Lagoto House

Krstic - Komlenski

“Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.”

Alexander Pope, poet

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The Lagotto Romagnolo is a rural dog with its ancestry reaching far back into Italian history. It is an ancient breed which has miraculously survived until today. Archeological sites located primarily in Northwest Italy, indicate the Lagotto evolved from a breed of small water dogs with curly hair. The Lagotto is first identified in history during the time of the Etruscians in the 7th century BCE. Drawings found in the Etruscan city of Spina (located near present Ferrara) clearly portray scenes of hunting and fishing involving a dog which is very similar to today’s Lagotto. After the disappearance of the Etruscan civilization, we continue to find evidence of this water dog both in the Roman and Medieval periods of history.
The evidence primarily locates the Lagotto along the East coast of the Italian peninsula, raging from Ravenna in the South, through Comacchio, the Venice lowlands, and North to Friuli and the Istria cape. Located in the wedding chamber of Ducal palace in Mantova is a fresco by Andrea Mantegna dating to 1456. On the fresco’s left side is a scene depicting a dog identical to today’s Lagotto laying at the feet of Marquis Ludovic III Gonzaga. Post 16th century we continue to find descriptions and drawings of hairy dogs in literature. Thanks to itd thick, hairy coat, the Lagotto was able to spend hours in the water in any weather conditions. The name Lagotto derives from the dog’s original purpose. In the local Romagna dialect “Cán lagót” means “hairy water dog”. Originally the Lagotto was used as a guard dog, protecting dwellings and real property. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Lagotto began it’s training as a locator of truffles. Ease of training, combined with an acute sense of smell, quickly turned the breed into an excellent locator of truffles. By 1920, the Lagotto was known in: Romagnolo Apennines, Valle del Senio and Valle del lamone, however principally in Valle di Santerno. Despite this renown there was little interest in establishing the dog as a pure breed.
As late as the 1970s, a group of Romagnan enthusiast (Quintino Toschi, Prof. Francesco Ballotta, Dr. Antonio Morsiani and Lodovico Babini) decided to establish this dog as a recognized breed. In 1988 they established C.I.L (Club Italiano Lagotto). In 1995 after many long years of work, the breed was officially recognized by the F.C.I. Today the Lagotto breed is very popular abroad. There is rapid growth in the number of Lagotto puppies in Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Since 1997 the U.M.LAG (World Union of Lagottos Clubs) has overseen all international Lagotto clubs.