This dog is specialized in searching for truffles on any kind of terrain and it is the only
breed with this aptitude.
It is an ancient water retriever breed, present since the 16th century in the Comacchio
valleys and the Ravenna lagoons and then spread, after the 19th century to the plains
and hills of Romagna with the specific function of truffle dog.
Typical water dog, medium-small size, mesomorphic, squarely built, its general
appearance is rustic, strong and well-proportioned; its work function can be perceived.
Its expression is attentive, intelligent and vivacious. While it works, it shows passion
and efficiency, exploiting its innate aptitude for searching and its excellent sense of
smell. Its hunting instinct has been canceled out, so it is not distracted by game.
Affectionate and very attached to its master, it is also an excellent companion dog, very
All content and images © Terra Incognita Kennel Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved
FCI-Standard Nr. 298 FCI-group 8 Waterdogs
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID STANDARD: 17.12.15
UTILIZATION: Truffle dog.
FCI-CLASSIFICATION: Group 8 Retrievers – Flushing Dogs
– Water Dogs.
Section 3 Water Dogs.
Without working trial.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: Ancient breed of retrieving water dogs in the lowlands of Comacchio
and marshlands of Ravenna. During the centuries, the great marshlands were drained and turned into
arable land. Subsequently the Lagotto changed from being a water dog to an excellent dog for
searching truffles in the flat open country and in the hills of Romagna.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Small to medium-sized dog, well proportioned, powerfully built, of a rustic
appearance, with a dense, curly coat of woolly texture.
The length of the head is 4/10 of the height at the withers. The dog is nearly as high as long (square).
The length of the skull should be slightly more than 50 % of the total length of the head.
The length of the muzzle is 2/10 less than that of the skull (44 % to 56 %).
The depth of the chest is less than 50 % (about 44 %) of the height at the withers.
BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: A natural gift for searching and its very good nose has made the
breed very efficient in truffle searching.
The former hunting instinct has been modified by genetic selection; eliminated; hence his work is not
distracted by the scent of game. The Lagotto is tractable, undemanding, keen affectionate, very
attached to his owner and easy to train. He is also a very good companion and an excellent
HEAD Viewed from above trapezoidal in shape and moderately broad; the upper longitudinal axes of
the skull and the muzzle diverge slightly.
Skull: Wide at the level of the zygomatic arches, and as long as wide. Viewed from the side, from
occiput to stop, the skull should be longer than the muzzle. It is slightly convex and tends to flatten
out at the back skull. Frontal sinuses well developed, superciliary arches marked, medio-frontal furrow
pronounced, occipital crest short and not very developed, supraorbital fossae slightly marked.
Stop: Not too pronounced but evident.
Nose: Large with wide open and mobile nostrils. Median groove strongly pronounced. Viewed in
profile, the nose continues on the same level as the muzzle and protrudes very slightly from the front
edge of the lips. The colour ranges from light to dark brown, depending on the colour of the coat.
Muzzle: Fairly broad, a little shorter than the skull (ratio : skull 56 %, muzzle 44 %), its depth being only
slightly less than the length. It is slightly wedge shaped, giving a rather blunt profile. The nasal bridge
has a straight profile.
Lips: The lips are not too thick; they are rather tight, so that the lower profile of the muzzle is
determined by the mandible. They are covered with a long and rather bristly moustache. Viewed from
the front, the lips form a wide semi-circle.
The colour of the edges ranges from light to dark brown.
Jaws / Teeth: Jaws strong with almost straight branches and a relatively large mandibular body.
Complete scissor or pincer bite with white and well developed teeth. Reverse scissors bite acceptable.
Eyes: Large, but never exaggerated, rounded, filling the socket, set fairly apart. The colour of the iris
ranges from ochre to hazel and dark brown depending on the colour of the coat. Close fitting eyelids;
the colour of the eye-rims ranges from light to dark brown. Eyelashes very well developed. Look alert,
expression keen and lively.
Ears: Medium-sized in proportion to the head, triangular with rounded tips; their base is rather wide;
they are set just above the zygomatic arches.
Hanging at rest or slightly raised when the dog is attentive. If pulled towards the nose they should
reach the muzzle at 1/4 of its length. On the ears, the hair tends to show looser curls, but remains very
wavy. No short hair on the ears. The inner part of the auricle is also covered with hair.
NECK: Strong, muscular, lean, of oval cross section; well set off from the nape and absolutely free
from dewlap, slightly arched. In males the perimeter of the neck can reach the double of its length. The
length of the neck is a little less than the total length of the head.
BODY: Compact and strong; as long as the height at the withers.
Topline: Straight from the withers to the croup.
Withers: They rise above the level of the croup; the highest points of the shoulder blades are not too
close, but quite high set and well laid back.
Back: Straight, very muscular.
Loin: Short coupled, very strong, in profile slightly convex. Width is equal or slightly exceeds the
Croup: Long, wide, muscular, slightly sloping (coxal inclination ranges from 25° to 30°).
Chest: Well developed, reaching down to the elbows. Although fairly narrow in front, from the sixth rib
the chest widens backwards.
Underline and belly: Long sternal section in form of a straight line; the following tuck-up is only slight.
TAIL: Set on neither too high nor too low tapering towards the end. When hanging, it should barely
reach the hocks. It is covered with woolly and rather bristly hair. At rest carried scimitar like; when
attentive decidedly raised. When working or excited can be carried over the back, but never curled.
