Improper Coat Gene
There is a rare gene that has been discovered in some lagotti known as the Improper Coat (IC) gene (also referred to as short coatedness). Although there are no reported cases of litters affected with IC in Canada, it is important to begin testing breeding dogs for this gene to ensure that it does not become prevalent in the breed.
Lagotti who are affected with the Improper Coat gene are not ill and it is important to note that this gene affects the appearance of the dog but is not known to affect the health. Lagotti affected with the disorder differ in appearance from typical Lagotto Romagnolo. The short coat becomes apparent at the age of 7 – 8 weeks. Where the typical Lagotto will be developing curls throughout the body, the improper coated Lagotto will exhibit an unusually short coat, particularly on the head, ears and legs. As these Lagotti grow into adulthood, feathering on the body, ears and tail is generally visible, however the face and legs are short haired and will have a normal shedding cycle.
Lagotti who are affected by an improper coat do not conform to the standard of the breed set forth by FCI and the CKC making them ineligible for the conformation show ring and thus should not be bred.
Similar to Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE), analysis suggests an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance for the Improper Coat. Normal and carrier dogs can be used in breeding but it is advised to choose mutation-free partners for carriers.