The Lagotto Romagnolo is an Italian dog breed known for their wooly curls.
They’re dubbed the “truffle dog” seeing as Lagotti Romagnoli use their powerful noses to sniff out the dainty mushrooms in the Italian countryside.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is a member of the Sporting Group.
While they’re commonly known as Lagotto Romagnolo, they can also be called the Romagna Water Dog.
The American Kennel Club’s website states that the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America is the official parent club for the Lagotto Romgnolo.
The AKC go on to add that Lagotti Romagnoli are the 88th most popular dog breed in the USA.
In this article, we’ll hear from Lupo (@luposniffs), Biscotti (@biscottithelagotti), Apa (@apa.lagotto) and Rona (@lagottorona) to learn more about the Lagotto Romagnolo breed and share some of their photos (with their permission).
Jump To Section
What Is A Lagotto Romagnolo?
A Lagotto Romagnolo is a water dog from the Romagna sub-region of Italy.
The word Romagnol can lagot translates to “water dog” and is a nod to the Lagotto Romagnolo’s initial function as a water retriever. Furthermore, lago is the Italian word for lake.
They were originally used in lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna – but the Lagotto Romagnolo is perhaps best known as a truffle dog.
The Lagotto Romagnolo is the only purebred dog in the world recognised as a specialised truffle searcher, according to the AKC.
DogTime outline that scientists have also studied the genes of Lagotti Romagnoli to better understand juvenile epilepsy and have applied the genetic research to the study of epilepsy in human children.
So, as you can tell, Lagotto Romagnolo are versatile dogs.
Lagotto Romagnolo Appearance
Lagotto Romagnolo’s breed standard states that these water dogs should be between 16 and 19 inches tall and weigh between 24 and 35 pounds.
The AKC’s official standard for the Lagotto Romagnolo has the following to say on the water dog’s appearance:
Small to medium-sized dog, well-proportioned, powerfully built, of rustic appearance, with a dense, curly coat of wooly texture. The dog should give the impression that he has the strength and endurance to work all day in difficult and challenging terrain.
However, there are some members of the breed that can differ slightly from these dimensions and fall outside the measurements listed by the AKC.
Lagotto Romagnolo have a curly coat that is thick and wool-like to contribute to what some might describe as a rustic appearance.
These tight curls are more like human hair than dog fur, resulting in a hypoallergenic dog breed that won’t shed much if at all.
Lagotto Romagnolo can have a range of different coat colors, including brown, orange, orange roan, sable, white, off-white and brown road. Some of the markings include white markings, orange markings, tan markings, brown markings and a brown mask.
The AKC explain that Lagotto Romagnolo will usually sport “a lavish beard, eyebrows and whiskers”.
Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament
You won’t be surprised to learn that Lagotto Romagnolo instinctively love being in water as water dogs! They’ll enjoy a game of fetch with their owner as water retrievers.
These Italian dogs are intelligent and high energy so they’ll need sufficient mental and physical exercise to meet their daily requirements to ensure you’ve got a contented dog.
Lagotto Romagnolo make loving dogs and treasured family members. These water dogs can become particularly attached to one person in the home, while they’ll raise the alarm if a stanger approaches the home.
Lupo’s owner provided an insight into Lagotto Ramagnolo temperament based upon her experience.
I’ve found that Lagotti are high energy dogs that require a decent amount of physical and mental stimulation each day. Lagotti are known to be smart and agile. While it may make some things harder, it makes others easier. I’ve noticed that many Lagotti are reactive and it’s definitely something to watch out for since most, if not all are pretty sensitive dogs. Lagotti are sturdy, hard working dogs, meaning while they may look like teddy bears, they’re not.
Biscotti’s owners Wendy and Joe described the Lagotto Romagnolo as a “sweet and loving breed”.
Very much a homebody – they have a definite “off switch” as soon as you get home. They each have an individual, clear personality – more so than any other breed I’ve met. They are incredibly intelligent and with that can be very stubborn.