General Appearance: Regular, upright seen from the front and in profile.
Shoulder: Shoulder blades long (30 % of the height at withers), well laid back (52 - 55°), muscular,
strong and closely attached to the chest, but moving freely. The scapulo-humeral angle ranges from
110° to 115°.
Upper arm: Muscular, of thin bone structure, as long as the shoulder blade; its inclination to the
horizontal ranges from 58 - 60°.
Elbow: Well attached to the chest wall, but not too tightly; covered with thin skin; parallel to the
median sagittal plane of the body as are the upper arms. The tip of the elbow is located on a vertical
line lowered from the back end of the scapula to the ground.
Forearm: Perfectly vertical, long (36 % of the height at withers), with compact, strong bone of oval
Carpus (Wrist): Viewed from the front in a vertical line with the forearm; fine, robust and mobile;
pisiform bone markedly protruding.
Metacarpus (Pastern): Rather less thick and of finer bone compared with the forearm, it’s fine and
resilient. Seen in profile, it forms an angle of 75° to 80° with the ground.
Forefeet: Slightly rounded, compact, with arched and tight toes. Nails strong and curved. Pads well
pigmented. Interdigital membranes very well developed.
General Appearance: Powerful, upright seen from the rear, well proportioned to the size of the dog
Thigh: Long (35 % of the height at withers), with clearly defined and visible muscles. The axis of the
femur has a distinct inclination of 80° to the horizontal. The coxo-femoral angle ranges from 105° to
110°. The thigh is parallel to the median plane of the body.
Stifle (Knee): The angle of the stifle ranges from 130° to 135°.
Lower thigh: Slightly longer than the upper thigh (36 % of the height at withers), well boned and
muscled, with marked muscular groove. Its inclination to the horizontal ranges from 50° to 55°. Its
direction is parallel to the median plane of body.
Hock joint: Wide, thick, lean, with clear-cut bone; parallel to the medium plane of the body; the
tibio-metatarsal angle is ca. 140°.
Metatarsus (Rear Pastern): Thin, cylindrical, perpendicular to the ground. No dewclaws.
Hind feet: Slightly more oval-shaped than forefeet and toes slightly less arched.
GAIT / MOVEMENT: Walk regular, trot energetic and brisk, gallop for short periods.
SKIN: Thin, close fitting all over the body, without wrinkles. Pigmentation of the skin connecting with
mucous membranes and of pads ranges from light to dark and very dark brown.
Hair: Of woolly texture, never twisted to form thin cords, semi-rough on the surface, with tight, ring
shaped curls, with visible undercoat. Curls must be evenly distributed all over the body and tail,
except on the head, where the curls are not as tight forming abundant eyebrows, whiskers and beard.
Even the cheeks are covered with thick hair. The topcoat and specially the undercoat are water-proof.
If not clipped, the hair tends to become felted (as it continuous to grow); therefore a complete clipping
must be performed at least once a year. Felted topcoat and undercoat must be removed periodically.
The clipped coat must not be thicker than max four centimetres and it should be uniform with the
silhouette of the dog. Only on the head the coat can be longer, but not as long as to cover the eyes.
The area around the genitals and anus should be clipped short. The coat must not be formed and
brushed up in the fashion of the Poodles and Bichon frisé breeds. Coat clipped short preventing it
from curling or assessment of texture. Any excessive hair-styling will exclude the dog from being
qualified. The correct clip is un-pretentious and contributes to accentuate the natural, rustic look
typical of the breed.
Colour: Off-white solid colour, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, brown (in different
shades) with or without white, orange with or without white. Some dogs have a brown to dark brown
mask. Tan markings (in different shades) allowed.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
Height at the withers - Males from 43 to 48 cm / 16.93 to 19.29 inches (ideal height: 46 cm / 18.11
Females from 41 to 46 cm / 16.14 to 18.11 inches (ideal height: 43 cm / 16.93 inches). Tolerance 1 cm /
Weight - Males about 13 to 16 kg / 28.66 to 35.28 lb. Females about 11 to 14 kg / 24.25 to 30.87 lb.
Aggressive or overly shy.
Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities
shall be disqualified.
Axes of the skull and the muzzle converging.
Partial and/or total de-pigmentation.
Pronounced undershot bite.
Tail carried over the back; anury or short tail, whether
congenital or artificial.
Mono or bilateral rear dewclaws.
Coat not curled or clipped too short.
Black coat, black patches or black pigmentation.
Oversize or undersize.
ELIMINATING FAULTS: (Excluded from breeding)
Black coat, black patches or black pigmentation.
N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
GUIDELINE MEASURES - Length of head reaches 4/10th of the height at the withers, length of skull
should be slightly more than 50% of the total length of the head, length of muzzle is 2/10th less than
that of the skull (44% to 56%). Depth of muzzle should be 8,5/10th of the length of muzzle (about 40%
of the total head length), width of muzzle should be 3,5/10th less than the length of the muzzle (about
29% of the total length of the head), neck should be 8,5/10th of the total length of the head, length of
back should be about 33% of the height at withers, length of loin should be about 1/6 of height at
withers, length of croup should be about 32% of the height at withers, depth of chest is less than 50%
(about 44%) of the height at withers, forearms should be 56% of total height at withers.
N.B. - Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.