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Lagotto Romagnolo
Characteristics, History, and Health

Lagotto Romagnolo

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.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Italian Water Dog, Lake Dog from Romagna, Romagna Water Dog, Lagotto
Life Expectancy
15-17 years
Average Male Height
17-19 inches
Average Female Height
16-18 inches
Average Male Weight
28.5-35 pounds
Average Female Weight
24-31 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Double, Curly
Coat Colors
Brown, Orange, Orange Roan, Sable, White, Off-White, Sable, Brown Roan
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Orange Markings, Tan Markings, Brown Markings, Brown Mask

Genetic Predispositions and Health

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.

Personality and Behavior

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.

Fun Facts

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.