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Helen Lacy Gibbs is the granddaughter of George Washington Lacy, the brother prominently noted for his role in the breed, and started working behind Lacy Hog Dogs as a little girl. Helen is now in her eighties and has incredibly clear memories of the original Lacy Dogs. She has also been frustrated with the way her stories about the real Lacy Hog Dogs have been edited and misinterpreted. She decided it was time to get the accurate story out about the dogs once and for all, no stretching the truth or romanticizing of the facts, and asked the National Lacy Dog Association to make a video of her recollections.

We now have four videos on the history of the Lacy Hog Dog in the NLDA Archive. Interviewing Mrs. Gibbs and her son John was a truly amazing experience. We hope you enjoy these clips on the true history of the Lacy breed featuring someone who lived and worked with the original Lacy Dogs.

See all four video interviews with Helen Lacy Gibbs on our site.

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Red Lacy and Leopard Catahoula team up on a hog.

Red Lacy and Leopard Catahoula team up on a hog.

When it comes to working style, Lacy Dogs most closely resemble Catahoulas and Blackmouth Curs. They work in a completely different manner than the European herding dogs developed to move sheep across hill and dale or the Continental livestock guardians created to protect their flock. Curs have the ability to work much rougher animals in much tougher conditions. And the Lacy is no exception. Developed to gather and move range hogs, Lacy Dogs herd with a gritty, loose eyed, upright, heading style.

Hog Dog Origins
When discussing Lacy stock dogs, it is important to acknowledge that they developed their style and instincts primarily on feral hogs. They had a specific purpose that was dangerous and difficult. It required great intelligence, independence and an aggressive approach. Lacys without these traits would not have survived the rank animals they faced.

“I was fortunate enough to help my father, John Henry Lacy, round up hogs on our ranch when I was growing up in the Depression days. We didn’t drive the hogs, we just followed as the dogs led them to the pen. One rider could round up a large number of hogs with just he, his horse and his two dogs. There was a pen in the pasture which the dogs knew to take the hogs. We would go into the pasture, this one being about 1,000 acres, with the dogs and they would locate the hogs and round them up into an area. The dogs would nip the hogs and begin their run toward the pen. The hogs would chase the dogs and when the hogs no longer ran after the dogs, the dogs would return and nip a hog again to begin more chasing by the hogs. This continued until the dogs reached the pen and ran through the open gate with the hogs in wild pursuit. There was a hole in the pen on the opposite side of the gate which was too high for hogs to go through but which the dogs could jump through and escape the hogs. The riders just followed the hogs to the pen and shut the gate, thereby penning the herd with no trouble or danger to the horsed or riders. This is still very vivid in my mind’s eye even 65 years later. This is the same way the hogs were taken to Austin to the packing house — led by the dogs, followed by the riders.” – Helen Lacy Gibbs
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Blue Lacy Dog LarryWe recently updated the history archives on the National Lacy Dog Association site! Because the Lacy was created as a landrace rather than a formal breed, the Lacy brothers never wrote down a standard or maintained a studbook. It wasn’t until 1976 that the original Lacy registry was established with the Animal Research Foundation. Accordingly, much of the breed’s history has been based off of legends and folklore. But we still believe it is important to make the few relevant documents we have available to the public.

The Saga of the Original Lacy Hog Dog
Letter from Helen Gibbs, granddaughter of George Lacy
Helen recollects working behind dogs descended from the original Lacy stock. “They are faithful to their owners and never happier than when helping to round up stock.”

Hog Dogs and Their Ranch Uses
May 1942 The Cattleman
Though the article covers all types of hog dogs used in the Hill Country, the only breed they highlight is the Lacy Dog. “To many ranchmen of the present generation, a hog dog means a Lacy.”

Llano County, Texas, Ranchmen, Who Profit from Wild Range Hogs, Depend on Acorns and Their Hog Dogs
February 1956 True West Magazine
Origin, working ability and the importance of Lacy Dogs in the Texas Hill Country. Interviews with Ed Lacy and ranchers who relied on Lacy hog dogs to make a living.

The correct name for the breed is a Lacy Dog, or simply Lacy, not Blue Lacy. The best example of a similar naming convention is the Labrador Retriever. People will call a black colored Labrador a Black Lab, but they call a yellow dog a Yellow Lab, even if it came out of two Black Labs. There is no difference between Labs and Lacys when it comes to naming conventions. Though some claim the Blue Lacy name is from a rare blue color gene the dogs carry, no such gene exists. All Lacys have a dilute gene which causes all three color varieties, including Blue Lacys.

According to numerous historical documents, people originally referred to the breed as Lacys or Lacy Dogs. The oldest known article on Lacys was published in the May 1942 issue of The Cattleman. In it a rancher says, “People call a dog a Lacy if he looks at a hog.” A Lacy, not a Blue Lacy. In letters and interviews, Lacy descendants refer to them as Lacy Hog Dogs or simply Lacys. “George and his brothers developed a breed of dog known as the Lacy Hog Dog,” wrote the founder’s granddaughter Helen Lacy Gibbs. Even today, all of the families in the Hill Country who have bred Lacys for decades call them Lacy Dogs. They may call their blue dogs Blue Lacys and their red dogs Red Lacys, but they never call their red dogs Blue Lacys.

The first Lacys were registered with the Animal Research Foundation in 1976 as Texas Lacys. The first breed registry was founded in the 1980s as the Lacy Game Dog Registry. The term Blue Lacy was never used until the 1990s. Though he originally called them Texas Lacy Cowdogs in the 70s, H.C. Wilkes began referring to his dogs as Texas Blue Lacys in the 90s.

It is unclear why the term Blue Lacy caught on for a breed that also includes red and tricolor varieties, but it can be misleading and disproportionately emphasizes their appearance. Despite the marketing value in the Blue Lacy name, the National Lacy Dog Association will continue to follow the original naming convention and use Lacy or Lacy Dog rather than Blue Lacy.

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