- 1 Overview of the Lagotto Romagnolo
- 2 Lagotto Romagnolo Traits
- 3 Food and Health of the Lagotto Romagnolo
- 4 Training and Exercise
- 5 Health Concerns of the Lagotto Romagnolo
- 6 Grooming Insights for Lagotti Romagnoli
Overview of the Lagotto Romagnolo
The Lagotto Romagnolo translates to “lake dog from Romagna,” a fitting name for this breed since they were originally used for hunting water foul in the marshes of Romagna, Italy. These dogs are recognized for their head-to-tail coat of woolly curls, which is topped by a luxurious beard, whiskers, and eyebrows. The Lagotto is less than 20 inches in height and weighs slightly more than 35 pounds. But don’t be deceived by their teddy-bear appearance, these dogs possess tremendous strength and tenacity, with their unique curls feeling and acting more like human hair than fur.
Lagotti Romagnoli are also referred to as Italian Water Dogs and Romagna Water Dogs. Due to the flooding of many of the breed’s native marshlands, these dogs are now skilled in truffle hunting. This makes them the only breed in today’s age bred for this task. The thick coats of Lagotti keep them warm in chilly weather while also protecting them from debris and thorns as they sprint through woodlands.
Their excellent sense of smell and innate proclivity for digging make them adept in the field. Lagotti can also be active, loving, and easygoing home pets with few requirements. Their hypoallergenic coats are ideal for allergy sufferers but demand a lot of upkeep. So, if you can keep up with grooming and combing and want a committed, easy-to-trained furry friend — or someone to assist you in hunting for delectable truffles — this dog could be a good choice for your family.
The Lagotto Romagnolo originated in the Delta del Po, the eastern part of Italy’s Romagna sub-region, and lived in marshlands near Ravenna in the lowlands of Comacchio. The name is derived from the term Romagnol can lagòt, which means “water dog.” Although the breed has been recognized since the 16th century, Lagottos did not become well known until the 19th century. They primarily served as gun dogs, particularly as water retrievers. Their water-resistant coats made them ideal for diving into freezing seas.
By the late 1800s, most of the region’s marshlands had been drained, and these canines would have been out of work if it hadn’t been for their great noses, which made them superb truffle hunters. Lagottos were repurposed for this role and they continue to thrive in it to this day. By the 1970s, attention to this breed had dwindled slightly. Lagotti Romagnoli would have been on the edge of extinction if it hadn’t been for lovers of them in the late 1980s who became interested in protecting the breed. Since then, attention to the Lagotto has expanded to countries all over the world. In July 2015, the American Kennel Club recognized the Lagotto Romagnolo in the sporting dog category. The breed is still employed for truffle hunting, but they’re also cherished as devoted family friends, especially for people who are allergic to dogs.
Lagotto Romagnolo Traits
The Lagotto’s thick coat with teddy bear curls makes them easy to fall in love with the breed at first sight. These beautiful dogs are not only adorable, but they are also allergen-friendly. While no dog is completely “hypoallergenic,” their double-coat of woolly curls rarely sheds, making them an excellent choice for people who sneeze around dogs.
A fully developed Lagotto Romagnolo is a medium-sized dog that stands 19 inches tall and weighs around 24 to 35 pounds. Their gorgeous, curly coats can be white, orange, brown, and cream, among other colors. Lagotti Romagnoli are frequently misidentified as Labradoodles or Goldendoodles because of their tight curls.
The Lagotto was bred to accompany hunters, and the breed has kept the hunting dog trait of retrieving by leaping joyfully into bodies of water. They are naturally drawn to water; even if you don’t intend to hunt, they’ll enjoy pursuing a stick thrown into a river or lake. Lagotti Romagnoli like the physical and cerebral stimulation of fetch, given their strong, active spirits and energy levels. This breed must get enough exercise or, like many other dogs, they will become bored and find their own entertainment by digging holes and gnawing on items they shouldn’t. They have acute senses, particularly when it comes to using their noses to sniff out objects.
Lagotto are working dogs, so they’re not often distracted by the smell of wild animals or other canines when hunting. They are keen, loyal, affectionate dogs that are particularly attached to their owners and they are simple to train. If properly socialized, Lagotti Romagnoli get along nicely with other canines and pets. They make terrific family pets and great warning dogs.
The Lagotto is a friendly dog that loves people, but they need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. These intelligent canines require tasks to keep their mind engaged. Tracking, games of seeking people in the woods, and mushroom hunting are among some popular activities for this breed. If you allow these dogs to use their intellect, they are less likely to get into trouble or find unusual ways of staying busy. This breed is particularly popular in Sweden and makes a great family pet thanks to their allergy-friendly and non-shedding coat, medium size, joyful personality, intellect, and readiness to work.
Food and Health of the Lagotto Romagnolo
A well-balanced diet is critical for Lagotti Romagnoli. Seek high-quality dog food for breeds that benefit from full grains, such as oats and brown rice. A food with few ingredients and single meat proteins can be an excellent choice — still, always consult your veterinarian to ensure you’re selecting the right product for your dog’s specific needs.
Keep “human food,” such as meat, vegetables, and cheese, to less than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. Most of your Lagotto’s nourishment should come from dog food that includes all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Some grown dogs like one meal per day, while others prefer two small meals, so plan their feeding patterns on a combination of your Lagotto Romagnolo’s specific preferences and your veterinarian’s expert advice.
