waterproof curls that cover their entire body. Their fur can be a variety of colors, including shades of cream, brown, orange, and even roan. And guess what? This breed is considered hypoallergenic, thanks to their low-shedding coat, making them a great choice for allergy sufferers.

lagotto romagnolo standing on a hill
Photo: Sigena Semmling/Getty Images

Temperament

The Lagotto Romagnolo is as unique and delightful as its personality. These dogs are known for their keen sense of smell and natural tendency to dig. But there’s more to the Lagotto than meets the eye.

When you first meet a Lagotto Romagnolo, you’re likely to be struck by their vibrant energy. They seem to have an inner light that never dims, a zest for life that is truly infectious. They approach each new day as a fresh adventure, ready to explore and enjoy every moment.

Their lively and athletic nature is complemented by an agile mind. The Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed renowned for its intelligence. These dogs have a sharp intellect that shines through in their quick learning and adaptability. They’re always alert, always aware, always ready to engage with the world around them.

But let’s not forget about their soft side. Despite their energetic disposition, Lagottos are also known for being loving and affectionate pets. They form strong bonds with their human families, showing a level of loyalty and attachment that can melt the hardest of hearts. These dogs love to be part of the family action, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or joining in on a family trip.

Lagottos are also sociable creatures. They get along well with other dogs and even other pets. This makes them a great choice for households with multiple pets. But it’s not just animals they’re friendly with. These dogs are also known to be good with children, making them a fantastic choice for families.

However, the Lagotto Romagnolo is not a breed that likes to be the center of attention all the time. They have a somewhat shy side, especially when encountering strangers. This shyness doesn’t mean they’re unfriendly, far from it. It just means they might take a little longer to warm up to new people.

Another notable aspect of the Lagotto’s temperament is their playful nature. These dogs have a sense of fun that’s hard to resist. They’re always ready for a game, always ready to entertain and amuse. Their playful antics are sure to bring a smile to your face and brighten up even the gloomiest of days.

And finally, it’s worth mentioning the Lagotto Romagnolo’s willful streak. These dogs have a mind of their own and aren’t afraid to show it. But don’t worry, this willfulness is part of their charm. It’s a sign of their independence and confidence, traits that make them all the more endearing.

lagotto romagnolo lying on grass in a park
Photo: Lena Gadanski/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

The ideal environment for a Lagotto Romagnolo is one where they can be an active and cherished member of the family. These intelligent and affectionate dogs thrive in environments where they can engage both their minds and bodies, while also enjoying plenty of quality time with their loved ones.

Physical Environment

Lagotti are quite adaptable, making them suitable for various living situations. They can be happy in a spacious house with a backyard where they can play and explore, or even a smaller city apartment, provided they get regular exercise and mental stimulation.

As they are medium-sized dogs, they don’t require an enormous amount of space, but they do appreciate room to stretch their legs and sniff around.

Climate Adaptability

Lagotti are relatively hardy dogs with a dense, waterproof coat that offers some protection against cold weather. However, they are not specifically bred for extreme climates, so it’s essential to take precautions during colder months. Provide them with a warm, sheltered place to sleep, and consider investing in a dog coat for added warmth during walks.

In hot weather, it’s crucial to ensure your Lagotto stays cool and hydrated. Provide them with plenty of shade, access to fresh water, and avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day. Keep an eye out for signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, or lethargy, and take action immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Ideal Owner & Other Pets

When it comes to pet parents, Lagotti are best suited for those who can offer companionship, consistent training, and love. Active families, couples, or individuals who enjoy outdoor activities will find a perfect match in this energetic breed. Their sociable nature also means they’re likely to get along well with other pets, particularly if introduced at a young age.

One more thing to consider is that Lagotti can be prone to separation anxiety, so they’re best suited for homes where someone is around for most of the day. If you need to leave them alone, make sure to gradually build up their tolerance to separation and provide plenty of mental stimulation to keep them occupied in your absence.

lagotto romagnolo's face in the snow
Photo: Sigena Semmling/Getty Images

Grooming

The Lagotto Romagnolo’s distinctive curly coat may look high-maintenance at first glance, but don’t let that deter you! While they do require regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling their best, it’s a manageable process that can even become a bonding experience between you and your furry friend.

