Dogs have a much keener sense of smell than humans do, with 220 to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to the four or five million that we have. They are able to use their noses to track and categorize a number of things that we can barely detect, and this skill is often utilized to find game, hidden substances like drugs and explosive components, and even missing people. The Lagotto Romagnolo breed has a very refined sense of smell due to their development as a truffle hunting dog which began sometime in the 1800s when the demand for water retrieval was reduced due to the draining of the marshes in their native homeland.
Dock diving, also known as dock jumping, is a competitive dog sport that was introduced in 1997 in which your canine companion runs to the end of a thirty-five to forty foot dock and jumps off into a long body of water in pursuit of a specified target, aiming for either the longest or the highest jump possible. The target that your dog is aiming for can either be suspended over the long pool, or flung as far out into the pool as possible. The sport of dock diving is a competitive activity in which dogs run to the end of a thirty-five to forty foot dock and jump off in pursuit of a target that is either suspended over a long pool or flung far out into it. While not all Lagotto Romagnolos love the water, many of them do retain the water-loving ways that they were originally bred for as water retrieval dogs.
Flyball is a fast-paced dog sport that takes fetch to a higher level, with teams of four dogs racing relay style down the flyball track, which is punctuated by four hurdles placed at every ten feet. At the end of the track is a flyball box, which releases a tennis ball when triggered by your dog, for them to return to you. While the modern Lagotto Romagnolo is typically bred as a truffle hunting dog, they were originally developed as water retrieval dogs, and many of them still retain their retrieving instincts, and they are very athletic, making them well-suited to competing in these types of competitions.