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 Water Tests 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


We have LRCGB members involved in gundog work who have been flying the flag for our breed.  Amongst others, Lyn and Jeff Monk together with Flora (Grancanna Cantata) who, having completed a season beating on a commercial shoot in Kent, were placed 4th in the AOV Sporting Spaniel Best Bitch class for working gundogs at Crufts 2017.  And Becky DeBlasi and Blossom (Mianatra Bound to be Blossom) achieved third place in the Special Beginner Class at their first working assessment (courtesy of the South Eastern Welsh Spring Spaniel Club) in May 2017.

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We are indebted to Chris Page (Hampshire Gundog Society and Micklemess Clumber Spaniels) who, together with his wife Carol and an occasional Clumber expert demonstrator, has been training a group of LRCGB dogs (and their owners!) in gundog work since 2016. Watch this space (and News/Events/Reports!) for further news and events!





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