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The lagotto

Breed description

The Lagotto Romagnolo, also known as the Italian truffle dog, is an old breed that has not been recognised for very long. In 1995, the breed was provisionally recognised by the FCI, with final recognition coming in 2005.

Originally the Lagotto was used in the swamps around Ravenna for hunting small waterfowl. With the drying up of the marshes, they were increasingly used for truffle hunting in the adjacent hilly area in Emilia-Romagna.

The Lagotto is generally a fast and agile dog, which makes it very useful for work in hills and on uneven surfaces. They have a natural urge to search and are very focused on their owner. The Lagotto is intelligent, can be a little cautious/reserved with strangers and can be noisy. In the house they are calm and playful, outside they love to run and dig. The Lagotto is suitable for several forms of dog sports. They perform well in obedience, agility and flyball.

The Lagotto has a curly coat that will molt if not trimmed. The Lagotto is brown, white or orange. With or without markings which may be single coloured or mouldy. There are also dogs with tan markings. Most brown and orange dogs have a genetic ageing factor and therefore do not stay as dark in colour when they are born. Occasionally, shorthairs (these dogs have no moustache and beard and short hair on the legs) and puppies with shorter tails are born. This is the result of inbreeding from other breeds in the past.

The Lagotto's beautiful coat requires a lot of maintenance. The coat does not shed, but it does need regular maintenance. A good brushing monthly and trimming at least four times a year is really necessary. The hairs in the opening of the ear canal, if they become loose, should be partially removed to avoid problems. If this is taught to young puppies, it will not cause problems in the future.
Depending on the speed at which the nails are growing, they should be clipped weekly, biweekly or monthly.


As with any living creature, genetic defects also occur in the Lagotto Romagnolo. Currently (January 2024), it is compulsory in the Netherlands to test the Lagotto for the following; hip dysplasia, patella (kneecap), hereditary eye defects, Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE), Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD) and HUU.

In addition, it is possible to check the elbows (ODC, LPC, LPA, incongruence) and to show through a DNA test whether or not the dog is a carrier of the short hair gene (Furnishing). For more detailed information on the health of the Lagotto, please refer to the Health page.