ENTE NAZIONALE CINOFILIA ITALIANA
STANDARD OF WORK AND RULES FOR TRUFFLE-SEARCHING TRIALS
FOR LAGOTTO ROMAGNOLO DOGS
Approved by the Board of Governors on 3 October 2006
amended by the Board of Governors on 28 February 2014
on the proposal of the Central Technical Committee of 17 January 2014
and the Advisory Committee of Experts of 04 September 2013
The Italian Lagotto Club (Club Italiano Lagotto ”Quintino Toschi” – C.I.L.) believes the introduction of working aptitude criteria for selection purposes to be essential to the safeguarding of the breed, as the Lagotto’s characteristics are truly unique all over the cynologic world.
Truffle-searching aptitude – progressively refined over the last century – has been one of the key elements that have allowed the breed to save itself from near-certain extinction following the destruction of its original habitat and the consequent disappearance of those tasks which it originally carried out.
It is now deemed important that selection should actively seek to unite both morphological characteristics and functional qualities.
The scope of work trials should therefore highlight those qualities that, as a whole, make a good truffle dog. Organisation and judgement criteria should be organised in such a way as to allow the qualities of a well-trained truffle dog to emerge without any need for specific preparation.
STANDARD OF WORK
Gait and bearing
The gait of the Lagotto Romagnolo, when at work, is characterised by a smooth, spirited and bright trot which highlights the joy experienced by the dog in carrying out its search for the truffle. Short bursts of speed are admissible at the start of the session, when moving back towards terrain already inspected and during transfers: walking is permitted during verification.
The gait will have to adapt to the nature of the terrain, expanding or narrowing the scope to achieve a useful work; action must be continuous, greedy, careful and diligent.
The bearing of the head is directly related to the gait and speed of the dog. During the faster phases of the search the head is slightly raised but with the nose-schwamm (nose/snout) generally inclined towards the ground; during verification the head is steadily lowered until the nose-schwamm (nose/snout) rests on the ground. If there is a particularly strong emanation the Lagotto may raise its head considerably so that it can be guided by the wind towards the emanation itself (so it can, quite literally, be guided by its nose).
The tail may be brought into line with the spinal column or may be higher, but must not roll up onto its back or downwards. When trotting the tail moves cheerfully, often with fast, sweeping lateral movements. The Lagotto uses its tail to inform its handler of the presence of a truffle by accentuating this movement. It is important that the Lagotto’s tail expresses cheerfulness, playfulness and willingness to work.
The searching action should be eager, avid and determined, expressing intuition and initiative. The search should be performed along diagonal lines with frequent changes of direction, criss-crossing the terrain to be inspected in a thorough, detailed fashion.
The Lagotto must demonstrate intelligence, concentration and a refined sense of smell and adapt the speed and scope of its search to ambient conditions. The dog must establish a balance between coverage of the terrain, sustained gait and highly accurate analysis which allows even the most difficult digs to be carried out. This may occur even within a range of some tens of metres from the handler.
When the Lagotto enters the field of a slight, possible emanation it slows down to a walk and moves towards the presumed origin, gradually moving its nose closer to the ground and accentuating movement of the tail. The dog may also stop, take a few deep breaths and make slight scratching movements. If the initial impression is not confirmed the dog immediately resumes its standard gait showing its useful sense of discernment. If, instead, the presence of a truffle is confirmed the Lagotto will start scratching decisively.
If, during the search, the Lagotto finds a zone of emanation which gives the immediate certainty of the presence of a truffle, it will move towards the emanation decisively and start scratching without hesitation.
When it perceives an emanation carried by the wind it will head towards the digging point even when it is some distance away: it may slow down, stop and breathe in with its head raised high, facing the wind so as to get a better idea as to the point of origin of the emanation.
The Lagotto is characterised by an absolute and extremely natural rapport with the handler. Despite showing significant autonomy and initiative in the search, the dog is always attentive to the handler’s instructions when necessary, ready to return or redirect the search in the indicated direction.
The cheerful, open and hard-working character of the Lagotto and its natural willingness to work ensure that it is not easily distracted from its task by external stimuli.
