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BaxterBoo Blog
October 30, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Lagotto Romagnolo

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  • Height: 14"- 19”
  • Weight: 24-35 pounds
  • Historical function: water retriever originally, then truffle finder
  • Modern function: Companion, working
  • AKC classification: Working

Physical Characteristics:

The Lagotto Ramgnolo (pronounced lag-oh-toe roman-yolo) is a small to medium-sized dog that is well proportioned and squarely built. The head is fairy large and supported by a muscular neck. The eyes are large, round and expressive. Eye color ranges from dark yellow to dark brown. The coat is wooly, dense and curly. Colors can be off-white, solid white, white with brown or rust patches, different shades of brown, or a solid rust color. The drop ears are triangular with rounded tips. The front legs must appear straight from any angle. The topline is even.  

History of the Breed:

The Lagotto Ramgnolo was initially used as a water retrieving dog in the marshlands of Italy in the 1600's. As the land was drained for other purposes, the Lagotto's numbers decreased. Fortunately, the wooly, water-resistant coat and superior scenting ability were also found to be suitable in finding truffles. Their coats protecting the dogs from briers of the underbrush. The Lagotto is the only breed developed for this task. This breed is considered to be the ancestor of Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs.


The Lagotto is made to work. They have sharp senses, with their eyesight being keen to motion in particular. They are a loyal and loving breed, making them the perfect companion for the active household. They are intelligent and easy to train with positive reinforcement. They often get along with other animals when socialized as puppies. Lagottos vary in their need for exercise, but should always be given stimulation to keep their intelligent minds occupied. Lagottos have a natural instinct for retrieving and swimming. 

  • Best suited for: Active families, allergy sufferers. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog loves to work and dig. Provide them with a sandbox to satisfy this urge.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This curly coat requires regular brushing and trimming to keep from getting matted. Should be kept somewhat rustic looking. Bathe monthly.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk and mental exercise. 
  • Life expectancy: About 16 years.
  • Health concerns: Generally healthy, but some lines may be prone to hip dysplasia and epilepsy.

Breed Club Links: Lagotto Club of America Perfect Pairings: Any of our puzzle toys where the objective is to dig out the treat. 

Have any stories about a Lagotto Ramgnolo? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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