Need a ranch dog who can herd cattle, go snout-to-snout with wild boar, and snuggle up at the end of the day? The Blue Lacy is the dog for you! Learn more about the Blue Lacy’s history, trainability, and health. If you need a Pet Minder for your Blue Lacy, Mad Paws has Dog Sitters in Bendigo, Perth, Alice Springs, and all over Oz!
Quick Facts ✔
Height – 45 – 60cm
Weight – 15 – 23kg
Lifespan – 14 – 16 years
Country of origin – USA
Breed type – Working Group, Herding & Pig Hunting
- Experienced Dog Owners
- Owners looking for a working dog
- Homes with an outdoor space
Blue Lacy Breed History ♜
Tough, hard-working, and with plenty of secrets kept close to the chest, the Blue Lacy is about as Texas as it gets. Not much is known about which dogs were used to develop the breed, but what we can dig up tells us a lot about the history of the Lone Star State, itself.
Sometime in the mid-19th century, four brothers—George, Ewin, Frank and Harry Lacy—moved to a small town in Texas to start a ranch and masonry business. Both operations were successful, so much so that the pink granite the family produced was used to build the state Capitol building in Austin in 1885.
On the ranching front, the brothers were equally entrepreneurial. Raising cattle was a given (you can’t be a rancher in Texas without being a cowboy!) but they also wanted to make money off of the local wild pig population. Wild boar were nothing new in Texas. Spanish colonists as well as English settlers had long since introduced pigs to the region, and pig hunting was becoming a lucrative and necessary practice to manage the wild swine.
But instead of thinking of them as pests to be hunted, the Lacys saw the pigs on their land as another herd to be cared for, penned, and brought to market. In order to undertake such an endeavor, they needed a dog up to the task.
The problem is that cattle and pigs are very different animals. A cattle ranching dog, like the Australian Cattle Dog, works by guiding the cattle to run in a certain direction. Hogs, though, are much more likely to turn and fight. So, the Lacys set about breeding a dog that could herd animals with opposite personalities.
Now, here’s where things get murky. The Lacys never recorded which dogs went into their new breed. It’s likely that they used Greyhounds for their speed and heat-tolerant coat, as well as Bloodhounds for their tracking skills. There’s even a rumor that native coyotes and wolves were used to make this dog tougher in the face of aggressive foes. But we may never know for sure.
Today, Blue Lacys are still used for wild boar hunting. Without them, Texans would have a hard time managing the destructive invasive species, which cause up to $400 million dollars in damages every year in the Lone Star State, alone. And, you’re much more likely to see them living on a ranch than in an apartment. These doggos really are a cow(person)’s best friend.
Personality Traits ★
Blue Lacy Owners will tell you that this dog is a working dog by nature, and a companion animal by training. That’s to say that working comes naturally to them; in fact, most of what they do on a cattle ranch is instinctive. With their intelligence, awareness, and problem-solving creativity, these dogs are perfectly suited to work for hours on end.
When they’re not out rounding up cattle, Blue Lacy dogs are gentle and friendly with their Owners. With enough training and socialisation, they can also be patient and warm towards children. They do have a tendency to play rough, so it’s best to have them in a home with children old enough to know how to interact safely with them.
As is often the case with working dogs, Blue Lacys are incredibly loyal and attentive to their Owners. They make fantastic guard dogs, but their territorial aggression will need to be addressed so that they don’t scare off your houseguests. And if you’re looking for a cuddly dog, we’re sorry to say, this might not be the breed for you. Devoted as they are to their Owners, they’re not likely to show much physical affection. But, they will follow you from room to room as the furry sidekick you’ve always wanted.
When it comes to other animals, Blue Lacy dogs are open to canine companions, but less likely to welcome small animals into their pack. Their small prey drive can be quite high, so cats and other small pets aren’t recommended for the Blue Lacy household.
In terms of intelligence, the Blue Lacy is as smart as they come. If they’re not working, they need daily stimulation to ensure they don’t become destructive in the home.
Blue Lacy Trainability & Training Tips
If you were to plop a Blue Lacy on a cattle ranch and see what they do, you’d be amazed at how instinctual their working skills are. But, when you set about training this dog for life in a non-farm setting, you’ll see that it’s not as easy a task.
This dog is independent, persistent, and clever; a tough combination for even experienced trainers. But a dog this quick and powerful needs early and consistent training. Here are a few tips that can make it more manageable:
- Start training and socialisation early. A naturally suspicious dog like the Blue Lacy should always be trained and socialised as early as possible. This will allow them to build positive relationships with their trainer, as well as be more open to strangers and other animals.
- Reduce distractions. If the Blue Lacy dog really does have some scenthound in them, it would explain why they’re so easily distractible. Early on in the training process, make sure that they’re in an area without distractions. And, when you’re ready to take the sessions outside, keep this dog on a leash until you’re sure they’ll stay with you.
- Don’t be so hard on them. Blue Lacys are tough doggos, but they do have a sensitive side. They don’t respond well to harsh punishment or even raised voices, but will be eager to please a trainer who uses a firm, calm training method.