The Lagotto is also totally disinterested in the presence and smell of game. A fleeting interest may be aroused by a chance encounter, but the dog is nevertheless ready to recommence its search for truffles at the handler’s command.
Once the “forata” (digging point) has been identified the Lagotto must carry out a decisive digging action and may pause to make checks by sniffing the sides and bottom of the hole: doing this will help the dog determine the exact location of the truffle and allow him to direct the digging action accordingly. The search may even be directed outside the hole if the dog is convinced that the truffle has already been expelled by the digging action. Digging may be interrupted by the handler and should recommence promptly as requested. The behaviour of the Lagotto at the digging site should be such as to allow the handler to recover the truffle.
REGULATIONS FOR TRIALS FOR LAGOTTO ROMAGNOLO
The main objective of trials is to evaluate the dogs’ truffle-searching aptitude and should highlight, for breed selection purposes, those dogs that stand out on account of their natural search capability, concentration, stamina and capacity to receive and retain training typical of the breed.
Types of Tests
The tests are carried out on the species of truffles that the law allows to be collected for consumer use during official periods. The E.N.C.I. recognizes the following types of tests:
- A) Trials of truffle searching in natural truffle sites.
- B) Special Trials of truffle searching in natural truffle sites.
Type A tests will be organized in truffle sites producing the type of truffle being tested. According to seasonal conditions, the enrichment of the soil with truffles of the same species is permitted, but only just prior to the beginning of the test and never during the rounds, in order to increase the chances of finding truffles and to standardize the land available to competitors .
Type B tests will be organized in truffle sites, producing the type of truffle being tested, but only with the truffle naturally present in the ground at that time. Access to these tests is allowed to dogs that have already earned at least a CAC or a reserve CAC during type A tests or a similar certificate obtained abroad.
The type B soil test will be proposed to and approved by the E.N.C.I.
The Jury- Staff following the Jury
The tests will be judged by an Expert Judge or by a multiple Jury. A multiple Jury is mandatory in type B Trials and in testing a couple even if they are divided into batteries. Multiple Juries will always consist of a group of three Judges.
The Jury may be assisted by the following persons: the E.N.C.I. Delegate, aspiring Judges for the performance of E.N.C.I.’s authorized assistantships, the guide and any other persons
authorized by the Delegate.
The organization shall promote, as far as possible, the visibility of the evidence by the public. Depending on the nature of the terrain, spectators, possibly divided into groups so as to limit the numbers, will be able to follow the Jury according to the instructions of the same, in absolute silence and without in any way disturbing the competitors . The Jury has the power, at its discretion, to exclude the public from following the Trials.
Enrolment and admission to tests
Only Italian and foreign Lagottos listed in F.C.I.-recognised Pedigree Registers may participate in Trials. The qualification booklet is required (not for pups and foreign dogs).
Registration fees must be received by the due date and will be valid only if the appropriate amount is paid.
A possible withdrawal of a dog, both before and during the test, does not ensure the return of the registration fee, except in the case of bitches in heat, upon presentation of a veterinary medical certificate attesting to this.
Biting dogs, females in heat and castrated dogs are not admitted: males must have two testicles of equal size that have descended properly into the scrotum.
By sending the enrolment the handler declares that he/she knows and accepts the rules of the Lagotto Romagnolo Trials, and all official standards issued by the E.N.C.I. for all recognized events .
There are separate tests according to age :
- Pups – 4 to 12 months.
- Young – 9 to 30 months.
- Open class – over 15 months.
- Veterans – over 7 years of age (optional alternative for owners in the open class).
Separate tests for males and females may be provided.
Batteries and order drawing
Depending on the number of competitors it is possible to divide the dogs of a test into batteries, provided that the number of rounds, in relation to dogs actually present, is greater than twelve. In any case, any test or battery must not bind the Jury for more than sixteen rounds.
Each battery cannot consist of less than six dogs. In arranging the batteries, the organizers will take care to include dogs presented by the same handler preferably in the same battery. The composition of the pairs, if any, will be decided by drawing lots and dogs of the same handler will not be put in the same pair, if possible. The order of shifts of each battery will be decided by drawing lots. The draw will be conducted at the place and time specified in the program of the event, in the presence of the E.N.C.I. Delegate and handlers who wish to attend.
