Lagotto

Grooming Advice

Trust the Italians to have a breed of dog that is useful for fi nding truffl es! They are a gastronomic race of people and as they like the fi ner things of life with their food, as they do with their dogs. This is an engaging and beautiful breed, doubling in his spare time when not locating truffl es, as a companion and watchdog.Originally a water dog from marshlands of Ravenna he has all the hallmarks of coat and needs of a good water dog though not called upon to do this in his new guise as master truffl e locater around the plains of Romagna. His dense curly coat of woolly texture is one that requires good hydration but without fl attening or softening.

I am such an advocate of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil - what would we do without this wonderful plant oil that just adds such healthy vigor to all those coats needing to retain texture as well as hydration? Water dogs, gun dogs, arctic breeds and many herding dogs etc all need that water retention to the coat without rendering it greasy or lank. Use Seabreeze Oil 1tbspn to 4 litres/1 gal water and saturate the coat working well into the coat and skin if necessary with a large sponge or hydrobath. Leave in - do not rinse out.

Between shows, spray undiluted Seabreeze Oil onto those areas around where they pee. This is a bad area for breakage and urine bleaching. Keeping the area oiled prevents brittle coat or tangles and sprayed onto other areas deters accumulation of staining and debris from the yard.

Totally water soluble and sourced from plant oils such as Calendula Oil and Evening Primrose Oil, it won’t look greasy or nasty or evil to live with! There is nothing quite like it anywhere and an extra bonus is the depth of colour you get from prolonged usage with great retention of natural colour pigment in the coat. The Lagotto’s coat being a curly one tends to not refl ect light as showily as a smoother coated breed so encouraging as much moisture and colour retention will give the appearance of a much healthier, almost shinier coat. Hate to see this coat with leeched out colour and drab appearance.

Don’t forget to use Plush Puppy Sunshade every couple of days to keep the coat from burning in fi erce sun or just prolonged sun exposure. Brown coats are a nightmare to keep from fading and despite best efforts , your dog is an outdoors woodsman so it will always be a tough call keeping the coat up to scratch. Prevention is the answer and better than chasing a remedy for a coat that has gone to God! Just a light even application applied regularly by spraying onto the hands and over the top of the head and topline is the answer.

For show grooming, your standard calls for the coat to be of woolly texture, and somewhat rough in surface forming tightly curled, ring shaped curls with undercoat shining through. Curls are to be even over the body, except on the head where the curls are less tight, forming well furnished eyebrows, whiskers and beard. Cheeks also are covered with dense hair. As his heritage of a waterdog suggests, the topcoat and especially undercoat, are waterproof. A good complete clipping at least once a year will prevent the coat felting with any felted coat removed regularly. Keep on top of this coat between times and your job for the show will be easy.

Colours for this breed are off-white solid colour, white with brown or orange patches, brown roan, brown solid colour (indifferent shades) or orange solid colour. A brown to dark brown mask is acceptable. Now which shampoo is recommended for the various situations? You certainly individulise your routine with this breed according to the various needs. I am not an advocate of the “one shampoo does everybody” school. You have the opportunity to tweak your dog to his personal perfection. He is not a generic average every dog - he is his own person with the wonderful variety of his many colours. Treat them differently.

If shine is the primary requirement and for all the warmer toned coats you need to keep up the depth of colour, use Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with Henna (henna extracts not the old dreaded henna powders). This does not change the coat colour but enhances the moisture content and adds shine. Use 3:1 (3 parts water to one part shampoo). For white areas, use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo well diluted 5:1 (5 parts water to one part shampoo). This balances the tonal qualities of the coat offsetting any unwanted warm tones which can be yellowing or unwanted rusty tones on even a brown coat. This shampoo is a great tool and unlike a number of other Whitening Shampoos available on the market, does not lighten or bleach thus keeping the condition and hydration to the coat. Check if your dog has a regrowth band if using a suspected “lightening” Whitening Shampoo. You would have to not use the offending shampoo for a period of a few weeks to see the new hair growth band.

For overly greasy coats which can be part of the gun dog heritage, use the Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo at 3:1. Great for cleaning up the coat which has absorbed more than its fair share of product buildup or just plain greasy skin. For out of coat or not enough coat situations, use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at 3:1. Follow with Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner diluted at 5:1. Try to avoid conditioning the head and face too much as this will soften the texture and make it hard to achieve the characteristic face and head of the Lagotto.

For show baths, include a small amount of the Seabreeze Oil but use just 1 tspn to 4 litres/1 gal water as opposed to the one tbspn for maintenance baths. To save time mix 1 tspn Seabreeze Oil and ¼ cup Silk Protein Conditioner to 4 litres/1 gal water and slosh thoroughly over the coat saturating all of the coat to the skin. Leave in, don’t rinse. Now you have correct texture and hydration with loads of healthy vigor happening. If you are using the 5:1 Conditioner dilution mix, rinse the conditioner out of the coat and apply Seabreeze Oil after that.

When drying use a Plush Puppy Oval Cushion Pin Brush as you don’t want to rip the coat by using a bristle brush on a wet coat. When ¾ dry switch to a large toothed comb. Allow the coat top dry but still maintaining the natural curls. We are after a polished, professional look that once mastered is just breathtaking.

Now for show day itself, the new Plush Puppy OMG is a fabulous grooming spray. Not called OMG for nothing, because, “Oh My Goodness, it works”. As a concentrate is can be diluted to suit every coat type or individual situation. As a general rule for the majority of situations we suggest 12 part OMG to 20 parts water. OMG reduces static and allows for easy show day prep and won’t build up on the coat. This stuff just sells itself! It allows grooming without breaking up the curls. Or more curls, just make the mix stronger (less dilution) and comb dry. Spray the coat and pat dry using the palm of the hand to achieve the curls and shape desired.

As your standard states nothing regarding trimming other than that if not clipped, the coat tends to become felted and therefore a complete clipping is performed at least once a year, it does not limit you as to whether it should be done more often. This is ostensibly a working gundog and therefore a neat, not too short (needs the coat as protection) and not too long (as too long would impede his workability) is probably preferable. Thus a trim that enhances the dogs natural shape and includes the breed standard requirements of the head, where the curls are less tight etc as previously stated. The coat and type of coat are there to protect these areas from the surroundings where working.

The Italians clip this breed off once a year in the non hunting (Truffl e) season. We on the other hand, don’t generally use this breed for truffl e locating/hunting but for the show ring need to maintain his purpose and appearance for ability to work. Thus we may and likely should choose to not annually clip them off but rather maintain a shape for the entire year.

Show day spray with Plush Puppy Odour Muncher & Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for that fi nal glamour. Lightly spray the Shine & Comb at approx 12 - 18 inches (30 - 45 cms) and allow the mist to fall. Why not add a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust too? Just a touch sifted lightly along the topline etc so as to catch the light and sun. Fluff lightly without disturbing the curly fi nish but allowing the dust to fall through the curls. If you can see this when applying then you have done it too heavily. It is wonderful but the dog is not going on the Xmas tree or turning him into the Glitter Fairy! We are about glamour and good presentation with making the dog look artifi cial. The secret is to make it all look as if nothing has been done & thus the Lagotto is now ready to compete, showing himself as a retriever of the gun dog group in both form and function. Those Italians sure knew what they were doing when they perfected this breed knowing a dog can look beautiful and be useful as well - Italians are so stylish as is your Lagotto!

- Cheryl Le Court