Petra, who owns a Lagotto Romagnolo called Rona, described the Italian breed as a “great family dog”.
Lagotto Romagnolo is a great family dog. They love their family and they love to spend time with them however possible whether it’s walks, playing or cuddles – they love it all. They are great with other animals. Smart and loyal, but often shy with strangers. They are usually not dogs that will go to strangers for petting. Great guard dogs!
Apa’s owner Maria explained that in her experience Lagotto Romagnolo can become very attached to one member of the household.
In general, Lagotto Romagnolos will choose a person out of the family and will be attached, loyal to the point where they can get possessive… meaning they can get over protective and reactive around that person.
Lagotto Romagnolo Exercise Requirements
As we touched upon, the Lagotto Romagnolo breed require a lot of exercise. While physical exercise will help to tire out these active dogs, they’ll need mental stimulation considering they’re a highly intelligent dog breed.
Wag Walking recommend around 60 minutes of exercise a day and suggest walks of up to 12 miles a week seeing as these Italian dogs have high activity levels.
Biscotti usually gets around 90 minutes of exercise a day.
As a minimum, probably at least 90 minutes per day of physical exercise, preferably off lead; equally, mental stimulation is required to prevent boredom and bad behaviours. If you’re out for a long walk they can walk all day without any issues. They will happily run with you, go on hikes, fetch a ball in the park or (our dog’s favourite) sniff around for as long as you will let them.
Rona’s owner Petra suggested some scent games to tire out the breed.
Just like all dogs, Lagotto Romagnolo require daily walks and exercises. One walk should be longer so that the dog can run and play. Lagotttos are famous for their incredible sense of smell, so they love games where they can look and sniff for food and that keeps them entertained.
Once exercised, Lupo loves to curl up on the couch for a nap.
Lagotti require a decent amount of physical and mental stimulation to keep them content. Lupo is definitely one of the more relaxed ones and even at that, he needs 1-2 walks, mental stimulation and usually a game of fetch. Once they’ve had some stimulation, mental and physical, they’re usually content to lay down by your side or curl up on the couch.
Are Lagotto Romagnolo Hard To Train?
Lagotto Romagnolo are generally considered an intelligent dog breed. Although they weren’t included in Stanley Coren’s Intelligence Of Dogs book, the AKC describe these truffle dogs as “alert, intelligent and lively”.
They love to learn and please their owners and excel in canine events such as agility and obedience, as well as other pursuits like dock diving (they naturally love water).
We’ve already touched upon some of the functions of the breed, the AKC explain that these curly-haired dogs can be “perfect candidates” for scent work, search-and-rescue and detection of medical conditions.
Petra explained that leash training can be challenging at times with the Lagotto Romagnolo breed.
They are very smart and they understand everything we say, so sometimes they will be stubborn and test their owners, but they are not hard to train and they love to learn! Walking nicely on a leash is usually the biggest problem because their nose leads them so they are focused on smelling everything and that can be the hardest thing to teach them.
Maria went on to explain why she believes training a Lagotto Romagnolo can be tricky.
Lagotti are one of the smartest dogs I’ve come across. What makes them potential for intricate training. However, in my opinion, because they are so smart, it’s harder to train them as puppies, because they don’t just hear a command and do it… they think about it and contemplate all options. But with consistency and positive reinforcement, they learn almost anything, from tricks to jobs. They love having jobs – and remember they are a working breed, so they need a job, otherwise they get troublesome and because of this, they are often not recommended to first time dog owners… they need a lot of training (every day) and consistency.
Do Lagotto Romagnolo Shed A Lot?
Lagotto Romagnolo are considered a hypoallergenic dog breed seeing as these water dogs have a coat that doesn’t really shed at all. The AKC write online that Lagotti Romagnoli have hair more akin to a human than a dog.
They have a double coat of hair rather than fur and shed only minimally, although they may leave little tufts of hair once in a while.
