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Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Guide and Insurance Plan

By Christy True and medically reviewed by Brittany Kleszynski, DVM
published: November 8, 2023 • 5 min. read
Lagotto Romangnolo

Introduction to Lagotto Romagnolos

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an affectionate, even-tempered, and unique dog breed distinguished by its curly mop of a coat. “Lagotto” comes from the Italian word for lake, and “Romagnolo ” refers to the Romagna region in Italy. This lake dog almost looks like a plush stuffed animal but is actually a prized companion for sniffing out truffles. Dogs from this breed are lively, loyal, and love people. They are the only modern dogs explicitly bred for truffle hunting, and although their coats require a bit of maintenance, they are also among the most hypoallergenic dogs.

Are you curious to learn more about these lake dogs from Romagna? Read this Healthy Paws breed guide to learn if a Lagotto Romagnolo is the right dog for you!

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Size of Lagotto Romagnolos

The average weight of an adult male Lagotto Romagnolo is 28.5 to 35 pounds, and the average female weight is 24 to 31 pounds. Males stand 17 to 19 inches tall, and females are 16 to 18 inches tall.

Here’s how big you can expect your Lagotto Romagnolo to get as the dog grows from puppyhood to adulthood. Female weights are on the low end of these ranges, and male weights are on the high end.  

Weight Chart3 months6 months9 months12 months
Female and male Lagotto Romagnolos10 – 11 lbs.18 – 24 lbs.20 – 28 lbs.22 – 31 lbs.
Lagotto Romangnolo swimming

Characteristics of Lagotto Romagnolos

The general temperament of a Lagotto Romagnolo is playful, affectionate, and intelligent. These are highly trainable dogs that aren’t very demanding and don’t shed much. They are relatively adaptable dogs that can live in various environments and do well with kids and pets when socialized from an early age. You’ll love the versatility of the Lagotto Romagnolo once you get to know your pup and likely find a great balance between an active lifestyle and couch cuddle time together.

As you get to know a Lagotto Romagnolo’s personality, here’s what you can expect based on their breed characteristics:

Breed CharacteristicLevel (High, Medium, Low)
Affectionate with PeopleHigh
Good with KidsMedium
Good with PetsHigh
Need for ExerciseMedium
Energy LevelMedium
Intelligence LevelHigh
Able to Be TrainedHigh
Amount of BarkingMedium
Amount of SheddingLow

History of Lagotto Romagnolos

The history of the Lagotto Romagnolo breed takes us back to Italy during the Renaissance period when the dogs were bred to be waterfowl retrievers. Historians believe they originally came from the Romagna region of the country, which is now known as Emilia-Romagna. The dogs worked in the marshlands of Italy and had a fantastic sense of smell. In the Italian countryside, Lagotto Romagnolos were used to sniff out truffles, an expensive delicacy that is challenging for us humans to find on our own. The powerful and rugged dogs are sometimes sent to special schools to train them to hunt truffles.

The breed waned in popularity and was at risk of extinction in the 1970s. However, people who loved these dogs revived the breed to thrive today. It is among the newer dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, only in 2015.

Lagotto Romagnolo Standard Information

There are certain standards by which Lagotto Romagnolos are judged and compared to each other by dog breeders and in dog shows and competitions. This medium-sized dog is well-proportioned, has a dense and curly coat of wooly texture, and has an attitude of great endurance and strength.

Here is an overview of the breed standard information for Lagotto Romagnolos:

Head:

  • Broad, blunted wedge head
  • Somewhat arched skull
  • Nasal bone is straight
  • Strong lower jaw
  • Teeth meet in scissors or level bite
  • Triangular ears with rounded tips

Neck, Topline, Body:

  • Strong, muscular, thick, and oval neck
  • Extremely powerful muscles
  • Body is square, compact, and strong
  • Ribcage is slightly narrowed in front
  • Tail tapers from base to end

Forequarters:

  • Shoulder blades are long and well-laid back
  • Long forearm with compact, oval bone
  • Pads have hard soles
  • Nails are curved and white to dark brown in color

Hindquarters:

  • Upper thigh is slightly longer than the shoulder
  • Hock joint is well let down, wide, and strong
  • Hind feet are slightly oval, webbed, and compact
  • Toes of back feet are less arched than the forefeet

Coat:

  • Skin is thin, firm, and close-fitting
  • Wooly texture hair that is semi-rough on the surface
  • Topcoat is thick and undercoat visible
  • Skull and cheeks covered in thick hair

Color:

  • Off-white solid color, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, orange roan, orange, brown, or sable in different shades with or without white
  • Tan markings are allowed

Gait:

  • Energetic, lively, balanced trot
  • Movement with distinction and nobility
  • Back remains firm with no tendency to roll

Caring for Lagotto Romagnolos

Lagotto Romagnolos are not typically aggressive dogs and do well with kids and pets they know well. They protect their territory and make decent watchdogs because they bark at unexpected activity. These high-energy sporting dogs need plenty of exercise but love having some low-key chill time at the end of the day, too.

