Lagotto Romagnolo

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Lagotto Romagnolo

24-35 lb
14-16 years
AKC Foundation Stock Service
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, houses with yards, farms and rural areas
Loyal, loving, active, eager to please
Comparable Breeds
Portuguese Water Dog, Poodle
17-18 inches
Lagotto Romagnolo Basics

Don’t let their curly, clown-like appearance fool you. The Lagotto Romagnolo (pronounced La-go-toh Roman-yolo) is a dog with a rich history behind it and is one of Italy’s oldest known dog breeds. First used as a water-dog, the Lagotto has since been used as a specialized truffle-hunter. A profession that has helped keep the breed alive and given Lagottos a treasured place in Italian culture.

Lagotto Romagnolos are mediums sized yet robust dogs. Their long legs are well-boned and muscular, as are their chests and shoulders. These characteristics make them excellent swimmers as well as diggers. The Lagotto’s body is covered in a thick, waterproof coat made up of soft, curly hairs. They come in a variety of shades ranging from brown, white to grey.

Lagottos are one of the rarest breeds in the world and there are only around 500 registered Lagottos in the U.S today. However, they are rapidly gaining popularity as an excellent companion dog. They are loving, devoted and playful and make excellent family pets.

The Lagotto Romagnolo (pronounced La-go-toh Roman-yolo) is a dog with a rich history behind it and is one of Italy’s oldest known dog breeds.


The story of the Lagotto Romagnolo begins in the 16th century Italian marshlands. First used as a water-dog, Lagottos are in fact believed to be part of the foundation stock that all other modern water dog breeds are descended from. Which means that the Lagotto is the great grandfather of breeds like the Golden Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog and the Poodle.

Around the 19th century, Italy’s Lagotto population faced a severe decline in numbers when the Italian marshlands were claimed for farming. However, their excellent sense of smell helped them garner interest from Italian truffle collectors. Lagottos have been used almost exclusively for this purpose ever since.


The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very ancient of breed that has been unchanged through the centuries. It is believed that the breed originated from a distinctive breed of duck retriever that existed in the 7th century B.C in the marshlands of Romagna, Italy.


Lagottos should be fed two daily meals of high quality dog food.

Lagottos are an extremely intelligent breed and are always eager to please.


Lagottos are an extremely intelligent breed and are always eager to please. This makes training them a pleasure. They’re also an extremely strong and agile breed and excel in agility contests. Lagottos also have extremely strong retrieving and searching instincts and this should be taken into consideration when developing a training plan.


Laggottos weigh around 24-35 pounds when fully grown.

Temperament and Behavior

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very loving dog that is devoted to its owner. They are also extremely affectionate and gentle with children and make excellent family pets. Lagottos have excellent eyesight and are extremely alert. They will quickly alert their owners to any intrusions into the family property and often make excellent guard dogs.

Lagottos get along fairly well with other dogs and pets, provided that they are socialized from an early age. They do have fairly strong hunting instincts, especially when it comes to birds and fowl, so owners might want to walk their Lagottos on a leash.

Lagottos are an extremely intelligent breed and were bred as a working dog. Therefore they require a great deal of mental stimulation to lead a happy and balanced life. They also love to dig and owners should ideally provide their Lagottos with a sandbox or designated digging area where they can indulge in this tendency.

Common Health Problems

Lagottos are a generally healthy breed and do not suffer from any major hereditary health issues. Some breeding lines are known to have problems with hip dysplasia and epilepsy.

Life Expectancy

Lagottos have fairly long life spans and can often live up to 16 years.

Exercise Requirements

Lagottos are born to work hard and require rigorous, daily exercise. They make excellent hiking and jogging partners. Lagottos also love to swim and often take to the water naturally given the opportunity. It is also important to remember that as a working breed, Lagottos require a “meaningful” and mentally stimulating task that they can engage in each day to live happy and fulfilled lives. This can be something as simple as a game of fetch or a session of hide and seek.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very loving dog that is devoted to its owner.


The Lagotto Romagnolo is currently being recorded in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service.

The club has this to say about the breed: “A small to medium-sized breed, the Lagotto Ramagnolo is the only purebred dog in the world recognized as a specialized searcher of truffles, which are forms of edible fungi found in its homeland of Italy. Lagotti also possess striking coats, made up of thick, waterproof curls that cover their entire body. Coat colors include brown, brown road, off-white, orange, white and brown, or white and orange. The breed has been a part of AKC’s Foundation Stock Service since 2001 under the Sporting group designation.”


The Lagotto’s coat consists of a thick layer of curly hair. This hair does not shed and Lagottos need to be trimmed occasionally to prevent their coat from matting. They also make great pets for dog owners with mild allergies.


As with all breeds, socialization is an important part of the Lagotto Romangolo’s puppyhood. Training too should start early on in the dog’s life.

Photo credit: Entheta/Wikimedia; Canecorsodog/Wikimedia; Pleple2000/Wikimedia

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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