Breed Info

Breed Info offers an in-depth look into the unique characteristics, care requirements, and fascinating aspects of our beloved Samoyed and Lagotto Romagnolo breeds. Explore to understand what makes these breeds special and how to best care for them.

Personality & Expectations

The Lagotto Romagnolo is known for its keen intelligence, affectionate nature, and remarkable ability at truffle hunting. They are energetic, requiring regular mental and physical stimulation, but are equally content being close companions, adaptable to family life and attentive to their owners.

Weight
24 - 35 pounds
Height
16 - 19 inches
Longevity
14 - 17 years

General Health

This breed is generally healthy but can be prone to certain genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia and juvenile epilepsy. Regular health screenings and a well-monitored diet help maintain their health.

For maintaining optimal health, routine veterinary check-ups and adhering to a preventative healthcare plan are essential. Being proactive about health issues can significantly contribute to a Lagotto Romagnolo's long and happy life.

Care and Feeding

Lagotto Romagnolos thrive on a balanced diet rich in nutrients. Their energetic nature means they benefit from high-quality dog food that supports their activity levels. Regular feeding schedules and portion control are important to prevent obesity.

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In addition to regular grooming, attention to the unique needs of the Lagotto's coat, such as managing its natural curls and preventing knots, will keep your dog looking its best and feeling comfortable.

Grooming

Their curly, woolly coat requires regular maintenance to prevent matting. Weekly brushing and occasional trimming keep their coat manageable. They also require regular ear cleaning to prevent infections due to their floppy ears.

This overview provides a snapshot into the care, health, and characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo, ideal for potential owners researching the breed.

Lagotto Romagnolo  go back to at least Renaissance Italy, where they were bred as waterfowl retrievers working the marshlands of Ravenna. (“Lago” is Italian for “lake.”) For many years, though, Lagotti, blessed with an exceptional nose, have been used in the Italian countryside to sniff out truffles, a tasty and expensive delicacy. Though many breeds can be trained on truffles, the Lagatto is generally considered the world’s finest truffle dog.

General Appearance:

Small to medium-sized dog, well-proportioned, powerfully built, of rustic appearance, with a dense, curly coat of wooly texture. The dog should give the impression that he has the strength and endurance to work all day in difficult and challenging terrain. 

Size, Substance, Proportions:

Size – Height at the withers: Dogs 16½ to 19½ inches; Bitches 15½ to 18½ inches. Disqualification – Dog under 16½ or over 19½ inches; bitches under 15½ or over 18½ inches. 

Substance – Males 28 to 35 pounds. Females 24 to 31 pounds. 

Important Proportions – The Lagotto is a square dog, measured from the pro sternum to the point of ischium and from the highest point of the shoulder to the ground. The length of the head is 40 percent of the height at the withers. The neck is slightly shorter than the length of the head. The length of the skull should be slightly more than half the length of the head. The legs are slightly more than half the height of the dog at the shoulder. Head: Viewed from above and from the side, the head is a broad blunted wedge. The length of the skull, from stop to occiput, is the same as the width at the widest point of the zygomatic arch. The somewhat arched skull is slightly longer than half the length of the head (56 percent skull to 44 percent muzzle) with unpronounced occiput. Planes of the skull and muzzle diverge slightly – extreme divergence, parallel planes or dish faced appearance are serious faults. Nasal bone is straight. The stop is moderate, with a distinct furrow between the eyes. Frontal sinuses are well developed, giving good fill beneath the eye. Cheeks are flat. The wide robust underjaw defines the shape of the muzzle so that the lips form an upsidedown semi-circle. The nose is large with wide open and mobile nostrils and a strongly pronounced median groove. It protrudes very slightly from the front edge of the lips. The nose should be fully pigmented in shades from light to dark brown, varying with coat color. Anything else is a serious fault. Lips are rather tight and not thick. The strong lower jaw determines the profile of the muzzle. The flews are tight fitting and dry. Pigment of the lips varies with coat color from light to dark brown. Welldeveloped teeth meet, ideally, in a scissor or level bite. A reverse scissor bite is acceptable. Full dentition is preferred. Disqualification – Overshot or undershot bites (where the incisors do not touch those of the opposing jaw). The eyes are set somewhat frontal-obliquely, and fairly well apart. They are large, rounded, fill the sockets, and very slightly protruding. The color of the iris ranges from ochre to hazel to dark brown – no other colors are acceptable. Eyelids are close fitting. Eye rim color will vary with coat color from light to dark brown. Eyelashes are very well developed. The arch of the eyebrow is prominent. The ears are medium-sized in proportion to the head, triangular with rounded tips. The base of the ear is rather wide and is set just above the zygomatic arch. When alert, the top of the ear rises to widen the appearance of the skull, and the front edge of the ear is close to the cheek. When pulled loosely forward, the ear should cover about ¼ of the length of the muzzle. The Lagotto’s expression should be intelligent, friendly and attentive. 