Here are some general tips for taking the best care of a Lagotto Romagnolo:

Best Living Environments:

  • Houses with a yard for outdoor playtime
  • Plenty of time with family members indoors
  • Easy access to the outdoors

Type of Exercise:

  • Time to run around in an enclosed yard
  • Social time in a dog park
  • Long walks with family members
  • Running up to 2-3 miles with an adult
  • Hiking for up to a half-day hike
  • Hunting outings

Mental Enrichment:

  • Games of fetch
  • Hide-and-seek games
  • Activities that engage the dog’s keen sense of smell

Training Strategies:

  • Relatively easy to train this intelligent breed
  • Independent-minded breed, so train with patience and persistence
  • Agility and obedience training focused on dog sports

Grooming Tips:

  • Brush the coat several days per week
  • Bathe about once a month
  • Trim the coat regularly to keep it manageable
  • Brush teeth daily
  • Trim nails about every month
  • Clean ears weekly to prevent infections
Lagotto Romangnolo with family

Common Health Problems of Lagotto Romagnolos

Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed with an excellent life expectancy of 15 to 17 years. They are generally healthy dogs but still have certain medical conditions to which they are predisposed.

These are some of the most common health issues that arise with Lagotto Romagnolos:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Storage disease (inherited metabolic disorder)
  • Epilepsy
  •  Cerebellar ataxia (neurological condition)
  • Neuroaxonal dystrophy (central nervous system disorder)
  • Kidney stones

If you choose to purchase a dog from a breeder, make sure that you choose a reputable one who prioritizes responsible breeding practices and screens for diseases that this breed is prone to.

Diet and Nutrition for Lagotto Romagnolos

Adult Lagotto Romagnolos require about two to three cups of dry dog food per day. This total amount should be divided into two feedings, morning and night. A high-quality commercial dog food is recommended, such as diets made by Purina, Royal Canin, or Science Diet.

Where to Adopt or Purchase Lagotto Romagnolos

The national breed club for Lagotto Romagnolos is the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America, which provides breeder listings, rescue resources, and general breed information on its website. To adopt a Lagotto Romagnolo needing a loving home, consider the nonprofit Lagotto Romagnolo Dog Rescue or other local organizations in your area.

Lagotto Romangnolo with truffle
Lagotto Romangnolos were bred for hunting truffles.

Related Breeds

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a very unique dog breed, but if you like the size of this dog, then you might also be interested to learn about these dog breeds, too:

If a water dog is what you are looking for, the Portuguese water dog and the Spanish water dog are other breeds to consider before adopting or purchasing a new pet.

Pet Insurance for Lagotto Romagnolos

To help your Lagotto Romagnolo live a long and healthy life, you need Healthy Paws on your side. With our dog insurance plan, you can take your Lagotto Romagnolo to any licensed vet you trust and never sacrifice your pet’s care because of financial concerns.

Our Lagotto Romagnolo insurance covers new illnesses, accidents, emergency care, breed-specific conditions, hereditary conditions, cancer, and alternative care. We are the top-rated pet insurance plan in the country and have over 560,000 pets enrolled. With flexible deductible and premium options, plus no enrollment or administrative fees, we are here to help you save money on expensive vet bills while getting your Lagotto Romagnolo the necessary care.

Request your online pet insurance quote on our website today and feel confident with every adventure that your Lagotto Romagnolo gets into!

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 28 dog years. She also coordinates media requests and manages the Healthy Paws Foundation. A background in journalism may be why she enjoys writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and she volunteers with a local dog rescue. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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About DVM contributor, Brittany Kleszynski
By Brittany Kleszynski, DVM

Dr. Brittany Kleszynski is a freelance veterinary and medical writer for Healthy Paws who specializes in creating meaningful content that engages readers and speaks directly to the intended audiences. She writes and edits educational articles for pet parents and creates continuing education and online learning modules for healthcare professionals. She has worked in research and small animal practice since graduating veterinary school and is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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