The assignment of the Jury in each test may be decided by lots drawn on the day of the test, in the presence of the E.N.C.I. Delegate and handlers who wish to attend; alternatively the Jury may be appointed by the organizing committee. If this is the case it must be stated on the program of the event.
In the case of division into batteries Juries and the terrain will be allocated to these by lots drawn on the same day of the test, in the presence of the E.N.C.I. Delegate and handlers who wish to attend.
For tests that last for several consecutive days, the draw will be made only for the first day of the trial. On the following days terrain and Judges will rotate to the different batteries.
Allocation of terrain – behavior of conductors
Handlers must be in the correct place at the correct time for roll-call and must be at the Jury’s immediate disposal afterwards. Failure to observe this rule will result in elimination.
Waiting competitors must treat the competition area with the utmost respect. Prior to one’s turn, it is forbidden to release the dogs outside the special pens made available by the organisers. Failure to observe this rule will result in elimination.
When the handlers are called they must present themselves to the Judges with the dog on a leash, without any instruments or devices of coercion or dressage. The Judges will indicate the terrain to be explored. The handler will release the dog only at the Judge’s command and the dog must be free of any containment device, including collar. The handlers, whether they compete alone or in pairs, must remain in contact with the Jury to follow any directions. The dog will be conducted preferably with gestures; too-frequent recalls both verbally and with a whistle, will be penalized. In a pair competition the handler must not disturb the other competitor with his recall or in any other way.
The handler is obliged to carefully close again the hole opened by his own dog. Failure to observe this rule shall result in elimination.
At the request of the Judge, the handler recalls his dog and keeps it on a leash near the Jury to await further directions.
At the end of the time allocated to each round, the Judge will signal the end of the shift and the handler shall promptly call and tie his dog. Any dog that ignores the repeated calls of the handler at the end of the shift will be considered out-of-hand.
Any misconduct or ill-treatment of a dog by his handler will result in immediate exclusion from the Trial.
Before the start of a round, the Judge has the right to check the identification code of each dog but must definitely verify the identification code of trained dogs at the end of the round.
Rounds – Length of rounds – Completions – Recall rounds – Single and paired rounds
The rounds are normally carried out for single dogs at a time; the organization can plan rounds for couples, specifying what Trials this can be done for.
The rounds will normally have a duration of 10 minutes for type A Trials and 15 minutes for type B Trials. In agreement with the Jury, the organizing committee is entitled to fix times of a duration of up to two rounds, depending on the type of test, particular features of the ground and the number of dogs taking part in the Trial. The first round for each of the competitors will have a duration equal to the time set for the particular test.
If rounds are done in pairs, at the end of the first round of all the competitors, dogs who, through no fault of their own, had to interrupt their turn before the expiry of the time available to them, will be called on stage for the completion of the round. The duration for completion will be equal to the period of time not used in the turn that was interrupted.
Dogs that have not been eliminated and who have not completed a valid digging action may be subjected to one or more recall rounds. The duration of the recall is at the discretion of the Judge and must allow a chance to reach the objectives that led to the recall itself; dogs must be stopped, however, after digging the first hole.
Each dog will have an area of virgin soil and can spend part of his round on ground already searched by other dogs. Judges should take care at all times, as far as possible, that each competitor may carry out their work under the best conditions.
The evaluation should take the following parameters into consideration:
- WILLINGNESS : The action of the dog must be avid, continuous and determined. The dog should operate on its own initiative and not require continuous incitement by the handler and should also demonstrate determination in coping with difficult terrain.
- SEARCH : the search must suit the type of environment, and the searching action should be of a radius that allows coverage of a good part of the terrain, yet behaviour should also be attentive and diligent so that the relevant area is analysed properly, thus making it possible to carry out an effective job. The gait should slow progressively in those zones the dog thinks best for further evaluation or in zones indicated by the handler; the searching action of the dog should be carried out mainly in front of the handler and must not be distracted by the smell of game, improper smells or those left by other dogs.
