Purebred doesn’t necessarily mean well-bred and a well-bred Lacy Dog is more than a piece of paper. Though pedigrees will give yBlue Lacy puppyou important insights into a dog’s lineage, registration does not guarantee a puppy will look or work like a Lacy Dog. When picking out a puppy, these are the things a buyer should expect from an ethical Lacy breeder. Among other things, an ethical breeder should be educated about genetics, structure, anatomy, purpose, animal health, behavior, and training methods.

1.) Breeding for working ability. An ethical breeder will be able to show you their Lacys at work. If that is not geographically possible, they will have videos or numerous photos available for potential buyers. If you want a true working Lacy,  you should only buy a puppy out of working parents. Though pet breeders will occasionally produce a good hunting or herding dog, the odds are against it.

2.) Breeding to standard. In addition to being proven working dogs, breeding stock should fit the conformation standard. It is important that the dogs are the  right size, ideally 17 to 22 inch and 30 to 50 pounds, so they can perform the jobs they were created for in the Texas brush and heat. Dogs should not look like hounds (long ears or drooping lips) nor should they look like pit bulls (pricked ears or  overly heavy, loaded shoulders). Ethical breeders will only use standard dogs in their breeding program.

3.) Breeding for temperament. Lacys are tough working dogs. They should be driven, gritty and capable of getting the job done. Many are protective of their property and people. They also have a strong pack instinct and will correct other dogs. But truly aggressive dogs should never be bred. Dogs who bite people or wantonly attack other dogs have no place in a breeding program.

4.) Places puppies in working homes. Lacys can make great companions, but they are not meant to be purely pets. Ethical breeders not only breed working stock, they sell to working homes. If you don’t have a real job for a Lacy, you should look at another breed.

5.) Emphasizes health and proper care. Ethical breeders only cross healthy dogs from healthy lines. They keep their dogs in a clean and healthy environment. They either feed a raw diet or quality dog food. They give their dogs the best care possible. And they will encourage potential owners to do the same.

All ethical breeders will welcome you to their home and kennel. They will let you meet the parents and prove their working ability. They will also require you prove yourself worthy of a Lacy Dog. It is vital to the preservation of the breed and the happiness of each dog that they end up in the right environment.

Breeders who breed the family pet to any convenient dog of same breed just to have purebred pups “with papers” or produce several litters a year are in it for profit, not to preserve and improve the breed. If you have any questions about litters, bloodlines or breeders, please send us an email.

I get a lot of questions about training a dog to hunt for shed antlers. Because I get so many questions about it and it is relatively easy to teach, I am going to start a blog on training a shed antler dog.

You don’t need a retriever to hunt for sheds. Any dog with good food or toy drive can be trained for antler hunting. Retrievers already have strong retrieving instincts and the physical strength to carry a good sized antler but even a small dog can be taught to locate them.

The focus of this blog will be on teaching a dog to work for a reward. Before we begin, let me say that in dog training, there are often many different methods to achieve the same goal and this is certainly not the only way.

Reward-based training is a little bit different from blood trailing and other prey-based hunting activities which are self reinforcing  (the hunt or chase itself is rewarding to the dog.) We have to give the antler appeal, give the dog a reason to hunt for antlers, and make antler hunting a fun game that the dog is willing to perform in order to win a reward.

In case you are wondering, antler hunting will not interfere with your dog’s other jobs if you do your training correctly. If you have a blood tracking dog, cross training him to hunt sheds during the Spring and Summer will not interfere with his other jobs.

So first things first…

Let’s talk about antlers, because not just any old antler will do.

The type of antlers that work best for this kind of thing are very fresh antlers with pedicle attached. Most of the odor originates from the pedical. If you look closely at the image below, you can see these pedicals have hair and skin tissue still attached to them. If you could smell them, you would detect a distinct animal odor very much like the forehead of a buck in rut. If a person can smell this a few inches away, the dog certainly can smell it from several feet or even yards downwind.
These antlers are very white in color because they came from pen-raised deer but normally antlers that are very dry and sun-bleached are not good to use. These are “fresh picked” from a deer pen, even though they are white.


If your dog already enjoys playing with or chewing on antlers, you may be able to skip this step, but it’s a good way to teach a dog the foundations of scenting and searching behavior.
Before we introduce the target odor (antler odor) we are going to show the dog how to use its nose to search for a reward (in the form of food or a toy.) In the beginning, we are going to have the dog self-reward by finding the source and eating it or playing with it. The key here is that the search and find behavior is perfectly reinforced through the dog’s ability to self-reward at source.

