should be faulted to the point of exclusion from awards on that day. The cut should easily follow the lines of the body to highlight the dog’s natural angulation and should not be over-sculpt- ed. The coat should be the same length all over the body, but never more than 1 ½ inches. It should also be long enough to properly evaluate curliness, but also not so short that the curls and coat quality can- not be properly seen and assessed. The hair on the head, legs and face may be lon- ger than that on the body. Curls should be present throughout the body including the head and legs. The muzzle may or may not have curls. The curls on the head and legs are generally looser but still required to be present. In judging younger dogs, it should be noted that coat curliness can take several months to develop. Dogs under a year will have a softer texture to the coat. At this age it is common to see dogs with less density and looser curls. When evaluating young dogs, some leniency should be given to the developing coat. However, it should still show formation of curl, especially at the root when parted, and never blown and fluffed. Without beating a dead horse, a com- mon question that is asked by judges, as well as those new to the Lagotto commu- nity is, “why not brush out the coat?” That is a great question and a very important point to fully understand and appreciate. First know that dogs with poor coat are not uncommon in the breed. They can have almost no curl, improper texture (either too soft or too hard), lack undercoat and have little density. Secondly, the standard requires the undercoat to be present, and therefore, evaluated as the dog needs to
be shown to the working function and the coat is a major component for that. The Lagotto Romagnolo needs to have a rus- tic appearance. Brush the coat out; lose the undercoat and integrity of what they should be judged on. When the coat is in correct form, the Lagotto is ready to work. Only a proper coat will create an impen- etrable barrier to protect the dog from the elements of weather, underbrush, and foli- age. The denser the quality of coat, the bet- ter protection for the dog. This does not mean the coat should be matted or corded. In fact, cording is another serious fault and requires disqualification. In judging, it is important to examine and appreciate the density as an indicator of the dog being in proper coat formation. There is no black gene in the Lagotto Romagnolo. Coat colors range from off white, white with orange patches (usu- ally seen on the ears and down the back), white with brown patches, brown, brown with tan points, and brown roan. They may also have markings which are white, roan, or freckled with brown. The pigment of the nose ranges from a fleshy tan to dark brown and all shades in between. Even the toenails range from pinkish white to dark brown depending on the color of the dog. The colors of the coat have a tendency to fade with maturation, and some change so much that they look nothing like they did as puppies. To those unfamiliar with the breed, it must often seem that colors are limited white, brown or white and brown only. There is no advantage to the type, shape, placement of markings or the darkness of the color, all colors and dilu- tions, and markings are equally acceptable. Younger dogs will often appear to be much darker than the adults.
Brown roan and brown with tan are two colors that are eye catching in the dogs’ youth but often fade or “fill in” (in the case of brown roans) to look like a brown dog as adults. Often the “ticked areas” on a brown roan dog will fill in so much that the dog will look just like his brown littermate as an adult. Sometimes the brown markings as well as un-ticked splashes of white are still visible in adult-hood. Brown dogs with roan stockings or chest markings can also experience this color change as they age. Orange and white with orange puppies are often indistinguishable from white dogs as adults. When examining the head of the Lagotto Romagnolo a careful “hands- on approach is essential in determining correct type. Careful and artful grooming can mask a less that desired head. A nar- row skull and muzzle are quite common faults. The width of the muzzle and its blunt profile are key features for they con- tain wide open nasal passages so impor- tant to the dog while scenting for ripe truf- fles. The blunt profile of the muzzle also plays a part; the nose with its wide open and mobile nostrils protrudes very slightly from the edge of the lips. The nose of the Lagotto should appear large. The size and set of the nose and the width of the muzzle are more important than the dog having a scissor bite. The bite is something that must truly be understood and can be confusing as to what is considered acceptable versus unac- ceptable in this breed. Unique to the sport- ing group, this former duck hunter’s main job now involves scenting and the ‘equip- ment’ that makes this possible may often result in the dog having a level or ‘reverse scissor’ bite. A scissor bite is acceptable as
246 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015
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