Nancy Roman

The Beauty Parlor

Ten weeks ago, my husband took my puppy for his first haircut.

I had to work. But I should have known better. I should have taken the day off. Dads cannot communicate what Moms want for their kids’ hairdos.

Theo is a Lagotto Romagnolo, an ancient Italian breed that is the ancestor to the Standard Poodle, the Portuguese and Spanish Water Dogs, and just about every water dog and retriever since the Middle Ages.

In fact, here’s a painting called “The Meeting” by Andrea Mantegna from 1474.

themeeting 1474

See the dog at the lower left?

themeeting 1474 rev2

He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo.  From more than 500 years ago.

And check this guy out. It’s a painting from the 1600s by Il Guercino, which translates to “The Blinker,” so I am thinking that it is a self-portrait of the weird-eyed human on the right.


Compare the doggie above with my Theo’s mama, who has the un-mama name of Dada:



The breed hasn’t changed much in the last 400 years.

Lagottos (or Lagotti, not sure which is correct) are very popular in Italy and some other parts of Europe, because they are terrific truffle hunters.

In the U.S., they are still fairly rare – about 500 right now I think. And they were just recognized by the AKC, and so now compete in the big dog shows. Westminster, here we come.

Theo’s mom and dad are both Italian. Dada the Mama came to the U.S. already pregnant. So Theo is an anchor baby of the canine variety.

I am still waiting for him to find a truffle in our yard, so we can be rich.

But back to the haircut.

I was not pleased with Theo’s first haircut. Too short and with kind of a poodley pompadour at the top. And because he was shorn very close around his eyes (which of course he needs in order to see), the pompadour gave him a distinctly cro-magnon look. On top of that, I thought his ears were cut too short and too straight across. The total effect was kind of a cro-magnon-y Moe Fine.

So needless to say (which is an expression I should NEVER use, because if it was needless to say, I wouldn’t say it, but probably 87% of everything I say and write is needless, but my goal is to get down to 84% by the end of the year) – I accompanied Theo and my hubby on this week’s visit to the groomer.

I have a very hard time telling my own hairdresser exactly what I want. This is partially because I think she may actually know best what looks good on me, and partially because I’m never quite sure anyway of what I really want, and partially because I don’t want to upset her when she has scissors.

But I had no trouble telling the nice groomer what I wanted for my doggie’s hairdo.

The groomer spent two hours on Theo. I can have color, highlights, a trim, and a blow-dry in under two hours, but then again, my hairdresser only has to work with the top of my head, and not my feet and belly and private parts.

And of course, my hairdresser doesn’t deal with too much squirminess – in fact, she practically has to wake me up after her magic fingers shampoo technique.

Here’s Theo’s “before” shot:

1-12-16 before


Adorable, but lacking a certain quality – usually called “vision.”

Lisa the Groomer first combed out all his knots, of which he had quite a few, because we are not good parents.

Then it was time for the shampoo. Although  this is my favorite part of my own trips to the hairdresser, it was not Theo’s favorite.

1-12-16 shampoo

Then came the blow-dry. Theo was not overly fond of the noise, but he managed to keep it together, though his anxiety is evident.

1-12-16 blowdry

Lisa gave him the full works on the blow-out – making him as fluffy as possible before the cut:

1-12-16 blownout

Time for the actual cut. I admit to getting a bit misty-eyed as the clippers mowed though all Theo’s beautiful fuzz. My husband and I had a bit of a disagreement on ear length, as my husband felt that my instructions left Theo’s ears too “girly” – whatever that means. So Lisa adjusted Theo’s ears to a more masculine ear – also whatever that means.


1-12-16 the cut

The result:


1-12-16 after


  1. Annette Rochelle Aben

    He is handsome!


  2. He’s getting so big! They grow up too fast!


  3. Awww. Just makes you want to hug him. I suspect his hair will grow so fast that whatever you don’t like will change in a week or two. My wheaten terrier has similar hair and I like to cut it myself. It’s kind of like sculpting.


    • It does change… the haircut I didn’t like was completely fine in a week. And I’ve thought about doing the cut myself, but I’m afraid I would totally screw up.


  4. That pup is picture perfect! Eat your heart out girls!
    (I used to cut our Westie myself after giving up with groomers. Groomers were just too show-girly for the macho guy)


    • It’s trimming around his eyes that makes me really nervous. That and having him end up looking idiotic.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. He is gorgeous and what a cute expression.


  6. What a lovely boy! Are the dogs typically clippered or hand-scissored for the show ring? It can make a difference in coat texture later.

    My Phoebe is a PBGV (basically a wire-haired Basset Hound), and they are supposed to be “tousled.” Like, bed-head. Over-grooming is to be penalized. Yeah, whatever. When you see them on Westminster, they are sculpted within an inch of their lives. *sigh*


    • I’m not sure how they are groomed for a show. The standard I think is to be somewhat rustic and tousled. We’ve gone to two shows to see what they look like, but there have only been a handful of dogs, and the grooming is really across the spectrum.


      • It’s that way with PBGVs, too. And some better known breeds. Different handlers have different styles.


  7. Oh, he is adorable – I bet he’s as soft as a cotton ball!


    • He is really soft right now – but the groomer says that his coat will get more wirey as he matures.


  8. He needs a painting of his own! Not much I can do with a chocolate lab, though….


    • Chocolate labs have a beauty all there own in the classy simplicity.


  9. LindaLuNC

    That is one adorable face, especially with the “just so” tilt of the head…too cute!


  10. Deb

    You can tell that he just can’t get over himself 😉


  11. He’s a handsome fellow and doesn’t look too girl. He probably feels a lot better, too.


  12. ultrarunner2014

    Theo is gorgeous! My next door neighbour used to breed Portuguese water dogs and they looked exactly like Dada. I own a pointer, so very minimal grooming is required 🙂


  13. Oh what a gorgeous critter! Cute too. 🙂


  14. What a sweetheart! But by, has he grown!!


  15. He is sooooooo cute — in a non-girly way. Duncan loves to be brushed, and doesn’t mind baths, but we actually have to sedate him to get his toenails clipped! Which reminds me.


  16. diane

    Save the hair, have it made into yarn and I will knit you something, Mittens?


  17. Dana

    I love that Theo is an Anchor Puppy! 🙂 I’d love to see a pic of his Moe from the Stooges look! 🙂 If I had been there at the point where the groomer had him that fluffy, I would have begged to take him home, just like that! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!


  18. He is so cute with that perfect cut.


  19. Theo’s adorable. So lucky to have such devoted owners. And we won’t tell Trump about Theo being an immigrant anchor baby.


    • And we have no papers on him yet…still waiting. Hoping he doesn’t get deported.


  20. Gorgeous and manly! That dog is absolutely beautiful. Theo was lucky you went with him this time round.


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