The Lagotto’s original function is that of a water retriever. Until the middle of the 19th Century much of Romagna was marshland. 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 of the Lagotto such as the curly coat and webbed feet were a perfect fit for the purpose of duck retrieving. The hunters used flat bottomed punts to move through the shallow marshes, the size and weight of their small dogs allowing for an optimal number of hunting companions.

© Giovanni Morsiani

Largely as dogs of the “peasante”, the common people, the Lagotto had to be a “Jack of all trades”. They had to find the prey and catch it; then with the advent of guns, had to find, flush and retrieve to land or punt. They had to have the steadiness to wait quietly in hide or punt, combined with the energy to hunt through marshland and impenetrable rush beds, and then the sturdiness to retrieve wildfowl. Although small in size, the Lagotto is a powerful dog well capable of retrieving Grouse and other game.

It is always amazing to see the dogs of today doing what they were designed to do. Even those with little formal training, 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.

WATER Diving

For any information or help with Gundog activities...

It is great to see more Lagotto involved in gundog activites, and we look forward to seeing these numbers increase in the future. If anyone has any queries about our gundog training or events, please contact Jude Bullen from our Working Sub-Committee, who will be able to point you in the right direction.