Lacys were developed to be an all-around working dog. Our series, Lacys at Work, explores the numerous jobs the breed excels at.
The Lacy Dog has the perfect combination of agility, speed and grittiness for herding. They are also adaptable to all types of cattle. On more gentle and responsive cows, they are softer. If they are working wilder, ornery cows, they will bite a nose or ear to make the cows behave.
When Lacys herd livestock, their instinct is to work as headers. While heelers focus on boundary control and circling their animals to keep them in a designating area, heading dogs take a more aggressive approach. They take advantage of livestock’s natural instinct to seek protection in the herd by barking, taunting and harassing. Lacys work in a style similar to Catahoulas and Blackmouth Curs.
When I’m working cows with Lacy Dogs, I want them to be constantly baying in front of the cows. The dogs work a half-circle back and forth in front of the cows, while people on ATVs or horses push the cattle from behind. The Lacys’ job is to maintain control of the herd while keeping them together and moving in the right direction.
My dogs only know three commands, but they are the only ones I ever need. The commands are “get ahead,” “back up” and “get out.”
“Get ahead” tells the dogs to get out in front of the cows to start herding them. It can also be used to tell the dog to look “out” away from the rest of the herd in case a cow has strayed. When this happens, the dog should get in front of her and bark in her face or bite her on the nose to stop her. Then the dog can push her back to the herd.
“Back up” tells the dogs to back away from the cattle a little bit. It is useful if the dogs are baying too close or if you’re trying to get the cattle through a gate.
“Get out” is used when you get the cows where you want them and the dogs’ job is done. The dogs should leave the cattle and come to you.
This article was written by Aaron Low of the Low Family Ranch in Alto, TX. The Low and Middleton families use Lacy Dogs to work their Beefmaster cattle and hunt feral hogs.