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Working Blue Lacy DogThe NLDA would like to recognize the contributions of our members and celebrate the achievements of their Lacy dogs.

Next Summer, members will be able to nominate and vote for Dog of the Year and Member of the Year.

The Dog of the Year award is meant to recognize the achievements of a Lacy Dog that exemplifies the best of our breed to the community.

The Member of the Year award will go to a person to recognize their work for the breed and/or the organization either for outstanding work in that year or in recognition for many years of dedication to the breed.

To be eligible for Dog of the Year, the dog must be owned by a member in good standing of the NLDA. For Member of the Year, the person must be a member in good standing of the NLDA

Candidates for both awards will be nominated by members this coming June and the election will be run in conjunction with our annual election.

More details to come. In the meantime, we encourage our members to begin documenting and sharing their dog’s successes and achievements.

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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.

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.

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.

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

blue lacy cow dog

The Lacy Dog has the perfect combination of agility, speed and grittiness for herding. They are also adaptable to all types of cattle. On more gentle and responsive cows, they are softer. If they are working wilder, ornery cows, they will bite a nose or ear to make the cows behave.

When Lacys herd livestock, their instinct is to work as headers. While heelers focus on boundary control and circling their animals to keep them in a designating area, heading dogs take a more aggressive approach. They take advantage of livestock’s natural instinct to seek protection in the herd by barking, taunting and harassing. Lacys work in a style similar to Catahoulas and Blackmouth Curs. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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 agility jump

What is agility?
This modern dog sport is all about speed and accuracy. Modeled after equestrian show jumping, the goal of the handler and their dog is to complete a set of obstacles in the fastest time without any disqualifications. The most common obstacles are the bar jump, tire jump, tunnel, chute, teeter, A-frame, dog walk, weave poles and pause table. Courses are designed to test the team with tight turns, close obstacles, distance work and much more. In addition to standard agility, some organizations offer classes like jumpers, gambler’s choice, juniors and relays. But whether or not you want to compete, agility training is a great way to challenge your Lacy both physically and mentally.

How do agility dogs work?
The most important quality of a winning agility team is obedience. Dogs must run through the course without a leash, treats or toys. A close connection between the dog and their handler is extremely important. They must be in constant communication via hand signals and voice commands to successfully navigate a challenging course. Dogs also need to be accurate in order to earn a qualifying score for their round. To earn credit for the dog walk, A-frame and teeter, they must touch the yellow contact zones at the beginning and end of the obstacle. When negotiating the weave poles, the dog must enter to the right of the first pole and proceed through the entire series without missing any. They also must negotiate the tire correctly, jumping through the center ring, and cannot knock down jump poles. Speed is icing on the cake. Of the dogs that complete the proper course with no faults, the fastest round wins. Read the rest of this entry »

Always On The Go
It is hard to resist a beautiful blue Lacy puppy. In addition to their unique good looks, they are incredibly intelligent with an intriguing history and entertaining personality. But don’t forget that the Lacy was bred for decades to work on ranches in the Texas Hill Country. They have the stamina, energy and intense drive needed to hunt wild hogs, herd rough cattle, face trapped predators and track wounded bucks. In a few months, the adorable puppy curled up in your lap will become a very active adult dog ready for a job.

Will you be ready? Have you planned for life with an energetic, indefatigable, driven working dog? In 2001, these were the top ten reasons people relinquished their dogs to a shelter:

    Moving
    Landlord issues
    Cost of pet maintenance
    No time for pet
    Inadequate facilities
    Too many pets at home
    Pet illness
    Personal problems
    Biting
    No home for littermates

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!

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 »

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