Country/Date of Origin: Italy/1300s
The Lagotto Romagnolo's origins lie in the marshlands of northeast Italy where it was used as a sporting retriever. As these wetlands disappeared, the dogs found a new vocation - truffle sniffer. Truffles, an underground fungus, are worth more per pound than gold and the dogs who could detect them were obviously worth their weight in gold too. It is one of the few, if not only, breeds that have an affinity for this lucrative work.
The Lagotto, with its remarkable nose and strong desire to do the truffle hunter's bidding, was guarded closely for centuries. The breed, with its looks reminiscent of the Barbet and Poodle, has changed little over the years. The perky little workers are enjoying their own Italian Renaissance today.
FCI Group: 8 (Sporting)