What is a Lacy Dog (aka Blue Lacy)?

The intense stare of a Blue Lacy before turning out for a hunt. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.
The intense stare of a Blue Lacy before turning out for a hunt. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.

Introduction to Lacy Dogs

Purpose

When the Lacy brothers moved to Marble Falls, TX, in 1858, they needed a new dog for new jobs. Shepherds, hounds and collies were no match for the dangerous feral hogs they rounded up and drove to the Austin meat markets. It is unclear the exact mix they used, but the proposed breeds include English Shepherd, scenthound, Greyhound and wolf. They linebred these unique dogs until they had a dog with the brains, speed and build to work their wild boars. Today the Lacy breed has developed into an all-around working dog for ranchers, hunters, cowboys and trappers.

Appearance

  • Height: 18 to 21 inches
  • Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Build: Muscular but lithe, compact and balanced
  • Coat: Short and sleek
  • Coloring: Blue, red or tri with minimal white markings and yellow to brown eyes

Visit the National Lacy Dog Association to view the complete Lacy Dog standard.

The Lacy comes in only three colors varieties - Blue, Red and Tri, which is blue with distinctive red tips. Some people have taken to calling the entire breed Blue Lacys, but just like Black Labs are really black Labrador Retrievers, Blue Lacys are blue Lacy Dogs. The proper name is Lacy Dog, as used by the Lacy family and referenced in historical documents.

Temperament

The Lacy is a working dog with a working attitude. They have endless heart and drive. Lacy Dogs are very intelligent and can pick up tasks quickly, but owners often say they are too smart for their own good. They have endless energy and need daily exercise along with a challenging job. Lacys tend to be very pack-oriented dogs and need a strong leader that sets clear boundaries. In the wrong home, they may develop serious behavior issues such as aggression or anxiety. But when they have a real job to be, a Lacy Dog will be the best working companion anyone could ask for.

A Lacy Dog works cattle on a hot summer day in Texas. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.
A Lacy Dog works cattle on a hot summer day in Texas. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.

Jobs for Lacy Dogs

Lacys were created to be a working dog in the Texas Hill Country. Originally bred to work feral hogs and range cattle, they are gritty and tough with endless energy. The Lacy's compact, lithe build makes it agile and fast, allowing them to work in dense brush and ellude dangerous quarry. These are real dogs for real jobs, not pets.

Some of the jobs Lacy Dogs excel at today include:

  • Hog Hunting - Strike and bay dogs with short to medium range and plenty of grit
  • Herding - Heading dogs that are tough enough for ornery cattle
  • Blood Trailing - Popular among Texas trophy hunters for recovering wounded game
  • Running Trap Lines - Efficient at tracking and baying varmints in drag traps
  • And More - Treeing squirrels, retrieving birds, flyball, agility and any job that is challenging both mentally and physically


A Red Lacy and a Tri Lacy baying a feral hog. In addition to blue, Lacys can also be red and tri-colored. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.
A Red Lacy and a Tri Lacy baying a feral hog. In addition to blue, Lacys can also be red and tri-colored. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.

Lacy Dogs as Pets

Lacy Dogs make great working companions. They do not make great pets. There are many dog breeds, entire categories of dog breed, create by man to be a pet. They include many beautiful breeds, that do come in blue, that would be perfectly content being a couch potato. The Lacy Dog is not one of them. They were developed to handle tough jobs, and the skills and instincts that make them such amazing hog dogs and cow dogs and blood trailer do not blend in well with suburbia.

The type of person who should own a Lacy:

  • Has a real work for these real dogs to do - if you have to make up a job to justify a Lacy, this is not the breed for you
  • Is extremely active and love the outdoors - and we don't mean hiking on the weekends, we mean cowboys, ranchers, hunters and trappers
  • Lives on land in the country - Lacys do a great job of protecting large properties and thrive in a rural environment
  • Has experience with cur breeds - these dogs are very driven and very pack oriented, which can be very unnerving for first time owners
  • Will find great rewards in life with a challenging dog - Lacys pick up on training quickly, but if you give them an inch they'll take ten miles

A Red Lacy puppy at Bayed Blue Kennels. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.
A Red Lacy puppy at Bayed Blue Kennels. Photo by Julie Neumann, all rights reserved.

State Dog of Texas

It is believed that Lacys are the only dog breed developed in Texas. In addition to calling the Hill Country their home, Lacys have the big attitude and independent spirit of a Lone Star State original. In 2005, the Blue Lacy was officially declared the State Dog of Texas.

Though the Lacy Dog certainly deserved this honor, the recognition has created several problems for the breed. Lacys were bred for over a century to be driven hunting and herding dogs. They were never meant to live in suburbia, stuck indoors or in small yards. Despite their compact size, they have huge personalities and endless amounts of energy. Lacys need a real job, not just daily walks, to be happy and healthy.

Their unique apperance and status as the State Dog are not good reasons to get a Lacy puppy. In the wrong environment, Lacys can become aggressive, anxious, neurotic and depressed. But when given a challenging job and room to run, these dogs can't be beat.

Comments 2 comments

MyNameIsNoneOfYourBuissness 6 years ago

I love Lacy dogs!! They are so adorable and atheletic! I didn't know they were Texas' state dog awesome! Cool fact!


are blue lacy dogs silent on track ? 2 years ago

Are blue lacy dogs known for barking on track ?

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