BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY – Ancient breed of water retrieving dogs in the lowlands of Comacchio and the marshlands of Ravenna. Over the centuries, the great marshlands were drained and turned into arable land. Subsequently, the Lagotto changed from being a waterdog to an excellent dog for searching for truffles in the flat open country and the hills of Romagna.
GENERAL APPEARANCE – Small to medium sized dog, well proportioned, powerfully built, of a rustic [hardy] appearance, with a dense, curly coat of woolly texture
Important proportions– The length of the head is 40% of the height at the withers. The dog is nearly as high as it is long (square).
The length of the skull should be slightly more than 50% of the total length of the head.
The length of the muzzle is 20% less than that of the skull (i.e. 44%:56%)
The depth of the chest is less than 50% (about 44%) of the height at the withers.
TEMPERAMENT– 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 eliminated, 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 a very good companion and also an excellent watch dog.
HEAD AND SKULL– Viewed from above, trapezoidal in shape [a four sided shape with no two sides parallel] and moderately broad; the upper longitudinal axes [planes] of the skull and of the muzzle diverge slightly [slightly down-faced].
Skull– The skull is wide at the level of the zygomatic arches [cheek bones] and is as long as it is wide. Viewed from the side, from occiput to stop, the skull should be longer than the muzzle. It is slightly convex [arched] and tends to flatten out at the back skull. The rounded bones of the forehead are well developed, well defined eyebrows, pronounced forehead furrow, occipital crest short and not very developed, slight depressions above the eye sockets.
Nose - large, with wide open and mobile nostrils. 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 (ratio - skull 56%, muzzle 44%), the depth being only slightly less than the length. It is slightly wedge shaped, with a moderately flat front face. The bridge of the nose is straight.
Lips – The lips are not too thick; they are rather tight, so that the lower profile of the muzzle is determined by the lower jawbone. They are covered with a long and rather bristly moustache. Viewed from the front, the lips form a wide semi-circle. The colour of the edges ranges from light to dark brown.
EYES– Fairly large, rounded, filling the socket, set fairly well apart. The colour of the iris ranges from ochre to hazel and dark brown, depending on the colour of the coat. Close fitting eyelids; the colour of the eye-rims ranges from light to dark brown. Eyelashes very well developed. Look is alert, expression keen and lively
EARS– 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 1ž4 of its length. On the ears, the hair tends to show looser curls, but remains very wavy. No short hair on the ears. The inner part of the ear-flap is also covered with hair.
MOUTH– Jaw strong with almost straight branches and a relatively large lower jaw. Complete scissor or pincer bite with white and well developed teeth. Slightly undershot mouth acceptable.
NECK– Strong, muscular, lean with oval section; well set off from the nape and absolutely free from dewlap. Topline slightly arched. In males, the circumference of the neck can be twice that of its length. The length of the neck is a little less than the total length of the head.
Shoulders –Shoulder blades long (30% of the height at the withers), well laid back (52-55 degrees), muscular, strong and closely attached to the chest, but moving freely. The angle between the shoulder blade and the upper arm ranges from 110 to 115 degrees.
Upper Arm– Muscular, of fine bone structure, as long as the shoulder blade; its angle from the horizontal ranges from 58 – 60 degrees.
Elbows– Well attached to the chest wall, but not too tightly; covered with fine skin; parallel to the median sagittal [central] plane of the body as are the upper arms. The point of the elbow is located on a vertical line lowered from the back end of the scapula to the ground.