Coat Care

First, let’s talk about that beautiful coat. The Lagotto’s dense curls are low-shedding and considered hypoallergenic, which is excellent news for allergy sufferers. However, their fur can be prone to matting and tangling, so it’s essential to brush them regularly – ideally, two to three times a week.

Use a slicker brush or a metal comb to gently work through the curls, starting at the base of the fur and moving outwards. Be patient and gentle to avoid causing discomfort.

In addition to brushing, the Lagotto’s coat will need occasional trimming. Depending on your dog’s activity level and the length you prefer, this might be required every couple of months. You can either learn to do this yourself or take your pup to a professional groomer. It’s essential to keep the hair around their eyes, ears, and paws trimmed for their comfort and hygiene.

Bathing your Lagotto should be done as needed, depending on how dirty they get from their outdoor adventures. Generally, once every one to two months should suffice. Use a gentle, dog-friendly shampoo to avoid irritating their skin. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue, which can cause itching and discomfort.

Dental Care

Now, let’s move on to dental care. Just like us, dogs need regular dental hygiene to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brushing your Lagotto’s teeth two to three times a week with a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste will help prevent plaque buildup and minimize the risk of dental issues. Additionally, providing dental chews or toys can offer extra support for maintaining a healthy mouth.

Nail Care

Nail care is another essential aspect of grooming. The Lagotto’s nails should be trimmed every three to four weeks, depending on their growth rate and activity level. Long nails can cause discomfort and even lead to issues with their paws or posture. If you’re unsure about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, a groomer or veterinarian can help.

Ear Care

Finally, let’s not forget the ears! The Lagotto’s adorable, floppy ears can be prone to infections if not regularly cleaned. Check their ears once a week for signs of redness, odor, or discharge. Gently clean the outer ear with a soft cloth or cotton ball moistened with a dog-safe ear cleaner, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal.

lagotto romagnolo sitting on yellow autumn leaves
Photo: aerogondo/Getty Images

Exercise

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an energetic and spirited breed that loves to stay active. Meeting their exercise needs is crucial for their overall physical and mental well-being, so be prepared to keep up with their lively nature!

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Lagotto will require about an hour of daily exercise, which can be split into multiple sessions throughout the day. This can include various activities such as brisk walks, hikes, or playtime at the dog park.

Remember, these dogs were initially bred for truffle hunting, which means they have a strong instinct to explore and sniff around. Incorporating scent-based games or hiding treats for them to find can be a fun and engaging way to tap into their natural abilities.

Lagotti are also excellent swimmers, thanks to their water-resistant coat and webbed feet. If you have access to a safe body of water, swimming can be a fantastic low-impact exercise option that provides both physical exertion and mental stimulation.

Dog Sports

Due to their intelligence and agility, Lagotti can excel in various dog sports and competitions. Activities such as obedience, agility, rally, or even nose work can be a great way to channel their energy and challenge their minds. Participating in these events not only keeps your pup physically and mentally engaged but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion.

Exercise Precautions

When exercising your Lagotto, it’s essential to be mindful of their age and fitness level. Puppies and senior dogs may require shorter or less intense exercise sessions, while young adults may need more vigorous activities to expend their energy. Always pay attention to your dog’s signals and adjust the exercise routine accordingly.

lagotto romagnolo in a park
Photo: Sigena Semmling/Getty Images

Training

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an intelligent and eager-to-please breed, making them highly trainable and well-suited for various training endeavors. However, their sensitivity and strong-willed nature require a patient, consistent, and positive approach to ensure success.

Positive Reinforcement

When training your Lagotto, it’s essential to use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, treats, and play to motivate and reward them. They respond best to gentle, encouraging methods rather than harsh corrections or punishment.

Basic Obedience

Begin with basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” These foundational skills not only help establish your role as the leader but also provide a solid basis for more advanced training. Consistency is key – practice regularly and maintain the same cues and expectations to avoid confusion.