I have had the pleasure of working with some very food-driven dogs so, for the purposes of this blog, I’ll be focusing on food rewards but if your dog is more motivated by a certain toy or ball (or an antler!) by all means, substitute that item for the food.

I start with a very high value treat. Soft, moist foods are easy to break up and have the most appeal. If your dog doesn’t go crazy for soft pressed dog treats, pieces of hot dog work wonders.


I crate the dog or put him in a place where he can’t see what is going on and hide a piece of food under a bucket or a rock. Then I take the dog out and allow him to search for the food. If your dog has a good handle and is good at following your hand signals and directions, you don’t need to leash him but a leash will help you control the search area and help the dog find the treats faster. Walk him by the hides and give him time to search and pin point the odor. Once he finds the treat, quickly reward him by offering another treat. It’s important to carry a few treats in a pouch or baggy in your pocket so that you can quickly reward a successful find. This will help once it’s time to pair the food odor with the target odor (in our case, antlers.) You want to reward the find as quickly as possible. (If using a favorite toy instead of using food for this step, this would be a good time to bounce or throw the toy.)

Once your dog is consistently locating pieces of food, we can either pair that odor with an antler by hiding food and antlers together or teach the dog to target the antler without pairing.

If you are going to pair, just hide the antler and piece of food together. Continue rewarding for a successful search & find and eventually remove the piece of food from the hide area. The dog should begin to target the antler in anticipation of a receiving a reward from you. This is why it’s important to continue rewarding a successful search with food out of your pocket. The dog knows every time he found that odor in the past, it has earned him a reward so he will continue to search for it in anticipation of winning another reward.

I’ve trained a dog with pairing and I’ve trained a dog without pairing. Most dogs do better with either one or the other. If you’re not going to pair odors, you’ll have to teach the dog to target antlers with a technique dog trainers refer to as “shaping.” When shaping behaviors, all we are doing is fine-tuning a behavior that your dog already knows.

In a nutshell, we make the antler appealing and give the dog a reason to pick up. I might start off teasing the dog with an antler and rewarding him for chasing, pouncing on, or picking it up.

At first, you might just be rewarding the act of sniffing the antler.  If the dog occasionally picks it up, start administering rewards for that behavior only. If the dog picks it up and brings it to you, only reward that and not just picking the antler up and dropping it.

Dogs do what works. And any behavior that results in reward is more likely to be repeated.

The reward may come in the form of a piece of food or having the antler tossed for him. It really depends on what motivates the dog. Some are so motivated by play that the antler itself becomes a toy. Others are more motivated by the food they earn for picking the antler up and bringing it to your hand. Whatever the case may be, the reward adds value to the antlers and a highly motivated dog will not be able to resist picking them up to earn that reward.

If the dog loves to tug, tie the antler to a rope and drag or swing it around. Whatever it takes to get the dog engaged and then pay, pay, pay! by rewarding the dog with more play time or food. Every time he grabs the antler, chases it, or paws at it, praise and reward.

I am currently training a young dog that loves to find the antlers and play with them but he has a bad habit of taking them off then prancing around for a few seconds before laying down to chew on them or dropping them in favor of something else.

If your dog is doing this, put him on a long leash. Stand on the leash but make sure he has plenty of slack to run around. Now hand him the antler. Once he’s got it in his mouth, cup your hand under it. Don’t ask him to do anything and don’t try to take it away from him. Just wait it out. The instant he drops the antler, even if he doesn’t drop it in your hand, pick it up and hand it back to him. Better yet, toss it to him if he enjoys picking it up. Remember, antlers are hard and pointy and most dogs don’t enjoy playing “catch” with them. They’ll duck or dodge if an antler is thrown at their head. So be careful not to clock the dog while playing antler games.


In the next part of this blog, we will hide some antlers and begin showing the dog how to search for them. If you have any questions about any of the techniques up until now, please post them as I would love to answer them!

The NLDA will be hosting a tracking dog clinic during the Lone Star Bowhunters Banquet on June 11th, 2016 at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown, Texas.

Our workshops are appropriate for beginner and novice dogs and their handlers as well as anyone else just interested in learning more about tracking dogs. During a typical workshop, everyone has a chance to work their dog on a blood trail. We will have about 40 acres of diverse terrain to work on.

Seminar topics covered generally include:

» Starting a dog and Building drive
» Training techniques
» GPS and E-collar use

A tracking lead will be provided if you do not have one. If you plan to stay at the banquet all day, bring a crate and water dish. Reunion Ranch has a nice covered porch so your dog can be crated in the shade while you play.

The entry fee is $40. Half will be donated back to the LSBA. We will provide donuts and beverages.

It will be at Reunion Ranch in Georgetown.
The start time is 9 am.


