The Lagotto's original function is that of a water retriever.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century much of Romagna was marsh. The marsh men, often known as "Valleroli" or sometimes "Lagotti", were helped by their inseparable little duck dogs and so their dogs became known as Lagotto. The word Lagotto is Romagnan dialect for duck dog. Many of the defining features such as the curly coat and webbed feet of the Lagotto are to fit this purpose of duck retrieving. The hunters used flat bottomed punts to move through the shallow marshes so their dogs were small and light enough to fit in these punts. Below is a picture of four British bred Lagotto in a traditional punt on a trip to their land of origin.

Eddie Secchi Mally and Hattie

In countries where there is no history of truffling the function of the Lagotto is to remain as it has always been - as a Gundog and Water Retriever. Although small in size the Lagotto is a powerful dog well capable of retrieving Grouse and other game.

Retrieving gouseRet3

The following sequence of Teddy and owner/handler Martin Vallance  was taken in August 2012 on Arkleside Moor, Yorkshire.

Lagotto Web

The Lagotto Romagnolo Club of Great Britain holds an Annual Water Test to in order to maintain the working tradition of the breed. It is always amazing to see these dogs doing what they were designed to do. Even those with little formal training, who just come to have a go, seem to take to the task like a duck dog to water! They are strong swimmers and are able to dive for duck completely submerging themselves.

In 2014 Lagotto were placed in the Spaniel Sub Group. For purposes of competition, i.e. Field Trials and Gundog Working Tests, Lagotto will come under the 'Any Variety Spaniel' category. Some more information on working and training events for the breeds in this category can be found at

Lagotto Water Day Sept11 148





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