Neck, Body, Topline:

The neck is strong muscular, thick, and oval in shape. It is lean, well set off from the nape, and slightly arched. The length of neck is slightly less than the total length of the head. Neck should blend smoothly into shoulders. Muscles are extremely powerful. A correct neck is fundamental to function.

The Lagotto body is square, compact and strong. The length of the dog, measured from the prosternum to the point of the ischium, should be the same as the height at the top of the scapulae, which are long and quite high-set, rising well above the level of the back. Chest is wide and well-developed, reaching down to the elbows, but not below them. The ribcage is slightly narrowed in front, widening from the sixth rib back, allowing elbows to move smoothly along the body. Ribs are well sprung (width Page 2 of 3 of ribcage at the widest point is about 30 percent of the height of the dog). Underline is straight, with a slight tuck-up at the flank.

The scapulae are set high, back straight, loin slightly arched, croup slightly sloping and tail follows the line of the croup. A line drawn from the top of the shoulder to the hip will be slightly sloping. A dog high in the rear or low in the withers is to be penalized. The Lagotto’s back is straight and very muscular. The loin is short-coupled, very strong, and slightly arched. Its width is equal to or slightly exceeds the length, giving strength for digging. Croup is slightly sloped, quite long, broad, and muscular. It forms an angle of approximately 25 to 30 degrees from the horizontal. Flat or steep croups are to be severely penalized. The tail is set on following the line of the croup. At rest, it is carried scimitar-like, and no higher than the back.

When excited, the tail is decidedly raised, and carried in a loose arc above the level of the back. Tip of tail should not be carried further forward than the pelvis. The tail should never be curled or carried straight up. The tail tapers from base to end, and should reach to just above the hock. Ringtails or tails carried over the back are serious faults. 

Forequarters:

The shoulder blades are long (30 percent at the height of the withers), well laid back (yet not too close at tips), muscular, and strong. They are closely attached to the chest, but move freely. The angle formed between the shoulder blade and the upper arm should be approximately 115 degrees. The elbow will fall on a vertical line lowered from the back of the scapula to the ground. The upper arm is as long as the shoulder blade, of light bone structure, muscular, and tucked firmly against the brisket. Legs are straight. The forearm is long, with strong, compact, oval bone. The carpus is fine, robust and mobile, and in complete alignment with the forearm. Pasterns are also in perfect alignment with forearm, and of slightly finer bone. They are moderate in length and slightly sloping. Forefeet are webbed, rounded, and compact, with well-arched, tight toes. Pads have particularly hard soles. Nails are curved and range in color from white to extremely dark brown. 

Hindquarters:

Angulation of the hindquarter is slightly less than the angle of the forequarter (approximately 110 degrees). Legs are powerful and parallel when seen from the rear. The upper thigh is slightly longer than the shoulder (35 percent of height at withers). It is quite broad, convex, and with well defined muscles. The second thigh is slightly longer than the upper thigh, well boned and strong. The hindquarters must be perfectly parallel to the spine. The angle of the stifle should be more open than the angle at the hip, (approximately 130 degrees). The hock joint is well let down, wide, clean and strong. Pasterns are thin, cylindrical, and perpendicular to the ground when the dog is standing freely. A vertical line from the point of buttocks to the ground will fall slightly in front of the toes. Hind feet are slightly oval, compact, and webbed. The toes of the back feet are not quite as arched as those of the forefeet; thus, the nails may be straighter. 

