Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a medium sized dog with a non-shedding curly coat. It is a working dog that originates from Italy. It’s one of the most recent dog breeds to be recognised and accepted into the gundog group in the UK.

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Group

Gundog

Size of the Lagotto Romagnolo

Medium. The Lagotto Romagnolo is the smallest dog in the gundog group.

Country of Origin

Italy

Time of original development

The date of origin is unknown, but the Lagotto Romagnolo is thought to be a very old breed, with references going back at least 4 centuries. It was first recognised by the Kennel Club in 1991, and is a fairly new breed to be welcomed into the gundog group.

The Lagotto Romagnolo’s uses through History

The breed was originally used to retrieve ducks and game birds from the often freezing waters in the Romagne area of Italy for many centuries. The Lagotto’s’ amazing sense of smell has resulted in a new prized career in Italy for the breed - It is now used primarily for sniffing out the luxury delicacy food truffles on the continent.

In the UK the Lagotto Romagnolo enjoys a more leisurely life as an excellent family loving pet, but will still enjoy the challenge of retrieving on the shoot as a working dog if able to so.

Lagotto Romagnolo introduction and overview

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a squarish, medium sized gundog with a tight curly, wooly coat with a distinctive face that features eyebrows, and whiskers and beard on the muzzle. The coat has a water-repellent undercoat that acted as protection from the elements, as the dogs jumped in often freezing water to retrieve ducks on the hunt. The tight curls also protected the Lagotto from the hazards of brambles and thorns endured on rough terrain while working.

The breed was a popular working gundog on the Romagne region of Italy until the 1900s, when hunting declined. The breed is renowned for its inceredible sense of smell, intelligence and stamina. It still works on the continent searching out truffles.

The Lagotto is becoming increasingly popular in the U.K. as its reputation grows as an excellent family pet and companion. It is also one of the smaller dogs in the gundog group, making it more practical around the family home than some of the larger and heavier gundogs. The cost of feeding and regular routine health treatments is also significantly cheaper for this particular gundog.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is fond of water, and is a keen and proficient swimmer. It will quite happily swim in winter months in freezing waters.

Perhaps the most advantageous and unique features of the Lagotto is that it does not shed its coat. It’s the only gundog that is hypoallergenic, so gives real hope to prospective pet owners who suffer from allergies to pets, but wish to own a gundog.

Colour Varieties of the Lagotto Romagnolo

This curly coated dog comes in a variety of colours and markings including:

  • Brown
  • Brown and White
  • Brown Roan
  • Off White
  • Orange
  • Orange and White
  • Orange Roan
  • White

Size and weight of the Lagotto Romagano

Height bitch 41-46cms

Height dog 43-48cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 11-14kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 13-16gs

Exercise requirements of the Lagotto Romagano

High. This athletic, strong and enthusiastic dog needs at least 2 hours of exercise, off the lead. It requires lots of open space to exercise, so not suited to apartment living or an urban lifestyle. Lack of exercise or mental stimulation can quickly result in unwanted and destructive behaviour including separation anxiety or even self-harm such as chewing limbs.
Prospective owners should give careful thought to the time commitment, space required and exercise requirements of this sporty, athletic breed.

Lagotto Romagnolo temperament

The Lagotto Romagnolo is gaining popularity here in the UK for many reasons. It’s a lovely, loyal, family-orientated dog that mixes well with childrens and adults alike. Caution should be used around small pets such as rabbits, birds and small furries due to its inherent hunting instinct, but usually excellent with cats if socialised from an early age.

The breed is also one of the more 'cuddly' dogs in the gundog group with a soft wooly coat.

The breed loves to be around people and does not like to be left alone for long periods.

Training should also be started from puppyhood to prevent unwanted behavioural problems such as roaming or running off which is simply natural instinct for a dog such as the Lagotto Romagnolo. A good recall is a must for this breed.

Is the Lagotto Romagnolo a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The breed is easy to train and a quick learner, but any new owner must be aware of the high levels of daily physical exercise this breed requires.

Lagotto Romagnolo coat length

Medium. The coat is covered in tight wooly curls with a water-resistant undercoat. The dog has a distinctive almost comical expression due to his unusual and endearing feature of eyebrows, whiskers and beard.

rooming requirements of the Lagotto Romagnolo

Low. One of the advantages of owning this breed is the curly coat does not shed around the home. The Lagotto Romagnolo is unique, being the only gundog that does not shed its fur.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a good dog to walk in even in the foulest weather conditions as the curly coat protects it from water and mud. The breed does not get soaked or caked in mud. After a muddy walk your dog breed should be dried off with a towel to remove excess water and mud. The coat can then be gently brushed through with a soft slicker brush to prevent tangles, matts, and brambles, thorns and debris.

Ears should be checked regularly for foreign bodies such as thorns, brambles and ticks often picked up by this enthusiastic explorer. The ears of the Lagotto are prone to ear infections especially in dogs who like to  swim frequently.

The longer muzzle hair or beard and moustache can encourage build up of old food particles and debris and make mealtimes and drinking a messy affair. To remove dried food deposits from the muzzle area, simply moisten the fur with warm water and a gentle dog shampoo diluted approx 5/1 to make a lather, rubbing gently to loosen dried deposits in the muzzle. Teasing tangles out should be fairly easy after a couple of minutes. Avoid using a comb on the moistened area as tugging and pulling may be uncomfortable and stressful for your pet, in this highly sensitive area. Rinse thoroughly, and then towel dry and brush through gently to finish with a soft slicker brush to remove any remaining matts and tangles.

The non-shed curly coat of the Lagotto can grow quite long and many owners choose to have their dog clipped by a professional groomer once or twice a year. Expect to pay from £40 upwards for a clipping session.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes. This breed may be suitable for dog lovers who suffer from allergies to pet hairs and unable to own many breeds that shed. But please consult your G.P. before taking on a dog if you suffer from asthma or severe allergic health problems.

Health Issues in the Lagotto Romagnolo

The breed is generally healthy, with no reported defects and should enjoy a lengthy expected lifespan. However, all new owners should consult their breeder about the following known health issues:

  • Hip dysplasia - an inherited malformation of the hip joint, has been found in the breed but is very rare.
  • Ear problems - keep ears clean with a designated ear cleaner for dogs and check frequently for any signs of infection.

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Lagotto Romagnolo

A healthy Lagotto Romagnolo should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of 10-14 years.

Approximate Lagotto Romagnolo pedigree puppy price

Puppies are not always available, so potential owners may have to join breeder waiting lists for upcoming litters. Just 49 Lagotto Romagnolo puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2015. Prices for a pedigree pup do vary from as little as £500, right up to £1000 and litters tend to be quite small with only 4-6 puppies in a litter. Expect to travel to find a suitable puppy.

Estimating how much a Lagotto Romagnolo would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 12kgs requires 212gms of complete dry food per day.

A dog weighing 15kgs requires 237gms of complete dry food per day.

The weekly cost of feeding a bitch is around £5.20. The weekly cost of feeding a dog is around £5.80

Other necessary costs and regular expenses to consider when owning any dog

Don’t forget to budget for routine care costs that are not covered by your pet insurance:

  • Worming treatments
  • Flea treatments
  • Annual vaccination boosters
  • Dental treatment