Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Magazine - Showsight

The LAGOTTO COAT by Jacki BarBieri

I often get strange looks when enter- ing the show grounds. I can almost see the words floating above there heads like a cartoon bubble. “Jeez lady did you forget to groom your dog?” “ Th at dog is not in show condition!” Looks of irritation and disgust often follow from others. When discussing the coat with oth- ers and explaining the reasons and why the dog is shown rustic, it is usually followed with a response of “Good luck with that they will be blown out poodles in no time.” I like all Lagotto lovers am left with a pain- ful sadness an overall fear for my breed. Th e coat is not a matter of preference in the breed, it’s a matter of standard. And if judges choose to ignore one of the most important features of the breed, what else will they ignore? As a working dog, the Lagotto is kept in a completely unbrushed state, totally and completely matted and never brushed. Th e coat has a unique undercoat that makes them nearly waterproof. Th e matts do not cause irritation or sores, but instead provide a dense layer of protection for the dog. I remember seeing the first ones in the shows in Italy many years ago. In the beginning they were pulled straight from the field and into the show… For those that and ohhh my what a fit I had when I saw them. Totally and complete- ly matted, most likely had never seen a brush or a shave in there whole lives. If you have ever touched a sheep you know

what a full working coat feels like. Wooly, dense and bounces back when you push on it. You cannot move it to see the scalp no matter how hard you try and it moves it one solid piece. When they are shaved, it comes o ff in on solid piece and on the inside is soft as baby down and clean looking. Th e outside is dirty and neither harsh nor soft, but wooly and slightly course. Th e undercoat and outer coat cre- ate an almost impenetrable waterproof coat. Th ey do not have sores, fungus or infection when shaved. Just like sheep, the coat is designed to be that way. Th e coat is incredibly unique to this breed and unlike it exists in any other. You will never see a dog shown in a working coat anymore, not even in Italy. Over time a happy medium ground which allows the dogs’ structure to be seen, but does not violate the standard has developed. When thinking of what the grooming should be like, picking a style is not necessary. Just focus on what it can’t be. Number one, the dog should have curls ALL over the body including the head and legs. Th ey can be pin curls on up to curls the size of your thumb. A dog that is brushed out or missing curls should be penalized as harshly as a dismissal. And this is not personal preference, this is the standard period end of story. Th e coat can not be longer that 1 ½ inches in a curled state and should be uniform on the whole body except the head and legs, where the

curls will be looser and so appear to have a longer length. So sculpting and shap- ing is a big NO NO! Th e coat must have undercoat present; if it is too short to access curls or have undercoat, it’s impos- sible to judge the quality of the coat and should be dismissed. Th e type of curl, large or small diameter, is not as impor- tant as the density of the coat. You should not be able to move the coat and see the scalp easily at any length of coat. Th e curl and undercoat should be as dense as pos- sible. Regarding the coat colors, the only color not allowed is black, nor any black pigment of any kind. Not on the eye, rims or anywhere else. Th e eye and nose color should match the coat, lighter dogs will have lighter eyes and noses and dark brown dogs should have dark noses. Often when a Lagotto is injured with a hot spot, or any other skin injury, the coat will come back in black. It stays this way sometimes for up to 6 months, but eventually will return to the correct color. But as black coat is a DQ, they should not be presented regard- less if it is injury based or not. Th e coats can fade over time, browns as they age and can turn almost a grey color. Th ey should not be penalized for this as it is normal for the breed. Another thing to note is young dogs take time for the coat to develop. Th e coat doesn’t after develop until sexual maturity. So you will see young dogs with looser coats and less density. In the case of young dogs some leniency should be given

“as a working dog, The LagoTTo is kepT in a compLeTeLy unBrushed sTaTe, TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY MATTED AND NEVER BRUSHED.”


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