Lagotto Romagnolo – History of Romagna Water Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is everything that you should about this famous "truffle dog." Read on to discover why Lagotto is the world's best truffle finder.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
14 to 19 inches
24 to 35 pounds
Life Span:
14 to 17 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a keen, affectionate, and playful breed originated in Italy. This is a famous ‘truffle dog’ with a curly coat and fluffy-toy looks.

Although this breed may seem like a fluffy toy, the truth is that these dogs are hard-working dogs of excellent nose.

Quick Facts

Real name: Lagotto Romagnolo
Other names: Romagna Water Dog, Water Dog of Romagna
Common nickname: Lagotto
Origin: Italy
Breed type: Gun Dog
Weight: Males 13–16 kg (29-35 lb), Females 11–14 kg (24-32 lb)
Height: Males 43–48 cm (17–19 in), Females 41–46 cm (16–18 in)
Lifespan: 15-17 years
Color: Any color combination is allowed, except black
Coat: Dense and wooly

Lagotto Romagnolo History

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an old breed. They date to at least Renaissance Italy, where they were bred as waterfowl retrievers working the marshlands of Ravenna. Term ‘lago’ in ‘Lagotti’ stands for the ‘lake’.

Since this breed has an exceptional nose, they have been used in the Italian countryside mostly to sniff out truffles. Many breeds can be trained to sniff on truffles, but Lagatto is still the world’s most exceptional truffle dog.

Ancient history describes the Lagotto Romagnolo as a curly-haired water dog. At the time, the breed was celebrated for its hunting and companionship skills.

They spend their days hunting waterfowl on the marshlands of Romagna, in northern Italy.

They were so good at their job that no water-related job could be done without them. Unfortunately, at one point, the marshlands of the Romagna area were drained, and these amazing dog swimmers had to find a new job to do.

Just like German Shepherds was switched from herding to police dogs, the Lagotto Romagnolo was switched from water activities to land jobs.

So, spending time in the water moved to the land, and the breed started searching for truffles instead.

In the 1970s, a vast group of breeders, Lagotto fans, and veterinarians decided to team up and develop a genetic reconstruction program to prevent the little dogs from dwindling out of existence altogether.

So, by 1988 interest in the breed started growing, and by 1992 the Club Italiano Lagotto was formed, and the breed was recognized by the Ente Nazionale Cinofilia Italiana in 1992.

The interest in the breed started growing in areas such as Australia, Germany, France, Great Britain, the States, and Scandinavia.

By 1995 the breed was recognized globally, and finally, the breed was recognized as a member of the sporting group by the American Kennel Club.

Lagotto Romagnolo Physical Appearance

When it comes to physical appearance, this breed is well-proportioned, medium-size, with a dense and curly coat of firm woolly texture. This dog should always have a strong posture to communicate strength and endurance to work.

Eyes are expressive and large, while the ears are medium-sized in proportion to the head. Color may vary with coat color from dark brown to flesh-colored. The nose is always fully pigmented. The body is always compact and strong.

Shoulders are long, well laid back, muscular, and secure.

Legs are sturdy while hindquarters are well boned and muscled, with marked muscular groove. Hair has wolly texture, with tight, ring-shaped curls, with visible undercoat. Curls are equally distributed all over the body, and even the chicks are covered with thick hair. The undercoat is water-proof and needs to be well-maintained.

Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament And Personality

Lagotto Romagnolo was initially bred as hunting companions, but they haven’t lost their ability to retrieve. They are natural water lovers, so if you are planning any water-related activity, this breed will be more than happy to join you.

These are active dogs, so they prefer owners who are outdoor lovers and love spending time outside. If Lagotto gets enough exercise, he will be happy and more willing to obey. They are easily trained for their nose work, but they can perform well ina any agility sport.

Overall, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a playful, energetic, and intelligent breed that is highly trainable. Like any other breed, Lagotto should be trained from an early age. This breed prefers to be with his humans all the time.

They will be fine with children as long as children know how to behave around dogs. If you want a feline as well, the best practice would be to raise them together from a young age.

Bottom line: they will be fine with other pets, as long as you raise them together.

