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You rang?

Okay, but to be clear, Frodo is not quite 15 months and still every inch a teenager, so I don't have any experience living with a mature, adult Lagotto. But I'll answer what I can.

I'd say your assessment of active, high energy, and willing to please is very in-line with my experience. Frodo's extremely people focused and loves to learn and work with us. Sometimes too much so, since he can be a very 'wants to live inside your skin' dog and demanding of attention. He's smart, a fast learner, and responds exceptionally well to praise. He also very naturally stays close to us on off-leash hikes and has quite an impressive recall, even as a teenager, although it's worth noting we exposed him to off-leash experiences early and often with lots of rewards for checking in and recalling. He also absolutely needs daily stimulation. An off-leash hike in the woods works very well when we're not going to classes or have anything special planned, but without that he gets frantic, destructive, and goes looking for trouble to get into. If we're lucky we can go a day with low-key indoor play and training, if the weather is really awful or we're sick or something, but you can see a difference.

They're kind of quirky dogs. Frodo can be very sensitive, and absolutely melts down when he's uncomfortable or in minor pain. On the other hand, he will happily ram his face into your shin and trot off like nothing happened. He also is very keen on sounds in the house and will alert bark over almost anything - I've heard other owners say theirs is the same way, but I've also heard of Lagotti who hardly bark at all. His mother was an alert barker and made a fuss every time we visited, so it's clear where he got it from, just know that it's a possibility. He's also a very physical dog, body slamming us when he's excited and forcibly climbing into our laps to demand cuddles. We're working on the former, slowly, and we don't mind the latter enough to train it out of him. He also has serious FOMO and still has issues being left alone because he gets worked up and frustrated that he can't come with us. Quarantine and working from home has probably made this a bigger problem than it would've been otherwise.

You can absolutely not skimp on socializing this breed, largely because they tend towards being so sensitive. They need that early exposure to be resilient to new experiences later in life, and Frodo still has moments where we have to take things slow and let him explore a new object or something making a weird sound.

Many Lagotti don't have much prey drive to speak of, and I can't really see the breed in general doing well in IPO, you're right. Frodo does actually have decent toy drive, and absolutely goes mad for squeakers, so maybe a dog like him would fare better, but I have no IPO experience so I really can't judge what makes a good IPO candidate. I've seen them rock agility, though, and I don't doubt they'd do well in many dog sports with their intelligence and enthusiasm, though again, I can't speak to how competitive they'd be in general. But if you're going to do sports with a Lagotto, PLEASE add some kind of nosework, tracking, barn hunt, SAR, etc. to your list. They're a nose-oriented breed, and absolutely shine in this area, and I've never met one who doesn't adore the work. Because 2020 has been... well, 2020, we haven't managed to get him started in any particular sport officially yet, though we've done some blood tracking training on our own, but I do want to try basic agility and some of the tracking/scent work oriented sports I have access to in my local clubs soon.

For showing, the breed clubs take the coat and head very seriously. You'll need to be on top of the grooming so you can keep the coat long enough to show and know how to shape everything properly without making the dog look overdone. Frodo is probably finishable and is generally a very nice example of the breed, but he has an ear (as you may see in the photo) that set quite funny, and since we declined to tape/glue it it will impact his ability to how well. Sadly we have limited shows in the area and the first one we signed him up for was canceled right at the beginning of the lockdown, so we haven't actually been in the ring with him, but he did very well at ringcraft training.

We adore him. He's utterly charming, and always bright and enthusiastic. He has been a major learning curve with his energy level, since our first dog was a pet-bred Craigslist poodle, and he can be frustrating sometimes when he constantly gets into things or is overtired and incredibly obnoxious about it because he refuses to settle. But working and training with him is an absolute joy, and he's a brilliant off-lead hiking companion, and I think we're well on our way to him being a very stable, sweet adult. I suspect we still have 6 months to a year of pubescence to get through, as he still displays quite immature behaviors a lot of the time, though I'm not sure if that's typical of the breed or just him, personally. But we're making progress even with teenage boy brain, so I'm sure we'll muddle through.
 

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He's VERY persistent when he wants affection, but as I said, we haven't made any significant efforts to train him out of it. He does overheat easily, so he usually leaves after a bit of cuddling, but he's been known to smack my phone out of my hand if I try to check it while he's in one of his moods. I have no idea if this is common in the breed or if he's just particularly clingy, but he does respond well when we give him alternative behaviors to replace problematic ones.

I'm afraid I'm in Norway, so my knowledge of US breeders and clubs is very limited. I know the LRCA is the one associated with the AKC (Lagotto Romagnolo Club of America - Home), and I think it's the biggest, but I know there was a second club years back when I first learned about the breed. No idea if that split is still around.
 

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Oh, and because I was thinking of it:

This goes for all dogs, but meet the mother (or both parents if possible) and talk to the breeder about what their breeding goals are. Over here it seems like the breed is still largely seen as working dogs and so most of the puppies you get are going to be somewhere in that active, high energy, high engagement, love to work sphere, but there is variation in the breed in regards to temperament. I wouldn't be surprised if some lines in the US are trending a little more on the mellower side since the AKC accepted them and they've risen in popularity, just because of the demand for companion animals. Nothing wrong with that if that's what people want and the breeder is doing everything ethically and responsibly! But something to keep in mind in your case, when looking for a sport prospect.

Also, they seem to universally love mud. One reason we were secretly very glad there were no white puppies in Frodo's litter - no idea how we'd keep one looking clean, lol.
 
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