Not just the Lagotto Romagnolo, but other water dogs also fell out of favor. The otterhound shares strong ties with English history due to its similarly curled hair. Otterhounds were a local breed that could frequently be seen, mostly around churches and bigger estates, and King John kept his own pack of canines.
They were perfect dogs for otter hunting because of their tough coats and big, vivacious personalities. Additionally, although some hunters made a respectable living from the sale of their pelts, the main factor in otter eradication was fighting between people and otters over seafood in the local waters.
Ironically, the otterhound’s success came dangerously close to causing its extinction. Because of concerns that these practices were decimating otter populations, otter hunting was briefly outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1979. The otterhound community never fully recovered, despite the fact that pesticides were ultimately to blame for the issue. Although there has been a gradual but steady increase in numbers in the past few years, it is estimated that there are only about 1,000 of this breed in the world.