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Lagotto Romagnolo puppy sitting on a path outdoors.
©Bianca -

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a rare breed in America, but it is near and dear to Italy, its origin country. Get to know the Lagotto, and you’ll get to know Italy, as well. Here are some interesting facts about the Lagotto Romagnolo:

The Breed is Very Old

There is written evidence that the Lagotto Romagnolo was working in the marshes of Italy as early as the year 1600. But many believe the Lagotto Romagnolo’s history goes back much further than that. Etruscan artifacts depict hunting dogs that bear a striking resemblance to the Lagotto, and the Etruscans lived in Italy from the 8th century to the 2nd century B.C.

The Lagotto’s Name Comes From Their Original Purpose

The Lagotto Romagnolo was originally a water dog that would retrieve game from the marshes for hunters. “Lago” is the Italian word for lake, and in the local dialect of Romagna, “Càn Lagòt” translates directly to “water dog” or “wetland hunting dog with crimped, curly coat.”

They Appear in Italian Art

There are numerous paintings from the Renaissance era that depict the Lagotto Romagnolo. Pittore Lombardo, Guercino, and Andrea Mantegna are three artists who have depicted the Lagotto Raomagnolo in their work. However, some think that the dog in Andrea Mantegna’s “The Meeting” is actually a Spinone Italiano.

They Went Through a Major Career Change

When the marshes of Italy were drained and reclaimed for farming in 1800s, hunters had little use for water dogs anymore. Truffle hunters — people who go looking for those rare mushrooms that are considered a food delicacy — began to repurpose the Lagotto to assist them. In the years between the world wars, almost all of the truffle dogs of the truffle hunters of Romagna and the adjacent areas were Lagotto Romagnolo.

They Don’t Shed a Lot

Lagotti have a medium-length, double, curly coat. When it comes to shedding, they’re on the lower end of the spectrum. If you want a dog with minimal shedding, the Lagotto is a good choice! They require grooming every few weeks.

Truffle Hunters Unintentionally Changed the Breed

Truffle hunters deserve credit for saving the Lagotto from extinction by giving it another line of work. But truffle hunters were also not concerned with producing purebreds. They were only concerned with breeding the dogs that were the best truffle hunters, so they often bred Lagotto Romagnolo with other breeds that had the same skills. How much these foreign crosses permanently changed the breed is unclear.

They Love to Learn

As a dog that was bred to have not one but two different jobs, Lagotti are pretty eager to please and love to learn. They tend to be adaptable, pretty easy to train, and enjoy mental stimulation.

They’re Full of Love

These dogs are extremely affectionate and love their owners. When they know someone well, they’re likely to greet them, and they’re also often making new friends in strangers. These friendly dogs are eager to meet new people, and are sure to make you feel loved.

They’re a Newer Breed

Out of all of the AKC-registered dog breeds, the Lagotto was recognized in 2015. They were among five dog breeds to be recognized that year, including the Bergamasco, Berger Picard, Boerboel, Cirneco dell’Etna. Despite being a newer breed, they are in the top 100 registered breed according to AKC Breed Popularity rankings.

They’re Not Very Talkative

Though they might let you know what they’re thinking through a few barks, Lagotti are typically not very vocal dogs. They’ll alert you when needed, and maybe bark here and there to tell you something, but for the most part, they don’t bark too much.
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