What's the difference between Lagotto and Spanish Water Dog?

What's the difference between Lagotto and Spanish Water Dog?
What's the difference between Lagotto and Spanish Water Dog?

In the world of water dog breeds, the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog have long captured the hearts and minds of dog enthusiasts. Both breeds share an affinity for water, intelligence, and adaptability, making them popular choices for families and working roles alike. Yet, despite these similarities, each breed boasts its own distinct characteristics that set them apart from one another. In this article, we will delve into the origins, appearance, temperament, and more of these fascinating breeds, highlighting their unique features and commonalities.

As water dog breeds with diverse backgrounds and capabilities, the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog cater to different preferences and requirements. From the Italian marshlands to the Spanish coast, these dogs have proven their versatility and resilience time and time again. Whether you are considering adding one of these remarkable breeds to your family or simply want to learn more about their rich histories and distinctive qualities, this article will provide an in-depth comparison that showcases the best of both the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog.

Differences between the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog

The Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog are both water dog breeds, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other. Here are some key differences between the two breeds:


  • Lagotto Romagnolo: Some experts believe that the Lagotto Romagnolo may be one of the oldest water dog breeds. Over time, as marshlands in their native region were drained, their role shifted from waterfowl retrieving to truffle hunting, for which they are now famous.
  • Spanish Water Dog: This breed may have been brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors or other ancient trading cultures. They have a long history of working alongside Spanish fishermen and farmers, which has contributed to their strong work ethic.


  • Lagotto Romagnolo: This breed has a slightly rounded skull, a strong, square muzzle, and a noticeable stop (the point where the muzzle meets the forehead). Their tail is usually carried horizontally or slightly curved, and it may be docked in countries where docking is legal.
  • Spanish Water Dog: The breed has a strong, well-proportioned body with a slightly longer body length than height. Their head is wedge-shaped with a moderate stop, and their tail is typically docked in countries where the practice is legal. If undocked, the tail is long and tapers to a point.


  • Lagotto Romagnolo: Due to their compact and muscular build, these dogs are agile and well-suited for navigating through dense forests and uneven terrain while searching for truffles or engaging in other outdoor activities.
  • Spanish Water Dog: Their larger size and robust build make them suitable for physically demanding tasks, such as working with fishermen or herding livestock. They are agile and strong swimmers, able to navigate both water and land with ease.


  • Lagotto Romagnolo: This breed is known for being adaptable, making them suitable for various living situations, including apartments, provided they receive adequate exercise. They are usually good with children and other pets, making them suitable family dogs.
  • Spanish Water Dog: This breed's strong protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs. However, they can be reserved or even suspicious of strangers, which makes early socialization crucial. They thrive in a working environment and may become bored or develop undesirable behaviors if not given a job to do.

Primary function

  • Lagotto Romagnolo: The breed's exceptional truffle-hunting skills have garnered international recognition. They are even used in countries like the United States and Canada to locate elusive truffles, demonstrating their incredible scent detection capabilities.
  • Spanish Water Dog: In addition to their traditional roles, the Spanish Water Dog is now used for various canine sports, search and rescue, and therapy work. They are highly adaptable and versatile, making them suitable for a wide range of tasks.


  • Lagotto Romagnolo: They are considered low-shedding dogs, but their curly coat can be prone to tangles and matting if not groomed regularly. Regular baths are necessary to keep their skin and coat healthy, but excessive bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat.
  • Spanish Water Dog: As their cords grow and develop, they may require special attention to prevent matting and ensure healthy coat growth. Bathing should be done only when necessary, as excessive bathing can cause the cords to become loose or disintegrate.

These additional elaborations emphasize the unique qualities of the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog breeds. Each breed has its distinct characteristics and traits that cater to different preferences and requirements, making them suitable for various lifestyles and working roles.

Similarities between the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog

Despite their differences, the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog also share several similarities as water dog breeds:

Love for water

Both breeds have a strong affinity for water and enjoy swimming, which is a common trait among water dogs. This makes them well-suited for water-related activities and sports.

High energy levels

Both the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog are active and energetic breeds. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy. Engaging them in activities like swimming, hiking, or canine sports can help channel their energy.


Both breeds are known for their intelligence and ability to learn quickly. They excel in various tasks and can be trained for different jobs like truffle hunting, herding, or search and rescue. Consistent and positive training methods work best for these intelligent dogs.

Working heritage

Both breeds have a strong working background, with the Lagotto Romagnolo originally bred for retrieving waterfowl and the Spanish Water Dog for assisting fishermen and herding. This working heritage gives them a strong work ethic and a desire to have a job or purpose.

Loyalty and affection

Both the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog are loyal and affectionate breeds that form strong bonds with their families. They thrive on human companionship and enjoy spending time with their owners.


Both breeds are adaptable to different environments and lifestyles. Provided they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they can adjust well to various living situations, including city apartments and rural homes.

Good with children

When properly socialized, both the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog can be good with children. They are generally gentle and patient, making them suitable family pets. However, it is essential to teach children how to interact safely and respectfully with dogs to ensure a positive relationship.

These similarities highlight the shared traits and characteristics of the Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog breeds. While they have distinct differences, their common qualities make them both attractive choices for people seeking intelligent, energetic, and loyal companions.


The Lagotto Romagnolo and Spanish Water Dog, are two water dog breeds known for their intelligence, adaptability, and love for water. By examining their origins, appearance, temperament, and more, we can see that they have unique features and commonalities that make these breeds popular choices among dog enthusiasts.

While the Lagotto Romagnolo is renowned for its truffle-hunting skills and easygoing nature, the Spanish Water Dog is celebrated for its strong herding instincts and versatility. Both breeds are highly trainable, require early socialization, and share similar health concerns. Overall, this comprehensive comparison showcases the distinctive qualities and shared traits of these remarkable breeds, offering valuable insights for potential owners and dog lovers alike.