Lagotto Romagnolo: Temperament, Price, and Puppies For Sale


Sensitivity to strangers
Affection for family
Suitable for first-time owners
Ease of grooming
Energy level

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The Lagotto Romagnolo is a 100% made in Italy breed, endowed with an extraordinary sense of smell, and specialized in the search for truffles.

Originally used as a water dog (like the Labrador Retriever), the Lagotto Romagnolo, also known as the “Romagna water dog”, was well known in the areas of Ravenna and the Comacchio Valleys, all the way to the Friuli plain. But when these marshy areas of the Po were cleared around the 19th century, searching truffles became its specialty. It is a task in which it excels thanks to its extraordinary sense of smell.

Lagotto Romagnolo: Origins

This dog breed has very ancient origins. There are portrayals of some specimens in the necropolis of Spina, built by the Etruscans. In Roman times, it spread especially in Ravenna, Comacchio and in the lower Friuli area. Its name comes from there.

In the painting by Andrea Mantegna (Chamber of the Bridegrooms, 1465), exhibited in the Ducal Palace of Mantua, Italy, it is possible to see one, represented next to the legs of a nobleman.

Initially, the Lagotto Romagnolo was used to retrieve prey that had fallen into the water. This breed is not afraid of rivers, rains, or seas, and it is equally brave and tenacious when it comes to hunting.

But where does its particular name come from? Probably from the expression “Càn Lagòt”, which in Romagna dialect means “water dog”. Others claim that it derives from the inhabitants of Lagosanto, in the Comacchio area, who called it “lagotti”.

Until the 19th century, areas south of the Po delta were extremely swampy and rich for hunting. Subsequently, with the clearing of the territory, the Lagotto decreased its activities as a retriever and “specialized” in the search for truffles. In the world panorama, there is no dog better than it in this activity. It is part because the Romagna water dog is an easily trainable breed.

Lagotto Romagnolo: Physical Characteristics

The Lagotto Romagnolo belongs to the medium-sized dogs, standing 18-20 inches (45-50 cm) tall and weighing approximately 29-35 lbs (13-16 kg). Female dogs are slightly smaller. It is a strong and robust dog. Rustic by its origins, it has large round eyes of yellowish or dark brown color.

Its woolly, curly coat, evenly distributed all over the body, is very important, as it is a truffle dog: It protects it from the cold and humidity during the search. The coat has an off-white color, which often has brown spots. We can also find the Lagotto Romagnolo in other colors such as:

  • Solid off-white,
  • White with brown or orange spots,
  • Roan, i.e., white hairs intermixed with colored hairs (the base coat),
  • Orange roan,
  • Brown (in different shades)
  • with or without white,
  • Orange with or without white.

Some dogs have a brown to dark brown mask. Tan spots (in different shades) are allowed.

It does not shed; therefore, owners will simply have to periodically shave the dog, giving it an excellent grooming, which should be done a maximum of twice a year.

Lagotto Romagnolo: Temperament

It is a hard worker. The Lagotto Romagnolo is always busy doing something, so do not expect a lazy and sedentary dog. It is a dog that loves being active and exercising, so be prepared if you decide to adopt a dog of this breed as it means having an animal that needs long daily walks.

It has a wonderful relationship with children, for whom it is a great playmate. This loyal breed establishes an excellent bond with its owner and each member of the family. It does not cause trouble even to strangers. Digging is its only vice, but it is a primordial instinct. Being a lively breed, the Lagotto Romagnolo will need an active owner and not a sedentary one.

Lagotto Romagnolo: Breeders

There was a moment of crisis in Italy regarding the breeding of the Lagotto Romagnolo. Fortunately, the propagation of this breed was properly resumed around the seventies, thanks to the work of some enthusiastic dog lovers and experts. In 1988 the Italian Lagotto Club was created.

Initially, this breed was only found in Romagna, but this breed has now spread throughout Italy. On the ENCI website there are several registered breeders specialized in the breeding of this quintessential Emilian breed. In Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Sweden the breed is rarer.

The breed standard was approved by the ENCI in 1992. Three years later, it received international recognition from the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Lagotto Romagnolo: Training

To be a truffle dog, the Lagotto Romagnolo must be trained. For this reason, the Italian Lagotto Club periodically organizes truffle foraging aptitude tests to improve the quality of the breed.

The ENCI recognized truffle foraging trials in 2012, reserved for the Lagotto Romagnolo: there are judges, expert breeders, enthusiasts, and truffle foragers from all over Italy and more.

Lagotto Romagnolo: Prices, and Puppies for Sale

A healthy Lagotto Romagnolo puppy, with all its documentation and certificates duly in order, can cost from 800 to 1600 dollars, about 700-1300 English pounds. Obviously, the cost also depends on the intended use: A specimen that knows how to search for truffles will certainly have a higher price than the companion dog.

It is essential that you buy a dog from a reliable breeder so that you can be sure that your puppy has been:

  • Bred for good health and temperament;
  • Well-selected (this means that its parents were chosen without genetic diseases);
  • Properly socialized, so that it is not too fearful or too aggressive;
  • Vaccinated and well-groomed.

In addition, if you adopt a puppy, the reliable breeder will provide you with a veterinary certificate which states that the animal has been dewormed and is completely healthy.

You can always ask for the pedigree, which is essential: it allows you to check the purity of the dog’s breed. An animal with a pedigree has certain characteristics of its breed that differentiate it from the rest.

Trust us: we are talking about a dog that, regardless of its ability to find truffles, is an adorable pet for the whole family. Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.

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