Winners of the Feb 2016 NLDA Hog Dog Trials
Puppy Bay
1st – Shep’s Lone Star Lacys “Ole Shep”
2nd – Sandy Mira “Ram”
3rd David Denman “Trixie”

Young & Old
1st – Chris Merworth and David Shepherd “Pete and Ole Shep”
2nd – John Wyble and David Shepherd “Bull and Ole Shep”
3rd – Rick Carter and David Denman “Ariel and Buck”

Two Dog Am
1st – The Leeks “Ben and Colt”
2nd – Jay Davis and David Denman “Ranger and Buck”
3rd – Chris Merworth and Jay Davis “Pete and Ranger”

Single Dog Am
1st – Chris Merworth ” Pete”
2nd – Shane Lowry “Belle”
3rd – John Wyble “BBK’s Sammy”

Youth Bay
1st – Josie Davis “Pete”
2nd – Autumn Merworth “Daisy”
3rd – Jaylee Davis “Ranger”

2 Dog Open
1st – Chris Merworth “Pete and Daisy”
2nd – Jay Davis and Chris Merworth “Ranger and Pete”
3rd – John Wyble and David Denman “Bull and Buck”

Single Dog Open
Chris Merworth “Daisy”
David Denman “Buck”
Shep’s Lonestar Lacys “Ole Shep”

The 2016 calendar now available for purchase!
12 Month Wall Calendar
Images were submitted by our members and fans. Get your copy today! Makes a great gift for the holidays!

Contributing photographers:
Courtney Farris
Andrew Virdell
Elaine Jones
Wes Mundy
Chris Day

$17.50 + shipping

We are taking pre-orders now. These will ship the week of December 10th…just in time for Christmas!

Order online!


We are looking for fun, creative, or interesting photos for our annual Working Lacys calendar.
The profits from calendar sales help support the mission of NLDA. If your images is chosen, you will receive a free calendar.
2015calPlease consider the quality of the photos. The winning images will be cropped for 8.5″ X 11″ horizontalcalendar so they must be at least 300 dpi or 1200×1600 pixels. You may submit as many pictures as you want. The deadline is Monday, November 23rd. You will be able to pre-order calendars beginning on Black Friday. They will ship out in time for Christmas.Submit your best pictures to nationallacydog@gmail.com

By submitting content to the NLDA for the Working Lacys Calendar you hereby permit usage, reproduction, printing and distribution of all submitted content. Thank you and we are looking forward to receiving your photos!


Do you wish to take part in the stewardship of the Lacy breed? To leave a legacy of well bred, healthy Lacys with strong working instincts? Is the preservation of the working-type Lacy your personal passion?

The NLDA Approved Breeder Program recognizes reputable breeders who have been heavily involved in the breed for many years, breeding responsibly and producing quality, healthy puppies.

The program was designed to recognize breeders who take an active role with their dogs and demonstrate an above-average commitment to the breed.

Approved breeders have the power to influence, guide and teach future Lacy breeders and owners.

Approved Breeders receive

» Preferred listing on NLDA website and forum

» Preferred referral by NLDA staff

» A free one-page web ad for one full year on NLDA’s website.

» Discount on all Registration Fees

To become an Approved Breeder, you must

1) Join the NLDA

2.) Have at least one working Lacy Dog over 18 months of age that has passed inspection and is registered with the NLDR

3.) Submit a completed application and $25 fee.

Anyone can breed dogs. Are you just a breeder or are you a breeder committed to both improving the breed through selective breeding programs and proving your dogs’ working abilities both in the field and via performance trials? If you’re the kind of breeder that prefers quality over quantity, become an NLDA Approved Breeder.

We would like to congratulate all of our newly elected Board Members. We welcome Wes Mundy and Branden Bringhurst to the NLDA Leadership and thank Lauri Lowry and Amber Low Middleton for their continuing commitment.
We would also like to acknowledge and congratulate John Wyble as Member of the Year and his Lacy Dog, Patch, as Dog of the Year. John has been a huge promoter and supporter of the NLDA. The membership has selected a great guy and great dog to claim the titles.


NLDA Annual Meeting & Get-together
Wells, TX
August 22nd, 2015

It’s that time again! The NLDA annual meeting and get-together is right around the corner. This year, it will be August 22nd at a privately owned ranch in Alto, TX. Please RSVP for directions.

The purpose of the annual meeting is to conduct association business. It is open to everyone. The annual meeting is a great way to make sure your voice is heard, meet other members, and join in some fun Lacy fellowship. Lodging, food and beverages will be provided. Dogs are allowed on the property but not in any buildings.

