Lagotto Romagnolo

25-30 lbs
Romagna Water Dog, Lagotto Romagnoli

With its cute, wooly coat, the Lagotto Romagnolo may look a little like a bundle of fluff, but don’t underestimate its personality and ability. While this is a friendly and highly affectionate breed that can fit perfectly into cozy family life, Lagotto Romagnolos are a sporting and working dog that love to be physically active and are at their happiest when swimming.

In our must-know guide to the Lagotto Romagnolo, you’ll learn: 

  • The Lagotto Romagnolo’s name is a combination of the job it was bred for, and the region it comes from
  • It was once extremely close to becoming an extinct breed
  • Lagotto Romagnolos love to swim — and dig!
  • They’re a vocal breed and prone to barking at strangers

Lagotto Romagnolo breed overview

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a medium-sized dog that originates from Italy. Originally bred to help hunt and retrieve waterfowl, it’s been classed as a member of the sporting group and is now mainly used — in a working capacity, that is — to seek out truffles. In fact, the Lagotto Romagnolo is believed to be the only dog bred for the specific task of hunting truffles and so, much like the culinary delicacy it sniffs out, it’s highly valued and sought after.

So, if you’re hoping to welcome this Italian water dog into your home on a permanent basis, be aware that it won’t come cheap. The American Kennel Club carries a list of reputable breeders of Lagotto Romagnolo puppies, so this is your best starting point. Because they’re a relatively rare breed, the Lagotto Romagnolo price tag can be higher than other dogs; some pet parents have paid up to $5,000 for theirs.

An increasingly popular breed, interest in Lagottis grew further after Orca became the first ever Lagotto Romagnolo to win the coveted Best in Show at the world-famous Crufts in 2023.

A Lagotto Romagnolo is a popular breed, so if you’re lucky enough to be a pet parent of one, make sure it’s properly looked after with a comprehensive pet insurance policy. Compare the best pet insurance plans in seconds and find one that fits your pup perfectly.

You can also sign up to a wellness plan to cover routine vet appointments, including vaccinations.

purpose Purpose
searching out truffles, water retriever
history Date of Origin
ancient times
ancestry Ancestry
water dog

Lagotto Romagnolo Health

Sketch of Lagotto Romagnolo
Average Size
Male Lagotto Romagnolo size stats
Height: 17-19 inches Weight: 28-35 lbs
Female Lagotto Romagnolo size stats
Height: 14-18 inches Weight: 25-30 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Usually A Very Healthy Breed
  • Lysosomal Storage Disease
Minor Concerns
  • Cerebellar Abiotrophy
Occasional Tests
  • Blood
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed History

The history of the Lagotto Romagnolo is a fascinating one — with the breed teetering on the brink of extinction at one point. One of the earliest known breeds of Italian water dogs, the Lagotto Romagnolo’s name originates from a combination of its main role and the region it came from. Lagotto translates as ‘duck dog’ or ‘lake dog’ in the dialect of Emilia-Romagna, which is in the north of Italy.

While the exact date that the Lagotto Romagnolo was established isn’t known, there’s historical evidence to suggest it was part of Italian life as far back as the 1400s. What’s beyond doubt is that the breed dates back thousands of years, becoming valued for its ability to retrieve birds from marshlands and even diving underwater. It later evolved into an excellent truffle hunter – skills the Lagotto Romagnolo retains today.

Cross-breeding practices meant that, by the 1970s, there were rumored to be only around a dozen pure-bred Lagotto Romagnolos in existence. With extinction a very real possibility, it took the actions of a group of breeders and dog lovers in Italy to oversee a dedicated program to revive this ancient breed. Numbers steadily increased – not just in Italy – and in 2015, the Lagotto Romagnolo was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club.

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Appearance

This is a beautiful-looking dog. The Lagotto Romagnolo size is small to medium (a full grown Lagotto Romagnolo male will get to around 19 inches in height) and is stocky and powerfully built, with an almost square profile. Their coat is dense, wooly and curly — it’s also thick, and water-resistant, as you’d expect with an Italian water dog.

Another hint as to the breed’s affinity to water can be seen by the webbing between their toes, and the hair inside their ears. A Lagotto Romagnolo has thick hair covering the inside flaps of their ears, which helps to prevent water from penetrating the inner ear when diving or swimming underwater.

