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Lagotto Romagnolo – dog breed that accompanied Romans?

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Lagotto romagnolo
Lagotto romagnolo

There is a view that Roman civilization is a continuation of Etruscan civilization1. From this view, and from the history of the lagotto romagnolo breed2, it can be concluded that the ancestors of today’s truffle hunters already accompanied the ancient Romans.

Dogs that closely resemble the modern Lagotto Romagnolo can be seen in hunting and fishing scenes depicted in drawings found in the Etruscan city of Spina (near present-day Ferrara).

Researchers of the breed’s history find evidence of the existence of Lagotto Romagnolo dogs in Roman times, after the era of Etruscan civilization. They occurred mainly along the eastern coast of the Italian peninsula, from Ravenna south, through Comacchio, in the lowlands of Venice, north to Cape Friuli and Istria.

The features of these dogs: size, build, perseverance, love of water and swimming, thick and curly hair – not only gave the breed its name (in the local Romagna dialect, the word “lagot” meant “hairy water dog”), but were also the reason for their original purpose: retrieving hunted birds from the water.

Ducks and coots were likely served at sumptuous feasts in senators’ villas or during the emperor’s journey with his court in Istria, which these “wool” dogs bravely brought during hunting trips.

Many centuries later, due to the drying of the swamps in the Emilia Romagna region, the descendants of these Etruscan dogs were retrained from retrievers to truffle hunters. In this role, they perform perfectly well in our modern times.

Are Lagotto Romagnolo dogs the closest living link between Roman times and the present day?

Author: Kuba Harasymowicz (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  1. Wikipedia,
  2. (strona własna)

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