Lagotti have a double coat of very curly hair. They do not require frequent bathing, typically about once a month. The coat is best when kept at about 1 to 1.5 " in length. Lagotto Romagnolo do not shed regularly and may only leave little tufts of hair once in a while. Because they have hair rather than fur, it must be trimmed occasionally.
The coat should be shown in a rustic style with no fluffing or blowing out. The coat should match the lines of the dog and the curls should be evident. The coat appears rough and forms thick, tight curls that cover the entire body (except for the head).
For show dogs, the coat should appear in a rustic style and it should match the lines of the dog so that the curls are evident. Hair on the ears should be trimmed around the edges to the leather. If the ear shows irritation and buildup of dirt and earwax, the hairs from the ear canal should be gently plucked out regularly. Some coats tangle easier than others. Given the type of coat, it is important to groom regularly, for the dog's benefit and to prevent various problems.
The Lagotto Romagnolo coat as a puppy is usually soft, and curls develop as the puppy grows. It is recommended that dogs under 9 months are groomed every four to six weeks. As the coat matures and changes, the texture varies which can cause whats known as "felting" which is different from matting. When the adult coat comes in, usually around nine months to a year, the texture will change from soft to woolly and curly.
Once this occurs, grooming can vary from once a month to every eight weeks, depending on the coat length desired. The longer coats will require weekly brushing, whereas shorter coats may require little to no brushing between haircuts. Conditioning the coat is not recommended as it causes severe felting if a conditioner is used it should be a stripping conditioner. Brushing the coat requires a pin brush, slicker, and a comb.
The Lagotto also has hair in the ears that requires attention. One method of management requires removal of the hair by plucking, the other is regular cleaning with a drying solution and leaving the hair in the ear. Both methods work and are dependent upon the dogs as individuals and the environment they live in. The clipped coat must not be longer than a maximum of 1 1⁄2 to 2 inches in a curled state (not brushed out) and it should be uniform with the silhouette of the dog. Only on the head, the coat can be longer than 1 1⁄2 inches, but not so long as to cover the eyes.
The edges of the ears should be clipped to the leather, though the surface of the ear flap should show wavy hair. The area around the genitals and anus should be clipped short. The hair should never be clipped so short (except as noted above) that curls and texture of the coat cannot be assessed. The correct clip is unpretentious and contributes to accentuate the natural, rustic look, typical of the breed. The correct coat is never luxurious and shiny. Excessively groomed dogs (sculpted or blown out so that the curl may not be assessed) should be so severely penalized as to eliminate from competition.