The FCI Standard

FCI-Standard Nr. 298 FCI-group 8 Waterdogs


ORIGIN: Italy.




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 watch-dog.

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.


Cheeks: Flat.


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 length.


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 cross-section).


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 and parallel.


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 wooly 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 at the withers - Males from 43 to 48 cm / 16.93 to 19.29 inches (ideal height: 46 cm / 18.11 inches). 

Females from 41 to 46 cm / 16.14 to 18.11 inches (ideal height: 43 cm / 16.93 inches). Tolerance 1 cm / 0.4 inches. 


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 behavioral abnormalities shall be disqualified.

Untypical specimen.

Axes of the skull and the muzzle converging.

Partial and/or total de-pigmentation. 


Overshot bite.

Pronounced undershot bite.


Tail carried over the back; anury or short tail, whether 

congenital or artificial.

Mono or bilateral rear dewclaws.

Docked tail. 

Coat not curled or clipped too short.

Corded coat.

Sculptured clip.

Black coat, black patches or black pigmentation.

Oversize or undersize.


ELIMINATING FAULTS: (Excluded from breeding) 

Overshot bite.

Chryptorchidism; unilateral.


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.