The coat can come in several different colors. Classic Lagotto Romagnolo colors are white, cream, brown, orange and sable; the coat can be of one solid color, or feature patches and combinations of more than one. Its ears are triangular, and of medium length, ideally hanging down to around the jawline. Lagottos have a cute, friendly face that often has a tufty beard, which only adds to their charm.

This is a fit, hardy and intelligent dog that loves to be physically and mentally active. While a Lagotto Romagnolo doesn’t need to be tasked with diving to retrieve ducks or snaffling out half-buried truffles to be content, its characteristics mean that it likes to be busy, and engaged with its pet parents.

Appearance of Lagotto Romagnolo
Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Lagotto Romagnolo eyes
brown Lagotto Romagnolo eyes
amber Lagotto Romagnolo eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Lagotto Romagnolo nose
brown Lagotto Romagnolo nose
isabella Lagotto Romagnolo nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brown Lagotto Romagnolo coat
brown Lagotto Romagnolo coat
cream Lagotto Romagnolo coat
fawn Lagotto Romagnolo coat
pied Lagotto Romagnolo coat
sable Lagotto Romagnolo coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Lagotto Romagnolo curly coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Maintenance

Your Lagotto Romagnolo won’t need a lot of maintenance. Because its coat is dense and wiry, rather than smooth, long and silky, it really doesn’t need a lot of grooming. If your Lagotti loves running in a rural area, and gets to swim regularly, do keep an eye out for any matting of the coat; it may pick up twigs, sticks, burrs and other debris. It probably needs its coat clipped or trimmed three or four times a year.

If your Lagotto Romagnolo is a frequent swimmer, you also need to check the condition of his or her ears regularly. It has thick hair in there to prevent water from getting into the inner canal but this means that hair can get dirty and smelly. The ears may need cleaning every so often, and any excess hair should be trimmed. This can also help to prevent potential ear infections.

Is a Lagotto Romagnolo hypoallergenic? Yes, because shedding from its coat is minimal, it’s considered to be one of the more hypoallergenic breeds, although we should emphasize that no dog is completely hypoallergenic. But it doesn’t tend to molt, and if you’re a potential pet parent who suffers with allergies, a Lagotto Romagnolo is a sensible choice.

Lagotto Romagnolo health

Generally seen as a healthy breed, this is a durable and hardy dog; the average Lagotto Romagnolo lifespan can be between 14 and 17 years. Of course, like all breeds, there are some health issues to be aware of — including those that may be inherited.

If you have a Lagotto Romagnolo, or are hoping to get one, look out for these health conditions:

Lysosomal Storage Disease
Lagotto Romagnolos are particularly prone to this condition — so much so that it’s frequently called Lagotto Storage Disease (LSD) instead of Lysosomal Storage Disease.

LSD is a neurodegenerative disease, and a serious one; it’s progressive and fatal. Symptoms — which include behavioral changes and coordination issues — are usually noticeable from around the age of four months and evident in Lagotto Romagnolo puppies. 

The only course of action, sadly, is palliative care or euthanasia, if the dog has a poor quality of life. Responsible and reputable Lagotto Romagnolo should test their dogs to check for the condition, and, if present, avoid breeding with another dog who has the LSD gene. It’s a question to ask any breeder, if you’re thinking of buying a Lagotto from them.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common health risk in many dog breeds. This condition is caused by malformation in the hip joint. It typically gets progressively worse — though it can be mild, moderate or severe — and you might notice telltale symptoms, such as your Lagotto Romagnolo limping, struggling to climb stairs, or moving stiffly after getting up from sleeping. It’s an inherited genetic condition that needs treatment, whether that’s in the form of medication or even surgery.

Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy

Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE) is a genetic disease that affects Lagotto Romagnolo puppies — seizures can start from as young as five weeks old. However, these usually stop as the puppies mature, and they can grow out of the condition by eight to 13 weeks of age. If symptoms of epilepsy persist beyond that, consult a vet for more advice.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation — also known as a luxating patella — is a condition that can affect many different breeds, including smaller toy dogs as well as larger canines. Lagotto Romagnolo puppies might be tested for it, as it can be congenital (eg, present from birth). It can also develop later in life. Patellar Luxation is when the dog’s kneecap is either displaced or dislocated from the joint. It occurs most often in the rear legs. Symptoms include limping, and a reluctance to run or jump.

Cerebellar Abiotrophy

A degenerative disease affecting the nervous system, cerebellar abiotrophy can be diagnosed even before some dogs are born (neonatal) or in the weeks or months afterwards (postnatal). The Lagotto Romagnolo is one of many breeds that can have postnatal cerebellar abiotrophy. It can result in poor coordination, loss of balance, muscle tremors, and head shaking. There’s no cure for this, though therapy and medication can improve quality of life.