- GAIT : the optimum gait is a lively, relaxed trot which shows that the dog enjoys its work. Short bursts of speed are admissible at the start of the session and when returning to already inspected areas. During checking stages walking speed is admitted
- SENSE OF SMELL. The Jury shall evaluate the concentration and power of the dog’s sense of smell vis-à-vis finding sites and its capacity to “follow its nose” when mature truffle emanations are carried by the wind.
- RAPPORT WITH HANDLER. While the dog should demonstrate independence and determination it should also have a good rapport with the handler without showing any fear. It should direct the search in the direction indicated and return promptly when called except when it is about to start digging.
- HOLE DIGGING (FORATE). The Judges shall not take into consideration the number of holes but especially their quality. The dog must dig decisively and, when interrupted by the handler, must recommence at his/her command. The capacity to stop digging on command and/or bring the truffle to the handler shall be evaluated positively. The digging action of the Lagotto must be such as to allow the handler the recovery of truffles.
In Pups’ and Young Dogs’ tests, in the criteria for judgment, we must give due attention to natural qualities, initiative and the other parameters that determine the note of the competition, with a weighted forbearance in assessing the deficiencies of dressage and fairness.
Errors – The first minute
The following faults (defects) and errors may involve penalisation or elimination:
- lack of initiative and discontinuity in action
- messy and inconclusive searching
- style and method of work does not conform to the breed
- abandoning the dig
- more than two digs made without success
- severe lack of obedience or out-of-hand behavior
- physical defects and poor stamina
- following persistently emanations of game and possibly running after it
- disturbing the other dog in a paired round and/or persistent phases of attention to the other dog
- fear of gunfire and noise; timidity and aggressiveness
It is up to the Judge to objectively assess the severity of an error committed by the dog, considering the different circumstances that caused it.
Errors committed in the first minute shall never result in elimination.
Qualifications – Obligation of useful digging for qualified dogs
The assessment is expressed by the award of qualifications. After the completion of the test, the Jury will immediately generate a list of the first 3 dogs qualified. However, a report will be drawn up for all dogs presented.
The first place in the standing cannot be awarded to a dog that has obtained a qualification lower than “M.B” (Very Good), and in this case the N° 1 position will be reserved.
To be qualified a dog must have made at least one useful digging for truffles under test conditions.
The qualifications will be assigned according to the following criteria:
Excellent ( Ecc ): This qualification will be given to a dog who has demonstrated the highest degree in all qualities of style and the natural qualities that characterize the breed . In addition, the dog qualified as excellent must not have revealed defects and should not have committed serious errors, thus proving to be exceptional and capable of carrying the work prescribed by the standard to the highest degree of perfection.
Very Good ( M.B.): This qualification will be given to a dog who has done an excellent job demonstrating a considerable degree of the talents and special qualities of the breed. The qualification “M.B.” must also be given to dogs who, for their work and for the gifts demonstrated in the contest, would have deserved the qualification of “Excellent”, but ran into errors, which did not allow them to obtain the higher qualification.
Good ( B ): A dog that proves to possess to a large extent the characteristics of the breed and carries out a good job without any serious errors or with only minor faults.
Fairly Good ( A.B.): A dog that shows to be in possession of sufficient natural quality and has done a decent job good enough to merit a qualification.
The qualifications for Pups are “Very Promising”, “Promising” and “Quite Promising”. These qualifications will not appear in the qualification booklet.
Dogs eliminated and unskilled
A dog that has committed errors that lead to its elimination or has been withdrawn at the request of the handler will be referred to in the Judge’s report as ” Deleted ” . The dog that at the end of the round will not be classified due to lack of finding truffle will be defined in the Judge’s report as ” Unqualified “. It is mandatory for the E.N.C.I. Delegate and the Organizing Committee to enter the above definitions in the qualification booklet.
C.Q.N. – Certified Natural Quality
The qualification C.Q.N. (Certified Natural Quality) can be given to a dog that has done at least one useful digging for the type of truffle that was the object of the test and has shown the natural and distinguishing qualities of the breed, demonstrated in a reasonable part of the round, and that has shown to be fit for the job, but has committed errors caused by lack of education and/or training that preclude him from being awarded a qualification.
