For colour, the Lagotto Romagnolo breed standard states:  Off-white solid colour, white with brown or orange patches, orange roan, brown roan, brown (in different shades) with or without white, orange with or without white. Some dogs have a brown to dark brown mask. Tan markings (in different shades) allowed.

How many of these colours do we have in New Zealand?

Off-white solid colour: Tod & Bubbles & Spritz

White with brown patches: Basil & Pixie & Lady

White with orange patches: Olive & Bella

Brown with tan markings: Moana & Vinny

Brown roan: Marco & Mint & Miggee

Roan is the colour that those who don’t know the breed find most curious. Roan is a mixture of brown and white hairs which gives the overall impression of a lighter brown. The curiosity lies in the fact that the puppies are born white with brown patches but as they grow the white areas progressively darken until they become roan. Some roan dogs retain a dappled look in their roan areas with the original brown patches still very visible, whereas other roan dogs continue to darken until they are virtually indistinguishable from brown dogs whose coats have lightened with age. Below you can see pictures of Marco at 3, 5 & 13 months and above left as an adult.

Brown in different shades: Merlot, Tiki & Kaila

Brown puppies are born very dark chocolate brown, but their coats almost always become lighter with age. This comes from genes that cause fading – lightening of the hair, as well as greying – replacement of coloured hairs by uncoloured hairs. Brown dogs that lighten with age often look indistinguishable as adults from roan dogs that have darkened considerably. Occasionally a brown puppy will not lighten at all, but retain the dark brown colour into adulthood, as you can see in Merlot’s picture above left. It is difficult to predict which puppy coats will lighten, looking at the puppy’s parents’ coat colour will give you some idea, but no guarantees, ultimately it comes down to a genetic roll of the dice.

Brown with white: Wilson & Mia & Alba

Orange: Stella & Ziggy & Romeo

To learn more about the genetics of colour in the Lagotto Romagnolo follow this link: