The Blue Lacy, also called the Lacy Dog, is an energetic, intelligent, and trainable breed that loves having a job to do and a lot of open space to run around.
Even though the breed has “Blue” in its name, Blue Lacys can also have red or tri-colored coats; although, they all carry the blue color gene. The “Lacy” in the breed’s name does not refer to the dog’s appearance at all, but rather comes from the name of the family that first created the breed.
The Blue Lacy was developed in the 1800s to help with herding, hunting, and ranch work in Texas. These dogs are hardy, adaptable, and able to learn quickly, though their high intensity and energy level make them ill-suited for apartment life or novice owners.
Blue Lacys can make great family dogs and expert watchdogs with firm training, but they are sensitive and don’t respond well to punishment. Socialization should begin early, as Blue Lacys are naturally territorial, not overly trusting of strangers, and have a high prey drive that can cause them to attack smaller animals and pets if they aren’t socialized.
With confident, assertive training that relies on positive reinforcement, dogs of this breed can be loyal, protective, and capable members of the family who are eager to please. Experienced pet parents who can give this dog a task will find a lifelong friend who’ll rise to any challenge.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Working DogsHeight:17 to 25 inchesWeight:25 to 50 poundsLife Span:12 to 16 years
More About This Breed
High energy might be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Blue Lacys, and they require multiple long runs and walks each day to burn off all that energy. They often need a job to do, whether it be hunting, herding, agility training, or acting as a watchdog, or else they may get bored and act out, as is the case with many intelligent and energetic dog breeds. Physical and mental stimulation are must-haves each day for the Blue Lacy. If you live in an apartment or you don’t have a task in mind for these dogs, you may want to look for another breed. While the Blue Lacy is a loving family dog, they are not for novice owners, nor are they for families with small pets or very young children, as they have a high prey drive and a high level of intensity. They require early socialization and capable training, though they are very sensitive and do not respond well to yelling, harsh rebukes, or punishment. Highly territorial, somewhat distrustful of strangers, and eager to chase anything that moves, Blue Lacys make excellent watchdogs, though socialization training is highly necessary so they know when it is appropriate to be on guard and when to be friendly to other pets and people. The Blue Lacy will work as hard and tirelessly as you ask them to, and they are perfectly suited for the farm and hunting work that they were bred to do, as well as agility training or even search and rescue jobs. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll have a well-trained, intelligent, adaptable companion that would do just about anything for you.
- The Blue Lacy was designated as the official state dog breed of Texas in 2005.
- Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller, grew up in the county next to where the Lacy family lived and raised their Blue Lacys, and this may have influenced him as a writer, although Old Yeller, the actual dog in the novel, was most likely a Black Mouth Cur and not a Blue Lacy.
- Blue Lacys can also have red or tri-colored coats, though they all carry the gene for blue coats.
- The Blue Lacy breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, though some organizations have applied for the Blue Lacy to be accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service, which helps keep official records of the breed so that it may one day be recognized. Still, full recognition may be many years off or never come at all.
- Blue Lacys are very intelligent and respond well to training, but they need an assertive trainer who can lay down the law without being overly punitive.
- This breed is hardworking and does best when given a task. They are capable of hunting, herding, agility training, watchdog work, or even search and rescue.
- Mental and physical stimulation are must-haves. Blue Lacys need multiple runs and walks per day to burn off their energy. They appreciate having open space to run around, rather than small apartments.
The Blue Lacy breed gets its name from Frank, George, Ewin, and Harry Lacy, who were brothers that moved from Kentucky to Texas in the mid 1800s. They needed an all-around working dog that could help herd free-roaming hogs and cattle, track and tree small game, hunt wild deer and hogs, and watch over the homestead. The dog needed to be fast, hardworking, trainable, and able to withstand the Texas weather. According to the Lacy family, the brothers created the Blue Lacy breed to suit these needs by mixing wolf, Greyhound, English Shepherd, and possibly coyote and another scenthound. They worked to develop the breed’s natural herding instincts to drive their livestock to market. Since then, the Blue Lacy has remained a true Texas breed and is uncommon outside of the state. In 2005, it was designated as Texas’s official state dog breed
The Blue Lacy tends to be between 17 and 25 inches in height at the shoulder. On average, males are larger than females and weigh between 35 to 55 pounds, while females usually weigh between 25 and 45 pounds. Individuals of the breed may be larger or smaller, as well.