The CAC and CACIT and its Reserves awarded as prizes
With regard to the issue of the CAC, CACIT and related Reserves, reference is made to the rules contained in the E.N.C.I.’s “Regolamento Generale delle Manifestazioni Canine” (General Rules of Canine Events).
Only in the Open Class a Judge may issue the CAC and Reserve CAC. If the test is divided into batteries, the CAC and its Reserve can be awarded to each battery.
In international tests CACIT is awarded if there are at least 6 rounds and when males and females compete together. Judging criteria for awarding CACITs are identical to those for CACs. Therefore in international tests with a multiple Jury the award of the CACIT will be carried out parallel to the CAC, except for cases in which the test performance requires the formation of batteries.
In international tests involving the formation of batteries a single CACIT can nevertheless be awarded. If two or more dogs are the winners of batteries that have achieved the CAC will be subjected to extra examination by a Jury, consisting of three Expert Judges trained in CACIT, in case of any assignment of CACIT and the related Reserve.
In cases where only one dog is the winner in a battery with CAC being awarded by a single Judge , the dog will be presented for verification to a Jury consisting of three Expert Judges trained in CACIT, for a possible award of CACIT . If CACIT is awarded, the dog that has earned the Reserve CAC will be subjected to the same test.
In the course of the check for the award of CACIT and the Reserve, it is essential that the dog presents an adequate level of performance, even if it has no chance of useful digging during the round.
Announcing the results – The Report
At the end of the contest the Judge proceeds to read out the qualifications and ranking right on the testing site. The technical report, unless there are special needs, must always be shown at the end of the event on the site of the gathering at the awards ceremony.
Qualifications required for enrollment in the work class at a show and breed meeting
A dog, in order to compete in a work class at a show and breed meeting, must have attained the minimum qualification of “M.B.” or “C.Q.N.” in a truffle-searching Trial.
Aptitude Tests in truffle searching
The C.I.L. in consultation with the E.N.C.I., as part of breeding programs for the protection of the breed, will have the right to organize events with applications in deviation from the articles of this regulation. They may consist of exhibitions of work without fulfilling qualifying session for the Championship titles, or aptitude tests for subjects that do not require the formal level of approval under above regulations. These events will be judged by people experienced nominated by C.I.L. and also by E.N.C.I.’s Expert Judges, as determined by a special regulation prepared by the C.I.L. . For these types of events the C.I.L. must submit a program of implementation to the E.N.C.I. for approval, detailing the objectives and aims – consistent with the Breeding Plan of the breed – as well as the regulations with the evaluation criteria. At the request of C.I.L., the E.N.C.I.’s Directors’ Council may approve the “Special Aptitude Qualification in Truffle Searching” as an alternative title for the admission to a work class in shows and/or as an alternative title for admission to the “Register of Selected Breeders”.
Acquisition of awards for the Italian Work Championship
– Attainment of three CAC, at least one of which in Special type “B” Trials and at least two for different types of truffles. The CACs obtained in tests with a single Judge must be issued by different Judges.
– Acquisition of two “Excellent” (Ecc) qualifications, one of which on a third type of truffle in case that the CACs have been obtained only on two types.
– Minimum qualification of “Very Good” (M.B.) awarded at a breed meeting or in a special show eligible for the “CAC” (Certificate of Aptitude in the Italian Championship of Beauty).
– In type “A” Trials, the Reserve CAC will assume CAC value with the ENCI when the receiver of the CAC, having already been proclaimed Italian Working Champion or having received other CACs before, the number of which is sufficient for the Championship, does not need the CAC of the current test. This is also the case if the CAC awarded in this last test is not, for whatever reason, confirmed by E.N.C.I..
– In the Special type “B” Trials the Reserve CAC can be used, regardless of the title held by the dog who earned the CAC.
– X-ray for the official control of hip dysplasia with grade A, B or C.
For all regulations not provided herein reference is made to the E.N.C.I.’s Regolamento Speciale delle Prove di Lavoro (Special Rules of Work Trials) and the Regolamento Generale delle Manifestazioni Canine (General Rules of Canine Events).