Dogs can get sick, and it’s your job as a loving pet parent to look after them if they do. Give your pup the best chance of good health by having a pet insurance policy. Explore and compare the best deals here — our comparison tool makes it so simple.

Feeding a Lagotto Romagnolo — what’s the best diet? 

Diet plays an important part in the health of a breed, so it’s important Lagotto Romagnolo is fed well, and fed properly. As an active dog, it needs the right type of nutrients in its food.

The ideal dog food for a Lagotto Romagnolo will be a recipe formulated for its breed type and size, and also age appropriate (puppy, adult, senior life stages). Lagotto Romagnolos who are especially active and used in a working capacity will need a good that meets their high-energy demands; we have recommendations for the best dog food for working breeds here. A diet with meat as the primary ingredient is often advised — you can see some of the best high protein dog food here.

Whatever you choose, don’t overfeed your Lagotti — like many breeds, it can easily become overweight.

Looking for the best dog food for your Lagotto Romagnolo? Head to our online partners, Dog Food Advisor, to find recommended foods by breed type, size and age — and read in-depth brand reviews, too.

Brushes for Lagotto Romagnolo
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Lagotto Romagnolo requires monthly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Lagotto Romagnolo Temperament

The Lagotto Romagnolo’s temperament is a naturally happy and exuberant one — providing the dog gets the mental and physical stimulation, and the love and attention, it craves. That old Italian water dog spirit still lives strong in the heart and soul of every Lagotto Romagnolo, and while it doesn’t have to be used as a working dog to thrive, it still needs ways of expending its high energy levels.

They need proper exercise. While at least one good, long walk every day will keep them happy, if you really want to see a Lagotti at its joyous best, take it somewhere it can run, and chase (throw a ball for it to retrieve) and tap into its instincts. Off-lead walks in the countryside will be received with bright eyes and a wagging tail, and if there’s the opportunity to swim, your Lagotto Romagnolo will be delighted.

If you neglect its exercise needs, be warned — a Lagotto will entertain itself, which could mean digging up your yard (even if there are no truffles in there).

Providing it gets the activity it needs, Lagotto Romagnolos will be relatively relaxed around the home. They’re generally gentle and calm, and laidback. They’re also highly affectionate with their pet parents, so expect them to stay close to you and follow you around, somewhat. They love to be part of the family, a cherished member of it, at that.

However, Lagotti can be a little shy so it’s important to start socialization and training with Lagotto romagnolo puppies early on. Exposing puppies to children and other dogs is recommended, as are obedience classes; they’ll love the training and the interaction, and such activity will help them as they mature. If they respond especially well to training, you might consider agility classes, scent work and problem-solving games to keep them alert and stimulated.

They do have a tendency to get a bit vocal when training or over-excited, and may bark at strangers who call at your home. Curbing that behavior should be a part of any training routine.
Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
12 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Lagotto Romagnolo Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.75 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$52.50 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Lagotto Romagnolo Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Lagotto Romagnolo at six months
Male Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at six months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 21.5 lbs
Female Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at six months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 19.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Lagotto Romagnolo at 12 months
Male Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at 12 months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 26.0 lbs
Female Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at 12 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 23.5 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Lagotto Romagnolo at 18 months
Male Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at 18 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 31.5 lbs
Female Lagotto Romagnolo size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.0 inches Weight: 27.5 lbs

Top Lagotto Romagnolo Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Lagotto Romagnolo breeders of 2024.
Top Lagotto Romagnolo breeder SweetMeadows Kennel
SweetMeadows Kennel
Manito, Illinois
Top Lagotto Romagnolo breeder Bella Fiore Lagotto Romagnolos
Bella Fiore Lagotto Romagnolos
Port Angeles, Washington
Top Lagotto Romagnolo breeder The Well-Mannered Dog
The Well-Mannered Dog
Litchfield, Connecticut
Top Lagotto Romagnolo breeder Montagna del Mare
Montagna del Mare
Ferndale, Washington
Top Lagotto Romagnolo breeder Lagotto Lady Kennels
Lagotto Lady Kennels
Lindstrom, Minnesota

