Hi, our names are Pauleen and Ron. We are two very ordinary people who began breeding dogs as a hobby over 20 years ago. We began our adventure with two pet Jack Russell Terriers, Dudley and Matilda. Later, we developed an interest in Australian Shepherds. Now, we focus exclusively on Lagotto Romagnolos. This is not an accident. Pauleen works at La Trobe University as an anthrozoologist - she's spent many years studying human-dog relationships. Ron is a retired carpenter who has always owned dogs and also ran a local pound for several years - a very sobering experience that really brought home how important it is for dogs and cats to be well suited to the homes available for them.
Pauleen's research agenda is all about making sure that the animals in our community fit the modern environment as well as possible, so that both they and the human members of the community enjoy good health and well-being. Her students have worked in shelters to find out why dogs and cats end up being abandoned and to help develop behavioural tests to identify which dogs are suitable for which homes. They have also examined why some owners fail to engage in responsible behaviours, like microchipping their pets, and they've explored dog and cat personality dimensions and how these influence owner satisfaction ratings. You can read more about Pauleen's research at www.anthrozoologyresearchgroup.com
One of the really consistent findings to come out of Pauleen's studies is that not all dogs and cats are equal in terms of being able to adapt to the modern environment. Most dogs traditionally worked for a living and were expected to be on their feet all day, covering miles of ground. They were also expected to be protective, to bark at intruders, ward off strange dogs and people and kill small fluffy rodents that might be carrying a fatal disease or stealing food. These are not characteristics that are desirable for today's average owner. Research conducted by Pauleen's group showed that most Australians want a dog that is friendly, not too energetic, not too big or too small, and, above all, easy to manage and train. In fact, most owners don't want to spend a whole lot of time formally training their dog, they just expect it to fit into the family like dogs have always done.
Clearly, owners do have to accept responsibility for training their dogs and for managing them in a way that does not inconvenience or place in danger other community members. It is also critical, however, that dog breeders understand owner requirements for dogs that are easy to manage, safe, and fun to live with. We believe that it is possible to breed such dogs. After searching high and low for the right breed we chose the Lagotto Romagnolo. Our dogs aren't perfect and they aren't always super-easy to live with, but we think we are gradually getting closer to our goal and we love all of our dogs dearly. Please read through the rest of our pages to find out more about our doggie family. We've also included lots of images. Note that our dogs don't look like they are groomed for the show ring. We live on a farm and our dogs run, jump, swim, dance, roll in sheep poo and dead things, and otherwise have good fun. They do scrub up a treat if we let their coats grow out, but we find it more convenient to keep them trimmed very short most of the time.