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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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Though the Lacy is a wonderfully unique breed, it’s not easy owning a driven working dog. This breed can be challenging and isn’t for everyone. So what type of person should own a Lacy Dog?

1.) You have a real job for your dog. Lacys are very popular with hog hunters in Texas. They make great tracking dogs for deer hunters. They are a huge help to professional trappers. Cattle ranchers can move an entire herd with just two dogs. If you want to compete at the top levels of agility or flyball, these dogs have the natural talent to take you there. And they make good all-purpose ranch dogs, patrolling the property, killing varmints and protecting their family. But if you have to make up a job to justify having a Lacy, this isn’t the right breed for you. If you need a working companion, Lacys are incredibly driven, intelligent dogs that rise to the challenge.

2.) You have a very active lifestyle. If you’re a professional rancher or hunter, that is pretty much taken care of. But people who want to use Lacys for tracking or dog sports need to keep their dogs active and entertained on a daily basis. Lacys don’t make good couch potatoes, especially when they are young. Long daily walks are just the beginning when it comes to meeting their exercise needs. So if you like to go jogging in the mornings and hiking every weekend before deer season starts, you might make a good Lacy owner.

3.) You are an experienced dog owner. Lacys are extremely smart dogs, and while that means they can learn new tasks very quickly, it also leads to independent thinking and testing boundaries. Many Lacy owners say their dogs talk back to them and will even question their authority. This breed is very pack oriented, so it’s especially important their owner is a strong leader. All of that can be overwhelming for first-time owners. But if you have experience with curs or active herding dogs, you might be prepared for a Lacy. Read the rest of this entry »

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