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 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.

WATER Diving

Spaniel Sub Group

In 2014 Lagotto were placed in the Spaniel Sub Group. For purposes of competition, i.e. Field Trials and Gundog Working Tests, Lagotto 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 Our Working Secretary, Lyn Monk, serves as the Lagotto Romagnolo representative for the Working Minority Breed Spaniel Club.

We have LRCGB members involved in gundog work who have been flying the flag for our breed competing in Working Minority Breed Spaniel Tests and Assessments – news of these and placings can be found in the Gundog Tests and Assessments section. If you have your own success story in the gundog field, please let us know …

BASC Classes at Crufts


In the AOV Sporting Spaniel Gamekeepers Class section Louise Ferguson with Crispino (Crispino Della Caveja) was placed 2nd in the Working Gundogs/Best Dog Class


Louise Ferguson and Hebe (Mizani Jola Briar), having completed a season of beating on a Hampshire shoot, were awarded 3rd Place in the Gamekeepers Class in 2018


Lyn and Jeff Monk, together with Flora (Grancanna Cantata) who, having completed a season beating on a commercial shoot in Kent (110 days excluding a few rest days!), were placed 4th in the AOV Sporting Spaniel Best Bitch class for working gundogs at Crufts 2017
Gundog | Gamekeepers 4th 2017

Our Working Secretary is available for any information and help on 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 Lyn Monk –

Game Fairs - 2019

The dates when we will have a Club presence at Game Fairs around the country are listed below, these will be updated as our attendance is confirmed. Further detail of each forthcoming Game Fair will be added in the main Events sections. It is a great opportunity for anyone wishing to see/meet the minor working breeds (Lagotto Romagnolo included) in one place, and to see some of the dogs in action in the demonstration ring.

Sunday, 5 May & Monday, 6 May

Living Heritage Fair: Thame Showground, Oxfordshire

Sunday, 26 May & Monday, 27 May

Living Heritage Fair: Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire

Friday 26 July & Sunday 28 July

The Game Fair, Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

If you have any queries about our Game Fair attendances, please contact Lyn Monk who will be able to give you more detail.

Game Fairs through the years

Game Fair attendance is not new to the Club, with Gael Stenton and Ann Kemp attending many a Game Fair in order to increase the breed’s profile especially during its infancy in the UK.
Game Fair Ann
Ann Kemp with Reno, Rasta, Freddie

and Lolly (Riola) - July 1998