Farm Animals

Truffle Dogs

The Lagotto Romagnolo (pronounced lag-oh-toe roman-yolo) is a breed of dog from Northern Italy that traces its origin back hundreds of years. For centuries the Lagotto was used to help hunt waterfowl and as a guard dog to protect dwellings and property. Later on, the Lagotto’s ease of training combined with an acute sense of smell quickly turned the breed into the ideal dog for the Romagnolo to use in their search for the much-prized and very valuable truffle.

The Lagotto Romagnolo is a small to medium sized dog with thick curly fur and a bright, happy demeanor. They come in colors of brown, roan, white, off white, and orange. Lagotti have keen senses, and because they are bred for searching things out, they are not easily distracted by the scent of wild animals or other dogs.

All of the dogs in Blackberry Farm’s breeding program were selected from two distinct bloodlines by Jim Sanford and acquired from a breeder in Italy. Our breeding program began in 2008 from our original breeding pair “Tom” and “Lussi.” We now have six females and two males in our breeding program. We usually have three litters of puppies each calendar year, so each female has only one litter of puppies every other year.

Lagotto Romagnolo Trainer

Jim Sanford

Jim Sanford grew up in California and then spent 20 years traveling all over the world and training elephants. After deciding to settle down in Tennessee for an extended period of time, Sanford started working at the front desk more than 17 years ago and has been a part of the Blackberry team ever since. Sanford was Blackberry’s first in-house fly fishing instructor. He then started Blackberry’s horseback program and worked there for 7 years before moving on to help with Blackberry’s first truffle dogs.

Along with raising and training the truffle dogs, Sanford is tasked with tending to the sheep, pigs, chickens, quail, and ducks. Animal husbandry is what Sanford loves and what gets him out of bed every day. When he isn’t taking care of the dogs or the livestock, Sanford also enjoys working with rope and has created multiple swings and other rope work here at Blackberry.

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