Lagotto Romagnolo Owner Experiences

Hera the Queen
8 Months
2 People
House & Yard
We were looking for an active friendly breed. Found Hera from a breeder near us and fell in love with her. My grand children love her. She seems to easy to train and is food motivated. She loves to chew and has destroyed her soft toys. Fetching a ball is a must for Hera. She loves her people!
2 years, 9 months ago
12 Weeks
4 People
House & Yard
Sweetest dogs that are well mannered and highly trainable.
6 years, 8 months ago
9 months
4 People
Fetch and swimming
I Love my Sweet Meadow’s Lagotto, Buddy. He is sweet, friendly, and learns fast-especially with his with trainer’s guidance. He learned the Invisible Fence brand boundaries in less than a month at age 5 months old. He is great with all dogs he meets. He even plays well with a 95lb dog. He swims like crazy. He can jump in and out of a pool or a lake for an hour and still want to swim more. He is scared of my two year old nephew who has wielded a weapon or two at him in the past. Buddy just scoots away when he sees him. He is so amusing to watch when he runs as he reminds me of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I have severe allergies and asthma. I have NO symptoms at all when I brush him or give him a big bear hug. Surprisingly, my toy poodle makes my nose itch if I do that with her. Buddy is a 10 month old intact male with Serious energy, all day long. He will relax when he is in his crate but open that door and his wants to play. Time and neutering will tell if his energy level persists into adulthood.
6 years, 7 months ago
6 Months
2 People
Truffle tracking
Obedience classes
Agility training
Puzzle Toys
Very smart dog, also temperamental. Loves animals, people, children... Energetic and alert.
6 years, 3 months ago
11 Months
3 People
Our Gingi is a sweet and adorable member of our family. Very eager to learn and wants to be trained/played with. She can be a bit anxious around bigger dogs but she quickly warms up and starts playing with them. We had some health issues with her. She picks up everything from the ground and eats it so we had some tummy issues in the past. She needs a lot of walk but can be left alone for hours with no problem. Smart, sweet and easkly maintainable breed.
5 years, 5 months ago
6 Months
3 People
Winnie is my world and constant companion. I take her with me anywhere dogs are allowed. She is shy with strangers and does not want to be touched until she has had time to sniff. However she loves other dogs, especially dogs bigger then her. Winnie is brilliant and amazingly agile. She can learn anything you want to teach her but may choose when she wants to listen. We are currently installing a swimming pool and I hope she will enjoy as much as has been suggested. My only concern with Winnie is that she will eat ANYTHING she finds outside. Our breeder recommends keeping the breed away from fish products and she seems to be sensitive to chicken and processed foods. We cook for her... a labor of love and cheaper then dog food anyway!!
5 years, 4 months ago
1 Year
3 People
House & Yard
Go to Beach
Go Camping
Eating Snacks
Playing in the snow
Coral is sweet.. when she wants to be. She is extremely stubborn and has extreme energy. My Lagotto Romagnolo barks literally constantly, and any possible thing that she can. She is very protective and very aggressive when it comes down to it. She is attached to your hip no matter how hard you try and is spoiled to say the least. She doesn’t like to please you but rather she likes to be pleased. We try our best with her but she’s practically impossible, I hope when she gets older she starts to calm down. If I get another dog, I will be sure not to make it this breed again.
3 years, 8 months ago
Dog (no, really)
3 Years
2 People
fetch (if he's in the mood)
Eating Snacks
He's awesome - super smart and snuggly. Can be wary or strangers and does not like other dogs if he's on the leash. Does fine at Doggie Day Care though. He is attentive and works to communicate and understand our verbal commands. Super affectionate. Food motivated. Tracks and sniffs EVERYTHIG and will eat ANYTHING. This dog has coughed up all kinds of things from cigarette butts to bras. It's dangerous! But we do our best to watch him. He is so smart and sweet, has a bit of a mind of his own and requires authoritative leadership at times. Quick to endear himself with a good snuggle and sweet looks after being a bad dog. Eager to please for the most part. ACTIVE. He needs exercise but will sleep 12-14 hours a day if he gets it, which is great. Love Dog. But he needs attention and activity - thankfully his sweet demeanor makes that a labor of pure love.
3 years, 6 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - New pet

Are there any breeders in Michigan?

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - New pet

I have a Lagotto Romagnolo (small-medium dog) he is 3 months old. We live on the 3rd floor (EU) (4th floor US). When should it be safe for him to walk up the stairs? When would it be safe for him to walk down the stairs?

Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - New pet

Hi! What should I expect if I want to get a lagotto romagnolo? I’m a first time dog owner!

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