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Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

Other names: Water Dog of Romagna, Lagotto

Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an exceptional dog because of their gentle and sympathetic nature as well as their ability to work. They are very docile and easy to train. They love to work, but also like to play with their owners and children. They are one of the best truffle dogs thanks to their remarkable sense of smell and their ability to learn.

Key facts about the Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

For as long as we can remember, this breed has existed in the old Italian province of Romagna. However, it almost completely died out when a group of enthusiasts began to selectively breed just the dogs that were similar to the original type. In a few years, after much work and a number of sacrifices, they managed to perfectly rebuild this breed. The Lagotto Romagnolo was only officially recognised as recently as 1992.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs


Section 3 : Water Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

    Adult size

    Female : Between 16 and 18 in

    Male : Between 17 and 19 in


    Female : Between 24 and 31 lb

    Male : Between 29 and 35 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Lagotto Romagnolo is a small to medium sized dog of a rustic appearance, they are strong and well proportioned with lots of curly hair. They are generally muscular dogs with a square torso. Their craniofacial axes are slightly divergent. The skull is dome-shaped when viewed from the front; in profile it is curved and flattens towards the occiput. Their muzzle is slightly wedge-shaped. They have big, rounded eyes. Their ears are moderately large compared to the size of the head; they hang at rest or are slightly raised when attentive. The tail is set low and slightly tapered towards the tip, it is carried straight at rest and high when the dog is on alert.

    Good to know

    Originally, they were used as a retriever in the water, but their true calling is to look for truffles. This is the only dog breed that is recognised to do so.


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      Very attached to their owner, every day this truffle dog proves to be remarkably gentle, they are particularly sweet and affectionate. This makes them an excellent pet for the whole family.

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      With boundless energy, this dog can play for hours on end with children and adults alike. They prefer games that are both educational and playful, especially those that are stimulating both mentally and for their sense of smell.

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      Relentless when outside but calm once in the house, the Lagatto Romagnolo is exceptional because they are never too excessive. Very even-tempered, they adapt to their owner’s mood and know how to be calm when it’s needed.

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      The Romagna water dog is particularly intelligent, kind and easy to train, they are quick to understand and like showing off what they have learnt. Their incredible sense of smell makes them a great partner for man, they are an excellent truffle dog.

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      Initially, the Lagotto was used for hunting games, however, careful breeding has reduced this hunting instinct in favour for their ability to find truffles. This has allowed the Lagotto to keep their concentration when searching for truffles and means they aren’t enticed by passing game.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Despite being so friendly and loving, the Lagotto Romagnolo can be hostile when it comes to strangers. They know how to use their voice to make it known when a “guest” arrives, potentially acting as a deterrent if they sense such a person has bad intentions.  

      However, once the introductions have been made, they are very welcoming. In any case, this dog is never too aggressive; above all the Lagotto Romagnolo is very even-tempered.

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      Although they are very attached to their social group, they know how to keep their distance and don’t need constant attention from their owners to feel fully satisfied. However, note that they will not tolerate being excluded.

      Behaviour of the Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

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        Tolerates solitude

        The Lagotto Romagnolo is happy alone if they are used to it from a young age. Owners should make sure that their dogs are well exercised before going away and that there is plenty to keep them busy until they get back.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        One of the greatest qualities of this dog: they are particularly docile and like to work for their owner. They are eager to learn, training sessions aren’t a bother or struggle for the Lagotto Romagnolo. 

        However, you must not neglect their training under the assumption that they are already a good dog. Basic training should be started as soon as the Lagotto puppy arrives home.

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        Never over the top, this dog barks mostly to let you know when someone has arrived. They don’t bark for the sake of doing so.

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