Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Magazine - Showsight

Lagotto Romagnolo Q & A

knowledgeable about the breed, does health testing and raises pup- pies with sound temperaments. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? We go to great lengths in our breeding program to ensure we have a strong foundation. All of our adult Lagotto in our breeding pro- gram are CHIC certified and have prominent pedigrees. This sets up each litter for the best possible outcome. For a show-prospect puppy we look at them at age five weeks and eight weeks initially to assess basic confirmation. As the puppy grows, we assess tempera- ment and at five months a show prospect would have a Penn Hip x-ray to assess the quality of their hips. Temperament and hips are important to our breeding program. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Movement of Lagotto is important to understand. The standard states that the “gait/movement should be an energetic trot with reach and drive. Lively and balanced.” In the sporting group it is important to see the Lagotto movement as described by the standard and not compared to the movement of a Golden Retriever, Irish Setter or Clumber Spaniel. The extended trot is what makes the Lagotto, a Lagotto. Coat: AKC describes the coat as having a “woolly texture, never twisted to form thin cords, semi-rough on the surface, with tight, ring shaped curls, with visible undercoat. The correct clip is un- pretentious and contributes to accentuate the natural, rustic look typical of the breed.” In short, this means the Lagotto should not be over groomed to look like a Poodle or Bichon, but instead should show its lovely rustic curls and sporting appearance. Temperament is essential. Lagotto should be happy and excited to be in the ring. The Tail: The AKC describes the tail; “At rest carried scimitar like or straight; when excited it is decidedly raised. When mov- ing the tail is often carried level with the back. When working or excited can be raised higher, also scimitar like, but never curled or straight up. Tail tapers towards the end. It is covered with woolly and rather bristly hair.” My ultimate goal for the breed is to twofold; To ensure that the breeds original purpose for sport and companionship is preserved and to protect the breed from over population from not following the breed standards as it gains notoriety in the United States. My favorite dog show memory is from our first benched show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Not only did our Lagotto win BOB and an Owner-Handel placement, but we represented the Lagotto to more than 100 people that came specifically to the bench show to meet this new breed, the Lagotto. I was so proud to intro- duce our three Lagotto and they represented the breed perfectly. HAKAN SWAHN We live in New York, across

demand has really exploded and that there are not enough puppies in the US for all who wants one. Oscar was born in Sweden from champion parents. I had to promise his breeder to show him in the US but as a complete novice I gave that task to a wonderful AKC handler, Jimmy Dickson, who quickly guided Oscar to become an AKC champion. There is no question that his nose is the most prominent asset. Although he is just a family dog his favorite “game” is to look for hidden treats in the apartment and after an hour every morning in the park he is exhausted from the myriad of scents that must be explored. I may be wrong but every morning he sniffs and licks my right knee which incidentally is due to get a replacement this spring. I actually think he can smell the osteoarthritis in the knee. Like most dogs Lagottos vary in all aspects although there are common threads. They are very loyal and playful. Full of mischief and very intelligent in their attempts to outsmart you. They need exercise but not as much as most people think. If they are allowed to just run loose they are the happiest but many, like Oscar, are not interested in chasing balls all day long. They are very trainable and love tasks but rend to pull on the leash and most Lagottos welcome visitors with a few barks. I think Lagotto breeders are fortunate as this is a breed on the rise and demand his high which is also reflected in the high puppy cost in the US. The challenge is for the community to breed with the health of offsprings being the most important aspect and make sure that breeders are approved by the lagotto club. I think there is also a trend towards allowing dogs in places where they have not been welcome before. With some restrictions many communities now allow them in restaurant and shops with owner consent which is a big leap forward. When do I start to see show-worthiness? Since I am not a pro- fessional breeder I find it hard to see when they are really young but at 18 months you can tell if you have some experience with the breed and personality in the ring can only be judged after actually trying. A big challenge for the breed was the lack of judges with good knowledge of the breed but this is now getting much better and the club has recently made some very good revisions to breed standard. The most important aspect is to remember that a Lagot- to is a working dog and should have that rustic look with power and intelligence. My ultimate goal for the breed? I hope there will be more intro- ductions of top quality offsprings from European dogs to dilute the gene pool in the US while not compromising the breed standard. My biggest memories were participating in the National in Phil- adelphia they first year the breed was accepted in the AKC as well as being in the Westminster. Watching your cute family members strutting around the ring with his handler was really special. It may be one of the cutest breeds around, especially as a puppy, but the real bonus is that they are not just cuddly and cute but that they also require some work and commitment from the owner. CAROLYN TALBERT Carolyn and Jim Talbert have been involved with the Lagot- to Romagnolo breed since 2010 with their first Lagotto, Gelato. Since then, they have been actively competing in Conformation, Scent-work, Dock Diving, Fast CAT, and Canine Good Citizen- ship. Their Lagotti are multi-titled both domestically and abroad, earning awards at Westminster, Royal Canin AKC National, LRCA National Specialty, Crufts, and World Dog Show in Moscow. Jim Talbert serves as the AKC Delegate and President for the Lagotto Club of America (LRCA). In between grooming and training their Lagotti for competitions, Carolyn serves as Membership Chair and Breed Mentor Apprentice for the LRCA. The Talberts are also

the street from Central Park where Oscar gets his daily exercise and playtime. Very often with his best friend Muffy which whom he had puppies last February. I am the owner of Aquavit Res- taurant here in midtown which is a Nordic two-star Michelin restau- rant. He does not get to taste truffles there but keeps digging for them in Central Park.

The average person does not know yet what a Lagotto is but it is getting better. When Oscar was born he was deemed to be a Poodle or some variety of a doodle. Now, six years later, there are quite a few here and the interest is on the rise. Seems like the


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