Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Magazine - Showsight

Lagotto Romagnolo Q & A


I believe that not many people would recognize Lagotti in daily life. Most often the first wild guess is Labradoodle or Cockapoo. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? Lagotti are determined and need brainwork and enrichment. They are very affectionate and build a strong emotional bond with their owner. They can be as flexible and agile as a cat or a monkey. They make you smile. Beyond this I believe that a good working dog will make an excellent pet. Extreme active and unfocused behavior isn’t what I am search for in a working breed. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? They are wonderful to live with if you want a dog that wants to work with you. They will challenge you and they will push/test boundaries. They can be quite vocal, but they do settle if you entertain them/ keep them busy/occupied. Lagotti like to sleep in the window, on your kitchen table or on the back of the sofa. If you do not have enough time to spend with your dog a Lagot- to is not for you, as even the most obedient lagotti can get their owners to do what they want them to do. What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our current economic and social climate? I would say that them being vocal might be the most common issue regarding social climate. But I guess that’s not your question here. In the current time of social networks and blurry communi- cation I am most worried about incomplete health information. Something that might find its origin in the human emotions that come with breeding. Whereas I believe that open and transparent communication about health and temperaments will educate us all to breed a better dog. I find that breeders start to be more and more reserved, when it comes to health and temperament, to keep the conversation going. Let’s hope we can empower and build trust so there will be room for open and honest communication. Potential puppy buyers have changed over the years, their trust in breeders seems bigger than ever, however their knowledge about the breed and its flaws has lessened than in the past. There is a need for responsible breeders that are educated and are willing to educate their potential puppy. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Good question. First day is first selection! But over the years I learnt that this is different for different lines. I tend to pick at day one in most lines and then at five to six weeks of age. The pups that stay will be reevaluated after the bite has changed. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? The key point for me is to please remember the general body proportions that are specifically described in the breed standard, which are getting more and more rare to find. The lagotto is an almost square breed with more length of leg than depth of chest! The ideal length of leg is 56% to 44% depth of chest and the chest reaches the elbow. Lagotti also have a rather narrow front. My ultimate goal for the breed? In an ideal world we breed together for better general health and temperament and where indi- vidual goals will be set aside to preserve the breed. After tempera- ments and health, I hope that we can maintain the breed type. My favorite dog show memory? There are so many moments I treasure for different reasons. For sure my fondest memories are those I have shared with other people. Maybe it is not the one indi- vidual show result that is my favorite memory, but the many inter- esting conversations with other people within and outside the breed about breeding a better dog. The Lagotto is a wonderful companion dog and great worker. Their truffle work in difficult terrains asks for flexibility, balance and endurance. They should show their typical working mental- ity and drive. Also remember they should have a natural (rustic) appearance. For grooming it is essential to preserve their natural look. No blown-out coats and eyes should always be visible.

Kendal Walters started in the Lagotto Romagnolo breed in early 2014 with a spunky roan girl that soon became one of the first ever Lagotto AKC champions. This began her journey in loving, show- ing and raising these water loving dogs. Her love of showing started many years before while participat- ing in 4-H cattle showing and live- stock judging. It wasn’t until adult-

hood that she started exhibiting and breeding dogs. Kendal served on the Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America board in 2016 and 2017 and is currently serving as Recording Sec- retary. She is also an active member of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and was honored with an Outstanding Breeder Achievement award in 2019 by the PWDCA. She has bred many AKC champions and grand champions in both Portuguese Water Dogs and Lagotto Romagnolos. Kendal holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Education from Texas Tech University. She is married to David Walters, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, and they currently reside in Illinois with their two sons. I currently live in Mascoutah, Illinois, but relocate every two to three years due to my husband’s job in the military. I have two school-aged children which keep me busy in school and sports activities. I’m also very involved with our church. Do I feel the average person on the street knows what the breed is? No, I regularly tell my new puppy owners to be prepared to be an ambassador for our breed. Most often we will get asked if we have a Poodle or a doodle so it is important for each Lagotto owner to know the history of the breed and be able to give a short explanation to interested individuals. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? This breed is definitely ‘cute’ but they also have a strong desire to ‘do’ and learn. While they make excellent pets, this is a breed that needs a ‘job’ or activity to truly develop into their full potential as a pet or show/performance dog. They are very sporty dogs as a whole and I haven’t had one yet that didn’t take to the water. Playing nose- work games around the house or going to the lake for some water retrieval are excellent activities for a typical Lagotto. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? The Lagotti are an excellent size for a companion dog with enough sport and energy to be a great companion to all members of the family. They can be protective (particularly using their bark) and should be properly socialized like any new pup from the get-go with people coming in and out of the home as much as socialization outside of the home. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? From birth I look at heads, bone and consistency in a litter. I may have puppies I’m drawn more to but until they get up on their feet and start moving around I don’t get too attached. By five weeks I usually have a couple favorites but don’t make final choices about who I will hold onto for show prospects until eight weeks or later. I also have to be willing to admit if a puppy doesn’t turn out how I’d hoped which is never fun to do. My ultimate goal for my breeding program is to improve with each generation structurally, produce healthy dogs, breed dogs with a consistent ‘type’ and be an approachable breeder that engages with everyone in a positive and encouraging way. My hopes are that if I am able to do these things successfully, then my breeding program will result in improvement to the breed as a whole.


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