Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a specialized Italian water dog. In fact, they are known to be the best truffle hunters in the whole world. They forage for some of the tastiest and most expensive, fungi in Italy! Although not many Lagotti (plural of lagotto) earn their keep by digging up Italian delicacies anymore, these dogs are becoming increasingly popular. They are loving, playful, and easy-going companions. Read on to learn more about the Lagotto Romagnolo.

Description of the Lagotto Romagnolo

These dogs look an awful lot like their more famous cousins: the Portuguese Water Dog. Of course, this makes sense, as both were originally bred as water retrievers, meant to collect fowl for hunters. They still retain the quintessential coat with tight curls that are great at wicking water.

Although these curls cover the Logotto’s entire body, they are less pronounced on the head. The hair is soft, more like a human’s than a typical dog’s fur. These dogs may come in many colors including brown, roan, off-white, and orange. Some coats also include white accents.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is widely considered to be extremely cute. It’s something about that curly hair, floppy ears, and bright eyes.

Life Expectancy and Size

This breed is quite long-lived. Their average lifespan ranges between 15 and 17 years. Although there are some perpetuating health issues, they are generally healthy. These may not always shorten their lives, but often decrease their quality.

These are medium sized dogs that stand between 16 and 19 inches tall, and weigh between 24 and 35 pounds.

Protective Ability

This breed is known for its bark, but they are certainly no one’s first choice as a guard dog. Most Lagotti are aloof with strangers, but it is very unusual for them to be aggressive. Some may even be quite timid. In short, these dogs may serve as decent watch dogs, but otherwise do not offer much protection.


The Lagotto Romagnolo is clever and generally learns quickly. Of course, this is providing that he has a good teacher. Make sure to keep training sessions just the right balance of challenging and fun. Lagotti enjoy mental challenges, but should not be faced with tasks so difficult that they become frustrated.

They do best with reward-based training and may choose to avoid or ignore you if you resort to correction-based training.

Lagotti excel at nose work, which means they can be put to good use in many situations, not just hunting for truffles! Many of these dogs make great search and rescue team members. Some are even used by the police or military as drug and bomb dogs, or to sniff out certain medical conditions.

Energy Level

These dogs are a good mix of both an alert and steady disposition. They would never be called lethargic; this breed is always ready to go for an adventure. However, they also do not crave exercise like many other breeds. Rather, they necessitate companionship.

That’s not to say physical exercise isn’t important for the Lagotto Romagnolo. It will help them stay fit and healthy, decreasing health problems especially as they age.

What Living with a Lagotto Romagnolo is Like

The Lagotto Romagnolo’s sweet temperament and moderate exercise needs can fit into many families. These traits, accompanied by the breed’s manageable size, make them generally quite easy to deal with. These dogs are the perfect introduction to a slightly more challenging breed. They’re not as easy as some breeds like the Shih Tzu or Dachshund, but can make great pets for owners with at least some experience.

However, they are still very capable. Their impressive nose work and hard-working attitude makes them good candidates for many jobs. Illustrious owners may enjoy putting their skills to the test.

This breed may live up to 17 years, generally leading a healthy life.

Care of the Lagotto Romagnolo

These hardy dogs are well suited to a variety of environments and lifestyles. Although they require some grooming, their minimal shedding is a huge plus.

Environmental Needs

Lagotti have a beautiful head of hair that does more than just look pretty. It is specially designed to wick away water, essential in their former profession, when they were required to retrieve waterfowl. The curls also protect these dogs from thorns and brambles.

Of course, it also keeps them quite warm in the winter. In summer, it may be a good idea to trim the coat shorter, to avoid any overheating. Remember to always provide shade and clean water if your dog is going to be outdoors.

Exercise Needs

Although the Lagotto does not have extensive exercise needs, do not think that you can simply throw him outside in the yard. These dogs aren’t ones to exercise themselves. While time outdoors is much appreciated, interactive activities are much better. These dogs love their people!

They particularly appreciate playing games. This can be a great way to release their energy.

These adaptable dogs can also easily adjust to homes with less access to the outdoors. In these cases, it is more important that they receive adequate daily walks, hikes, jogs, or training games. Remember, these were hunting dogs back in the day. Although easy going, they’re still capable and athletic.

Shedding and Grooming

These dogs exhibit little to know shedding. This is because of their special coat, made up of hair that is almost human-like. Their special coat also traps more dander and loose hair close to the skin, rather than releasing it into the home. That’s great news for allergy sufferers.

Unfortunately, all those benefits do come with some responsibility. It is important to brush the Lagotto at least weekly to ensure his hair doesn’t matt. Regular clipping, at home or with a groomer, will ensure that their coats remain easily manageable.

Ideal Home Environment

This breed is great for families looking for a relatively easy-care dog that also has some energy. Exercise requirements are not overwhelming, but these dogs can easily keep up with active families. In fact, they will do well in all but the most athletic homes.

These dogs may be aloof toward strangers, but are caring with their own family. Well-socialized dogs are usually great with kids and other family pets. The Lagotto Romagnolo’s low shed coat makes it the perfect candidates for allergy sufferers.

Health Concerns

This breed is generally quite healthy, and can be expected to live a long life.

However, they do have some real health concerns. Some Lagotti have neurological issues, including epilepsy, and the breed-specific Storage Disease. Like many dogs, the Logotto may begin to have joint pain as he ages.

Behavior Problems

This breed can be barky, there’s no way around it. Otherwise, this breed is not particularly well known for behavior concerns. Destructive behaviors, like chewing or digging, may arise if they become bored.

They can be somewhat aloof around strangers, so it’s important to teach them that strangers are trustworthy from a young age.