Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Magazine - Showsight

Lagotto Romagnolo Q & A

“I would like to see breeders who are putting emphasis on breeding healthy and conformationally and temperamentally sound dogs.”

What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our current economic and social climate? We are still trying to enlarge the gene pool here. So most of us are still importing. Due to many early imports not having great hips, we have a rather unbalanced gene pool of certain popular sires that did produce good hips. Importing is hard, you HAVE to visit, you HAVE to develop relationships with foreign breeders. Breeders need to be more open about prob- lems, that their dogs have (dentition issues, size inconsistency, lack of testicles, heart issues, temperament). A lot of foreign breeders do not health test at the same levels that we do (though I believe that we are driving the market on that and it is changing since I first started). Also in many countries, breeders do not practice the same puppy raising protocols as most reputable American breed- ers. In many places, they are raised as kennel dogs. Getting a soft, unsocialized kennel dog puppy at 16 weeks can be a nightmare! On a recent trip to Italy, friends and I visited around six breeders, we met a grand total of one house dog! Anyhow, there are still nice dogs available, but you need to be able to go and meet the breeders and see the dogs yourself. I would not import if you cannot do that. My first two were from Switzerland and Sweden, respectively, largely this was because their breeding requirements and philosophy on puppy raising seemed similar to mine, countrywide. It gave me a feeling of security! We are a very global community, I think we have social media to thank for that! Mostly, it’s a good thing. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I think there are two key times, one about eight weeks and another closer to 16 weeks. At eight weeks they have no legs, and no neck and they all seem to look too long in hock. The athleticism seems to be nicely apparent at the older time period, and the hair should be starting to curl well and the carriage of the tail has begun to figure itself out and bite is probably what it’s going to be (though it can change up to three years!) You might also have a good idea of temperament at this point, though the breed goes through a fairly marked secondary fear stage around 9-15 months. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Athleticism: This is a working truffle dog, they should give the appearance of having “the strength and endurance to work all day in difficult and challenging terrain” (AKC Stan- dard). Make sure that they really could. Though the standard does not have a weight DQ, it does have suggested weights.—a dog that is too substantial (a word that does not appear anywhere in our stan- dard) can not possess the necessary endurance. Such a dog might measure in, but is really too much dog on his legs to do his job. Rears: We do have quite a bit of breed drag in terms of good, strong rears. He shouldn’t be a dog without the powerful loin, and long slightly sloping croup. If you find a good rear reward it! Make sure to do a good down and back, while we are seeing better turn of stifle than we did ten years ago, we are still seeing dogs that are too close behind, or hocky going away. Dog could be cleaner com- ing back as well—and a lot of those same dogs look fine on the “go around.” Hallmarks: Our breed hallmarks are the a) Headpiece (slightly shortened muzzle to skull ratio, with wide muzzle and nose, nostrils and strong underjaw), b) the Coat (curly and rustic in presentation) and c) the Square body silhouette with more leg than body. Missing any one of these is to miss type entirely. My ultimate goal for the breed? I think to find our last genet- ic marker (for Cerebellar Abiatrophy) and to reduce the shy

muzzle which is conducive to a broad nose and sinuses. Second is coat, which should be dense, double coated and curly. Lagotto should NEVER be over-groomed so that the curls cannot be evalu- ated. Third is structure/movement—a Lagotto is a sturdy, compact, robust, square breed built for stamina over rough terrain, there is no over-exaggeration of angles or movement. These qualities help the breed to optimally perform his job as a truffle hunter and also reflect those of his original function as a water dog. Without proper structure and movement he cannot perform his job effectively. My ultimate goal for the breed? The breed is still a relatively healthy breed and I would like to keep it that way. I was the found- ing President of the Lagotto Romagnolo Foundation Inc, which was formed to protect the health and longevity of the breed through education and scientific research. I would like to see breeders who are putting emphasis on breeding healthy and conformationally and temperamentally sound dogs. This way we can maintain the breeds history and functionality as it was developed in Italy for a specific purpose. My favorite dog show memory? I am the only owner and breeder of the first and only Lagotto Romagnolo bred in the US that has won Best of Breed at the breed’s National Specialty, Westminster, the National Championships and the National Dog Show. He was the number one breed ranked LR in 2018. All five accomplish- ments are pinnacle milestones to achieving a breeders’ show dream come true! ADRIENNE PERRY Adrienne Perry is the Judges

Education Coordinator for the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Amer- ica and has worked on both versions of the AKC standard. She is a past president of the club, serving five consecutive terms on the board. She is a breeder of merit in lagotto as well as in her original breed, Rottweilers. She is currently a provisional judge in Lagotto, and hopes to add a vari-

ety of working and sporting groups to her judging roster soon. We are located in Tucson, Arizona. I’m retired and working on my breeds for judging. Do I feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? Not necessarily, and that’s a good thing. We are all wor- ried about becoming very popular, very fast. And this isn’t a breed for everyone! What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? A mature lagotto is a lovely pet with a nice “off switch”. Up to the age of two however, they can be very busy and demanding. A Lagotto would make a really nice “dog sport dog” they are very agile, intelligent and connected to their owners. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? He is too smart/busy for the average dog owner, especially if they came to this breed because they are listed as hypo-allergenic and the poten- tial owner lacks previous dog experience because of allergies. If you can lay down the rules (in a positive way, they are a very soft breed) and get through crate training and puberty, they are very cuddly and easy dogs to be around. Some lines seem slow to house-train.


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