Skin, Coat:

The skin of the Lagotto is thin, firm and close-fitting all over the body, without wrinkles. Pigmentation of the skin and pads harmonizes with the color of the coat, ranging from dark pink to dark brown. Depigmentation anywhere on the body is a serious fault. Coat is extremely important in this breed. Hair should be of wooly texture, semi-rough on the surface. Topcoat should be quite thick, and undercoat visible. The combination of the two repel water. A correct coat is never luxurious or shiny. The body is covered with tight ring-shaped curls, not frizz. Skull and cheeks are covered with thick hair, and the looser curls of the head form abundant eyebrows, whiskers, and a rather bristly beard. The coat covering the tail is both curly and somewhat bristly. The Lagotto must not be corded. Disqualification – smooth or straight coat. The correct trim must always be unpretentious, and contribute to the natural, rustic look typical of the breed. In a curled state the body coat must be trimmed to no more than 1½ inches in depth Page 3 of 3 (not brushed/combed out), and it should be uniform with the silhouette of the dog. Only on the head can the coat be longer than 1½ inches, but should never cover the eyes (should be penalized). The edges of the ears should be trimmed to the leather; the surface of the ear flap should show looser curls, but remain wavy. The area around the genitals and anus may be clipped short. Hair must be of sufficient length that curls and texture can be assessed. Corded dogs or excessively groomed dogs (sculpted or blown out) should be so severely penalized as to be eliminated from competition. Color: Lagotti can be off-white solid color, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, orange roan, brown, orange, or sable (in different shades), with or without white. Some dogs have extremities darker than their body color. Tan markings (in different shades) allowed. The colors have a tendency to fade, sometimes to such an extent that the brown areas can appear as silvery/gray roan. All the above colors are equally desirable, including the faded or diluted colors. Disqualification – Black or gray coat or patches; black pigmentation. 

Gait/Movement:

Lagotti should exhibit an energetic, lively, balanced trot, with moderate reach and drive. Back should remain firm and strong with no tendency to roll. At a trot, the rear foot covers but does not pass the footprint of the front foot. Movement from the front is parallel at a walk or slow trot, never wider than the dog’s shoulder, and tends toward a center line as speed increases. Rear legs are also parallel at a slow gait, converging at increased speed, with hocks staying in a straight line between hip and foot. As the dog increases speed, the neck moves slightly lower and forward. The Lagotto should move with distinction and nobility of bearing. He should not be exhibited in an elongated trot – it is atypical and incorrect for the breed. 

Behavior, Temperament:

The Lagotto is tractable, adaptable, keen, affectionate, and extremely attached to its owner. He is both highly intelligent and easily trained. He is an excellent companion and a very good watchdog. A natural gift for searching and a very good nose have made the breed very efficient in finding truffles. The former hunting instinct has been modified by genetic selection to avoid distraction by game. This breed should never be aggressive or overly shy.

Faults:

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and to the degree that it will affect the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work, as well as the health and welfare of the dog. 

Disqualifications:

Size – Dogs under 16½ inches or over 19½ inches. Bitches under 15½ inches or over 18½ inches. Bite – Overshot or pronounced undershot bite (incisors of the upper jaw and lower jaw do not touch). Coat – Smooth or straight. Color – Black or gray coat or patches; black pigmentation.

Personality & Expectations

Samoyeds are joyful, friendly dogs known for their gentle nature and strong bond with families. They possess a playful spirit and thrive on companionship and being part of family activities. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them versatile in learning and socialization.

Weight
35 - 65 pounds
Height
19 - 23.5 inches
Longevity
12 - 14 years
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General Health

Samoyeds are generally healthy but can be prone to certain hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia and eye disorders. Regular health screenings for genetic conditions are recommended.

Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet are crucial for their well-being.

