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If you want to hunt lions and bears, you have to find lions and bears…and in the vast rugged West, that is often easier said than done. For decades, dogs have helped hunters and ranchers locate, track, and tree game in a variety of conditions. Traditionally a roll fulfilled by hounds, Lacys, cur dogs and similar breeds are gaining popularity as effective tree dogs because of their intelligence and versatility.

Mountain lion in Nevada

A mountain lion is generally quick to tree. Photo by Cory Davidson.

“You can go catch a lion Monday, check traps on Tuesday and push cows around on Wednesday,” says Cory Davidson of Central Nevada. Multi purpose dogs are ideal for ranchers. A dog capable of tracking a variety of predators is instrumental in keeping livestock safe from coyotes and big cats. Cory hunts with a mixed pack of hounds and one Lacy. He admires the speed of a Lacy dog and believes they hunt harder…even though the hounds possess a cold nose for picking up the oldest tracks.

Lions, bears, and small game such as racoons and squirrels resort to climbing trees or ledges for safety. Once the dogs have located a track and found the quarry, their job is to push it up a tree and surround the base, baying to keep the animal from fleeing. Dogs that bay consistently and maintain respect for the cat or bear are more effective at holding the animal and less likely to be wounded or killed.

A multi purpose dog does require a bit more time to train. It’s easier to train a pup from experienced dogs than to start from scratch.

Since Lacys are so intelligent, they are easy to teach to track and tree. Most hunters start puppies on drags where a line is tied to a lion pelt (or whichever type of animal you intend to hunt) and drug through the woods. As with blood tracking, a good tracker must be conditioned to track. This means nurturing the desire to hunt and locate prey by keeping it fun and rewarding for the dog. There are few things more fun and exciting to a bay dog than a critter in a cage. A live animal can be trapped and a put it into a cage for the dog to bay and chase across the ground. Though not often thought of as a treeing breed, Lacys can be taught to tree very easily by suspending a caged animal from a tree where the dog has to opportunity to approach the tree and become excited about the prize in the top.

Teaching a lacy to tree is easy!

Lacys and cur dogs are well-balanced breeds, adaptable to various types of hunting and terrain. Their agility, speed, and a baying style that is unrelenting make them good choices for hunting predators in rough country. Although not specifically bred for treeing abilities, they are intelligent enough to learn to tree very quickly and can become proficient in trailing and treeing bear, cougar and bobcat when hunted in packs.

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The National Lacy Dog Association is proud to once again be a Bonus Sponsor of the TDHA Hunt for the Hungry. This hog dog tournament has grown into the largest charity hunt in the United States, bringing in over 28,000 pounds of pork to feed needy Texans. It is truly a worthy cause and a great way for Lacy Dogs to give back to their home state.


We’ve made a special Lacy Dog t-shirts to commemorate this special event. We have three short sleeve, two long sleeve and two kids styles now available in the NLDA online store. Show your support for the breed as well as Hunt for the Hungry! Shipping is free on orders over $50 with the coupon code CWIN205, so add a 2010 calendar, Lacy stickers or a few extra tees to complete the package.

We will be working on another design for later this spring, stay tuned!

hunt-for-the-hungry

In addition to teaming up with the Texas Dog Hunters Association and Hunters’ Harvest to sponsor the 2009 Hunt for the Hungry, the National Lacy Dog Association will have a booth at the Wild Boar Expo this weekend.

The Wild Boar Expo is 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Wilber Baber Complex, 499 County Road 200 in Hallettsville, TX. Weigh-in for the Hunt for the Hungry will be held at the Expo from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday.

In addition to plenty of educational information about Lacys, the NLDA will be collecting pedigrees and inspecting dogs for CDHPR registration. If you have any questions about the CDHPR program, this is a great opportunity to talk to the officers in person. We’ll have coloring pages to keep the kiddos busy too. And Jimmy Brooks will have a trapping demonstration set up with trapping equipment for sale.

For anyone that is interested in hunting and the outdoors, there will be tons of vendors to check out, including hog dog gear, traps, blinds, feeders, ATVs, archery demos and a 3D tournament.

On Sunday afternoon, the NLDA will present the bonus check for the Heaviest Boar brought in for the Hunt for the Hungry. Last year this hunt raised over 20,000 pounds of pork for charity, so we’re very excited to support such a worthy cause. We hope to see you there!

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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 »

The world of hog dogging can be broken into two distinct fields: bay pen competitions and woods hunting. Each requires intelligence, endurance and agility. The Lacy dog excels in both arenas. But there are a few differences between woods dogs and bay pen dogs. It is important to understand the nuances of both venues to maximize your Lacy’s potential.

lacy baying a pig

In a bay pen competition, the dog is placed in a large round pen with a boar. Two or three judges are evenly spaced around the pen to evaluate how well the dog controls the hog. The dog is required to bay the pig continuously for a timed period without looking out of the pen. They are judged on style, intensity and focus. Catching or holding is a disqualification.

Sounds simple enough right? Wrong! Bay pen dogs must develop an intimate knowledge of their quarry. They need to understand the nature of the beast in order to control it. Read the rest of this entry »

The National Lacy Dog Association wishes you and your dogs a happy holiday!

Kboux and Corey Kovar bringing home the turkey.

MGS Scout bringing home the turkey

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.

Lacys were developed to be an all-around working dog. Our new series, Lacys at Work, explores the numerous jobs the breed excels at.

lacy hog dogs

What is hog hunting?
Tracking and dispatching feral hogs is both a sport and an important public service. Feral hogs are an issue for ranchers, farmers and homeowners alike. Rooting and wallowing activity can destroy agricultural land and disrupt delicate ecosystems. They eat and trample crops and the eggs of ground nesting birds. Wild hogs can also transmit disease such as pseudorabies and brucellosis to domestic animals. With over 4 million feral hogs in the United States and nearly 2 million in Texas alone, the objective of hog hunting is to control the population and minimize damage.

How do hog dogs work?
Because feral hogs are extremely hardy and intelligent, hunting with dogs is often a more efficient way to control the population than trapping or traditional hunting. Often working in a pack, hog dogs use their keen sense of smell to track their quarry. When they find and corner a hog, they “bay,” which is a type of repetitive barking. Baying helps contain the hog while alerting the other dogs and handlers to its location. Should the hog break and run, the dogs pursue and stop it. Like a herding dog controls livestock, a hog dog works to keep their animal in one place until the handler arrives. Read the rest of this entry »

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