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Our kennel pays special attention to this area, and make a serious effort to produce dogs free from all the typical pathologies of the race. It is important to note that in order to select a mating couple one must be aware of morphological, character and attitudinal qualities too. As the breed standard states, the Lagotto is a rather rustic dog which doesn't have particular problems and of good health. But it is not invulnerable.


  • Hip dysplasia (HD)
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Juvenile epilepsy
  • Furnishing
  • Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD)
  • Lagotto alopecia

Specific analysis

Hip dysplasia (HD)

Hip dysplasia consists of a malformation of the hip joint which develops during the dog growth. The hip is an articulation formed by the upper femur and by the ashtabula; schematically, this articulation, can be compared to a sphere which rotates inside a cup.

In a cub affected by hip dysplasia, the lack of congruence between the upper femur and the ashtabula cavity and the instability of the upper part of the articulation, as the dog moves, causes a gradual wear of the margin of the articulation followed by cartilage degeneration. With the passage of time, a gradual and painful and sometimes degenerative chronic arthropathy is developed.

In fact, if a sphere moves inside a perfectly adapted cavity whose equivalent centers are concentric, the structure will always have an excellent stability. If the sphere and the cavity are not perfectly concentric, an incongruence which makes the structure instable is generated.

What causes HD?

Hip dysplasia is a pathology caused by several factors such as genetic, environmental and nutritional that come into play during its development and later on determine the severity of the dysplasia. It is necessary to underline the importance of the hereditary factors because hip dysplasia structural alterations, which are at the basis of the pathological process, are primarily due to a defect of genetic origin.

Genetic factors:

The type of hereditary transmission is determined by several genes hence it is a polygenic type. The disease can be transmitted from parent to offspring even if the parent does not have dysplasia because he is a carrier of the genes of the disease. Dysplasia, in fact, does not develop in all the genetically infested subjects, but only in a part of them. A dogs genetic heritage can be considered free from HD only if all their brothers, sisters, grandfathers, uncles and aunts are negative to dysplasia. Therefore, to know if a dog is negative to HD is a breeding which does not transmit this disease in its progeny, it is needed to know its gene pool, hence evaluating all the relatives.

Environmental factors:

The extent of the pathology expressed lies up important environmental factors too: nutrition, type and quantity of physical exercise, possible traumas and possible concomitant diseases. These environmental factors are able to affect the level of the result of the disease, but, in general, not the presence or absence of the malformations behind the dysplasia.

Elbow dysplasia (ED)

Elbow dysplasia is an alteration in the formation of the dog’s elbow articulation. In severe cases it can lead to lameness and arthritis. The pathology has a mainly polygenic hereditary component, but it is facilitated by environmental factors. Some dog races have a higher predisposition than others to develop the disease. In the race of Lagotto Romagnolo, even in cases in which hip dysplasia was at a severe level, elbow dysplasia is generally nearly inexistent (ED 0).

Juvenile Epilepsy (JE)

The benign familial juvenile epilepsy (BFJE) is a Lagotto Romagnolo’s neurological hereditary disease which manifests itself in the sick cubs starting between 5th- 9th week of age and it spontaneously regresses between 8th-13th week. The affected dogs show neurological symptoms with generalized ataxy and hypermetria. Until laboratory tests (EMG, magnetic resonance) take place, abnormalities are not observed. The gene which causes this disease has been recently discovered. Through a gene test it is possible to distinguish the JE FREE (or NORMAL) dog from the JE CARRIER ones and from the AFFECTED ones.


are the subjects with 2 normal pairs of genes and without any symptom.


are the subjects with 1 normal gene and 1 mutated gene but which does not develop the disease.


are the subjects with 2 mutated genes and with symptoms of the disease.

It is recommended to perform these tests, through a simple blood draw in EDTA, before planning matings in order to avoid the birth of affected subjects.



This pathology is not to be interpreted as a real disease because the dog does not suffer any pain. In fact dogs with furnishing have a different mantle than regular, because they have shorthaired paws and muzzle compared to the rest of the body which does not present the usual curl. As in JE, in this case too, the gene which causes this pathology has been discovered and it works in a similar way: normal (F/F or AA/TT), carrier (F/f or AA/tt ) and affected. The latter, being evident, is not tested.

Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD)

A new neurodegenerative disease has been recently discovered in the Lagotto Romagnolo race. The genetic background of the disease has been studied by means of a collaboration between Helsinki University and Bem University, Switzerland. From this study it is presumed that a pathogenic mutation is to be found. In total 1300 Lagotto have been tested (using samples given for other aims) as part of the research. 11% of the tested dogs were carriers of the recessive mutation while only 1% was affected.

LSD in Lagotto Romagnolo is characterized by lack of coordination in involuntary movements, as if the dog swayed. Moreover some of the affected dogs have had symptoms of nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyes) and behavioral changing, such as aggressiveness. The onset of the symptoms varies from 4 months to 4 years. The degeneration is progressive and it may be necessary to suppress the affected dogs. Pathologically, the material that doesn't get stored due to the disease, gathers up in the neurons and in other brain cells, causing their dysfunction and their demise.

The results of the genetic study of LSD reveal that Lagotto’s storage is inherited through a recessive autosomal single gene. In recessive disorders, affected dogs must inherit two copies of the mutation of the sick gene to be considered AFFECTED. The Lagotto which have inherited a NORMAL result have inherited two normal copies of the sick gene. They do not transmit the mutation to their progeny. If a CARRIER dog is used for breeding, it must be mated with a dog which has been tested as NORMAL. In matings CARRIER x CARRIER, the progeny will be AFFECTED (25%), CARRIER (50%), NORMAL (25%), whereas in matings CARRIER x NORMAL, the progeny will be CARRIER (50%) and NORMAL (50%). AFFECTED dogs have inherited the mutation from both parents, and so they have two copies of the mutation. Consequently they have a high risk of developing the disease.

In addition to the storage disorder, a progressive cerebral atrophication has been observed. The clinical signs and the initiation are similar for both pathologies so it is not possible to do a diagnosis just based on the symptoms. The genetic cause of the progressive cerebral atrophication is still not found, but there is an ongoing research whose aim is to discover it.

Lagotto alopecia

Seasonal alopecia is a disease which mainly affects the females of this race. It is a hormonal based pathology caused by a conflict among the female hormones. It is activated by the decrease in day-time period when we go from autumn to winter and sunlight decreases. During this period the females will shed fur in the hip zone. Their coat will grow again at spring-time. There are no physical, but only an aesthetic defect.


Another extremely important thing for our beloved furry friends is their teeth.

The breed standard accepts 3 types of teeth bite:

  • Scissor
  • Pincer
  • Inverted scissors

There are two types of abnormal teeth bite which are considered serious defects, in fact this can be a cause of disqualification in dog shows.

  • Undershot jaw
  • Overshot jaw