The Lagotto Romagnolo is an ancient breed from Italy, renowned for its ability to hunt truffles on all kinds of terrain. This breed was originally used as a water retriever, which is why it is often grouped with other retriever and sporting breeds. The Lagotto Romagnolo is believed to be one of the oldest and most established dog breeds, with its origins dating back to the Renaissance era in Italy. The breed's name comes from ""Lago,"" the Italian word for ""lake,"" reflecting the breed's original job as a water retriever in the marshlands of the Romagna region. Over time, the draining of marshlands in the Romagna region reduced the need for water retrievers. The breed's keen sense of smell and perseverance, however, soon found a new purpose: hunting truffles, a type of rare and expensive underground fungus. The Lagotto Romagnolo is the only breed specifically recognized for this unique talent, and its use in truffle hunting continues to this day.
Lagotto Romagnolos can suffer from cerebellar abiotrophy, cerebellar ataxia (autophagy), epilepsy, hyperuricosuria, lysosomal storage disease, noise sensitivity, and progressive retinal atrophy. As a larger breed they are at risk for developing orthopedic problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Genetic testing is recommended, including for the following additional conditions: hyperuricosoria, degenerative myelopathy, and progressive rod-cone degeneration.
Lagottos are known for their sharp intelligence, high energy levels, and friendly demeanor. They are loyal and affectionate, making them great companions for families. As a working breed, they require regular mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Without adequate exercise, these dogs can become restless and destructive.
These dogs are also known for their excellent problem-solving skills, likely developed from their history of truffle hunting. This makes them easy to train but can also lead to mischief if they are not properly engaged.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is often referred to as a "hypoallergenic" breed because they have hair rather than fur. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, breeds with hair, like the Lagotto, may cause fewer allergy symptoms in susceptible individuals.
Despite their proficiency at hunting truffles, Lagottos are not particularly interested in eating them.
This breed is known for its unique curly coat, which can vary in color from white, off-white, and different shades of brown to orange.