Skip to main content

Living With a Lagotto Romagnolo: A Fluffy Hypoallergenic Dog Breed

Michael is the proud owner of a Lagotto Romagnolo and likes to share tips for owning and living with this dog breed.

Unbelievably cute Lagotto Romagnolo puppies.

Unbelievably cute Lagotto Romagnolo puppies.

Meet Our Lagotto

Warning: The following article contains extreme cuteness & puppies.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is an Italian breed of dog, traditionally used as a water dog.

But what are they actually like to live with? Are there good-tempered ones and bad-tempered ones? Are Lagottos good for people with allergies?

Choosing your new Lagotto can be difficult as appearances can vary greatly in the breed, but they are all cute as a button!

Coloration can be anything from chocolate brown to grey to white with patches of butterscotch. As they get older the patterns in their coats can change drastically, as you can see from the pictures of my little fella. Lagottos' eyes are almost human-looking, rather than the darker eyes of other breeds.

They are suitable for people with allergies as they moult very little from their soft, fluffy, sheep wool-like coat, making them a hypoallergenic dog breed.


Living With a Lagotto

Before picking up your new puppy, please take heed of some advice from me as a Lagotto owner. The little bundles of fluff have some serious energy. They need training almost right off the bat as they have a strong digging instinct, which will likely wreck your garden before you get it under control. These dogs will need several stimulating walks every day.

These dogs, in my opinion, are not suited to apartment dwelling, despite what can be read from other sources. They love to have a garden or yard to call their own.


Another thing to bear in mind is that not all Lagottos are going to turn out to be great family dogs. As with any breed, some are better with children than others. For example, despite constant training and encouragement, our dog will never be entirely safe with children due to his possessive and aggressive nature. They can be housed with other animals if suitably socialised, but it depends on the individual dog and his temperament.


How Intelligent Are Lagottos?

Lagottos are also extremely intelligent dogs. They crave attention and stimulation for their wonderfully attentive brains. Ours was able to solve "doggy puzzles" for treats with such ease; it was incredible to watch. Sometimes he seems to display an almost human level of intelligence and emotion.

Your new Lagotto will live up to 16 years and will grow to be a mid-sized dog. Ours is on the large side of the scale. They are extremely strong dogs, being hardy and well-muscled, and they can pull like a freight train. So if you are not physically up to the job, care is needed with training to prevent the pulling. I recommend a collar and lead over a harness arrangement for just that reason.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Pethelpful

Do Some Research Before Bringing a Lagotto Home

On a final note, these are fantastic dogs on the whole, but care needs to be taken, as with any dog, when selecting a breeder. Make sure to meet both the mother and father dog, and ask the breeder directly about any behavioral problems.


Questions & Answers

Question: My one-year-old Lagotto licks, bites and pulls hair to then swallow it. What do I do?

Answer: Dogs, in general, do this for several reasons, including a matted coat (common with Lagottos), boredom, stress, or an allergy. A matted coat is easy to check and treat. Be sure to offer your dogs a lot of attention and stimulation. I would suggest a trip to the vet to check for allergies. Mine used to "nibble" at her fur constantly as a means of self-grooming, but she never pulled it completely out or left bald patches.

Question: My one-year-old Lagotto is pulling her hair from any area she can reach. How can I stop this?

Answer: Dogs, in general, do this for several reasons, including a matted coat (common with Lagottos), boredom, stress, or an allergy. A matted coat is easy to check and treat. Be sure to offer your dogs a lot of attention and stimulation. I would suggest a trip to the vet to check for allergies. Mine used to "nibble" at her fur constantly as a means of self-grooming, but she never pulled it completely out or left bald patches.


Garry K on October 16, 2019:

What is the recommended age to desex a female Lagotto?

Martin S on February 12, 2019:

Bought my Lagotto from a breeder in northern Italy 1 year ago who trains truffle hunters. He was not trained for truffles but BEWARE he can dig seriously big holes quickly in the lawn! He is lovable, wants lots of cuddles, and play. BEWARE though he loves energetic walks, running and chasing anything that moves in the countryside! He is very protective, territorial, but BEWARE he will bark incessantly if he sees a potential intruder. In summary though, a great loyal dog. Would not give him away.

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on October 24, 2018:

Thank you for your comprehensive write-up on these intelligent and energetic dogs. The knowledge that some of these dogs can develop aggression is helpful, it seems that a good breeder and extensive socialization are very necessary components with this breed of dog.

Boots on July 04, 2018:

Carol, I too have a 17 mo. old lagotto who loves other dogs but wants to eat strangers alive. It is difficult to deal with. I tell them not to look at her, but she still lunges at them. We can't have any friends over unless we board or lock her in her crate. She has been in training but nothing seems to be making a difference. I'm considering sending her back to her breeder.

