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Lagotto Romagnolo – Truffle King with an Acute Sense of Smell

07.10.2022 - Reading time: 4 minutes

Eine Nahaufnahme eines Lagotto-Romangnolo.

Originally the Lagotto Romagnolo was bred in Italy as a water dog. Its traditional function was as a gun dog, specifically a water retriever, but nowadays it is used for a different kind of hunt – uncovering truffles. In Germany the dog has grown in popularity due to its obedience and intelligence. Its sensitive nose makes it ideal for all kinds of sniffer or detection work. Moreover, it is easy to care for and gets on well with humans, who find many uses for the breed.


Newsletter Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo
Retrievers, gun dogs, water dogs
43 to 48 centimetres (male) 41 to 46 centimetres (female)
13 to 16 kilograms (male), 11 to 14 kilograms (female)
well proportioned and powerful, almost square
large and rounded; the colour spectrum ranges from ochre through hazelnut to dark brown
medium size; triangular with round tip, carried hanging down
Coat and colour
curly coat with undercoat; top coat and undercoat are impervious to water; six colourways Bianco, Marrone, Bianco Marrone, Roano Marrone, Arancio, Bianco Arancio
Special features
once a gun dog, now a truffle dog
intelligent, hard-working dog attached to humans
does not shed, should be shorn twice a year; remove hair from ears on a regular basis
Benign familial juvenile epilepsy (JE), hip dysplasia (HD), patella luxation, lysosomal storage disease (LSD)

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Lagotto Romagnolo – from gun dog to tracker hound

Anyone seeing the Lagotto Romagnolo for the first time might think that this is a poodle or a poodle cross. This similarity is not arbitrary – both breeds were originally used as water dogs. Lagottos proved to be useful in hunting coots in the lagoons of Comacchio and the marshy regions of the low plains of Emilia-Romagna. At the end of the 19th century the marshes were drained and these active working dogs became redundant. However, they quickly proved themselves in a new profession – truffle hunting. These exclusive mushrooms grow underground and are very difficult to find – an acute sense of smell is needed for this detective work. And this is where the Lagotto Romagnolo excels. This breed is even better at finding truffles than a pig, and does not succumb to the temptation of eating the valuable mushroom itself, which happens only too often with pigs!

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very old breed of dog. It is medium sized, the withers height in males is between 43 and 48 centimetres, in females between 41 and 46 centimetres. The Lagotto Romagnolo is bred in six colourways – bianco (white), marrone (brown), bianco marrone (white with brown flecks), roano marrone (brown roan), arancio (orange), bianco arancio (white with orange-coloured flecks). The breed was provisionally recognised by the largest international federation of national kennel clubs, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), in 1995 and then officially in 2005.

Characteristics and character traits of the Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo loves its owner and works well together with him. It is obedient and intelligent. Its hunting instinct has been bred out of the dog since it has been used as a truffle dog. As a hard worker, it needs mental stimulation. Its tracking skills come to the fore in sports such as mantrailing (hunting for people) or searching for objects – it doesn’t just have to be truffles. The Lagotto loves long walks as much as extensive cuddle times.

Training and care of a Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo has a reputation as an obedient dog that is easy to train. It is devoted to its owner. Love and respect coupled with consistent behaviour make the Lagotto a calm and well-balanced companion. Make sure that your four-legged friend has sufficient mental and physical stimulation. The Lagotto Romagnolo prefers a house with a garden to an apartment block.

Caring for a Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo does not shed and is easy to care for. It should be shorn twice a year. Pay particular attention to its ears. The hair that grows in the inner ear must be removed once a month.

Characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo

This breed suffers from various hereditary diseases. Lysosomal storage disease (LSD), which is a rare inherited metabolic disorder, was only recently discovered in the Lagotto. In addition, benign familial juvenile epilepsie (JE), hip dysplasia (HD), and a hereditary form of patella luxation (a condition in which the patella, or kneecap, dislocates or moves out of its normal location) can occur. Therefore be sure to find a reliable breeder when buying a puppy.

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