The Lagotto Romagnolo: Everything You Need to Know

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an Italian dog best known for its remarkable truffle-hunting abilities and an affectionate, undemanding, and keen personality. 

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the Lagotto Romagnolo, from its history and physical traits to its temperament and health.

A Brief History of the Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo, also called the “truffle dog,” has a fascinating history that goes back centuries. This breed has been a loyal companion to hunters and farmers in the Italian region of Romagna for generations.

Origins in Italy

The Lagotto Romagnolo has a rich history that dates back to the 16th century. The breed was originally developed to hunt waterfowl in the marshes and wetlands of Italy’s Romagna region.

The Lagotto Romagnolo’s soft, curly coat offered excellent insulation against the cold and wet conditions, and the athletic build and intelligence made the dog ideal for the job.

The Truffle Hunting Legacy

As time went on, the Lagotto Romagnolo’s reputation grew, and they began to be trained for the art of truffle hunting. Truffles are a prized delicacy in Italy, and the dog’s sharp sense of smell made it an excellent truffle hunter.

Lagotti Romagnoli were trained to sniff out truffles hidden beneath the soil, and they quickly became an integral part of the truffle hunting industry in Italy. Even today, they are still used to search for truffles. 

Recognition as a Distinct Breed

Despite their long history, the Lagotto Romagnolo was only officially recognized as a distinct breed in the 1990s by the Italian Kennel Club. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2015. 

Today, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a popular breed among dog lovers around the world. It is valued for its intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature, and it makes a wonderful family pet.

Physical Characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo has a unique teddy bear look with trademark curls that resemble human hair rather than canine fur. However, beneath the luxurious coat, there is a rugged work dog. 

Size and Weight

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a medium-sized dog. Male breed members stand 17 to 19 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh anywhere from 28.5 to 35 pounds. Females stand between 16 and 18 inches tall and weigh 24 to 31 pounds. 

Despite their relatively small size, Lagotti Romagnoli are highly valued for their strength and agility. They are perfectly suited for a variety of activities, including hiking, running, and swimming.

Coat and Colors

The Lagotto Romagnolo is best known for its curly, woolly coat that protects the dog from thorns and other sharp objects it may encounter while working.

The coat requires regular grooming to stay healthy and comes in several colors, including off-white, white, brown, brown roan, orange, orange roan, and sable. 

Distinctive Features

The Lagotto Romagnolo has large, expressive eyes with a soulful gaze. Another distinctive feature is the floppy, triangular ears that hang down close to the heads. 

Overall, the Lagotto Romagnolo is a charming breed. Its physical characteristics, including its size, coat, and distinctive features, make it stand out from other breeds. 

Personality and Temperament

Beyond their unique look and impressive hunting skills, Lagotti Romagnoli are friendly and loyal. They are affectionate and sociable dogs that thrive on human companionship and love nothing more than spending time with their families.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Lagotto Romagnolo is incredibly intelligent and easy to train. It has a strong desire to please its owners and is a quick learner, making it suitable for a variety of tasks. It is highly trainable and excels in obedience, agility, and other dog sports.

Training should start early with these dogs, and positive reinforcement methods work best. Lagotti Romagnoli respond well to praise, treats, and other rewards, and consistent training will help them become well-behaved and obedient dogs.

Affection and Sociability

The Lagotto Romagnolo is affectionate and loves spending time with its humans. It is a great family pet and gets along well with kids and other animals. It is loyal and protective, making a great watchdog.

Lagotti Romagnoli are social and enjoy interacting with other dogs and people. They are naturally friendly and outgoing, and their playful nature makes them a popular choice for families with children. 

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

As active dogs, Lagotti Romagnoli require plenty of daily exercise. They enjoy long walks, runs, and activities such as swimming, and they need regular outdoor time to burn off energy.

They are not well-suited for apartment living and need a home with a yard or access to outdoor space. Breed members are happiest when they have plenty of room to run and play.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

The Lagotto Romagnolo is prone to several health issues, including: 

  • Orthopedic Conditions: The breed is at high risk of joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia which cause mobility issues 
  • Juvenile Epilepsy: A neurological condition manifesting with seizure episodes occurring in young breed members 
  • Lysosomal Storage Disease: Inherited issue causing loss of coordination, exercise intolerance, failure to thrive, blindness, etc 

Regular veterinary checkups and preventative care can help catch any health issues early on and ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy.

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Regular grooming, dental care, daily exercise, and a quality diet can go a long way in preventing health problems. Owners should also make sure that their dog is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations and that their preventative medications, such as dewormers and flea & tick treatments. 

Expected Lifespan

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very long-lived breed. With proper care and attention, breed members have an average lifespan of between 15 to 17 years. 


Now that you know everything there is to know about the Lagotto Romagnolo, it’s easy to see why this breed has become a popular choice for dog lovers worldwide.

Whether you’re looking for an intelligent hunting partner or a loyal family pet, the Lagotto Romagnolo is an excellent choice. Just ensure that you find a reputable breeder. 

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