Looking for a furry friend to add to your big Italian family? Meet the Lagotto Romagnolo, a feisty, playful breed who originated in Italy. These curly-haired cuties may look like teddy bears, but their active, lively personalities will keep you on the move. Lagotti (yes, that’s the plural) are Italian water dogs, so they’ll love to join you on adventures to the beach, lake or river—but the puddles in your backyard will do in a pinch. This joyous breed has a nose for fun and will happily bring you along for the ride.
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The Lagotto Romagnolo is best suited to a home that offers plenty of space to roam. Lagotti have a ton of stamina and love to run and play, so get those sneakers on. This breed is good with kids and can live happily with cats and other dogs as long as they've been well-socialized as a puppy. They like the routine of exercise and training, so make sure you have the time to indulge in both.
Lagotto Romagnolo Traits
Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament
What can you expect when you share your life with a Lagotto Romagnolo? This renowned truffle-hunter is bright and spirited with a high energy level and zest for life. They get along well with other dogs and kids as long as they have been socialized from a young age.
Lagotti aren’t typically excessive barkers but they will let you know when the mail arrives or when someone’s at the door, so prepare your guests for a noisy welcome. On the other paw, they can be a little aloof with strangers or get anxious in unfamiliar situations, so start their socialization early by introducing them to new people and places like the park and family gatherings. This will prepare them for the new situations and unfamiliar faces that they will meet on their many adventures with you.
This sensitive dog breed will be very in-tune with their beloved pet parents’ feelings. If you are having an off day, they may well have one too, so take time for a cuddle to cheer you both up. The Lagotto Romagnolo is definitely a pet parent pleaser, so lavish them with love and cuddles and praise them eagerly when they do well in training sessions or dog sports. And you’ll always have company, because this breed is a “velcro dog” type who’ll be stuck to your side day and night.
Bred to be truffle hunters, the Lagotti breed rarely runs out of steam. Think of them as the dog version of the Energizer Bunny.
How to Care for a Lagotto Romagnolo
Lagotti are in the Goldilocks zone of care: not too much and not too little. They need a lot of grooming and exercise and get especially excited about activities that involve water. While some dogs are more attached to humans than others, this is a breed who truly is man’s best friend. Your Lagotto Romagnolo will stay by your side all day long and every chance they get. They don’t enjoy being crated in the daytime, although if crate-trained, they’re usually happy to sleep in a crate at night.
Lagotto Romagnolo Health
The Lagotto Romagnolo can live a long and healthy 15 to 17 years with the right care including diet and exercise. Nevertheless, purebred dogs often have a few health issues, and the Lagotto dog is no exception.
- Eye Disease: While they have a superior sense of smell, the Lagotto Romagnolo may have poor eyesight and be susceptible to cataracts and eye disease. Check with your breeder to make sure they test their dogs’ eyesight, and make sure your vet is conducting annual eye exams.
- Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is caused when the hip joint isn’t formed properly, and it rubs, causing the dog pain and reduced mobility. This condition is more common in larger dogs, but it can affect the Lagotto breed as well. Because hip dysplasia is hereditary, ask your breeder if they conduct PennHIP or OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) diagnostic screenings on their breeding dogs. Treatment includes physical therapy, weight control or surgery.
- Juvenile Epilepsy: This recessive and inherited disease can lead to seizures and a short loss of consciousness. Canine juvenile epilepsy typically appears when a Lagotto Romagnolo is very young—usually 5 to 9 weeks of age—but it often resolves itself without treatment when they reach 8 to 13 weeks. The long-term effects of this condition aren’t widely known, so consult your breeder to find out if they tested the puppy’s parents for this disease, and ask whether the condition runs in the family.
- Lagotto Storage Disease: Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD) is a severe neurodegenerative disease found in this breed. It is essential that no affected dogs are bred, so you should purchase your dog from a reputable breeder who has screened your pup for health issues. Symptoms of this progressive disorder, including behavioral changes and abnormal eye movements, can appear from the ages of 4 months to 4 years. Sadly, there is no treatment available for the disease at this time.
Lagotto Romagnolo History
Michelangelo’s David and the Mona Lisa weren’t the only good things to come out of Renaissance Italy. The Lagotto Romagnolo may not be quite as famous, but they were definitely highly valued in their time—and still are today.
This dog’s origin can be traced to the marshy lagoons around Northern Italy’s Ravenna, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, where they recovered waterfowl for hunters. This water retriever is believed to date back to around 1474 A.D. When the area was developed and their bird-hunting days came to an end, the Lagotto Romagnolo’s phenomenal nose was put to use hunting truffles, a rare delicacy even then.
While the Lagotto Romagnolo isn’t the only dog who can hunt truffles, they were the first bred for this purpose and are still considered to be the best for the job. In fact, they’re the only purebred dog with this distinction. The Lagotto Romagnolo breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2015.
Lagotto Romagnolo dogs generally cost between $1,800 and $2,500, and you’ll find reputable breeders offering puppies across the United States. For that price, you’ll typically get a dog who has been screened for potential health and behavioral issues and may even come with papers. You might be waiting for some time for a pup, though, as they are rare. Alternately, you could consider adoption through the Lagotto Romangnolo Club of America‘s rescue.
How do you pronounce Lagotto Romagnolo?
Lagotto Romagnolo, which is Italian, is pronounced Lah-GOH-toe Ro-man-YO-lo. “Lago” is Italian for lake.
Are Lagotto Romagnolos hypoallergenic?
Yes, Lagotto Romagnolos are considered hypoallergenic. They are a non-shedding, low-dander breed, making them a great choice for people with allergies.
How big do Lagotto Romagnolos get?
As a medium-sized dog, Lagotto Romagnolos don’t get very big. They are no taller than 19 inches at the shoulder and weigh no more than 35 pounds.
Do Lagotto Romagnolos bark a lot?
No, Lagotto Romagnolos don’t bark a lot. While they may bark at visitors or other dogs, training this intelligent breed to keep their voices down is relatively easy.
Are Lagotto Romagnolos good family dogs?
Yes, Lagotto Romagnolos are good family dogs. They’re an even-tempered, affectionate, people-loving breed who does well with families and children.
What are the most popular names for Lagotto Romagnolos?
The most popular Lagotto Romagnolo names are Bear, Bella, Buster, Emma, Maggie, Milo, Oscar, Ruby, Teddy and Zeus. Get more dog names here.
The Lagotto Romagnolo may be a teddy bear on the outside, and these dogs are definitely cuddly, but make no mistake: This clever, vibrant breed will keep you on your toes. Adoring of humans and devoted to their families, they’ll love to be in your company no matter what you’re doing, but especially if you take them for a swim.
Expert input provided by Oregon-based breeder and trainer Carly Luzader with Amico Roma Puppies, and former veterinarian Dr. Heather Rife.
Top Lagotto Romagnolo Names
These are the top Lagotto Romagnolo names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!