Breeds, Sporting Group

Lagotto Romagnolo

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on the Lagotto Romagnolo, a charming breed known for its curly coat and keen intelligence. This guide explores the unique characteristics that make the Lagotto a delightful companion and a skilled truffle hunter. Readers will gain insights into the breed’s behavior, grooming needs, and exercise requirements, making it easier to decide if a Lagotto is the right fit for their home.

Additionally, this guide provides practical advice on training and health care to ensure a happy and healthy life for these affectionate dogs. Embrace the opportunity to learn more about the multifaceted Lagotto Romagnolo.

Lagotto Romagnolo – Size & Life Expectancy

Lagotto Romagnolo Height

17-19 inches (male)
16-18 inches (female)

Lagotto Romagnolo Weight

28-35 pounds (male)
24-31 pounds (female)

Lagotto Romagnolo Life Expectancy
Life Expectancy

15-17 years

About the Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo, often celebrated as Italy’s adorable “water dog,” has a rich heritage steeped in the marshlands of the Romagna region. Originally bred as a water retriever, its evolution into a specialized truffle hunter marks a unique transition in the breed’s function. These dogs adapted from fetching waterfowl to seeking out the coveted truffles buried in the damp Italian earth. The breed’s keen sense of smell and adaptable nature made them ideal for this task, allowing them to excel where other breeds could not.

Characteristics and Traits

Physically, the Lagotto Romagnolo is medium-sized with a dense, curly coat that effectively repels water and keeps them insulated. This coat, ranging from off-white to brown and even roan, requires regular grooming to prevent matting and to maintain its waterproof qualities. Beyond their physical attributes, Lagottos are known for their sharp intelligence and energetic demeanor. They possess a keen ability to focus and an eagerness to please, which makes them excellent at obedience and other canine sports.

Modern Popularity and Ownership

Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo enjoys a burgeoning popularity beyond Italian borders. Recognized officially by major canine organizations like the American Kennel Club in the 21st century, they are now cherished in homes worldwide. The breed’s hypoallergenic coat adds to its appeal, making it a suitable companion for allergy sufferers. Moreover, their amiable nature and manageable size make them perfect for various living situations, from apartments to large homes with yards.

The typical owners of Lagotto Romagnolos are those who appreciate a dog with both intelligence and moderate exercise needs. They fit well with active families or individuals who enjoy outdoor activities but do not want the high energy demands of more traditional sporting breeds. Their tractability also makes them a favorite among novice and experienced dog owners alike.


The Lagotto Romagnolo, from its historical roots as a water retriever and truffle hunter to its current status as a beloved pet and capable working dog, represents a fascinating blend of versatility, intelligence, and charm. With their rising popularity, these dogs not only continue to impress in traditional roles but also thrive in companionship roles across the globe. As more discover the joys of owning a Lagotto, the breed’s future looks as bright as its past is illustrious.

Traits & Characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo

  • Medium-sized build: Compact and robust, ideal for agility and endurance.
  • Curly, waterproof coat: Requires regular grooming to prevent matting.
  • Exceptional sense of smell: Highly capable in truffle hunting and scent-related activities.
  • Intelligent and trainable: Known for their eagerness to learn and please their owners.
  • Friendly and affectionate temperament: Gets along well with families and other pets.
  • Active and energetic: Needs regular exercise to maintain health and happiness.
  • Hypoallergenic: Suitable for allergy sufferers due to its unique coat properties.

Owning a Lagotto Romagnolo

Considering a Lagotto Romagnolo as a new addition to your family? This section delves into essential aspects of caring for this distinctive breed, known for its curly coat and lively intelligence. From health maintenance to grooming, exercise, nutrition, and training, understanding these areas ensures a thriving environment for your new companion.


Lagotto Romagnolos generally boast robust health but, like all breeds, they face specific health challenges. Commonly, they may encounter issues such as hip dysplasia, benign juvenile epilepsy, and ear infections, due to their floppy ears. Owners should prioritize regular veterinary check-ups to monitor for signs of these conditions early on. Proactive health management includes maintaining a schedule of vaccinations and parasite control to help prevent diseases. Additionally, paying attention to the Lagotto’s ears regularly will ward off infections, ensuring they remain clean and dry.


The Lagotto Romagnolo thrives on mental and physical stimulation. Originally bred for hunting truffles, this breed possesses high energy levels that require regular outlets. Daily activities should include at least one hour of exercise such as walking, running, or fetching games. Their working dog lineage makes them excellent candidates for more structured activities like agility training, obedience, or nose work competitions, which harness their natural scent tracking abilities. Engaging in these activities not only keeps them fit but also sharpens their minds.


The distinctive coat of the Lagotto Romagnolo is dense and curly, similar to that of a poodle, which requires regular maintenance. To prevent mats and tangles, their coat should be brushed several times a week and professionally groomed every few months. Bathing should occur as needed but not so frequently as to strip the coat of its natural oils. Careful grooming not only keeps the Lagotto looking their best but also prevents skin irritations and contributes to overall health.