Care and Feeding

A balanced diet tailored to their age, size, and energy level supports their overall health. Avoid overfeeding to prevent weight gain and consult a vet for specific dietary needs.

Attention to their coat helps minimize indoor shedding and keeps the dog comfortable.

Grooming

Their thick, double-layer coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and manage shedding. During shedding seasons, more frequent grooming is necessary.

The Samoyede people were known for their Bjelkiers (white dog that breeds white). In Russian, the dogs are called Voinaika which means lead or direction dog or guard, hunting and war dog. The Laplanders preferred an all-black dog because it contrasted against the snow and made them easier to see. We now know this dog as the Lapphund. The Inuit had their own derivative now known as the Siberian Husky. In North America, this became the Alaskan Malamute (named for the Inuit tribe). In contrast to the assimilation into the family, the Samoyede extended to the Bjelkier, the Eskimo (Inuit) treated their dogs quite differently. They used their dogs when needed (usually summer for hauling sledges) and the dogs had to fend for themselves when not used.


The Bjelkier began to haul loads and pull sledges (they were used to haul from 60 to 90 pounds) that reindeer had carried. Later, it was found that herding the domesticated Reindeer was another useful service that came naturally to the Bjelkier The natural attribute of a wolf-like canine to go after an animal (prey drive) that breaks from the herd made it easy to use that behaviour to herd the Reindeer. The Bjelkier could hunt, haul and herd and it enjoyed doing it. The Bjelkiers had earned a place of special reverence in the culture and in the lodgings of the Samoyede. Although in some tribes that were Reindeer cultures, their dogs were also readily used for food and clothing.


Inside a Samoyede lodging or choom the Bjefkier was allowed complete freedom of movement. The Bjefkier was gentle and likable. It could be trusted to baby-sit Samoyede offspring. Yet when necessary, a pack of several Bjelkiers (weighing on average 60 pounds) could drive off Polar Bears weighing over 1,500 pounds.
By the 17th and 18th centuries, the Russians began exploring Siberia and recognized the attributes of the Bjelkier. It’s beauty won it stature with the Czar’s family and occasionally the Bj2lkier was given as a very special gift to other European nobility. It had attained Royal status and was protected from outsiders. The Russians quickly saw the value of using it for pulling the sleds of tax collectors and explorers in Siberia. The reputation among explorers would soon get around. A Russian named Alexander Trontheim had been the agent to procure the Bjelkiers for the Russian Government.


A Norwegian by the name of Fridtjof Nansen heard of the Bjelkiers and hired Trontheim to procure a number of them for him. Nansen was a Professor in seven departments at the University of Norway. He designed and built a ship called The Fram to explore the Arctic. It was so well built that he used it during his 5 expeditions over 35 years. Nansen had been very methodical and had extensively researched the best method for Arctic exploration and what would be the best dog for the job. He rightfully surmised the Bjelkier was the dog of choice. Nansen had spent considerable time and effort exploring the Arctic and even attempted an ill fated attempt to kayak with his 28 Bjelkiers to the North Pole. The attempt failed and none of the dogs returned. Nansen’s work spanned many decades and influenced all the great Arctic and Antarctic explorers of the late 19″‘ century.


The brother of the King of Italy, the Duke of Abruzzi, Luigi Amadeo was also influential. He wrote detailed comments of special interest that were received almost as gospel. He had sought the advice of Nansen and was given a Bjelkier by Nansen as an example of the optimal sled dog. He used 120 Bjelkiers procured from Trontherim during his expedition. It should be made clear that these early expeditions were brutal for the Bjelkiers. Many died needlessly because the explorers did not understand anatomy and physiology and did things to the dogs that put them in jeopardy (tail bobbing that caused pneumonia and shearing their coats allowing them to freeze). Cannibalism was often employed to feed the dogs. Nansen fed the weaker dogs to the strong rather than take food for them or hunt seal.
On a more pleasant note, the reason Bjelkiers were preferred over the Huskies or Greenland dogs, was their disposition. They were quite amiable to the explorers and without exception, positive comments for the Bjelkiers made them the preferred sled dog for explorers.


