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DS Outlook Cover

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.

Purebred doesn’t necessarily mean well-bred and a well-bred Lacy Dog is more than a piece of paper. Though pedigrees will give you important insights into a dog’s lineage, registration does not guarantee a puppy will look or work like a Lacy Dog. When picking out a puppy, these are the things a buyer should expect from an ethical Lacy breeder. Among other things, an ethical breeder should be educated about genetics, structure, anatomy, purpose, animal health, behavior, and training methods.

1.) Breeding for working ability. An ethical breeder will be able to show you their Lacys at work. If that is not geographically possible, they will have videos or numerous photos available for potential buyers. If you want a true working Lacy,  you should only buy a puppy out of working parents. Though pet breeders will occasionally produce a good hunting or herding dog, the odds are against it.

2.) Breeding to standard. In addition to being proven working dogs, breeding stock should fit the conformation standard. It is important that the dogs are the  right size, ideally 17 to 22 inch and 30 to 50 pounds, so they can perform the jobs they were created for in the Texas brush and heat. Dogs should not look like hounds (long ears or drooping lips) nor should they look like pit bulls (pricked ears or  overly heavy, loaded shoulders). Ethical breeders will only use standard dogs in their breeding program.

3.) Breeding for temperament. Lacys are tough working dogs. They should be driven, gritty and capable of getting the job done. Many are protective of their property and people. They also have a strong pack instinct and will correct other dogs. But truly aggressive dogs should never be bred. Dogs who bite people or wantonly attack other dogs have no place in a breeding program.

4.) Places puppies in working homes. Lacys can make great companions, but they are not meant to be purely pets. Ethical breeders not only breed working stock, they sell to working homes. If you don’t have a real job for a Lacy, you should look at another breed.

5.) Emphasizes health and proper care. Ethical breeders only cross healthy dogs from healthy lines. They keep their dogs in a clean and healthy environment. They either feed a raw diet or quality dog food. They give their dogs the best care possible. And they will encourage potential owners to do the same.

All ethical breeders will welcome you to their home and kennel. They will let you meet the parents and prove their working ability. They will also require you prove yourself worthy of a Lacy Dog. It is vital to the preservation of the breed and the happiness of each dog that they end up in the right environment.

Breeders who breed the family pet to any convenient dog of same breed just to have purebred pups “with papers” or produce several litters a year are in it for profit, not to preserve and improve the breed. If you have any questions about litters, bloodlines or breeders, please send us an email.

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