The Lagotto Romagnolo is relatively low-maintenance for a coated breed. They have a double coat of curly, non-shedding hair that covers their entire body including the face. The coat grows continuously so needs to be clipped or scissored to keep it tidy. The coat benefits from being clipped completely down once a year to remove all the old hair; this encourages the curl to grow back fresh and improved.

The Lagotto coat changes from puppy to adolescent to adult. The puppy coat is very soft and gradually develops curl and structure. When you get your puppy home it is already time to begin clipping or scissoring their coat. This will help improve the curl but it is also important for the comfort of the puppy. Although puppies look very cute with a long coat, it keeps the puppy too warm and holds too much dirt and moisture.

This great video from Jaqueline Barbieri shows how to clip a puppy.

As the coat develops it should start to feel less soft and a little more coarse. It can take 2 or 3 years for the Lagotto coat to develop fully. The adult coat can vary from large open curls to small tight curls, all are considered correct. The amount of undercoat also varies, so some coats felt more easily than others. The coat can be combed or brushed lightly with a metal comb or brush and the dog bathed about once a month. Too much brushing will destroy the coat’s structure and too much shampooing will destroy its water and dirt resistant properties.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is shown in a natural rustic style, with no fluffing or brushing out of the coat. The coat should be 4cm in length, uniform with the silhouette of the dog, and the curls should be evident. Any excessive hair-styling will exclude the dog from being qualified. The correct clip is un-pretentious and contributes to accentuate the natural, rustic look typical of the breed.

For the correct Lagotto look, the coat should be trimmed to the lines of the body and the tail trimmed with no feathering. The head should appear round, with the eyes visible and hair on the ears trimmed around the edges to the leather. Comb or cut any tight balls or matting 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 build-up of wax and dirt.

If you plan to take your Lagotto to a groomer, it is a good idea to get your puppy used to the grooming salon prior to their first grooming session. Create a positive experience so your puppy is always happy to be groomed. Looking for a good groomer? Try asking other Lagotto owners on your local Facebook Group. To get the real Lagotto look and avoid a poodle / doodle cut, print out this instruction sheet and take it with you to the groomer. Thanks to Laura Tanos of Regun Kennels for permission to use her instruction sheet.

If you would like to try grooming your own Lagotto, A Beginner’s Guide to Clipping, Grooming, Bathing and ALL things Lagotto is a wonderfully comprehensive beginner’s guide written by Lynne McWhinnie for the Lagotto Romagnolo Association UK.

This detailed video covering puppy, pet and show grooming, is from renowned Lagotto breeder Monica Benelli of Il Granaio dei Malatesta Kennel in Italy.