An ancient breed utilised in tolling and water retrieving, the Lagotto Romagnolo dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries, originating from the district marshes and lowlands of Romagne and Comacchio, Italy. Primarily bred as a skilled water retriever used to gather ducks from the surface of lakes, the Lagotto was dispensed with when the marshes were drained in the 1900s, transformed instead into arable land for farming. Instead of losing popularity, the breed was recognised for its acute senses and became widely utilised in truffle hunting, remaining a water retriever in regions where truffles were not found. Despite many believing that the Lagotto Romagnolo has existed for centuries, it was only officially recognised by the Italian Kennel Club in 1991.
Distinctive in appearance, the breed possesses a proportioned and sturdy build, with muscular legs, dark eyes and a relatively large head. The waterproof double coat is conveniently non-shedding and rustic-looking, common in colour deviations of white, brown and roan, usually with markings or dappling. A Lagotto puppy is often born with white markings that tend to grow out as the dog matures. Highly intelligent, this inherent working breed requires regular physical and mental enrichment, helping to discourage boredom and destructive behaviours in the home.
When socialised from puppyhood, the Lagotto has the potential to be a fine companion, loyal and affectionate to its master, and responsive and obedient to instruction. The breed is highly trainable, well suiting it to the domestic setting. Its gentle, fun-loving nature makes it compatible with children and other house pets, whilst its energy and playfulness makes a great addition to active family life. In general, a healthy Lagotto Romagnolo weighs 10-16 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of roughly 15 years. It is not uncommon for the breed to outlive this expectancy.
Typically resilient and long-lived, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a relatively low maintenance breed when it comes to supporting good health. The Lagotto is not susceptible to any serious known genetic or breed-specific diseases, although documented cases of health afflictions including hip dysplasia and epilepsy are identified in the breed.