- Be more persistent than they are. Once a Blue Lacy becomes fixated on something, it can be hard to change their mind. That’s why, as persistent as they are, they need a trainer who is even more patient.
- Keep training sessions fast-paced. This is a smart dog who is used to working long hours. But, that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy to do the same trick over and over. Instead, when your Blue Lacy masters a command, keep challenging them with more complex tricks to keep them engaged.
- Call in a pro. Blue Lacys are people-pleasing and ready to work. But their intense personality is best addressed by a professional dog trainer. You can certainly go it alone if you have the experience, but calling in a pro will make the training process faster and easier.
Exercise Needs & Living Conditions ⌂
For the Blue Lacy, training and exercise go paw-in-paw. Without proper exercise, they’ll be much too excited during training sessions. And training can be a great opportunity for a mental and physical workout.
Consider exercise routines that will hark back to this dog’s breed history. Lure coursing, agility training, and even ametuer herding will all hit the right chord with this working dog. They’ll get the mental stimulation they need to feel satisfied, and the physical endurance training they need to stay healthy and calm at home.
If you can’t provide focused exercise activities like these, there are a few creative ways that you can tire out a Blue Lacy:
- Train them to run alongside your bicycle. In working settings, these dogs are trained to run alongside horses, trucks and off-road vehicles to cover the wide expanses of cattle farms. So, don’t worry about whether your pup can keep up!
- Get them in the water. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for a dog like the Blue Lacy. If you can get them paddling around for a half hour or more, they’ll be ready to snooze when it’s time to relax at home.
- Take them for plenty of walks. Walking is a good supplement to a Blue Lacys other exercise activities. A walk around the neighbourhood can help them hone their senses and give them a chance to stretch their legs. If your Blue Lacy spends a lot of time at home, it’s a good idea to have a Dog Walker break up the day with a brisk walk.
With a high energy dog like the Blue Lacy, proper nutrition is key. These dogs need a balanced dog diet to give them the energy they need to keep going.
When it comes to living conditions, it’s probably pretty clear that this isn’t the ideal apartment dog. In fact, they would prefer to have a large outdoor space that suits their ranch lifestyle. Remember that even if you can give this dog an enclosed space to roam outside, they still need active exercise sessions to be healthy and happy.
Notice that we mentioned an “enclosed” space. That’s because this dog does have a sight- and scenthound history. When they catch a sniff or blur of something interesting, they have a variety of escape tactics to follow the trail. Make sure that you keep them safe with a dog proof fence.
As Texas dogs at heart, they are most comfortable in warm and hot climates. When the temperatures dip, special precautions should be taken to keep them from getting too cold.
Blue Lacy Grooming ✄
Grooming is the easiest part about having a Blue Lacy. With a short, single-layer coat, these dogs don’t need regular trips to the groomers to stay shiny and beautiful.
They do shed a bit, so brushing about once a week or every few days can help to manage the fur around your home. And unless they roll around in some mud or dirt, they don’t need frequent baths. About once every two months is plenty for this naturally clean doggo.
And while regular exercise helps to keep their nails nice and short, you might want to clip their dew claws and check that their paw pads are in good health. Regular tooth brushing can keep their mouth healthy and clean.
Blue Lacy Health +
These dogs have a longer than average life expectancy for their size, and they’re typically quite healthy. There are a few considerations that Dog Owners should have in mind to make sure their Blue Lacy is in good shape:
- Be careful about over-exercising. These dogs don’t have an off-switch, so it’s important to make sure they don’t injure themselves from over-exercising. When you are exercising, be on the lookout for signs of exhaustion.
- Keep an eye out for skin conditions. Alopecia and other skin and fur conditions can appear in this dog breed. If they show signs of itchiness and discomfort, make sure to get them checked by a vet.
- Sign up for a reliable pet insurance plan. An excited Blue Lacy can be a tad intense, which does sometimes result in injuries. So, give yourself some peace of mind by getting them on the right pet coverage plan.
Fun Fact ♥
As important as the Blue Lacy is to Texas history, you might be surprised to learn that this breed isn’t officially registered with the American Kennel Club! But, that doesn’t stop Texas from being proud of their noble doggo.
In fact, the Blue Lacy was named the official state dog in 2005.
Given that the Blue Lacy even has a white blaze on its chest to match the star on the Texas state flag, we’d say this dog is a pretty perfect ambassador for the Lone Star State.
Final Thoughts on the Blue Lacy
Even in the working dog world, the Blue Lacy is one-of-a-kind. They defied the odds by learning how to herd cattle and wild boar. And as long as there are ranches in Texas, we can bet that there will be Blue Lacys for generations to come.
Though loyal and dedicated to their family, the Blue Lacy is anything but an easy dog. They require intensive training, socialisation, exercise, and just the right living conditions to be happy. Even when all their needs are met, this working dog’s intensity can be overwhelming to some Owners.
If you do have the space, training experience, and a job for this amazing dog, the Blue Lacy will never let you down.