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on May 13, 2018:

In some ways that mirrors my own experience. It was my elderly father in law that got the most "attention" from her, sadly resulting in a couple of hospital visits. I would seek out some professional help as a last resort. I hope that it works out for you, saying goodbye to a Lagotto is not an easy thing to do. Regards, Mike

Carol on May 12, 2018:

My 17 mo. old Lagotto has been a challenge. She loves other dogs, but hates strangers/children. She has been in training since she was 20 weeks old. Very intelligent. Learn quickly, but cannot get her from this aggressive behavior. She acts like she wants to eat them alive. I'm afraid I may have to send her back to her breeder which will kill me, but it's like living on eggshells worrying she's going to bite someone.

Lotti on March 31, 2018:

That's a great article thanks. To reinforce the diversity in this breed I have a ten year old female spayed lagotto breed from lines noted to be affectionate and good with children. She's got lots of energy on walks but sleeps most of the day. Luckily she doest dig in the garden unlike most Lagottos - probably mostly from her genetics. She used to run away occasionally on walks if she got hold of animal scent but no longer after getting bitten on an escapee. Best dog Ive ever had - smart, fun, playful easy going and adorable.

Linda on February 20, 2013:

Wish I had read your advice before I got my Lagotto girl!!! I love her to death, but the energy part is killing me!! i walk her at least 2 hours per day...and not just on sidewalks or in the park...over hill and dale and into the mountains...and yes thru streams! she loves to roll in the snow, she loves to roll in dirt, and cow pies...(I live in Switzerland). I live in an apartment, but have a big communal yard..but you're right--your own fenced in space is far better. The mother's yard in Italy looked just like a moonlandscape when her litter was done with it. Thank goodness she has not discovered a strong urge to dig yet, but her paws are very strong. She's very strong. Sometimes when we' re roughhousing she can sidewind me and nearly knock me over, so I have to watch her with the kiddies--who she loves dearly because she thinks she's one of them. he can chew thru a harness or or a leash in the wink of an eye...I'finally taken to repairing them instead of buying new ones everey two weeks...and she has a zillion toys, but few prove to hold up very long with her biters! Sometimes I wish I could complain to the manufacturers about what a waste of money their stuff is...Lagottos come wi some serious health issues. The white ones tend to have protein allergies and scratch a lot as a result. i have tried many expensive dog foods...we're on a brand from the vet now. they also carry the gene for juvenile epilepsy...thank goodness my girl hasn't shown any signs of that. he is SMART! We've been through several doggie courses already, and it looks like we'll be into lifelong learning...she needs the canine peer exposure and the girl just wants to have fun, so school is like attending high school for her...a real social experience. She has wonderful light amber eyes and her nose is totally pink, not black, which people notice right away. She's a happy animal and draws a lot of attention from people on the street. She's not a cuddler, but she sticks close by when off the leash. She nudges when she wants something. Wish you could see how high she can jump up off all fours and the way she prances and mirthfully jumps ahead when we are on a walk. I made the difficult decision of having her spayed because I think a litter would kill me...that much energy!!! BTW-- all dogs shed, but she to a minimal degree...warning: that means she has to be groomed regularly (my husband says I spend more money on her hair than on my own) and it also means that when she gets dirty and wet...and that is often...then she needs frequent rinsing off. This is NOT a low maintenance dog. The thing I worry about with this breed is how trendy it is becoming now that the breed has been "rediscovered". Personally, I think novices should go for a Labradoodle if they want something similar. Lagottos are for people with stamina, space and extra money!!

Di on May 09, 2012:

Thanks for this informative write up. We just got a Lagotto this Feb, she is 5 months old now. We love her, As you have rightly said, they are dogs that require loads of training.

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on March 29, 2012:

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment, I have recently updated with extra piccies and plan on another update with more information!

Ozgottos on March 28, 2012:

thanks for your frank input and opinions on this breed - I have shared your information with my Lagotto group.

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 13, 2011:

Great intro to a breed unknown to me. Sounds similar in many ways to a Mini-Schnauzer. A dog with hair instead of fur, make them hypo allergenic as well, and a ball of energy, mellow to mean as snot. I hope I never find one you describe abandoned, but now I'll know what I've found may be, voted up dust

Naomi's Banner from United States on August 12, 2011:

Beautiful dogs. I appreciate the information as to the good and bad points to these dogs as you can't tell by looking at them they could be a real menace to have around. However, with just the right amount of care they could be great pets for the right person. Nice Hub. Voted up and beautiful.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on August 12, 2011:

Cute as a button! I enjoyed the article and the pictures. Thanks

The Logician from then to now on on August 12, 2011:

They remind me of a Bichon Frise which is also good for allergies.

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on August 12, 2011:

Thanks for reading! They are awesome dogs, but boy they can be hard work :)

Choxy on August 12, 2011:

I have never heard of these dogs, they are ADORABLE! Great hub. Voting up!

Related Articles