Roald Amundsen another Norwegian, in 1911 made a 1,860 mile round trip in 99 days to the South Pole. He used 52 of an original 97 dogs he acquired to pull 4 sledges. The first animal over the South Pole was Amundens’s Bjelkier lead dog. After returning from expeditions these dogs were being given to other explorers for use and some were making their way to England. All the Antarctic exploration was done with Bjelkiers except the Captain Robert Scott expedition that used horses as the principle means of locomotion. Although Scott did take 33 Bjelkiers, someone bobbed their tails. In the absence of the tail as a filter to cover the nose when sleeping, the dogs died of pneumonia in three weeks. After all his animals perished, 6 members of Scott’s team pulled the remaining equipment to the South Pole. He wrote in his diary before he died, that when he arrived at the Pole, he found paw prints and a Norwegian flag. Amundsen had beaten him by a month. Amundsen left him a note elaborating his success. Beaten physically and emotionally, Scott died on the way back.


Nearly every Samoyed dog in the West today has ancestors that were used to explore the Arctic and Antarctic. In England, Mr Ernest Kilburn-Scott of the Royal Zoological Society became a significant influencing factor in the breed outside of Siberia. He acquired dogs from the explorers as well as some directly from Siberia. In his position with the Royal Zoological Society, he had the opportunity to accompany an expedition to Archangel in the 1880’s where a very cute plump puppy caught his attention. When he arrived home, the puppy attracted considerable attention. He then seized other opportunities to acquire more of these white dogs. He expanded the breed in England and showed the dog in several expositions.


The English liked the pure white coat over the cream or biscuit colour. Any black and white or other combinations were not acceptable. The dog began as something of an oddity from Siberia, but it’s beauty and amiability fast made it popular among the well to do and the influential. The Kennel Club initially allowed them to be shown in the foreign dog class. Kilburn-Scott founded the Samoyede Club and in 1909, Samoyede became the official name of the Bjelkier outside of Siberia. Kilburn-Scott conferred with explorers of Siberia and agreed on the pronunciation and a spelling of the people who were responsible for the dog. The dog was then named for the people.
In 1912, the Kennel Club decided that the dog could be shown in an accepted classification. The Bjelkier was now officially named and recognized as a distinct breed in the West. In 1923, the English Kennel Club dropped the “e” from the name and in 1947 the American Kennel Club dropped the “e” from the name. Shortly thereafter, the name began to be mispronounced. Instead of Sahm-uh-yed (the native pronunciation) the name became anglicized to Sahm-oid.


Physically, the Samoyed dog is the most efficient design of the Northern breeds. It has a much more pronounced double layer coat than its cousins. The coat can be the pure white, white and biscuit, cream or all biscuit. The long silver white guard hair is tough and it is soil and water repellent. Snow cannot accumulate on this coat and the dog can easily shake it off. The guard hair’s length remains constant and should stand straight out. The inner coat is woolly and during the winter is so thick that you can’t push your finger to the flesh. !n spring, the Samoyed dog sheds so much of this warm woolly hair that the Samoyede people (and others still today) spun and wove it like sheep wool. It was then and is still used to make clothing. The coat has no “doggie” odour. The only scent the Samoyed has is the musk exuded between the pads for scent marking. The deep brown eyes are set behind almond shaped black eyelids to reduce glare from snow. The feet are designed so the toes spread out (like a built-in snowshoe) and there is a very dense, long hair between the toe pads to prevent ice from accumulating. This hair also serves to provide traction on slippery surfaces. The curved tail is used to cover the nose during extreme cold weather where it acts as pre-filter to warm and humidify the air that is inhaled. The chest is a pronounced V-shape in order to support stronger musculature.The skeleton is much heavier than would be expected for a dog its size in order to support the muscles that give it the strength to haul huge loads. Yet it is not so massive that it is not nimble and agile. It has the speed to run down a large member of the deer family, the Reindeer.