While their coat might be hypoallergenic, Lagotto Romagnolo could still trigger a person’s allergies due to their salvia, urine or pollen caught in their coat.
Maria listed the Lagotto Romagnolo’s hypoallergenic coat as one of the highlights of the breed.
This is one of the highlights of Lagottos – they have hair not fur, therefore they do not shed. However, they do require a lot of grooming to keep their hair clean, and matt free. A daily brushing routine is advised, but at least, they should get a dematting brushing session once a week. They should get groomed once every 4-6 weeks.
The Lagotto Romagnolo have a coat that will need to be trimmed regularly. The AKC underline the importance of regularly grooming these dogs considering some Lagotti Romagnoli could struggle with matting if not brushed regularly.
Biscotti’s owners Wendy and Jo provided an insight into their grooming routine for their Lagotto Romagnolo.
The amount of grooming depends on how long you have their coat. Some people will have them clipped short regularly which required less day to day maintenance. If their coat is longer then you need to stay on top of combing and brushing it to prevent matts. They can also have issues with hair in their ears so staying on top of that is essential.
Wendy and Jo add that Biscotti loves shower time!
More than grooming, they take a lot of showering! Ours is constantly getting covered in mud. We live out in the countryside and every day is a ‘country walk’ day, so she gets fairly muddy on the feet. She doesn’t protest to a shower though, and absolutely loves the blow dry afterwards with a hairdryer.
Are Lagotto Romagnolo Good Family Dogs?
Lagotto Romagnolo can make excellent family pets with proper socialisation. While they’re affectionate and loving dogs, young members of the family will need to be educated on how to treat these water dogs with care. DogTime go as far as saying that Lagotto Romagnolo are “dedicated” to their families.
Wendy and Joe consider the Lagotto Romagnolo to be great family pets based upon their experience with Biscotti.
They are extremely friendly and people-oriented. Ours has been incredibly gentle and patient with children of all ages, as is her brother who we see a lot. They have never shown any instinct towards defensiveness or aggression. Similarly with other pets, ours just watches them from a distance but isn’t particularly interested in chasing or engaging with them. We have sheep and cows as neighbours and our dog is inquisitive, cautious and happily recalled/led away from the fences.
Lupo is described by his owners as picky about what people he’s fond of, highlighting that every dog is different even within the same breed.
It really depends on the individual when it comes to kid-friendliness and pet-friendliness. Some are amazing family dogs while others are fearful of kids or other animals. Lupo is definitely in the middle of that broad spectrum. He’s picky with what people he likes, depends on the adult or kid (he usually prefers older kids). It also depends on the dog. I’ve noticed that many don’t tolerate puppies and for Lupo in particular, he dislikes dogs jumping in his face. I know (through social media) some Lagotti that are amazing family dogs and are awesome with puppies while others couldn’t handle kids and struggle with puppies. Again, it really depends on the individual.
Lagotto Romagnolo Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can affect any dog irrespective of breed or mix. So you may encounter some Lagotto Romagnolo who suffer with separation anxiety but other members of the breed who aren’t affected in the slightest by being left at home alone.
Lupo likes to be in his crate but initially experience severe separation anxiety.
Once again, it depends on the individual but yes, many Lagotti have separation anxiety. Lupo is crate trained and it definitely helps but when we got him, it was insane. We couldn’t even get something from up stairs without him breaking down into a tantrum. I know a few Lagotti that are on anti anxiety medication because their spermatozoon anxiety is so severe. Depends on the individual but many individuals of this breed have separation anxiety.
Biscotti has benefitted from some separation anxiety training to counter this chronic canine condition.
Ours is perfectly happy if we go out for a few hours (we have a camera to check and she is usually just asleep). This is mostly a training thing though, she has been progressively left alone from five minutes, rising incrementally to two or three hours. We will only leave her for longer periods after a walk, food and toilet so we know she has no ‘needs’ other than sleep.