Your Lagotto is friendly, but it doesn’t mean that they would be happy about meeting strangers. They may vary from strangers and may even bark at them.

Because of their high energy level and exercise requirements, next to their tendency to bark, these dogs are best suited for living in a house with a yard to run in. This breed doesn’t do well in an apartment. Other breeds are more comfortable for apartment living.

Lagotto Romagnolo Training

Lagottos are lively, intelligent, and alert. They love to learn, and they thrive when they have something to do, especially if it includes sniffing around.

So, use training to stimulate your Lagotto and keep him busy mentally. Train your puppy requires time, energy, and a lot of patience.

Since they love to learn and please their owners, they will excel in canine activities such as agility and obedience. This doesn’t mean that your Lagotto Romagnolo should participate in these sports, but rather should be active – plan training well and make it fun and supported with treats.

Again, they love water naturally, so going for a long swim in hot days is more than welcome. To have a well-behaved Lagotto Romagnolo, you should start early socialization and training.

Only through proper implementation of socialization and training, you will have a well-behaved, and well-mannered Lagotto.

Lagotto Romagnolo Exercise

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a sporting breed, and as such, he needs an active lifestyle.

They aren’t hyper, and they don’t require high energy levels, but they do need a fair amount of exercise. Exercise is what keeps the dog mentally and physically active.

Although Lagotto loves spending time outdoor, they will still need family time. They cannon survive, or be happy, without a strong family interaction.

Lagotto Romagnolo Grooming

The Lagotto’s has a wonderful and woolly coat. This coat is also water-proof and forms tight curls that cover the entire body except for the head. This breed is also popular for being one of the rare dogs that actually don’t smell.

You may expect a lot of grooming sessions with your Lagotto, but the truth is that shed minimally, and their coat needs to be trimmed regularly.

Some Lagotto coats mat more than others, so it’s important to groom regularly to prevent this. Check ears and teets weekly, and bath Lagotto only when it’s mandatory. For any skin change contact your veterinarian.

Lagotto Romagnolo Health

The Lagotto Romagnolo is generally a healthy breed. A responsible breeder will always screen the dogs for major health issues and present you with papers. If you don’t get papers, know that something is shady.

Still, the breed may be prone to certain medical conditions, such as:

For extra tests, you can think about DNA testing.

Recommended Tests for this breed:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Bening Familial Juvenile Epilepsy DNA Test
  • Lagotto Storage Disease DNA Test

Lagotto Romagnolo Nutrition

To have a healthy Lagotto, you will have to provide proper nutrition. Since you are an animal lover, you know that being a good pet owner means that you should care about many things, not only food. However, proper nutrition comes to the top of the list.

Dogs, just like humans, can thrive on proper nutrition. That’s why it’s essential to always choose a high-quality food, whether you are choosing commercially manufactured or home-prepared food.

If you choose to feed your Lagotto with raw food or BARF diet make sure that you first talk with your veterinarian on pros and cons. You should know how many times you should feed your dog and how much.

Diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age. You will never feed a puppy with food for a senior dog, as so on. Some dogs are prone to obesity and it a raising issue with pets in the States.

Obesity in dogs can lead to a vast number of health problems, next to long and hard work on weight loss. Treats are an important part of any training, but giving too many can cause obesity.

Also, learn which human foods are safe for dogs, and which should be avoided by any cause.

Always check with your veterinarian if your dog should experience a different diet. Have a fitting food bowl, so you don’t place more food than needed. Also, clean and fresh water should be available at all times.

The Bottom Line

Lake dog from Romagna, or otherwise Lagotto Romagnolo is a playful dog who loves to work hard. This breed is fantastic with his family members and other pets. They are great with children, and they are not shy about sharing their opinion on a topic by barking.

Since they tend to bark a lot, living in a house is more suitable for them. Still, you can minimize the barking level if you train your Lagotto good and from an early age.

They are also the world champions when it comes to truffle hunting, meaning that this breed loves to work. They love being busy. So, as long as you provide proper nutrition, enough exercise, and human affection, you will have a well-behaved Lagotto Romagnolo.

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