Socialization

Socialization is a vital aspect of training for any dog, and the Lagotto is no exception. Exposing your pup to various people, animals, and environments from an early age will help them develop into a confident, well-adjusted adult. Puppy classes or playdates with other dogs can be great opportunities for social interaction and learning.

Patience & Persistence

Keep in mind that progress may not always be linear, and setbacks are a normal part of the training process. Patience and persistence are crucial when working with your Lagotto. Celebrate small victories and remember that every dog learns at their own pace.

lagotto romagnolo sitting on a sidewalk
Photo: aerogondo/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding your Lagotto Romagnolo a well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. By providing the right fuel for their active lifestyle, you’ll ensure they have the energy to thrive and enjoy life by your side.

What to Feed & How Much

When choosing food for your Lagotto, look for high-quality dry, wet, or raw options that follow the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines. These products are formulated to meet the specific nutritional requirements of dogs, ensuring they receive the appropriate balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

The amount of food your Lagotto needs will depend on their age, weight, activity level, and individual metabolism. Generally, puppies require more frequent meals (3-4 times a day) to support their rapid growth, while adult dogs can be fed twice a day. Always consult your veterinarian for personalized feeding recommendations and adjust the portions accordingly.

As your Lagotto ages, their dietary needs may change. Senior dogs often require fewer calories due to decreased activity levels and a slower metabolism. Your veterinarian can help you adjust their diet to maintain a healthy weight and address any age-related health concerns.

Treats

When it comes to treats, moderation is key. While it’s tempting to spoil your furry friend with tasty morsels, it’s important to remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake. Opt for healthy, low-calorie options like small pieces of lean meat, fruits, or vegetables. Treats can be especially beneficial during training sessions as a form of positive reinforcement.

Water

Hydration is another crucial aspect of your Lagotto’s diet. Ensure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times, particularly during hot weather or after exercise. Keep an eye on their water consumption, as sudden changes can be indicative of health issues.

lagotto romagnolo standaing on its back feet in a park
Photo: Eudyptula/Getty Images

Health

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a robust and generally healthy breed, with a life expectancy of around 15 to 17 years. However, like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these concerns and taking preventative measures will help ensure your furry companion enjoys a long and happy life by your side.

Here are common health issues associated with the Lagotto Romagnolo:

Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and joint pain. Regular check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight, and providing joint supplements can help manage this condition.

Juvenile Epilepsy: A neurological disorder affecting young Lagotti, causing seizures and other related symptoms. Early diagnosis and appropriate medication can help manage this condition and minimize its impact on your dog’s quality of life.

Storage Disease (LSD): A rare, inherited metabolic disorder that affects the nervous system and can lead to severe neurological symptoms. Regular veterinary screenings and responsible breeding practices are crucial for early detection and prevention.

Ear Infections: The Lagotto’s floppy ears can be prone to infections if not regularly cleaned. Keep their ears clean and dry, and monitor for signs of redness, odor, or discharge.

Eye Issues: Lagotti can be susceptible to various eye conditions, such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular eye exams and early intervention can help preserve your dog’s vision and overall eye health.

To keep your Lagotto Romagnolo healthy, it’s essential to provide them with a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and mental stimulation. A nutritious diet that meets their specific needs will help maintain a healthy weight and support their immune system.

In addition to a healthy lifestyle, regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations are crucial for preventing and detecting potential health issues.

Annual wellness exams allow your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s health and address any concerns early on. Vaccinations protect your Lagotto from various infectious diseases and are a vital part of their overall healthcare.

lagotto romagnolo in front of a camping tent in a forest
Photo: BakalaeroZz Photography/Getty Images

History

The history of the Lagotto Romagnolo is a fascinating tale that takes us back hundreds of years to the marshlands and countryside of Romagna, Italy. As one of the oldest water dog breeds, the Lagotto has a rich heritage that showcases their versatility and unique abilities.

