Characteristics and Temperament

OMG-puppiesThe Lagotto Romagnolo is a small to medium sized dog with thick curly waterproof hair. Its general appearance is of a robust, sturdy, well-proportioned dog with a square build and a rustic look, its utility as a working dog should be obvious. The double coat does not shed, so is considered hypoallergenic. The Lagotto comes in a wide range of colours of white, orange, roan and brown, as solid colours or mixed together. The nose is brown and the eye colour ranges from amber to dark brown. There is no black colouring in the breed. Tan markings with any coat colour are allowed, though the markings tend to fade with age. Sable appears occasionally in the breed and is considered a shade of brown, this colouring usually fades from darker brown to extremely light with age. Brown roan puppies are born white-brown, and are initially indistinguishable from puppies that will remain white and brown. Around 3 weeks of age, brown roan puppies begin changing in colour, their pads start to darken and the white coat starts to grow out brown at the skin. The brown roan puppy continues to darken over the first year of life, sometimes retaining a dappled look with brown patches and sometimes becoming an even brown all over. Brown puppies are born dark chocolate brown, though their coat will almost always become lighter brown with age. When meeting a brown coloured adult Lagotto, it is not always possible to tell if they were born brown, or roan-white-brown. The only sure way to know is to see their puppy pictures.

Mia sniffing for trufflesLagotti (the plural for Lagotto) are happy, active dogs with an affectionate disposition. They are also a sensitive breed and some can be shy with strangers, so they need to be well socialised from a young age to help them overcome this reserve. Lagotti are very attached to their owners and love to please, making them easy to train. This strong attachment also means they flourish as an integral part of the family; although they need plenty of outdoor activities and exercise, they do best living indoors with their people.  Lagotti have an acute sense of hearing and although not a yappy dog, they can be quite vocal if they hear something unusual or strangers are in the vicinity of their home. Noisy and lively as a puppy, with proper socialisation and training, the Lagotto will grow up to be an excellent family companion.

Those considering ownership of a Lagotto should note that this intelligent and lively breed requires consistent positive training from day one to get the best from them.

Whilst there are many great positive reward based dog training books, here in New Zealand an excellent local resource for raising puppies is the book Puppy Zen written by animal behaviourist Mark Vette.

Male  13 – 16kg, height 43 – 48 cm.
Female 11 – 14kg, height 41 to 46 cm.

at the beachExercise

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a working dog and therefore has tons of energy. Lagotti love to swim, to retrieve and also to dig. Most Lagotti are excellent natural swimmers and will retrieve happily from streams, lakes and the sea. Some Lagotti need to learn to swim confidently by example from other dogs. Many Lagotti love to chase and retrieve so much that they do not know when to stop playing with a ball and you will have to firmly put an end to the game. Lagotti have a very strong urge to dig, if you have a beautiful garden it will be necessary to give your Lagotto a sand-pit or its own little corner of the garden to satisfy the need to dig.

Because of their manoeuvrability and willingness to work, Lagotti are excellent at all sorts of dog sports and activities. They do well in obedience, agility and fly-ball training. Learning to track or to be a search and rescue dog is also possible. In addition to plenty of exercise, these intelligent dogs need to use their brain, they are happiest when they have a job to do. They love all sorts of games including hide and seek, chase and fetch, scent-work, or just taking long walks with their owners. There are many fun ways of keeping your Lagotto fit and healthy.

This very active breed is better suited for the family or individual that will provide them with plenty of exercise. Do not be deceived by the cute curly good looks of the Lagotto Romagnolo, these are working dogs and they need exercise and mental stimulation to stay mentally and physically healthy. Puppies will differ in the amount of working ability they inherit. With sufficient exercise, some will be suited to being urban companion dogs, while others will have the independence and energy that makes them more suitable for families with very active lifestyles. It is important that the pup’s temperament suits the lifestyle it is destined for. It is a good idea to discuss your requirements with the breeder, they will be able to advise you in this.

young TikiGrooming:

The signature look of the Lagotto Romagnolo is the tight curls that fit the body. They are shown in conformation in a natural rustic style with no blowing, fluffing or brushing out of the hair. The coat should match the lines of the dog and the curls should be evident. The dog should have the rustic appearance of the working dog that it is.

Pixie looking curlyLagotti are relatively low-maintenance for a coated breed. They have a double coat of tightly curled, non-shedding hair that covers their entire body including the face. They do not require frequent bathing, typically about once a month. The hair grows continuously and the topcoat and undercoat intertwine to form a naturally waterproof loose felt. Some coats felt more easily than others do. Combing or brushing can be done lightly with a metal comb or nylon brush.

Avoid excessive grooming as this can promote unnatural matting of the coat. The coat should be clipped completely down once a year to remove all the old hair. Late spring or early summer is the best time to completely cut off the winter coat. For the rest of the year, the coat can be kept tidy and at the desired length with scissoring. The coat should always be trimmed to the lines of the body and the tail trimmed like a carrot. Hair on the face should be trimmed to expose the eyes and hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. Comb or cut any tight balls of mats away from places such as behind the ears, under the armpits and between the toes. The hairs from the ear canal should be gently removed regularly to prevent them blocking the ear canal.