The Lagotto Romagnolo were used historically as water retrieving dogs in Northern Italy. As well as being a gun dog, their other purpose was to find truffles in the marshlands. Nowadays, they are still used for finding mushrooms and truffles throughout Europe – as well as a pet. With its distinctive, fluffy hair and warm nature, the Romagnolo is an excellent breed for a family home.
Appearance, Health and Hygiene
The Romagnolo grows to around 48 centimetres tall. It has a solid, square body, a large head and a bright, happy look. It can come in various colours (off-white, white, white with patches, or a solid rust), and its coat is quite curly and thick. The coat is non-shedding and would suit people with asthma. They can live up to 12-14 years.
The Romagnolo has no genetic health issues, but keep in mind the breeding base of this animal is rather small and so nothing serious has been detected as yet.
Like most working dogs they are hard wearing and require little maintenance. The coat should be clipped back once a year and trimmed of matted parts regularly.
As a Pet
The Romagnolo to many is the perfect dog – active, loyal, smart and friendly. Its small stature means it will live in an apartment, but will still love to play outside.
The Romagnolo puppy is cheerful, bright and boisterous. People looking to acquire a puppy should look for inquisitive and relaxed puppies in the litter – not skittish or reversed ones. As a puppy it should have the proper socialising with other pets and humans to ensure an even temper later in life. This also makes sense since the breed is usually trained in groups in Italy. It will still be reserved around strangers, but will tolerate them.
Its smaller size and gentle disposition mean that it will get along with smaller members of the family, as well as cats and other pets (depending on the proper socialising as a puppy). The Romagnolo loves to be a family member. Historically the animal would be a watchdog and look after the home and children. While it is not an active barker it will still bark when strangers are present.
If properly exercised, the Romagnolo can do well in smaller living spaces, but as it is a high-energy breed, a lot of time will be spent out of doors. And as its past might suggest, it loves a romp in the dirt and mud. Be prepared for a wet, sticky and dirty dog!
The Romagnolo is a mix of easy trainability and an eagerness to please its owner, so once proper boundaries are established (using calm and consistent leadership) the animal will love command games and tricks.
Its past as a game dog and truffle hunter also provides excellent clues as to what activities the Romagnolo might enjoy, as does its high energy and agility. It loves being mentally stimulated with searching games, so hide and seek, tracking and hunting are great pastimes. And who knows, your Romagnolo might just find you a crop of delicious truffles!