Lagotto Romagnolo Breed Magazine - Showsight

The Lagotto Romagnolo


the time between the two world wars, almost all of the tru ffl e dogs of the tru ffl e hunters of Romagna and the adjacent areas were Lagotto Romagnolo. In subsequent decades the use of concrete pylons to sup- port grapevines and the steady disappear- ance of woodland has made the tru ffl e a somewhat rarer fi nd, especially on the plain. Th e Lagotto Romagnolo then turned out to be the perfect choice for searching in hilly woodland and thorny scrub during the autumn-winter period on account of its tightly-knit coat. Even as far back as 1920, the Lagotto Romagnolo was well known in the valleys of the Romagnolo Apennines, in the Valle del Senio, Valle del Lamone and especially in the Valle di Santerno. It should be born in mind that back then no-one was inter- ested in the Lagotto Romagnolo as a pure breed: the existing breeds were considered to be more than su ffi cient and the cross- breeds were often even more appreciated on account of their robustness, character and resistance to disease. Tru ffl e hunters have always bred their dogs on an entirely empir- ical basis (outside of any genetic rules), taking into account only the immediate, practical outcome: a brilliant tru ffl ing dog, whether Lagotto Romagnolo or not. In this manner, Lagotto Romagnolo, which had arrived in the valleys of Romagna “ fi xed” by the continuous couplings in narrow con- sanguinity carried out by the “Vallaroli” of the marshes of Comacchio started “to be polluted” by constant and unjusti fi ed introductions of foreign blood. However, merit where merit is due: the tru ffl e hunt- ers of that period did not let our Lagotto Romagnolo fall by the wayside, allowing it to survive—almost by miracle—to the present day in near-perfect phenotype and genotype form. Towards the mid 1970s a group of Romagna-based dog lovers decided to save the breed, which was risking extinction as a result of the incompetence, ignorance and negligence of owners: Th e group was led by the gentlemanly Quintino Toschi, President

Bridal Suite of Palazzo Ducale dei Gonzaga di Mantova, created by Andrea Mantegna in 1456

to lay the basis for the renewed purity of the breed. With the founding of the Club Italiano Lagotto (C.I.L.) in Imola in 1988, which now has 300 members all over the world, a fi rm foundation for o ffi cial acknowledge- ment of the breed on the part of E.N.C.I. and F.C.I. was created. O ffi cial recognition by E.N.C.I., with approval of the morpho- logical Standard drawn up by Dr. Anto- nio Morsiani (following years of biometric measurements on hundreds of subjects), was achieved in 1992. In 1995, thanks to the constant dedication of the Club and its technical bodies, provisional international >

of the local dog society and the E.N.C.I. breeder and judge Prof. Francesco Ballotta (who still remembered the Lagotti Rom- agnolo of his youth perfectly). Th ey were supported by dog expert, judge and world- famous breeder Dr. Antonio Morsiani and Lodovico Babini, a Romagna-born dog lover with extensive experience. Th ey were to set a genetic reconstruction program in motion that would save the Lagotto Rom- agnolo from the one-way tunnel to extinc- tion. Th e reuni fi cation of the two parallel stories of the Lagotto Romagnolo – the one that took place in the wetlands and the one that took place on the Apennine hills—were


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