Lagotto Romagnolo Q & A
Carolyn Talbert continued
show-prospect into the show ring. Keeping in mind from above (the importance of early intervention of new experiences), the LR puppy should be happy and not stressed in the ring. In other words, keep it fun at this stage! If the LR puppy shows signs of moderate stress, he/she may not have the best temperament for showing. Therefore it is even more important to keep it fun and/or be mindful of “fear periods” in their development. If moderately stressed, one should stop exhibiting and try again later when the Lagotto’s readiness has seasoned. For the show ring, the LR should be sound, both mentally and physically, and sometimes they may require a little extra time to get there. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The parent breed club stresses that coat, head, and square body type are the hallmarks of the LR breed. While all three are important qualities, I find often that more emphasis/attention is placed on the coat type than the other two qualities. For me, head type and movement are equally as important as coat type. To have a broad, wedge-shaped head with a short, wide muzzle with a blunt profile nose is critical to the purpose of the LR, a.k.a. Scent-work. Also, the leg to chest depth of the LR should be 56% leg to 44% chest. I see many LR that are short in leg, presenting more of a 1:1 ratio, and according to the breed standard, the LR should have slightly longer leg than depth of chest. My ultimate goal for the breed? I would like to see all LR breed- ers completing DNA testing on their sires, dams, and progeny. I would like for Lagotti to receive their CHIC numbers prior to breeding - testing for hips, patellae, and DNA markers for known LR diseases. Above all else, the health (body and mind) of the breed is most important. Breeders should also be checking and selecting for sound temperament, taking the time to assess and follow their adult dogs and their offspring. My favorite dog show memory? It has to be traveling to CRUFTS in 2016, and watching our boy win “BEST DOG” in Birmingham, England among sixty Lagotti Romagnolo! We flew into Paris, rent- ed a car, and drove into the UK via the Chunnel—all while fighting the stomach flu and in between purges, having the teenaged Chun- nel attendant from Dover sharing with us about his breeding of Guinea Pigs and his Mum’s good cooking! Lagotti Romaganoli puppies are a bit of a “bait and switch.” Often, what color(s) you see as a puppy, change significantly over the lifetime of the LR. Most Lagotti coats will lighten (or “fade” depending on how you see it) between 12-24 months. What once was a dark orange or chocolate brown as a puppy will lighten to primarily cream or mocha as an adult. The brown lagotti will often develop a silvery-gray illusion, often caused when the white guard hairs start to become prolific. So don’t be alarmed when your teen- ager LR starts to lose his/her saturated dark coat color(s) of its youth! KATRIEN VAN GEMERT We live in a small town called
active members of their local All-breed kennel club. Visit their web- site at www.lambscreeklagotto.com . We live in the coastal region of Virginia. My husband, Jim, and I are gainfully employed, working full time. I have served as a Land- scape Planner for a local municipality for over two decades. We are also active in our church and enjoy spending time at the lake with our grandchildren and “dock divers.” Do you feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? In the last four years, since July of 2015 when the AKC granted full recognition of the breed, the “street-cred” of the Lagot- to Romagnolo has definitely improved! Although, we still get the “What kind of doodle is your dog?” question, we delight when someone asks, “Is that a Lagotto?!” As the breed continues to gain popularity, many more are recognizing the breed, and frequently inquire about the temperament, health, and grooming aspects of the LR. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? The Lagotto Romagnolo is a most keen, energetic, affable, and loyal breed. They are easily trained and should be frequently challenged to learn new tasks and hone their manners. They bond very quickly and strongly with their humans, but if left on their own too much, they will start to get into mischief and can develop undesired behaviors. Many dog owners focus on physical exercise with their canines, and while this aspect is important, the Lagotto benefits as much from the mental stimulation of conquering new challenges while spending quality time with his/her most beloved human. Their keen sense of smell aids greatly around the house, as they can find just about anything! Mine have been helpful in find- ing reading glasses that fall in between cushions, under beds, etc. and you will certainly know when a stray piece of kibble gets stuck under the refrigerator, stove, or under their crate, as LR will inces- santly sniff and dig to free it. You might as well resign to helping them soon retrieve “the smell,” so the household can be restored to peace. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? At the end of the day, rich in activity, there is nothing more satisfy- ing than to have cuddle time with one’s Lagotto. As important as exercise (physically and mentally), the Lagotto also needs adequate down-time. A trainer once enlightened me to the fact that constant exercise for any dog, does not always tire him/her out, but instead, much like a well-conditioned athlete, it builds endurance— requir- ing more and more increasingly to tire the canine. That said, cre- ating spaces for down-time (most often including their humans in the same room) will allow the LR to settle and be a wonderful asset to the household. They love their crates as respite from a busy day. As mentioned above, do not under-estimate the value of men- tal stimulation. Give the LR a puzzle to solve (teach a new trick, provide a new interactive toy, etc.) and add some good loving for a winning combination! What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our cur- rent economic and social climate? Breeders face a huge commit- ment towards investing significant time to properly socialize their puppies and/or adult dogs. Lagotto Romagnolo is a very keen, yet sensitive breed. They will startle at new people, places, and things, and therefore, deliberate, ongoing exposure to new circumstances is most important to develop a confident LR. Early neurological stimulation and exposure to new sites and sounds during the first twelve weeks are crucial. The extra, ongoing investment by breeders during these formative weeks, as well as educating their respective puppy owners (into adulthood and beyond), pay big dividends in the LR’s overall well-being and establishment of a good home-life with forever placements. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Between six and nine months is a good time to start introducing a
Esch in the south of the Nether- lands. Besides the daily care for our dogs, I work as a groomer and physi- cal therapist/chiropractor for dogs and cats. For the last two years, I have been focusing on writing and publishing the first book about breed specific grooming for the Lagotto Romagnolo. After all work is done, I do like to draw. I hope to find more time for this in the near future. Do I feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is?
284 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ANUARY 2020
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