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Local magazine highlights Lacy history.

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.

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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.

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 video of Lacy Dogs on the History Channel’s Life After People is now online! Sadie, Brutus, Lucifer and Trapper did a great job, but the biggest hit was Jimmy Brooks, president of the National Lacy Dog Association. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. You can also view it on YouTube if you want to add it to your list of favorites.

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 »

Though Lacys excel as woods dog, they also do well bay pen dogs. Bay competitions are similar to herding trials. One or two dogs works to control a feral hog in a pen. They are judged on style, intensity and focus. Catching and holding is a disqualification.

These new videos show feature Lacys in the Two Dog division at the Bremond Bay Competition in May.

The winning team receieved over $3,000 in cash and prizes, including these Texas Dog Hunters Association buckles.

The winning team received over $3,000 in cash and prizes, including TDHA buckles.

Of the 73 teams who  registered, 35 officially weighed in.

The first of 35 teams arrives at weigh-in with their hogs.

Hogs were weighed and inspected before being processed for donation to Hunters' Harvest.

Hogs were weighed, inspected, processed and donated to Hunters' Harvest.


Read the rest of this entry »

The official weigh-in for the 2009 Hunt for the Hungry was held at the Wild Board Expo in Halletsville. Since we were co-sponsoring the charity hunt, we decided to set up a booth the promote working Lacys. President Jimmy Brooks, Vice President Robby Leek, Secretary Shannon Collier and Director Betty Leek did a fantastic job of setting things up and talking to all our visitors. And Lucy Lou Leek served as our official mascot, greeting everyone who stopped by. We were able to connect with people new to the breed as well as Lacy owners interested in the association. Thank you for your support!

Jaime, Betty, Shannon, Jimmy and Lucy at the Wild Boar Expo.

Jaime, Betty, Shannon, Jimmy and Lucy at the Wild Boar Expo.

Red, white and blue Lacy pride.

Red, white and blue Lacy pride.

Working Lacy display at the Wild Board Expo.

Working Lacy display at the Wild Board Expo.

Robby and Patch welcoming the hunters after weigh-in.

Robby and Patch welcoming the hunters after weigh-in.

Celebrating a successful Hunt for the Hungry with fellow Lacy lovers.

Celebrating a successful Hunt for the Hungry with fellow Lacy lovers.

And we want to thank the TDHA for making this event happen!

And we want to thank the TDHA for making this event happen!

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There is no single, surefire method to train a Lacy on hogs. Each dog is different and what works for one hunter may not work for another. However, these are some of the things we’ve found most successful with our own dogs as well as other dogs we have trained. Please remember safety first and be patient.

The first step, regardless of the dog’s age, is introducing them to a hog. Our own pups start that process at six to eight weeks old, always on a hog of equal or smaller size. The puppies typically see the piglet as a playmate until the piglet nips them, which is usually what “keys” the pup off. Older dogs may need a companion to help them find their way. We use one of our finished dogs to teach older pups and dogs the first few times. After that introduction, we have them work alone for a while so they learn to trust themselves.

As the dog progresses and gains confidence, as well as knowledge of how the hog moves and thinks, we graduate them up in hog size until they can control a 200 to 250 pound boar efficiently. Repetition is important, working the dog on a daily bases increases their drive and helps keep them focused. A young pup will have a short attention span, so five to ten minutes a day is enough. Older dogs can work anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. It’s important not to overwork your dog. Give them breaks and let them get a drink. Read the rest of this entry »

hunt-for-the-hungry

The National Lacy Dog Association is teaming up with the Texas Dog Hunters Association and Hunters’ Harvest to sponsor the 2009 Hunt for the Hungry!

Now in its fourth year, the Hunt for the Hungry is the largest charity hunt in the United States. In 2008, over 20,000 pounds of pork was collected to feed hungry families across Texas. It is also the richest hog dog tournament in Texas. The winning team will walk away with over $3,000 and numerous prizes. But the biggest reward is knowing you and your dogs helped fill the stomachs of very needy families.

In addition to sponsoring the Heaviest Boar Bonus, the NLDA will do everything we can to make sure Lacys are well represented in this contest. Teams are comprised of four people and their dogs hunting from Feb. 27 through March 1. The main event is judged on each team’s five heaviest hogs. It will take skill as well as stamina to excel in this tournament, and we know Lacy hog dogs are up to the challenge.

To learn more about the rules and how to enter, please visit the Meetings & Events section at the NLDA forums. We hope you and your Lacys can join us in supporting this great cause!

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