The name “Lagotto Romagnolo” translates to “lake dog from Romagna,” reflecting their origin and natural affinity for water. These curly-coated dogs were initially bred as water retrievers, assisting hunters in retrieving ducks and other waterfowl. Their waterproof coat and webbed feet made them well-suited for this task, allowing them to navigate the marshy terrain with ease.

As the marshlands of Romagna gradually disappeared due to land reclamation projects, the Lagotto’s role shifted to that of a truffle hunter. Their keen sense of smell, agility, and perseverance made them excellent at locating these highly prized fungi. Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo is considered one of the best truffle-hunting breeds in the world, and they continue to be highly sought after for this purpose.

Despite their long history in Italy, the Lagotto remained relatively unknown outside their native region until the late 20th century. The breed’s popularity began to grow as people started to appreciate their unique qualities, such as their hypoallergenic coat and affectionate temperament.

In recent years, the Lagotto has gained recognition not only as a skilled working dog but also as a loving and loyal companion.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Lagotto Romagnolo in 2015 as part of the Sporting Group. This recognition not only highlights the breed’s growing presence in the United States but also helps to ensure the preservation and promotion of their unique heritage.

Parent Club

The Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America (LRCA) is the official breed club for the Lagotto Romagnolo in the United States. Founded in 2008, the LRCA is dedicated to promoting and preserving the breed through education, responsible breeding practices, and community support.

The club’s webpage offers valuable resources and information for Lagotto enthusiasts, including breed history, health concerns, and upcoming events.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Lagotto Romagnolo’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

lagotto romagnolo puppy in a lawn
Photo: JeanRee/Getty Images

Acquiring

If you’re considering adding a Lagotto Romagnolo to your family, it’s essential to prepare and ensure you make the right choice. First, research the breed thoroughly to understand their unique traits, exercise needs, and potential health issues. This will help you determine if a Lagotto is a good fit for your lifestyle.

When acquiring a Lagotto, it’s crucial to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes health, temperament, and responsible breeding practices. Alternatively, consider rescuing a Lagotto in need of a loving home. Both the American Kennel Club and the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America (LRCA) can help connect you with rescue organizations or adoption opportunities.

Before bringing your new furry friend home, prepare a safe and welcoming environment with necessary supplies such as a crate, bed, toys, food, and grooming tools. Remember, patience and love are key when welcoming your new Lagotto Romagnolo into your life.

FAQs

Is Lagotto Romagnolos a good pet?

Yes, A Lagotto Romagnolo makes an excellent pet due to their friendly, affectionate, and intelligent nature. They are great with children and other animals, making them suitable for families and multi-pet households.

Is Lagotto Romagnolos a good first dog?

Lagotto can be a good first dog for owners who are prepared to devote time and effort to training, socialization, and providing mental and physical stimulation. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them highly trainable, but they do require consistent and patient guidance.

Does Lagotto Romagnolo bark a lot?

Lagotto has a moderate tendency to bark, which can be managed through proper training and socialization. They may bark to alert you of strangers or unusual noises, but early training can help teach them when barking is appropriate.

Why might someone not want to get a Lagotto Romagnolo?

Potential reasons include the breed’s high energy levels, need for mental stimulation, and grooming requirements. If you’re unable or unwilling to provide regular exercise, mental challenges, and proper grooming, a Lagotto Romagnolo may not be the best fit for your lifestyle.

Is Lagotto Romagnolo hypoallergenic?

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Lagotti are considered a low-shedding breed with a curly coat that produces less dander. This makes them a suitable option for people with mild allergies. However, it’s essential to spend time around the breed before committing, as individual reactions can vary.

How much exercise does a Lagotto Romagnolos need?

Lagotto is an active breed and requires daily physical activity to stay happy and healthy. At least one hour of exercise per day, including walks, playtime, and mental stimulation, is recommended to keep them engaged and prevent boredom.

Can a Lagotto Romagnolo live in an apartment?

Although Lagotti are adaptable and can adjust to apartment living, they will still require regular exercise and outdoor activities. As long as you can provide sufficient physical and mental stimulation, a Lagotto can thrive in an apartment or smaller living space.

Table of Contents