The Lagotto is a medium sized dog, quite well muscled with a largish head. They can come in brown (which fades to Brown roan) or white with patches in shades of orange or brown. Never black nor pure white. The most distinctive adult feature is the tightly curled coat.
Although originally used for duck hunting in their native Italy, they later became specialised truffle hunters, the only dog used for this specific purpose. Outside Italy, they are still used for hunting waterfowl and their waterproof coat helps to protect them in this. When out hunting truffles in Italy, the closely curled coat helps to protect them from low lying shrub.
They are loyal, friendly, intelligent and very trainable but need an experienced dog owner who will be committed to focused training. They make an excellent working dog but if not working, they need plenty of opportunity to exercise their brain. They do well in competitive sports. They are devoted to their owners but may be initially reserved with strangers. They can easily be trained to get along with other animals. They need a lot of exercise and have a natural ability to retrieve. They love to dig so fencing would need to be secure and maybe their own separate area of garden if you are an avid gardener. They're also very fond of water...and mud!
The coat does not shed and as a consequence is prone to matting if allowed to get too long so needs regular care by combing and should be clipped off completely several times a year. It should never be brushed or blow-dried as this destroys the distinctive curls.
There are a range of health conditions that can be tested for, including Juvenile Epilepsy, Lagotto Storage Disease and Improper Coat as well as hip and elbow dysplasia. Responsible breeders will ensure that their breeding dogs are screened to avoid occurrence.
This breed is very rare in the UK and most of the few responsible breeders have waiting lists, so be prepared to be patient for a puppy. Because of the rarity, "rescues" seldom happen.
Watch our videos about some of the dog breeds in the Gundog group