General Appearance:

Medium in size, the Samoyed is an elegant, white Arctic Spitz. The breed gives an impression of power, endurance, charm, suppleness, dignity, and self-confidence. The expression, known as the “Samoyed Smile,” is characterized by the eye shape and position and the slightly upturned corners of the mouth. The sex should be clearly distinguishable.

Important Proportions:

  • Body length is approximately 5% more than the height at the withers.
  • Body depth is slightly less than half the height at the withers.
  • The muzzle is approximately as long as the skull.

Behaviour and Temperament

Friendly, open, alert, and lively. The hunting instinct is minimal. Samoyeds are never shy or aggressive and are very social, making them unsuitable as guard dogs.

Head

Powerful and wedge-shaped.

Cranial Region:

  • Skull: Slightly convex, broadest between the ears, with a slightly visible furrow between the eyes.
  • Stop: Clearly defined but not too prominent.

Facial Region:

  • Nose: Well-developed, preferably black. Pigmentation can fade to a “winter nose” during some periods, but dark pigment must remain at the edges.
  • Muzzle: Strong, deep, and gradually tapering toward the nose. The bridge is straight.
  • Lips: Close-fitting, black, and rather full, forming the characteristic “Samoyed Smile.”
  • Jaws/Teeth: Regular, complete scissor bite, with strong teeth and jaws.

Eyes: Dark brown, well-set in the sockets, placed rather apart, slightly slanting, and almond-shaped. The expression is kind, alert, and intelligent. Eye rims are black.

Ears: Erect, small, thick, triangular, slightly rounded at the tips, mobile, set high, and well apart due to the broad skull.

Neck

Strong, of medium length, with a proud carriage.

Body

Slightly longer than the height at the withers, deep and compact but supple.

  • Withers: Clearly defined.
  • Back: Medium length, muscular, and straight; slightly longer in females.
  • Loin: Short, very strong, and defined.
  • Croup: Full, strong, muscular, and slightly sloping.
  • Chest: Broad, deep, and long, reaching almost to the elbows. The ribs are well-sprung.
  • Underline: Moderate tuck-up.

Tail

Set rather high. When alert and in motion, the tail is carried bent forward over the back or side but may hang at rest, reaching to the hocks.

Limbs

Forequarters:

  • General Appearance: Well-placed and muscular with strong bones. Viewed from the front, straight and parallel.
  • Shoulder: Long, firm, and sloping.
  • Upper Arm: Oblique and close to the body, approximately as long as the shoulder.
  • Elbow: Close to the body.
  • Carpus: Strong but supple.
  • Metacarpus (Pastern): Slightly oblique.
  • Fore Feet: Oval with long, flexible toes pointing straight forward, arched and not too tightly knit. Elastic pads.

Hindquarters:

  • General Appearance: Viewed from behind, straight and parallel with very strong muscles.
  • Upper Thigh: Medium length, broad, and muscular.
  • Stifle: Well-angulated.
  • Hocks: Low and well-angulated.
  • Metatarsus: Short, strong, vertical, and parallel.
  • Hind Feet: As front feet. Dewclaws should be removed (except where prohibited by law).

Gait

Powerful, free, and tireless with a long stride. Good reach in the forequarters and strong driving power in the hindquarters.

Coat

Hair: Profuse, thick, flexible, and dense polar coat. Double-coated with a short, soft, dense undercoat and longer, harsher, straight outer coat. The coat forms a ruff around the neck and shoulders, especially in males. On the head and front of the legs, the hair is short and smooth; on the outside of the ears, short, standing off, and smooth. Inside the ears, well-furred. The back of the thighs has longer hair forming trousers. There should be protective hair growth between the toes. The tail is profusely covered with hair. The female’s coat is often shorter and softer in texture than the male’s. The correct coat texture should always have a special glistening sheen.

Color: Pure white, cream, or white with biscuit markings. The basic color should be white with a few biscuit markings, never giving the impression of being pale brown.

Size

Height at Withers:

  • Males: Ideal height 57 cm with a tolerance of ±3 cm.
  • Females: Ideal height 53 cm with a tolerance of ±3 cm.

