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Texas Trails

published: February 19th 2021
by: Clay Coppedge

The Dog Made in Texas
    The Lacy brothers, Frank, George, Erwin and Harry, moved from Ken-tucky to the Texas Hill Country near Marble Falls in 1858. We don’t know what kind of dog they brought with them but it was probably a mountain cur, a prevalent breed in the family’s home region. When people said, “That dog’ll hunt” they were more often than not talking about a mountain cur.
    The Lacy brothers were masons who worked the granite operations from Granite Mountain near Marble Falls. They also raised cattle and hogs. To sell their livestock they had to drive it to market in Austin. Cattle drives were one thing but hog drives were real different. Get a dog to go nipping at cows and the bovine instinct calls for it run away. Do the same thing to a hog and the hog just might choose fight over flight.
    To get a dog with all the characteristics the Lacys wanted they bred a greyhound with a scent hound and threw in a little wild canine – legend says it was a coyote or maybe a wolf – for good measure. What they ended up with a dog that wasn’t scared of no hog. Other admirable qualities emerged as well, including an ability to track wounded animals in the wild.
    As Texas changed, a dog that loved nothing more than a job was put out of work in a state and country that became more urban and mechanized. There came a day, and it came rather suddenly, when dogs weren’t needed to herd or drive hogs. The Blue Lacy didn’t have anything to do and consequently people didn’t have much to do with the Blue Lacy.
    Ultimately, the Blue Lacy was just too good a dog to fade away without a whimper. Registries began recognizing it as a separate breed in the 1970s. The Blue Lacy of today is about 18-23 inches high and weighs 30-55 pounds. Typically, as the name suggests, it’s a shade of gray that suggest blue but it can also be yellow, red, or even multi-colored.
    Blue Lacys can still find work in today’s Texas with cattle and hog raisers, and several hunting operations in the state keep Blue Lacys for just that purpose. They’re also the dog of choice for a lot of feral hog hunters. The state Legisla-ture recognized the Blue Lacy as the official dog breed of Texas in 2005, giving it equal footing with other iconic state mammals like the Mexican free-tail bat, Longhorn cow, nine-banded armadillo and American quarter horse.
    The resolution des-cribes the Blue Lacy as “a Texas native, a working dog bred to play an essential role in ranch operations, at a time when ranches themselves became one of the iconic Texas symbols, and a dog that has more than pulled its weight on many a Texas spread.”
    Texas is one of only 11 states to have an official dog breed. It is one of 47 states that do not have an official cat breed. Oddly, the three states that do have state cat breeds start with the letter M: Maine (Maine Coon Cat), Maryland (Calico) and Massachusetts (Tabby).
    Texas has an official gem stone, tree, bird, dinosaur, soil, bread, food, domino game, fish (freshwater and saltwater), footwear, grass, insect, pepper, plant, shrub and vegetable. But no state cat.
    The Wampus Cat might make a good one. It’s already a mascot of Itasca High School, so it’s accustomed to the limelight. The fact that there has never been a verified sighting shouldn’t be a deterrent; we have a state dinosaur and no one has seen one of those around here (or anywhere) in a very long time. 
    A better choice would be the severely endangered ocelot of South Texas. We only have a few dozen left, all of them relegated to a small area in South Texas, but the distinguishing fact here is that the ocelot is a leopard. How many other states can claim a leopard as part of their fauna? None. It would be another Texas first.

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