Don’t let their curly, clown-like appearance fool you. The Lagotto Romagnolo 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. It has a natural gift for searching and its very good nose has made this breed very efficient in searching for truffles. While on the search he is not usually distracted by the scent of wild animals or other dogs.
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. The coat will get matted easily and should be groomed on a regular basis where mats should be carefully pulled apart without tearing the coat. They must be cut down at least once every year.
If the coat is kept trimmed to approximately 1 - 2 cm all over the body and slightly longer on the head, it will be easier to maintain and look neat. Hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. If the ear shows irritation and buildup of dirt and earwax, the hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats matt more easily than others.
The Lagotto is loyal, keen, affectionate, very attached to his owner and easy to train. It gets on well with other dogs and other pets if sufficiently socialized. It is an excellent family companion and a very good warning dog.
The Lagotto is a good pet and loves people, but in addition to needing plenty of exercise, it needs to use its brain. This intelligent dog needs a job to do, something to keep its mind occupied. Tracking, games of searching for people in the woods or searching for mushrooms are some ideas. Obedience is also something they like and are good at, and agility is a favorite! If you’re not interested in competition, you can always play hide-and-seek at home. As long as you let the dog use its brain, it won't have to find things to do on its own (that’s never anything good!).
For some this breed is perfect because of its allergy friendly, non-shedding coat, its medium size, its happy disposition, its intelligence and its willingness to work.