Breed standards

Lagotto Romagnolo

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 08 Mar 2018

FCI Standard No 298 dated 17 December 2015

Effective in Australia from 1 January 2000

TRANSLATION: Antonio Morsiani, Renée Sporre-Willes and Prof. R. Triquet.
Revised by ENCI and Renée Sporre-Willes / Official language (EN).

ORIGIN: Italy.


UTILIZATION: Truffle dog.

FCI-CLASSIFICATION:  Group  8   Retrievers – Flushing Dogs – Water Dogs.
Section 3 Water Dogs. Without working trial.

Group 3 (Gundogs)

Ancient breed of retrieving water dogs in the lowlands of Comacchio and marshlands of Ravenna. During the centuries, the great marshlands were drained and turned into arable land. Subsequently the Lagotto changed from being a water dog to an excellent dog for searching truffles in the flat open country and in the hills of Romagna.


Small to medium-sized dog, well proportioned, powerfully built, of a rustic appearance, with a dense, curly coat of woolly texture.

Important Proportions:
The dog is nearly as high as long (nearly square). The length of the head is 4/10 of the height at the withers. The length of the skull should be slightly more than the length of the muzzle. The depth of the chest is less than 50 % (about 44 %) of the height at the withers.


Not specified.


A natural gift for searching and its very good nose has made the breed very efficient in truffle searching.  The former hunting instinct has been modified by genetic selection; hence his work is not distracted by the scent of game. The Lagotto is tractable, undemanding, keen, affectionate, very attached to his owner and easy to train. He is also a very good companion and an excellent watchdog.

Head And Skull:

Viewed from above, trapezoidal in shape and moderately broad; the upper longitudinal axes of the skull and the muzzle diverge slightly.

Skull: Broad at the level of the zygomatic arches, and as long as it is broad. Viewed from the side, from occiput to stop, the skull should be longer than the muzzle. It is slightly convex and tends to flatten out at the back of the skull. Frontal sinuses well developed, brows marked, the medio-frontal furrow pronounced, occipital crest short and not very developed, supraorbital fossae slightly marked.
Stop: Not too pronounced, but evident.

Nose: Large with nostrils wide open and mobile. Median groove strongly pronounced. Viewed in profile, the nose continues on the same level as the muzzle and protrudes very slightly from the front edge of the lips. The colour ranges from light to dark brown, depending on the colour of the coat.

Muzzle: Fairly broad, a little shorter than the skull, it’s depth being only slightly less than the length. Muzzle is slightly wedge shaped and giving a rather blunt profile. The nasal bridge has a straight profile.

Lips: The lips are not too thick; they are rather tight, so that the mandible determines the lower profile of the muzzle. Lips are covered with a long and rather bristly moustache. Viewed from the front, the lips form a wide semi-circle. The colour of the lip-rims ranges from light to dark brown.

Cheeks: Flat.


Large, but never exaggerated, rounded in shape filling the socket and set fairly well apart. The colour of the iris ranges from ochre to hazel and dark brown depending on the colour of the coat. Eyelids are close fitting and the colour of the eye-rims ranges from light to dark brown. Eyelashes very well developed. Look alert, expression keen and lively.


Medium-sized in proportion to the head, triangular with rounded tips; their base is rather wide; they are set just above the zygomatic arches. Hanging at rest or slightly raised when the dog is attentive. If pulled towards the nose they should reach the muzzle at 1/4 of its length. The inner part of the auricle is also covered with hair.


Jaws strong with almost straight branches and a relatively spacious mandibular body. Scissor or pincer bite with complete white and well-developed teeth.  Slightly reverse scissors bite acceptable. 


Strong, muscular, lean, of oval cross section; well set off from the nape and absolutely free from dewlap, slightly arched. In males the perimeter of the neck can reach the double of its length. The length of the neck is a little less than the total length of the head.


General: Regular, upright seen from the front and in profile.
Shoulder: Shoulder blades long, well laid back (52°–55°), muscular, strong and closely attached to the chest, but moving freely.
Upper arm: Muscular, of thin bone structure, as long as the shoulder blade; its inclination to the horizontal ranges from 58 - 60°.
Elbow: Well attached to the chest wall, but not too tightly; covered with thin skin; parallel to the median sagittal plane of the body as are the upper arms. The tip of the elbow is located on a vertical line lowered from the back end of the scapula to the ground.
Forearm: Perfectly vertical, long, with compact, strong bone of oval cross-section.
Carpus (Wrist): Viewed from the front in a vertical line with the forearm; fine, robust and mobile; pisiform bone markedly protruding.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Rather less thick and of finer bone compared with the forearm, it’s fine and resilient. Seen in profile, it forms an angle of 75°–80° to the ground.


