We spent a bright spring afternoon with the Blue Lacy, the State Dog Breed of Texas. Here's what we learned.
Give ‘Em Room to Run and Hogs to Hunt
I felt a bit embarrassed to learn, belatedly, that Texas has an official state dog breed. How could a proud Texan and dog lover not know this?
The shame subsided somewhat when I quizzed some fellow Texans, all of whom were able to identify a variety of other state symbols, but were just as surprised as I was to learn about the Blue Lacy.
Better late than never. And thankfully, we haven’t been in the dark for long. The Texas Legislature first designated the Blue Lacy as the State Dog Breed of Texas in 2005, so it’s a fairly recent development compared to the Bluebonnet, for example, which earned its honors as the State Flower way back in 1901.
Still, we felt a sense of urgency to get caught up to speed on the Blue Lacy. So on behalf of surprised Texans everywhere, Caleb and I traveled to a family ranch in Wimberley to learn more about these proud and worthy animals. There, we were delighted to meet Kimber, Sandy, and Dusty Boots. They led us to the edge of their favorite meadow where Caleb captured these charming photos.
Kimber (above) and Sandy (below) are classified as "blue" Blue Lacy's. There are three accepted colors to the breed: blue, red, and tricolor, with white being the third color. All three are equally "Lacy's" or "Lacy Dogs."
Dusty Boots (below) is a nice example of a tricolor Lacy. The white blaze on the chest is required as a mark of a pure breed. There were no reds on this ranch, but had there been, their color would be close to Dusty's tan accents. Their ears stay down, even as adults.
Our first impression: the breed looks the part, straight out of central casting. Imagine the global disappointment in Texas if our legislators had selected the Golden Doodle as the state dog. Thankfully, they got it right. The Blue Lacy is intelligent, athletic, and lean, with a short hair coat to withstand the Texas heat. We thought it remarkable how well their colors blended with the natural central Texas landscape.
Like any native Texan, their disposition is tough, but friendly. The Blue Lacy makes for a great family pet. Kimber, Sandy, and Dusty Boots are currently being weaned out of the ranchers' bed, in fact, in anticipation of a new baby.
Though gentle and plenty playful, Lacy's were bred to be working dogs. The Lacy family moved to Marble Falls in 1858 and created a breed to be a cowboy's best friend. Reportedly a combination of blood hound, wolf, coyote, and greyhound, Lacy's are natural cattle herders and hunters. They run raccoons up the trees and and bay feral hogs. They do all of this instinctively; Lacy's do not need to be trained to work a ranch.
Lacy's are fast. Very fast. They'll easily achieve 35 MPH, and they love to run. If you're in the market for a Lacy dog, keep this in mind: they need a lot of space to allow them to be who they were meant to be. And while they need room to run, you'll need a tall fence: Lacy's are known to scale them with little effort.
At the Texas State Capitol building in Austin, a plaque inside recognizes the contribution of the Lacy family to Texas history. But it's not in reference to the amazing breed they created. Instead, the Lacy family is honored for yet another gift to Texas: much of the distinctive pink granite used to construct the Capitol came from the Lacy's quarry.
After our afternoon in Wimberley with these fine dogs, we think the Lacy family is past due for another plaque honoring their contributions to Texas. Better late, than never.
We offer a very heartfelt and Texas-sized Thank You! to the Pittman Family for sharing their ranch and animals with us for the afternoon. Likewise, thanks as well to Jim and Melony Roche of Magnum Blue Lacy Dogs for their assistance in our research.