The combination of intelligence and high energy that make up the Blue Lacy dog breed‘s personality can either cause them to be well-trained working dogs or destructive forces of nature depending on how much mental and physical stimulation they get. Blue Lacys cannot be cooped up for long, and when they get bored, they’ll make their own fun in whatever way they can, even if it means chewing or digging in things they aren’t supposed to. They will need long runs each day, and probably additional exercise. Training goes a long way, and Blue Lacys respond to firm, positive training very well, though they are sensitive and will not respond well to yelling or punishment. Training is a must for Blue Lacys, and socialization must begin early to overcome their natural prey drive and territorial nature. If they are not socialized early, Blue Lacys can be standoffish to strangers and downright aggressive to other pets and animals. They are, however, very kind and protective toward their families, even children, and you’d have a difficult time finding a better watchdog. Because they were bred to help hunt and tree small game, they do have a tendency to bark, and it can take a while to get them to quiet down once they get going. They should not be left alone for long periods of time. When properly exercised and trained, the Blue Lacy makes an excellent family companion that is very loyal and loving. They do best when they have a job where they can spend their physical and mental energy. When they have something to do that provides them with an adequate challenge, Blue Lacys are calm, sweet members of the household.
The Blue Lacy is generally a healthy and hardy breed, though they are sometimes genetically prone to a few health conditions. Blue Lacys are known to occasionally suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and food allergies. They may also develop skin conditions, and though it is rare, some may be born with color dilution alopecia, a condition that can cause hair loss in patches or over the entire body.
Care for Blue Lacys is fairly standard. Their nails should be trimmed monthly or as needed to prevent overgrowth. Their teeth should be brushed regularly, and you should ask your veterinarian about dental care for your individual dog. Their ears should be checked often for debris, ticks, parasites, or signs of illness and cleaned as needed.
A Blue Lacy diet should be formulated for a mid-sized breed with high energy and intense exercise requirements. You should consult your veterinarian or professional nutritionist for advice on what to feed your Blue Lacy and the correct portion sizes. Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and senior age. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Blue Lacy can come in three color varieties, despite their name. “Blues” range from gray to almost black. “Reds” can be anywhere between a light, cream color to a reddish-brown, rust color. “Tris” are tri-colored and have a blue base coat with red markings and white along the belly, chin, or paws. Their coat colors tend to make their yellow or amber eyes stand out beautifully.
The Blue Lacy’s coat is short and smooth. There is not much, if any, undercoat. Blue Lacys shed an average amount, though the shedding is more heavy seasonally. They require little grooming. A weekly brushing should suffice, and they should be bathed as needed.
Children And Other Pets
Blue Lacys are generally good with children and are not usually aggressive. They are loyal family dogs and very protective of their humans. However, they do have high energy levels and can sometimes be known to play rough. For that reason, they may not be suited for homes with very young children that can be easily knocked over or accidentally hurt during rough play.
Blue Lacys have a high prey drive, which can make them dangerous around small animals and other pets. They are usually fine if they are raised alongside other animals and recognize them to be family. They can also be tolerant of other dogs if they are socialized from a very young age. That said, it may be best if there are no other small animals or pets in the home, and owners would do well to make sure that neighboring pets do not enter the Blue Lacys territory, as their instincts may take over and lead to an incident.
If you are interested in adopting a Blue Lacy dog, you can check out Texas Lacy Rehome Group on Facebook, which is a group that regularly posts about adoptable Blue Lacy dogs that need to find good homes.