LIVING WITH THE LAGOTTO ROMAGNOLO
by THERESE WILLIAMS & ADRIENNE PERRY
“ H ey, what kind of dog is that?” “Thank you for asking. It is a Lagotto Romagnolo.” “A what? I thought it might be some kind of doodle.” These are the daily conversations of any- one that owns a Lagotto Romagnolo. A LITTLE HISTORY The Lagotto Romagnolo in fact, is a very old breed out of Italy which has miracu- lously survived until today. Lagotto Rom- agnolo (literally meaning “lake dog” from
Romagna, a province in northern Italy), most likely evolved from a breed of small water dogs with curly hair, and was known as an all-purpose working dog. Based on archeological sites, it is very possible that the Lagotto derived from the same source as the other European water dogs: the Por- tuguese, the Spanish, the Barbet (French Water Dog) or the German Pudel, and is also thought to be the foundation for many of the retriever breeds we know today. This original dog was used for a variety of tasks by their owners.
However, since Etruscan times (7th century BCE), presence of a small breed of duck retriever has existed as a distinct type of dog in the vast marshlands of Romagna. This is believed to be the roots of the mod- ern Lagotto. For centuries, the Lagotto was used to help hunt waterfowl, but as the large scale drainage of the marshland occurred towards the end of the nineteenth (19th) century, the Lagotto no longer had the same purpose as the vast flocks of waterfowl dis- appeared. The Lagotto needed a new job and fanciers of the breed began the retraining
234 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2015
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