A diet for a Lagotto Romagnolo should be catered toward a medium-sized dog with moderate-to-high energy and exercise requirements. Their nutritional requirements will shift as they age from puppies to adults to seniors, so if you’re ever unsure about dietary changes don’t be afraid to ask your vet.
Training and Exercise
Lagotti Romagnoli require a lot of exercise and have a natural sense of retrieval, particularly enjoying object-hunting. They love walking beside their owners and taking regular long walks. When out on a stroll, the Lagotto should be taught to heel behind their owner. Swimming may be a terrific way for them to relieve stress, so don’t be shocked if you have to drag them out of a stream or pond once they’ve discovered it. Their water-repellant double coat and body shape allow them to spend a significant amount of time in the water.
The Lagotto Romagnolo has powerful scenting abilities and a strong desire to dig, making them very curious and great at truffle hunting. You might have to put in extra effort to prevent them from digging in certain sections of your garden. Some Lagotto owners create a specialized sandpit and participate in smell trials and scent work games to fulfill this need.
Training and Socialization
Lagotti Romagnoli are active, intelligent, and vivacious. Early training and socialization are essential for them to develop into well-adjusted, well-mannered partners. They respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques and can learn tricks as early as 8 weeks old. They can be friendly, adaptable, and happy dogs with proper early socialization and continuous training. Lagottos enjoy training and impressing their owners and do well in canine competitions such as obedience and agility, as well as leisure sports such as dock diving. They’re ideal candidates for search-and-rescue scent identification due to their excellent noses.
This breed is known for being somewhat noisy sometimes; they can be quick and alert barkers, sensitive to small noises. You may need to devote some time to bark training to ensure that the behavior doesn’t spiral out of control. They frequently integrate well with families and can coexist happily with other pets.
One of the most crucial things to understand about the Lagotto Romagnolo is that they prefer people to other dogs. This does not mean they would be unhappy in a home with other pets though; these canines simply want to be the center of attention. As a result, as long as they are socialized and bonded with early, they tend to do well in families with children. The more people there are to lavish affection on these dogs, the better. Similarly, this breed is not suitable for a home that is left empty all day. The Lagotto is loving, devoted, and longs for human interaction.
While it’s recommended that they have plenty of room to run around and a fenced yard to sniff around in, Lagotti Romagnoli can get by with an apartment, provided they receive plenty of walks and playtime outside. Just remember that they’re diggers and will tear up your garden in their pursuit of elusive and intriguing scents if you don’t keep a close eye on them.
The Lagotto’s ideal home would include a pond, pool, or proximity to a huge body of water, as they adore the water. If this does not describe your living situation, you can always make trips to a lake, river, or beach.
Health Concerns of the Lagotto Romagnolo
With proper care, including diet and exercise, a Lagotto Romagnolo can live for 15 to 17 years. Nonetheless, purebred dogs, including Lagotti, frequently have a few health concerns.
While they have a keen sense of sniffing, the Lagotto has weak eyesight and is prone to cataracts and eye problems. Verify with your breeder to ensure that they test their dogs’ eyesight and have your veterinarian perform annual eye exams to check for issues.
Hip dysplasia develops when the dog’s hip joint is malformed and creates friction, resulting in pain and limited mobility. This condition is more prevalent in larger dogs, but the Lagotto can also be affected. As hip dysplasia is inherited, ask your breeder if they perform diagnostic testing for this condition on their breeding dogs. Physiotherapy, weight loss, and surgery are all viable therapeutic choices.
The Lagotto can develop canine juvenile epilepsy between 5 and 9 weeks old, but the condition resolves without treatment by the age of 8 to 13 weeks. This recessive genetic illness can cause seizures and a brief loss of consciousness. The long-term ramifications of this disorder are unknown, so ask your breeder if they checked the puppy’s parents for this health issue in case it runs in the family.
Lagotto Storage Disease
This breed is prone to Lagotto Storage Condition (LSD), a severe neurological disease. This degenerative condition can cause behavioral abnormalities and aberrant eye movements in puppies as young as 4 months old. Unfortunately, no treatment for the condition is currently available. It is critical that no sick dogs are bred, so get your furry friend from a professional breeder who has examined your puppy and their parents for health problems.
Grooming Insights for Lagotti Romagnoli
This breed is naturally beautiful, but don’t anticipate good hair days unless you follow a thorough grooming regimen. These dogs’ thick and curly coats require trimming every 10 to 12 weeks. Surprisingly, you don’t need to brush their curly hair daily. In fact, doing so will offer them a fluffy look, which is not appropriate for these working dogs. They should have a coarser, more rugged coat. Of course, you must remove debris from their hair in between haircuts so that when the time comes to groom, you can use a pin brush, your fingers, or a grooming comb to easily remove knots without pulling too hard on the coat. A canine detangling spray can help make this process go more smoothly.
Groom their ears once a week because Lagotti possesses hair inside that has to be tamed in these spots. Eliminate any buildup of dirt or debris that could cause discomfort and infection. Your veterinarian can show you how to manage their ear hair and clean their ears safely. Bathe your Lagotto Romagnolo every four weeks to retain their coats clean and their skin from drying out.