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 :

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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)

  • Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)
    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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        Tendency to run away

        Given that today the Lagotto Romagnolo has mostly lost their sense of hunting, it is rare that they will run off to chase something. Nevertheless, if they are never walked and are just left in the garden, they may make the most of an opportunity to burn off some energy elsewhere.

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        Having a formidable sense of smell, when the Lagotto is alone and bored, they might try and distract themselves which can inadvertently lead to some destruction.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Treats can help when training this dog who has a taste for good food and will never turn their nose up to indulging.

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        Guard dog

        Although they are never aggressive they make a good guard and will bark to sound the alert.

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        First dog

        The Lagotto Romagnolo is one of the nicest dogs to live with. They are intelligent, affectionate, playful, stable, hardy…the list goes on. They are a very good choice for first-time adopters because they are easy to train and a pleasure to have around.

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          Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog) in a flat

          As they are very hardy, the Lagotto Romagnolo should always live in the countryside, or at least be able to spend lots of time outside, like in a garden. They can live in an apartment as long as they are able to get out often to burn off some energy.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          Although they are calm and relaxed in the house, this dog is bursting with energy and needs to be able to let off steam every day to keep them in check physically and mentally. 

          Additionally, daily walks should be long and varied. Walks are a good opportunity to engage the Lagotto Romagnolo with fun and stimulating activities to reinforce their natural searching skills. Truffle hunting is highly recommended, they are bred specifically for it.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          Being small-medium sized, this water dog can easily travel with their owners. However, make sure that they are well socialised from a young age so that they can cope with changing environments and the different stimuli they may come across.


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            Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog) and cats

            Very sociable, this dog can live with a cat without too much risk.

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            Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog) and dogs

            Very friendly natured, this dog generally gets on well with other dog breeds, as long as the ‘dog-code’ is learnt and respected by all.

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            Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog) and children

            Kind, affectionate and playful, this dog will love spending time with children, they are perfect companion.

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            Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog) and the elderly

            They are absolutely not suitable for people with a sedentary lifestyle and would not tolerate a slow pace of life.



            The price of a Lagotto Romognolo varies according to their origins, age and sex. On average, a Lagotto Romognolo registered with the KC is about £1560. 

            The average budget needed to meet the needs of a dog of this size is about £25 / month.


            If they aren’t clipped, the Lagotto’s fur tends to matt because it continues to grow without stopping. Because of this, it is necessary to groom (clip) the Lagotto at least once a year, but above all, brush their coat, both the topcoat and undercoat every day. 

            To meet official standards, it is better that a professional groomer clips the dog. For example, for those that are clipped, the length of the fur should not exceed 4cm.


            A great advantage to the Lagotto Romagnolo is that they don’t moult, as a hypoallergenic dog, they be adopted by people with allergies to fur.

            Nutrition of the Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

            The Lagotto’s diet varies according to their age, weight and physical activity. It is important to respect the vet’s advice, especially when the dog is growing up to make sure they develop well. 

            One meal a day should be given once they are an adult; preferably in the evening when they are more relaxed to help with digestion. 

            To cater to their great sense of smell, it is advised to distribute what they eat in the day by either scattering it in the garden or by hiding it in a snuffle mat.

            Health of the Lagotto Romagnolo (Romagna Water Dog)

            Life expectancy

            Around 13 years.

            Strong / robust

            This is a very hardy and robust dog who is largely in good health.

            Withstand heat

            This dog loves to swim which is a great way to refresh when it is very hot.

            Withstand cold

            This dog loves working so much that even in bad weather they will get the job done.

            Tendency to put on weight

            If they are well fed and exercised, this water dog won’t put on weight and is not affected by obesity.

            Common illnesses

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