Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
A Lagotto Romagnolo walking in the woods.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Sporting Group (AKC)
  • Height — 16-19 inches
  • Weight — 24-35 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Dense, curly, and wooly
  • Coat color — Off-white solid, white with brown or orange patches, brown, orange, or several shades of sable are among the colors that meet breed standard. Tan markings are less common but still considered acceptable.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking —When necessary
  • Life span — 15-17 years
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Italy

Lagotto Romagnolo temperament and characteristics 

Lagotti Romagnoli may be members of the sporting breed because of their roots in hunting, but they’re known today for their affectionate personalities. These dogs make excellent companion animals. They’re extremely loving toward their humans.

Any friend of yours will likely be a friend of your lagotto Romagnolo — they’re generally great with strangers and known for being adaptable. They only bark when necessary, such as to alert. One caveat: these dogs may be wary of small children, so monitor every interaction. On the flip side, the lagotto Romagnolo breed is known to be one of the friendliest toward other dogs.

The lagotto Romagnolo is pretty playful. They’re natural retrievers and water dogs. Expect a future full of beach days and endless games of fetch.

Lagotto Romagnolo fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Lagotto Romagnolos Bruno; Diesel is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Lagotto Romagnolos love Penne, then Coco.

  • The lagotto Romagnolo sometimes serves as a truffle hunter. This is due to their keen sense of smell.
  • The lagotto Romagnolo breed is a hairdresser’s dream. Their signature coarse, curly coat behaves more like human hair. It’s also water-resistant.
  • When referring to more than one lagotto Romagnolo, use the plural form: lagotti Romagnoli. The name comes from the phrase Romagnol can lagòt, which translates to “water dog.”
A brown lagotto Romagnolo by the water.

Common lagotto Romagnolo health problems 

The lagotto Romagnolo breed is known for its happy demeanor, but the breed has some health problems that pet parents will want to be mindful of to ensure their dog gets prompt care. Your veterinariaan can provide more personalized insights into your pet’s overall health.

  • Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia means that the long bone in your dog’s hind leg (the femur) doesn’t fit into the hip joint like it should. It can cause mobility issues and even lameness but is treatable.
  • Benign familial juvenile epilepsy. This type of epilepsy occurs in puppies, generally beginning around 5 to 9 weeks of age. The condition usually resolves itself at around 8 to 13 weeks.
  • Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD). This disease is breed-specific, neurodegenerative, and severe. The Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America specifies that carriers should not be used for breeding. Genetic testing is available to help screen for this and avoid mis-breedings that perpetuate this disease.
  • Patellar luxation. This condition is a fancy way of saying that your dog’s rear knee cap has moved out of place.

Cost of caring for the lagotto Romagnolo

Caring for any pet involves a price tag, particularly if they develop any health issues. Hip dysplasia is common and treatable, but the treatment — and price —  will depend on the severity. For example, weight loss can ease symptoms. A treatment plan may include long walks, monitoring food and treat portions, and added play sessions. On the other hand, surgery can involve pre-surgical bloodwork, anesthesia, and a $2,500+ veterinarian bill. Patellar luxation treatment carries similar recommendations and costs.

Since benign familial juvenile epilepsy generally resolves by 8 to 13 weeks, there’s a good chance you won’t have to handle paying for care. Reputable breeders will not breed carriers of LSD. There is no treatment for it. Unfortunately, it’s ultimately fatal.

👉 Health insurance can help reduce out-of-pocket costs. Pet owners who sign their pets up sooner will reap the most benefits. Other options, such as a pet savings account, may also help.

A white lagotto Romagnolo in the snow.

History of the lagotto Romagnolo

The lagotto Romagnolo breed is a small to medium-sized water dog that likely originated in Northern Italy during the 16th century. The dog typically served as a water retriever during hunting. They’re thought to be one of the oldest breeds of water dogs and are the world’s lone purebred with the distinction of a specialized truffle hunter.

The lagotto Romagnolo’s water-resistant coat has come in handy during hunts. The pup’s keen sense of smell and high intelligence did, too, particularly when hunting for truffles.

In the 19th century, the marshlands drained, and lagotto Romagnolo dogs were not needed for hunts as often. While the breed remained popular with truffle hunters, it wasn’t enough to stave off extinction fears in the 1970s. Lagotto-enthusiasts feared the breed was becoming extinct and banded together to prevent it. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2015.

Caring for your lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo puppies — and even adult dogs — tend to love their families. But caring for a dog can be overwhelming at first, no matter which breed you choose. After bringing a new pet home, your to-do list can feel longer than a grocery list. Top priorities include making a first trip to the vet and scheduling your pooch’s vaccinations.