Maria explained that separation anxiety can be an issue that is more prevalent in Lagotti puppies before owners work on the behavioural problem.
It’s the most common issue with Lagotto puppies because they get attached so much to their person they have a hard time being away from such a person. However, it’s trainable, and with patience and short distancing, it gets better with time.
Are Lagotto Romagnolo Fussy Eaters?
You should speak to your vet to find out about the dietary needs of Lagotto Romagnolo. They’ll benefit from a balanced and compete diet that meets their daily requirements.
While Maria admitted some Lagotti could be fussy, most appear to be food motivated.
In general I would say no, but like in every breed they are outliers. Most Lagotti are actually little vacuums, so much so that it’s a problem because they will eat anything, even things that are not good for them like plastic, pits, rotten things, twigs, even rocks… etc…
Wendy and Jo revealed Biscotti isn’t a voracious eater.
Ours definitely isn’t ‘food obsessed’, but I wouldn’t say she’s fussy – she just won’t eat it if she’s not hungry. Her brother is very food oriented though, so I think it’s variable within the breed.
Rona’s owner Petra had some great advice for Lagotto Romagnolo owners.
Since their sense of smell is amazing they smell all kind of garbage and food outside so that is a problem when they are puppies and you have to teach them to drop it or leave it. They are not fussy eaters because they love food and will eat almost everything.
How Much Do Lagotto Romagnolo Cost?
The Lagotto Romagnolo Club Of America offer some fantastic advice on their website for anyone looking to find a Lagotto Romagnolo breeder.
The most important piece of advice that can be given is to “choose your breeder, not the puppy”. You will fall in love with any puppy – that is a guarantee. But, a life with a dog that is not healthy or has a poor temperament will cost you time, money and a lot of heartbreak.
The average price of a Lagotto Romagnolo can vary depending on the breeder.
All four of the Lagotto Romagnolo owners in this article cited a similar price of $3500 USD, £2000 GBP, €3000 EUR and $3500 CAD.
However, Apa’s owner Maria pointed out some instances where a Lagotto Romagnolo could cost more or less than the suggested range of $3,000-4,000.
From my research [Lagotti can cost] anywhere between $1,000 to $10,000. $1,000 when looking at rehoming and $10,0000 for tricolor or bloodline award winner/truffle hunter. In average a new puppy will cost $3000-$4000.
Lagotto Romagnolo Breeder Advice
Lupo: Something to look for in a good breeder is health testing. They need to have all their OFA’s completed before breeding. I also suggest dogs that have titles in the show ring or hunt truffles… Overall, look for breeders who health test (and that the dogs have good results) as well as who title their dogs in the show ring or for truffles with them.
Biscotti: Make sure your lifestyle fits the breed of dog – don’t try to change their instincts and needs to fit your life. Look for experienced breeders, meet some Lagotti if you can, ask the questions that you really need the answers to. I can imagine these dogs could be a bit of a handful if your life and their instincts/temperaments don’t align.
Rona: I would advise them to be patient and not to rush into it! Meet the breeders, meet their dogs, ask to see all the papers and health results, and then decide. There are a lot of scammers so just give it time.
Lagotto Romagnolo To Follow On Instagram
If you’re looking to learn more about the Lagotto Romagnolo breed, you may find it useful to follow some members of the breed on Instagram. Here are some accounts that you may find enlightening.
• Lupo (@luposniffs)
• Biscotti (@biscottithelagotti)
• Apa (@apa.lagotto)
• Rona (@lagottorona)
Some more Lagotti Romagnoli Pictures
We’ve reached the end of our feature on Lagotto Romagnolo.
They’re original function was to work as water retrievers, but in modern times, they’ve established a reputation as the word’s finest truffle dogs.
Lagotto Romagnolo are hypoallergenic dogs with hair rather than fur, so these Italian dogs practically don’t shed but require a lot of grooming.
As high energy and intelligent dogs, they’ll require plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They’ll enjoy water activities – too.