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Article by Courtney Farris
National Lacy Dog Association
You won’t see them in the show ring, but people with roots in the Texas Hill Country know what they look like and what they are supposed to do, and have for over 100 years. The Lacy Dog, also known as the Blue Lacy or Lacy Hog Dog was created during the late 19th century to work free ranging hogs.
The Lacy family moved from Christian County, Kentucky, to a homestead in Marble Falls in 1858. The brothers were rock masons by trade and George Lacy owned Granite Mountain in Marble Falls which provided the granite used during the construction of the state capitol building in Austin.
The Lacys also raised hogs to supplement their income. During this time, Texans used hog dogs to round up wild range hogs that populated the Hill Country. The first hog dogs were usually hound crosses but the Lacy brothers created their own line of dogs to gather the family’s hogs and drive them to livestock markets in Austin. It appears they crossed an English Shepherd with a Greyhound and a wolf, resulting in a fast herding dog with the intense prey drive and fearlessness necessary for working dangerous hogs.
Also revered for their speed and intelligence the breed has become an all-around working dog for ranchers, cowboys, trappers and hunters. Though they can be trained to do almost anything, lacys make great hog dogs, cow dogs and trackers and most will make a serviceable tree dog. In fact, Lacys are gaining popularity in the West because of their versatility. A rancher can catch a mountain lion on Monday, check traps on Tuesday and push cows around on Wednesday. A hard-hunting dog capable of tracking a variety of predators is instrumental in keeping livestock safe from coyotes and big cats.
Compact and balanced, they are known for their unique blue coloration, though they can also be red or blue with tan points. In 2005, they were named the official State Dog of Texas and, given the tremendous impact the breed had on the Hill Country as well as the Lacy’s ties to the capitol building, they are Texas to the core.
Despite their high working drive and intense personalities, lacy dogs can be wonderful companions, as long as they are exercised and given a job to do. Like other working breeds, lacys require an experienced leader committed to their training and specific needs.
Set your DVR and clear your schedule — Lacys are coming to a TV near you on June 16 at 9 p.m. CT!
In March, a film crew from the History Channel spent the day filming Lacys for the series Life After People. They feature several dog breeds in the series, highlighting just how dependent most canines are on people. But the story of the Lacy is different. A tough breed with the drive and skills to fend for themselves, Lacy Dogs would they have no problem surviving in a world without people.
We got the dogs to pull off some great tricks for the camera, and the original footage will be accompanied by an interview with Jimmy Brooks, the president of the National Lacy Dog Association who has been breeding Lacys for over 50 years.
Don’t miss the Lacy episode of Life After People on June 16 at 9 p.m. CT. More information about this fascinating series from the History Channel after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
The Kemmer Mountain Cur got top billing at ESPN with Curs and ‘Coons: Good old boys love their mountain dogs. Developed by Robert Kemmer to tree small game in the Tennessee mountains, these raccoon and squirrel specialists have a lot in common with Lacys. And Kemmers aren’t the only curs that have shown up on ESPN. Last year they ran a story on Uncle Earl’s Hog Dog Trials, the most famous bay competition in the United States.
Despite being a true American tradition, hunting with hounds faces steep political opposition. Currently, Virginia dog owners are fighting to keep the right-to-retrieve, which allows them to fetch dogs that hunt their way onto private property. During a Oct. 23 hearing, the state agreed to take recommended retrieval restrictions into consideration. No matter where you live or what you hunt, stand up for rights of other dog hunters. This type of legislation can set a precedent for other states to restrict what we can do with our Lacys.
But hunters, don’t forget to be safe! A man in Oregon was shot by his Labrador Retriever while duck hunting. When the dog jumped into their boat, he set of the 12-gauge shotgun, resulting in some painful but treatable injuries.