Blue Lacy: Dog Breed Profile

Blue Lacy Dog

Brooke Shaw / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

 

 

A working dog hailing from Texas, the Blue Lacy dog is a bold, intelligent, and active breed that was originally bred to work feral hogs. These driven, determined dogs excel at herding cattle and hunting wild boar, and since their inception in the mid-19th century, the Lacy has developed into a working breed for ranchers, hunters, cowboys, and trappers.

Although Lacys make excellent companions and are great with children, they require a calm, assertive leader who isn’t afraid to set clear and consistent rules. Easily trainable, they also require consistent and daily physical and mental stimulation.

Breed Overview

Group: Working Group

Weight: 25 to 50 pounds

Height: 18 to 21 inches

Coat: Short and smooth

Coat Colors: Blue (gray, light silver, charcoal), red (light cream, rust), or tri-colored

Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years

Characteristics of the Blue Lacy

Affection Level Medium
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs High
Playfulness High
Energy Level High
Trainability High
Intelligence High
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Blue Lacy

The Blue Lacy has always loved having a job to do—and plenty of open space to run around. Though Blue Lacys can be found with red or tri-colored coats, all of these dogs carry the gene for blue coloring. They were bred to be energetic, dedicated dogs capable of handling livestock ranging from longhorn cattle to hens, and throughout history have been relied on as trusted watch dogs as well as to fulfill both herding and droving tasks.

The Lacy dog was named after the Lacy brothers—Frank, George, Ewin, and Harry. The brothers moved from Kentucky to Texas in 1858, where they settled in the Hill Country and developed the breed to work free-roaming hogs. Historical documents indicate that the Lacy is believed to be a mix between Greyhounds, scenthounds, and wolves.

The Lacy was first recognized by the Texas Senate in 2001, and a few years later in June 2005, Governor Rick Perry signed legislation adopting the Blue Lacy as the official State Dog Breed of Texas. Considered capable of replacing the work of a cowboy five times over, the breed has historically been used for hog hunting, locating wounded deer, and chasing game. 

As the family-owned ranching industry began to decline, in part due to technology such as all-terrain vehicles, the Lacy breed at one time became close to extinction. However, the breed was rediscovered as a hunting companion and that dramatically increased the demand for Lacys—today they are the most common breed used by United States trappers.

The Blue Lacy dog met the needs of colonial Americans on their ranches for well over a century throughout the Southwestern United States. In fact, there are some who believe that the presence of these dogs in the Hill Country influenced Fred Gipson, the author of novel Old Yeller, who was raised in nearby Mason County. Though the vast majority of Lacy dogs are still found in that region of the country (primarily in Texas), the breed is becoming more and more popular for its skilled hunting prowess, and there are breeding populations being established across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Blue Lacy Care

The Blue Lacy's short, tight coat needs minimal maintenance: a once or twice weekly brushing, with more frequent brushing during seasonal shedding times.

Though they will adapt well to most living conditions and make great family pets with proper socialization, Lacys are intense, high-energy dogs that are ill-suited for both apartment living as well as novice owners. They will become bored and destructive when left along for long periods of time, and will respond better to a more experienced owner that can demonstrate the confidence and leadership that these working dogs crave. As a result, it's important that Blue Lacy owners provide their pet with plenty of outdoor time and space to run and, ideally, a job to do. These dogs will require long, brisk daily walks and plenty of romps in the backyard, but even that may not be enough; many of these dogs will still demand a challenging job such as herding or hunting, tracking, or agility or flyball.

Blue Lacys are naturally territorial and will always go out of their way to protect their property and their family, but they may not always do well entering homes with other pets due to their high prey drive. The breed’s intelligence means that they are generally very easy to train, but they are sensitive to yelling; Blue Lacys will always respond better to stern but soft commands.

Because they were created to be a working dog, most breeders prefer to place these dogs in ranching and hunting homes in order to preserve that heritage and allow the Blue Lacy to do what they do best: work.

Diet and Nutrition

The Blue Lacy should perform well with a high-quality commercially or home-prepared (under veterinary supervision) dog food. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times for this active, high-energy dog.

Pros

  • Good herding and working dog

  • Coats require minimal maintenance

  • Easy to train

Cons

  • Requires vigorous exercise

  • Ill-suited for apartment living

  • Can be territorial and confrontational with unfamiliar dogs

Common Health Problems

Lacys are a very healthy, robust breed. However, due to the dilute genes they carry, Blue Lacys have been associated with Color Dilution Alopecia as well as allergies and other skin and coat issues.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Blue Lacy

Be sure to check your local animal shelters and rescue groups for Blue Lacy dogs that are in need of a forever home. The national rescue group for Blue Lacys, the The National Lacy Dog Association, can also provide online resources to help you find your new best friend.

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a dog breed. Talk to other Blue Lacy owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and their care. There's a variety of dog breeds, and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right dog to bring home.

If you’re interested in learning more about similar dogs, consider these other working breeds: