The Blue Lacy is a medium-sized working dog breed hailing from Texas. It's known for its typical blue-toned coat, smooth, sleek appearance, and intense bright yellow or rich brown eyes. The Lacy is a bold, intelligent, and active breed that was originally developed to work feral hogs. These driven, determined dogs also excel at herding cattle and hunting wild boar. Since their inception in the mid-19th century, the Blue Lacy has developed into one of the working breeds preferred by ranchers, hunters, cowboys, and trappers.
GROUP: Working Group
HEIGHT: 18 to 21 inches
WEIGHT: 25 to 50 pounds
COAT: Short and smooth
COAT COLORS: Blue (gray, light silver, charcoal), red (light cream, rust), or tri-colored
LIFE SPAN: 12 to 16 years
TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, bold, active, devoted, alert, and intense
ORIGIN: United States (Texas)
Characteristics of the Blue Lacy
The Blue Lacy has always loved having a job to do—and plenty of open space to run around. They are energetic, dedicated dogs capable of handling livestock ranging from longhorn cattle to hens. Lacys have been trusted watchdogs, as well as herding and droving animals, throughout history.
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Low|
History of the Blue Lacy
The Lacy dog's name comes from the family that developed the breed. The Lacy brothers—Frank, George, Ewin, and Harry—began to create the breed when they lived in Kentucky. But when they moved to Texas in 1858 and settled in the Hill Country, they became serious about mixing greyhounds, scenthounds, and wolves to develop a fast herding dog to round up and drive their free-roaming hogs to markets in Austin for selling.
As Blue Lacy dogs grew in awareness and popularity with rural American ranchers in the Southwestern regions, their role expanded from hog herding to locating wounded deer and chasing game. The breed made a name for itself by officially becoming the official State Dog Breed of Texas in 2005 when Governor Rick Perry signed the legislation.
As ranchers began to use new technologies to herd livestock, the need for Lacy dogs slowed down, and the breed came close to extinction. However, the breed became known more as a hunting companion, which dramatically increased the demand for the Lacy—today the dog is the most common one used by trappers in the U.S.
Some historians believe that the presence of Lacy dogs in the Hill Country influenced Fred Gipson, who was raised in nearby Mason County, to write the novel "Old Yeller" (published in the 1950s), which is the classic story about a boy and his dog. The dog in the book, however, was a black mouth cur.
Blue Lacy Care
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. 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.
It's important that an owner of a Blue Lacy provide the 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, hunting, tracking, agility, or flyball. Experts suggest that Lacys need a minimum of 30 minutes—but more like 90 minutes—of vigorous exercise a day.
Lacys only need basic dog grooming. Their short, tight coat needs minimal maintenance: a once or twice weekly brushing, with more frequent brushing during seasonal shedding times. Otherwise, keep their teeth taken care of, nails trimmed, and ears clean.
The breed’s intelligence means that they are generally easy to train, but they are sensitive to yelling; Blue Lacys will always respond better to stern but soft commands.
They will adapt well to most living conditions and make great family pets with proper socialization.
Diet and Nutrition
The Blue Lacy should perform well with 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.
Common Health Problems
Lacys are a very healthy, robust breed. However, all dogs are susceptible to certain conditions. Blue Lacys have been associated with the following health issues:
- Color Dilution Alopecia: Hair loss, skin problems, and bare patches on the coat
- Food Allergies: An aversion to a protein found in commercial dog food
- Hip Dysplasia: Abnormal development of hip joints
- Elbow Dysplasia: Abnormalities causing lameness in the foreleg
- Hypothyroidism: Inadequate production of hormones from thyroid
Where to Adopt or Buy a Blue Lacy
Because they were created to be working dogs, most breeders prefer to place these pups in ranching and hunting homes to preserve that heritage and allow Blue Lacys to do what they do best: work.
Though rare, you may be able to find a Blue Lacy dog from a shelter or rescue group. If you choose to work with a breeder, expect to pay between $400 to $1,000 for a Lacy puppy. Most breeders are located in Texas, but as the breed's popularity rises, so might the number of breeders and the prices of pups.
Here are two online resources to help you find your new best friend:
Blue Lacy Overview
Good herding and working dog
Coats require minimal maintenance
Easy to train
Requires vigorous exercise
Ill-suited for apartment living
Can be territorial and confrontational with unfamiliar dogs
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 its care.
If you’re interested in learning more about similar dogs, consider these other working breeds:
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.
Is the Blue Lacy a good choice for a first-time dog owner?
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 alone for long periods and will respond better to a more experienced owner who can demonstrate the confidence and leadership that these working dogs crave.
Is the Red Lacy the same dog as the Blue Lacy?
Blue Lacys are also unofficially called Red Lacys when their coats present red tones. Though Blue Lacys can be found with red or tri-colored coats, all of these dogs carry the gene for blue coloring. Sometimes tri-colored dogs from this breed are simply called Lacys.
Is the Blue Lacy dog breed rare?
Most Lacy dogs are found in Texas, making the breed seem rare. But the dog is becoming more popular for its skilled hunting prowess, and breeding populations are slowly being established across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.