Faults

Any deviation from the standard points should be considered a fault, with the seriousness of the fault proportional to its degree and effect on the dog’s health and welfare.

  • Visible faults in structure.
  • Light bone.
  • Males not masculine and females not feminine.
  • Pincer bite.
  • Yellow eyes.
  • Soft ears.
  • Barrel ribcage.
  • Double twisted tail.
  • Low on the legs.
  • Badly bow-legged or cow-hocked.
  • Wavy or short coat throughout, long, soft, or hanging coat.
  • Aloofness.

Serious Faults:

  • Clearly unpigmented areas on eyerims or lips.

Eliminating Faults:

  • Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioral abnormalities.
  • Eyes blue or of different colors.
  • Overshot or undershot bite.
  • Ears not erect.
  • Coat color other than permitted in the standard.

Note:

  • Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
  • Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs with breed-typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Neck, Body, Topline:

The neck is strong muscular, thick, and oval in shape. It is lean, well set off from the nape, and slightly arched. The length of neck is slightly less than the total length of the head. Neck should blend smoothly into shoulders. Muscles are extremely powerful. A correct neck is fundamental to function.

The Lagotto body is square, compact and strong. The length of the dog, measured from the prosternum to the point of the ischium, should be the same as the height at the top of the scapulae, which are long and quite high-set, rising well above the level of the back. Chest is wide and well-developed, reaching down to the elbows, but not below them. The ribcage is slightly narrowed in front, widening from the sixth rib back, allowing elbows to move smoothly along the body. Ribs are well sprung (width Page 2 of 3 of ribcage at the widest point is about 30 percent of the height of the dog). Underline is straight, with a slight tuck-up at the flank.

The scapulae are set high, back straight, loin slightly arched, croup slightly sloping and tail follows the line of the croup. A line drawn from the top of the shoulder to the hip will be slightly sloping. A dog high in the rear or low in the withers is to be penalized. The Lagotto’s back is straight and very muscular. The loin is short-coupled, very strong, and slightly arched. Its width is equal to or slightly exceeds the length, giving strength for digging. Croup is slightly sloped, quite long, broad, and muscular. It forms an angle of approximately 25 to 30 degrees from the horizontal. Flat or steep croups are to be severely penalized. The tail is set on following the line of the croup. At rest, it is carried scimitar-like, and no higher than the back.

When excited, the tail is decidedly raised, and carried in a loose arc above the level of the back. Tip of tail should not be carried further forward than the pelvis. The tail should never be curled or carried straight up. The tail tapers from base to end, and should reach to just above the hock. Ringtails or tails carried over the back are serious faults. 

Forequarters:

The shoulder blades are long (30 percent at the height of the withers), well laid back (yet not too close at tips), muscular, and strong. They are closely attached to the chest, but move freely. The angle formed between the shoulder blade and the upper arm should be approximately 115 degrees. The elbow will fall on a vertical line lowered from the back of the scapula to the ground. The upper arm is as long as the shoulder blade, of light bone structure, muscular, and tucked firmly against the brisket. Legs are straight. The forearm is long, with strong, compact, oval bone. The carpus is fine, robust and mobile, and in complete alignment with the forearm. Pasterns are also in perfect alignment with forearm, and of slightly finer bone. They are moderate in length and slightly sloping. Forefeet are webbed, rounded, and compact, with well-arched, tight toes. Pads have particularly hard soles. Nails are curved and range in color from white to extremely dark brown. 

Hindquarters:

Angulation of the hindquarter is slightly less than the angle of the forequarter (approximately 110 degrees). Legs are powerful and parallel when seen from the rear. The upper thigh is slightly longer than the shoulder (35 percent of height at withers). It is quite broad, convex, and with well defined muscles. The second thigh is slightly longer than the upper thigh, well boned and strong. The hindquarters must be perfectly parallel to the spine. The angle of the stifle should be more open than the angle at the hip, (approximately 130 degrees). The hock joint is well let down, wide, clean and strong. Pasterns are thin, cylindrical, and perpendicular to the ground when the dog is standing freely. A vertical line from the point of buttocks to the ground will fall slightly in front of the toes. Hind feet are slightly oval, compact, and webbed. The toes of the back feet are not quite as arched as those of the forefeet; thus, the nails may be straighter. 

Skin, Coat:

The skin of the Lagotto is thin, firm and close-fitting all over the body, without wrinkles. Pigmentation of the skin and pads harmonizes with the color of the coat, ranging from dark pink to dark brown. Depigmentation anywhere on the body is a serious fault. Coat is extremely important in this breed. Hair should be of wooly texture, semi-rough on the surface. Topcoat should be quite thick, and undercoat visible. The combination of the two repel water. A correct coat is never luxurious or shiny. The body is covered with tight ring-shaped curls, not frizz. Skull and cheeks are covered with thick hair, and the looser curls of the head form abundant eyebrows, whiskers, and a rather bristly beard. The coat covering the tail is both curly and somewhat bristly. The Lagotto must not be corded. Disqualification – smooth or straight coat. The correct trim must always be unpretentious, and contribute to the natural, rustic look typical of the breed. In a curled state the body coat must be trimmed to no more than 1½ inches in depth Page 3 of 3 (not brushed/combed out), and it should be uniform with the silhouette of the dog. Only on the head can the coat be longer than 1½ inches, but should never cover the eyes (should be penalized). The edges of the ears should be trimmed to the leather; the surface of the ear flap should show looser curls, but remain wavy. The area around the genitals and anus may be clipped short. Hair must be of sufficient length that curls and texture can be assessed. Corded dogs or excessively groomed dogs (sculpted or blown out) should be so severely penalized as to be eliminated from competition. Color: Lagotti can be off-white solid color, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, orange roan, brown, orange, or sable (in different shades), with or without white. Some dogs have extremities darker than their body color. Tan markings (in different shades) allowed. The colors have a tendency to fade, sometimes to such an extent that the brown areas can appear as silvery/gray roan. All the above colors are equally desirable, including the faded or diluted colors. Disqualification – Black or gray coat or patches; black pigmentation. 

Gait/Movement:

Lagotti should exhibit an energetic, lively, balanced trot, with moderate reach and drive. Back should remain firm and strong with no tendency to roll. At a trot, the rear foot covers but does not pass the footprint of the front foot. Movement from the front is parallel at a walk or slow trot, never wider than the dog’s shoulder, and tends toward a center line as speed increases. Rear legs are also parallel at a slow gait, converging at increased speed, with hocks staying in a straight line between hip and foot. As the dog increases speed, the neck moves slightly lower and forward. The Lagotto should move with distinction and nobility of bearing. He should not be exhibited in an elongated trot – it is atypical and incorrect for the breed. 

Behavior, Temperament:

The Lagotto is tractable, adaptable, keen, affectionate, and extremely attached to its owner. He is both highly intelligent and easily trained. He is an excellent companion and a very good watchdog. A natural gift for searching and a very good nose have made the breed very efficient in finding truffles. The former hunting instinct has been modified by genetic selection to avoid distraction by game. This breed should never be aggressive or overly shy.

Faults:

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and to the degree that it will affect the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work, as well as the health and welfare of the dog. 

Disqualifications:

Size – Dogs under 16½ inches or over 19½ inches. Bitches under 15½ inches or over 18½ inches. Bite – Overshot or pronounced undershot bite (incisors of the upper jaw and lower jaw do not touch). Coat – Smooth or straight. Color – Black or gray coat or patches; black pigmentation.

It's good to know!

Understanding the unique needs and characteristics of your chosen breed ensures a happy, healthy relationship. Here are key insights to consider:

Exercise Needs

Both breeds enjoy being active. Regular walks and play sessions are vital to their well-being.

Socialization

Early socialization is crucial for a well-adjusted pet, fostering a friendly temperament.

Training

Positive reinforcement techniques work best, promoting a strong bond between you and your dog.

Climate Considerations

Samoyeds thrive in cooler temperatures, while Lagotto Romagnolos can adapt to various climates.

Health Screenings

Opt for breeds with proactive health testing to minimize genetic health issues.