The Lagotto Romagnolo has Italian origins dating back to the 1300s. Bred to hunt waterfowl, the breed developed a reputation for its flawless sense of smell and powers of concentration.
Nowadays, you’re more likely to find it sitting on the family sofa than out hunting truffles. A happy, energetic temperament makes it the ideal companion for active owners, while its hypoallergenic coat is perfect for indoor settings.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a small to medium sized curly coated dog, square with slightly more length of leg to depth of body. As a water dog, correct coat is most important. The coat is woolly, but somewhat rough on the surface and forms tight curls all over the body. Correct curl may take up to two years to develop. The coat and undercoat are waterproof and may become felted if not clipped. Clipping to the skin is recommended once a year. Presentation should be natural and blown; sculptured animals are considered incorrect in the breed standard.
Juvenile epilepsy can occur in some puppies. Seizures are sometimes seen between five and eight weeks, but they disappear after that. DNA testing is available to see if the epilepsy gene is present. If there is no sign of juvenile epilepsy, the dog will not pass it on to its offspring.
Lagotto Romagnolos are also hip scored at 12 months. The breed is generally very healthy and happy with a love of exercise and stimulation.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a lively, intelligent breed that exhibits endurance and agility befitting a water-retrieving Gundog. It has a pleasing temperament and is easy to train. The breed’s curly coat often attracts plenty of attention on the street, so prepare to be stopped on walks by complete strangers.
The Lagotto Romagnolo has a natural ability to search and guard, making the breed an ideal watchdog. It needs plenty of stimulation to stay fit, but it’s generally easygoing and doesn’t mind staying indoors. Always eager for company and markedly intelligent, this breed is a true companion animal. Singles, couples or families will benefit from this curly coated addition to the household.
If you don’t fancy grooming your dog on a weekly basis, consider adopting another breed. The Lagotto Romagnolo needs weekly maintenance to ensure the coat retains its curl. As it never sheds, the coat needs to be trimmed regularly. A bath, followed by combing, is necessary to prevent matting. Leave it to dry naturally in the sun.
This breed is naturally obedient and relaxed, making for a low-maintenance companion. Its agile nature and ability to please makes the Lagotto Romagnolo a strong competitor in Agility.
A social, playful animal by nature, the breed gets along well with other animals and is safe to keep around small children. It especially enjoys being near the water, so having a pool or living in a beachside suburb would be especially advantageous.
Words: Margaret Giles
Image: By Scott Washington. Supplied by Alexandra Stuke.
Now you know a little about the Lagotto Romagnolo, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Lagotto Romagnolo and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.