Page 8 - ShowSight Presents - The Lagotto Romagnolo
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  1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs?
2. In popularity, Lagotto Romagnoli are ranked #99 out of 192 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you feel the average person on the street knows what he is?
3. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. Although “cute” is most often used to describe him, he’s a tremendously hard- working dog with great stamina. How has he adapted to civil- ian life? What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house?
4. A strong Sporting dog requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal companion? Drawbacks?
5. What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our cur- rent economic and social climate?
6. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)?
7. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind?
8. What is your ultimate goal for the breed?
9. What is your favorite dog show memory?
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.
Pattie Fischer, of Bella Fiore Lagottos, has been raising Lagotto Romagnolos since 2013. Pattie’s breeding program focuses on health and temperament suited to working Lagotti in the areas of scent detec- tion and service work. Raising this breed to help people with medi- cal and allergen health issues has become her passion.
Pattie is a Karen Pryor Acad-
emy Certified Training Partner, Associate Nose Work Instructor and an affiliate of Puppy Culture and Avidog International, using both protocols for raising and breeding since July 2015. She has also obtained certification as a Pet Food Nutrition Specialist and is cur- rently working on an advanced certificate in the same studies. She is also currently training to become a certified gluten detection trainer
to help people with gluten sensitivity train their dogs.
I live in Washington state on the North Olympic Peninsula in the small town of Sequim (pronounced Skwim). I am the Execu- tive Assistant to the Vice President for Finance and Administration at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington. Not much else happens in my life “outside” of dogs. I am either raising and train- ing puppies, taking training courses for dog trainers or training scent detection with a special focus on gluten, Parkinson’s Disease
and truffles.
Do I feel the average person on the street knows what the breed
is? Most Lagotti owners are shocked when someone asks them, “Is that a Lagotto?” Most people do not know about Lagotti and usually mistake them for Doodles. When I explain that it is not a Doodle but a Lagotto Romagnolo, the usual response is “A La- whata whata?” I try to take time to explain what a Lagotto is, give a brief history and describe some of the wonderful attributes of this
amazing breed. I think this breed is one of the best kept secrets in the dog world.
How has the breed adapted to civilian life? I think the majority of the Lagotti in the US spend most of their time as companions. However, in Italy and other countries in Europe, they are still very much working dogs used mainly for hunting truffles. They are the only breed in the world specifically bred to hunt for them. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we have many working Lagotti who are wonderful truffle and mushroom hunters. We are in one of the few places in the US that have truffles and many varieties of mushrooms that grow naturally. I would say we are in the Lagotti’s perfect idea of heaven—truffles and water!
The Lagotto has adapted well to civilian life with some charac- teristics that are very suitable to family life. They can be very loving, attentive and loyal. However, the Lagotti is not a good fit for every- one. They can be sensitive and don’t do well with harsh correction. They love to be a part of every aspect of their owner’s life and want a close relationship with their families. Some Lagotti, more than others, have a natural affinity for children and can be wonderful companion for them.
I always say “The really great thing about Lagotti is they are very intelligent. The really bad thing about Lagotti is they are very intel- ligent.” They need to have mental simulation to keep them happy and to keep them from becoming bored. If they don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation, they will find their own form of entertainment and that is not always a good thing. I know that can be said of other breeds, too.
The Lagotti can make excellent scent detection dogs and can have a very positive impact on families that have them for medical or allergen alert dogs. Our breeding program is focused on breed- ing Lagotti that excel at medical scent detection as well as have the temperament and work ethic qualities of a service dog. We current- ly have several dogs placed in homes for gluten and other allergen detection, diabetic alert, as well as families who have a family mem- ber in the autism spectrum. We also have two of our dogs working to detect Parkinson’s Disease and will be adding two more of our Lagotti to the Parkinson’s Disease detection program this year.
What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Lagotti, more than any other breed I have had, really want to have a relation- ship with its owner/family. They love to go for car rides, hiking, the park and swimming. They really enjoy spending time with their family even if they are just cuddling on the sofa. They really thrive on interacting with humans especially for training or other types of mental simulation that combines an activity with spending time with their family.
One of the drawbacks to the breed is that most of them love to dig. Since the Lagotto is the only breed in the world specifically bred to hunt truffles, their desire to dig was encouraged by this activity. As a result, they can be fairly destructive to the yard if left alone to entertain themselves.
Prior to becoming truffle dogs, they were lowland waterfowl hunters. While that trait has been mostly bred from the breed, some Lagotti still retain the desire to chase squirrels, birds and other critters.
What special challenges do Lagotto breeders face in our current economic and social climate? It is very important to me to raise the healthiest dogs with the best temperaments that I possibly can. To that end, we do health and genetic testing on all of our dogs as well as provide them with the best vet care, nutrition, vitamin supple- ments and environmental enrichment we can. I am also constantly

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