You’ll also need to puppy-proof your home. If you brought home a young dog, preparing for teething will help you keep your dog comfy. No one likes to think about their new dog getting out, but it’s better to be on the safe side. FidoAlert gives you a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared —  just in case. Here are some other basics specific to lagotto Romagnolo.


The lagotto Romagnolo dog breed originated as a hunting dog. As a result, these Italian water dogs love physical activities and thrive in homes with active families. A lagotto Romagnolo loves long walks and dog sports. Agility courses, games of fetch, and trips to the park are all favorite activities of a lagotto Romagnolo. These pets are highly intelligent, so they require mental stimulation, too. They love your attention and are happy to give it right back to you.

Their water-resistant coats make these dogs great beach buddies. A day by the lake or at a dog-friendly ocean beach is a great way to indulge your lagotto Romagnolo in supervised water play.

A llagotto Romagnolo playing on the beach.


The lagotto Romagnolo has a rough double coat with thick curls. It’s adorable and looks — and even acts — like human hair. Still, the lagotto Romagnolo needs regular grooming. These dogs tend to be good with strangers and adaptable, so they’ll likely enjoy a little pampering at a day spa. A reputable professional can guide even a more hesitant dog through the grooming process.

Like all dogs, the lagotto Romagnolo also needs routine maintenance. Regular nail trimming will prevent hangnails that make those much-loved long walks painful. Be sure to perform regular ear cleanings. The lagotto Romagnolo loves water. But ear cleanings are vital after any dip in the water, including baths, to prevent infection. Gum disease is a common issue with pets. Daily teeth brushing can ward off inflammation and decay.

Diet and nutrition

A high-quality dog food with a seal from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is recommended for healthy lagotti Romagnoli. This food should comprise 90% of your pet’s daily calories. The other 10% can come from low-calorie treats.

You can refer to the back of the bag for portioning. The bag may give daily portioning guides, in which case you’ll want to divide the recommended amount by two. Older puppies and adult dogs should generally eat two meals per day. The precise number of calories your lagotto Romagnolo needs each day depends on weight. Generally, a 30-pound, neutered dog needs about 794 calories daily.

 👉 Your vet can give you the best advice on what and how much to feed your lagotto Romagnolo.  

Training your lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo dogs boast high intelligence and an eagerness to breed. Because of these qualities, these dogs typically take well to training. They benefit from training at a young age, preferably as puppies. But adult dogs can also learn commands.

The Humane Society advises pet owners to use positive reinforcement. Treats, pets, and praise work better than yelling, crating, and other punishments. Keep commands short and sweet. Even though the lagotto is smart, they aren’t going to follow a long lecture about why they need to sit. “Fido, sit” should be enough.

Patience and consistency can help your lagotto Romagnolo become the best version of themselves. Talk to your vet if you notice a training regression — there may be an underlying health issue.

A lagotto Romagnolo training by the water.

Breeds similar to the lagotto Romagnolo

Not quite sure that a lagotto Romagnolo is right for you? Even if you are, it’s always good to take some time to research and consider some similar breeds. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cocker spaniel. These silky-haired dogs were also bred for hunting. But they make affectionate companion pets, too.
  • Labrador retriever. The Labrador retriever is another water-loving breed that adores their family. They tend to be better with children than the lagotto Romagnolo.
  • St. Bernard. These dogs are also workers by nature, but their favorite gig is “family pet.”

Frequently asked questions

Is the lagotto Romagnolo a good family dog?

A lagotto Romagnolo could be an excellent family dog for homes with older children, adults, and other dogs. They can be wary of small children, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing a dog.

Is the lagotto Romagnolo rare?

The lagotto Romagnolo nearly became extinct in the 1970s. However, the breed survived and gained AKC recognition in 2015. The lagotto Romagnolo is still considered relatively rare.

Are lagotto Romagnolos low maintenance?

Low maintenance is a relative term. A lagotto Romagnolo requires quite a bit of grooming. Their coarse fur can behave more like human hair than a dog’s coat. Personality-wise, these dogs are working animals by nature. They’ll need plenty of physical and mental stimulation and are a good choice for active families. The breed tends to be adaptable and easy to train — they don’t need a strict routine.

Are lagotto Romagnolos aggressive?

Every dog is different, but the lagotto Romagnolo breed is not known for aggression. Quite the opposite, actually. The breed is generally extremely loving toward people and other pets.