Lacys were developed to be an all-around working dog. Our new series, Lacys at Work, explores the numerous jobs the breed excels at.
What is hog hunting?
Tracking and dispatching feral hogs is both a sport and an important public service. Feral hogs are an issue for ranchers, farmers and homeowners alike. Rooting and wallowing activity can destroy agricultural land and disrupt delicate ecosystems. They eat and trample crops and the eggs of ground nesting birds. Wild hogs can also transmit disease such as pseudorabies and brucellosis to domestic animals. With over 4 million feral hogs in the United States and nearly 2 million in Texas alone, the objective of hog hunting is to control the population and minimize damage.
How do hog dogs work?
Because feral hogs are extremely hardy and intelligent, hunting with dogs is often a more efficient way to control the population than trapping or traditional hunting. Often working in a pack, hog dogs use their keen sense of smell to track their quarry. When they find and corner a hog, they “bay,” which is a type of repetitive barking. Baying helps contain the hog while alerting the other dogs and handlers to its location. Should the hog break and run, the dogs pursue and stop it. Like a herding dog controls livestock, a hog dog works to keep their animal in one place until the handler arrives.
Why do Lacys make good hog dogs?
Originally known as the Lacy Hog Dog, the breed was developed specifically for this task in the 1850s. Genetically they have the skills, attitude and intelligence necessary for this difficult job. The Lacy has incredible agility and speed as well as stamina, all important qualities in a hog dog. Their nose, though not as “cold” as a hound’s, is more than adequate for picking up a recent hog track. The Lacy is also a “gritty” breed, meaning they can hold their own with feral hogs, which are often aggressive and ornery. Though Lacys are not meant to physically catch or hold a pig, this grit helps keep the quarry contained, a vital component for a successful hunt. Add to that a willingness to please their handler and unmatched intelligence, and the Lacy Dog is the perfect hog hunting companion.
Where can I learn more about hunting hogs with dogs?
One of the best sources of information on hog hunting with Lacys is the National Lacy Dog Association. We have many active hog hunters that use a variety of hunting techniques and training methods. Other excellent resources are East Texas Hog Doggers and Texas Boars. All three sites have popular forums that encourage participation. Never be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can before attempting to Hog hunt. Hunting feral hogs can be dangerous for both the people and the dogs and should not be attempted without help from an experienced hunter.
This article was written by Misty Dawn Brooks of Bayed Blue Kennels. She and her husband Mike Brooks breed working Lacys and train hog dogs.