Compact and strong; as long as the height at the withers.
Topline: Straight from the withers to the croup.
Withers: They rise above the level of the croup; the highest points of the shoulder blades are not too close, but quite high set and well laid back.
Back: Straight, very muscular.
Loin: Short coupled, very strong, in profile slightly convex. Width is equal or slightly exceeds the length.
Croup: Long, wide, muscular, slightly sloping.
Chest: Well developed, reaching down to the elbows. Although fairly narrow in front, from the sixth rib the chest widens towards the back.
Underline and belly: Long sternal section in form of a straight line; the following tuck-up is only slight.


General Appearance: Powerful, upright seen from the rear, well proportioned to the size of the dog and parallel.
Thigh: Long, with clearly defined and visible muscles. The axis of the femur has a distinct inclination of 80° to the horizontal. The thigh is parallel to the median plane of the body. 
Stifle (Knee): The angle of the stifle ranges from 130° to 135°.
Lower thigh: Slightly longer than the thigh, well boned and muscled, with marked muscular groove.  Its inclination to the horizontal ranges from 50° to 55°. Its direction is parallel to the median plane of body.
Hock joint: Broad, thick, lean, with clear-cut bone and well angulated.
Metatarsus (Rear Pastern): Thin, cylindrical, perpendicular to the ground. No dewclaws.


Forefeet: Slightly rounded, compact, with arched and tight  toes. Nails strong and curved. Pads well pigmented. Inter-digital membranes very well developed.
Hind feet: Slightly more oval-shaped than forefeet and toes slightly less arched.


Set on neither too high nor too low tapering towards the end. When hanging, it should barely reach the hocks.
The tail is covered with woolly and rather bristly hair. At rest carried scimitar like; when attentive decidedly raised. When working or excited can be carried over the back, but never curled.


Walk is regular; trot is energetic and brisk, gallop for short periods.


Skin: Thin, close fitting all over the body, without wrinkles. Pigmentation of the skin connecting with mucous membranes and of pads ranges from light to dark and very dark brown.
Hair: Of woolly texture, never twisted to form thin cords, semi- rough on the surface, with tight, ring shaped curls, with visible undercoat. Curls must be evenly distributed all over the body and tail, except on the head, where the curls are not as tight forming abundant eyebrows, whiskers and beard. Even the cheeks are covered with thick hair. On the ears, the hair tends to show looser curls, but remains very wavy. No short hair on the ears. The topcoat and especially the undercoat is water-proof.

If not clipped, the hair tends to become felted (as it continues to grow); therefore a complete clipping must be performed at least once a year. Felted topcoat and undercoat must be removed periodically. The clipped coat must not be thicker than max four centimetres and it should be uniform with the silhouette of the dog. Only on the head the coat can be longer, but not as long as to cover the eyes. The area around the genitals and anus should be clipped short. The coat must not be formed and brushed up in the fashion of the Poodles and Bichon frisé breeds or clipped short preventing it from curling or assessment of texture. Any excessive hair styling will exclude the dog from being qualified. The correct clip is un-pretentious and contributes to accentuate the natural, rustic look typical of the breed.


Off-white solid colour, white with brown or orange patches, orange roan, brown roan, brown (in different shades) with or without white, orange with or without white. Some dogs have a brown to dark brown mask. Tan markings (in different shades) allowed.


Height at the withers:
Males: 43 - 48 cms (ideal height : 46 cms).
Females : 41 - 46 cms (ideal height : 43 cms).
Tolerance of 1 cm more or less.

Weight: Males: 13 - 16 kgs, Females: 11 - 14 kgs.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.

• Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• Untypical specimen.
• Axes of the skull and the muzzle converging.
• Partial and/or total de-pigmentation.
• Dish-faced.
• Overshot bite.
• Pronounced undershot bite.
• Wall-eye.
• Tail carried over the back; anury or short tail, whether congenital or artificial.
• Docked tail.
• Coat not curled or clipped too short.
• Corded coat.
• Sculptured clip.
• Black coat colour, black patches or black pigmentation.
• Oversize or undersize.


•    Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
•    Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.