Feeding a Lagotto Romagnolo involves choosing high-quality dog food that caters to their age, size, and activity level. Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining their energy and health. Foods rich in protein and balanced with vegetables and carbohydrates cater to their dietary needs well. Avoid foods with fillers, such as by-products and excessive grains, which could lead to weight gain and other health issues. Owners should also be cautious with human food, which can lead to allergies or toxic reactions in some dogs. Consistency and moderation are key in feeding routines.


Training a Lagotto Romagnolo is usually a rewarding experience due to their sharp intelligence and desire to please. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, treats, and play. Starting training early, particularly during the puppy stage, sets a foundation for good behavior and social skills. Socialization is also crucial; exposing them to different people, environments, and situations ensures a well-rounded and adaptable adult dog. Regular training reinforces desired behaviors and deepens the bond between the dog and its owner, creating a harmonious living situation.

By understanding and addressing these five critical areas, owners can provide a healthy, engaging, and loving environment for their Lagotto Romagnolo, making the most of this breed’s remarkable traits and capabilities.

The Lagotto Romagnolo Standard

The Lagotto Romagnolo, an ancient breed revered for its adeptness in truffle hunting, conforms to a specific breed standard that epitomizes both its functional heritage and its aesthetic appeal. This standard ensures the Lagotto not only performs its tasks effectively but also maintains the breed’s historical characteristics.

General Appearance

The ideal Lagotto Romagnolo presents a robust, compact figure, exuding strength and agility. With a well-proportioned build, the breed stands medium in size, showcasing a rustic appearance that is both charming and purposeful. The distinctive, curly coat and expressive eyes are hallmark features that capture the essence of this working breed.

Coat and Color

The coat of the Lagotto is woolly, dense, and curly. Each curl is tight and uniform, providing coverage from the elements and undergrowth. This waterproof coat can be of various colors, including shades of white, brown, and orange, and may include patches or roan patterns. The ideal coat serves both functional and aesthetic purposes, requiring regular grooming to maintain its condition and effectiveness in the field.

Head and Expression

The head of a Lagotto Romagnolo is of moderate size with a broad, slightly rounded skull. The muzzle is strong and as long as the skull, with a pronounced stop. The eyes are round and set apart, expressing keen intelligence and amiability. Their ears, medium-sized and triangular, hang slightly forward when the dog is alert, adding to their attentive expression.

Body Structure

The body of the Lagotto is slightly longer than it is tall, a build that supports stamina and agility. The chest is broad and deep, reaching down to the elbow, while the back remains level and firm. This structure facilitates the breed’s renowned endurance and working capabilities.


Above all, the Lagotto Romagnolo is noted for its excellent temperament. It exhibits a keen aptitude for learning and an enthusiastic demeanor. While primarily bred for work, the Lagotto’s friendly and gentle nature makes it an ideal companion. It is alert and confident, demonstrating both the capability of a working dog and the warmth of a household pet.

The breed standard for the Lagotto Romagnolo not only outlines the physical attributes that make it adept for its traditional role but also emphasizes characteristics that make it a beloved companion. Judges at dog shows assess these traits to ensure that the breed retains its unique qualities through thoughtful breeding and care practices.

Lagotto Romagnolo – FAQ

Welcome to the FAQ section for the Lagotto Romagnolo! Here, you’ll find answers to the most common questions about this unique breed, covering everything from their distinctive traits to care tips, ensuring you’re well-equipped to understand and nurture your curly-coated companion.

Alternatives to a Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo, known for its curly coat, medium size, and sharp intellect, shares similarities with several other breeds that might capture the interest of enthusiasts who appreciate these traits.

The Spanish Water Dog is one breed that echoes the qualities of the Lagotto Romagnolo. Like the Lagotto, it features a curly, water-resistant coat and was originally used for similar working tasks, including herding and assisting fishermen. Both breeds are known for their adaptability and keen intelligence, making them excellent at problem-solving and highly trainable.

Another comparable breed is the Portuguese Water Dog, which is slightly larger but shares the Lagotto’s love for water and robust, curly coat. This breed also excels in obedience and agility, traits prized in the Lagotto. Their energetic nature and strong desire to please their owners make them suitable companions for active families.

The Poodle, particularly the Miniature and Standard varieties, also resembles the Lagotto in both appearance and temperament. Known for their hypoallergenic coats and sharp minds, Poodles are similarly versatile and excel in various canine sports and activities, just like the Lagotto.

Lastly, the Barbet is a French water dog with a joyful demeanor and a curly coat that stands out. It shares the Lagotto’s friendly nature and proficiency in water-based activities and is similarly built for endurance and agility.

These breeds, while each unique, offer a similar blend of intelligence, energy, and physical traits that make them suitable for various roles, from companionship to active participation in canine sports. They thrive on interaction and engagement, ensuring they are well-loved in homes that appreciate active and intelligent dogs.