If you are interested in running for office, nominations will be accepted until July 22nd. Help shape and improve your organization! As an NLDA leader, you will be able to work on issues that you care about and build valuable relationships with fellow members. To nominate yourself or another member, please send an email to nlda2015elections@gmail.com. Also, don’t forget to nominate a Member of the Year and Dog of the Year!

The slate of nominees will be announced in July, ballots will be sent to all current members, and the new Board will be installed at the Annual Meeting.

The following positions are up for election:

BOD position #1
BOD position #2
Vice President
Member of the year
Dog of the year

If you think you can attend or there are topics you want to add to the meeting agenda, please let us know.

Thank you,
Courtney Farris

NLDA Public Relations & Communications

With annual elections right around the corner, this is a great time to join or renew your NLDA membership.

The membership drive will run until the end of June. We are going to raffle off some great items from Mud River Dog Products. Everybody that joins or renews during the membership drive will get a chance to win one of these great prizes!

When you Join, Renew, or Recruit you get:

  • One entry for everyone who signs up or renews during drive (1 entry for every year paid)
  • One entry for every person who refers someone else that signs up during drive (1 entry per referral)
  • Five Entries for new lifetime memberships
  • All current lifetime members automatically get One Entry

What is the NLDA?
The National Lacy Dog Association is a non-profit organization comprised of owners and breeders, many of whom grew up with working Lacys.
Member dues support our mission statement of breed conservation by funding working dog events, educational programs, historical and scientific research, online resources and much more.

That’s right…with the NLDA, your dollars go directly toward supporting the breed you love.

Members may vote in annual elections, run for office, serve on committees, apply to become approved breeders and participate in official NLDA events.

What does the NLDA do?
Here are a few things the NLDA does for Lacys and working dog owners:
-We hold training clinics, host sanctioned field trials, hog baying competitions, and conduct social events that are of interest to our members.
– We oppose bills that negatively affect working dog owners and breeders
– 2009 & 2010 Bonus Sponsor TDHA Hunt for the Hungry
– Led the way in Lacy color genetics research with UC Davis
– In 2013, the NLDA advised and worked with TP&W to get the use of blood trailing dogs approved in an additional 12 Texas Counties
– Held benefit fund raiser for SAR canine team
– Hosted Breeder Seminar “Raising High Achievers”
– Sponsored East Texas Hog Dog Championship
– Sponsored Lone Star Bowhunters Association 5 years in a row
– Sponsor / donor 2015 Purple Heart Hog Hunt & Bay Championship
– Assist in rescue / rehoming neglected Lacys when possible

How can you join?
Joining is so simple. Just visit http://www.nationallacydog.org/join.html and checkout via Paypal.

If you prefer to pay by mail, simply download the membership form and mail it in with payment to:

National Lacy Dog Association
1884 State Highway 294 West
Alto, TX 75925

If you would rather pay by credit card over the phone, please call 830-220-4747 for assistance.
Thank you for supporting Working Lacys and the NLDA!

Save the date! The Annual WDFD is only a month away!


This year, we are exited to introduce Barn Hunt! Come participate in a seminar sponsored by Countryside Barn Hunt club in Georgetown, TX. In Barn Hunt, dogs locate rats hidden in a hay bale maze.

In the Blood Trail Workshop, topics include: Selecting and Starting a Tracking Prospect, Building Drive, and Unleash your dog’s potential! (Collar Clinic) Puppy trails and Advanced trails available.
We find people tend to get a lot out of this seminar aside from just tracking.
My goal is for everyone to leave with a better understanding of how their dog’s brain works and ways to build a better relationship with their dog.
Every dog / handler team will get a chance to work a blood trail.
We are really excited that Texas Blood Trackers will be returning to offer tracking testing (TBT-1, TBT-2, and TBT-3)

Please email paul@texasbloodtrackers.com to register for a tracking test.

The workshop must also be pre-registered so we can prepare enough materials for everyone.
David Jones will also be returning with his phenomenal bird dogs. This is a must see! His dog work is amazing!

And, as usual, there will be a rattlesnake avoidance clinic.
A more detailed schedule will be posted later. Events will begin at 9:30 on Saturday and end around 4. Saturday night Meet & Greet and Cook – out begins around 5pm. BYOB.
If you want to be a vendor, sponsor, or volunteer, contact me, Amber Low Middleton, Karen Appe Lewis, or Lauri Lowry asap. (Volunteers get in for free!)

Many of us camp at Reveille Peak Friday and Sunday and just make a weekend out of it.

Thunderbird Resort – pet friendly cabins on the lake

Best Western Post Oak Inn in Burnet

Reveille Peak Ranch
All other questions, contact Courtney at 830-220-4747 or nationallacydog@gmail.com

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