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How do I know if my dog is a Blue Lacy?

As a dog owner, it’s important to know your dog’s breed so you can better understand their behaviors, health needs, and care requirements. If you think your dog may be a Blue Lacy, here are some tips for identifying this unique breed.

Origin and History

The Blue Lacy is the official state dog of Texas. They were developed in the mid-1800s by the Lacy brothers – George, Ewin, Frank, and Harry – who lived in Burnet County, Texas. The Lacys wanted an all-purpose working dog that could herd livestock, hunt game, and protect the homestead. To create the ideal working dog, they bred Greyhounds, scenthounds, and possibly coyotes or wolves with semi-feral farm collies they acquired from nearby Scottish immigrants.

The Lacys continued breeding their dogs for several generations, selecting only those with intelligence, speed, agility, stamina, and a willingness to work. The dogs became known locally as “Lacy dogs” or “Blue Lacys” due to their distinctive bluish coloration.

While originally bred as working farm and hunting dogs, today Blue Lacys are kept mainly as family companions and sporting dogs for activities like agility and flyball. However, they still excel at dog sports that tap into their high work drive.


Blue Lacys have a lean, athletic build and a medium-length double coat. They are moderate in size, averaging 17 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder and 30 to 50 pounds. The most identifiable feature of the Blue Lacy is its blue coloration. Common coat colors include various shades of blue, red, black, and tricolor (blue, black, and white).

Other distinctive features include:

  • Intense, intelligent expression
  • Erect, drop ears
  • Docked or natural bobtail
  • Muscular hindquarters

Their coats can be smooth or rough, but the hair is short to medium in length. Blue Lacys have a graceful, agile movement thanks to their athleticism and muscle tone.


The Blue Lacy has an energetic, driven personality befitting of its working ancestry. They are extremely intelligent dogs that excel at learning new skills and enjoy having a job to do. Blue Lacys form close bonds with their family and aim to please their owners.

Here are some key characteristics of their temperament:

  • Energetic – They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Intelligent – House training and obedience training are easy for them to learn. They thrive on dog sports that challenge their problem-solving abilities.
  • Loyal – They are completely devoted to their family.
  • Alert – Blue Lacys are very observant and make excellent watchdogs.
  • Prey drive – Many have a strong instinct to chase small fleeing animals.
  • Courageous – They are bold and ready to face any threat to their family or property.

With proper socialization and training, Blue Lacys make loyal, loving family companions. However, their high intelligence and energy level require an owner committed to providing structure through training, activity, and attention.

Care Requirements

Despite their medium size, Blue Lacys are not ideal dogs for apartment living. They thrive in a home with a securely fenced yard where they have ample space to run and play. Blue Lacys also enjoy activities like hiking, jogging, agility training, and flyball.

Their exercise needs are quite high. Plan on providing at least 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous activity per day. Make sure some of this includes active playtime or training that engages their minds.

Other care requirements include:

  • Grooming – Occasional brushing to control shedding. Bathe only when necessary.
  • Training – Early socialization and obedience training are essential. Their intelligence enables fast learning, but they can be stubborn.
  • Feeding – 2 to 3 cups of quality dog food each day, divided into two meals.
  • Vet care – Annual exams and routine care. Some health issues seen include hip dysplasia, eye problems, and allergies.

While energetic, Blue Lacys are equally happy spending time with their owners. They thrive when considered part of the family. Leaving them alone for long hours can lead to boredom and destructive behaviors.

Distinguishing Features

Certain features are uniquely characteristic of the Blue Lacy compared to other dog breeds. Here are some ways to know if your dog is a Blue Lacy:

Feature Description
Appearance Lean, athletic build, blue or red speckled coloring, erect ears, docked or bob tail
Size 17 – 25 inches tall at shoulder, 30 – 50 pounds
Coat Short to medium length, coarse and sleek
Energy Level Very high energy and stamina
Intelligence Exceptional work ethic, highly trainable
Prey Drive Strong instinct to chase small animals
Barking Level Frequent; alert watch dogs

The Blue Lacy’s unique history as an all-purpose farm and hunting dog in Texas shaped this breed’s abilities and character. No other breed combines their distinctive speckled coat, intense drive to work, trainability, stamina, and devotion to family in quite the same way.

Purebred Pedigree

One way to confirm if your blue or red speckled dog is a purebred Blue Lacy is to research their pedigree. A pedigree is the record of a dog’s family tree going back several generations. It will document if the dog has purebred Blue Lacy parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

Reputable Blue Lacy breeders keep detailed pedigrees for all of their dogs. When you purchase or adopt a Blue Lacy puppy from a responsible breeder, you should receive a copy of the pedigree. Examine it to ensure all ancestors are also registered Blue Lacys.

You can also submit your dog’s DNA profile to a canine ancestry company. They maintain databases of breed-specific genetic markers. By scanning your dog’s unique DNA sequence, they can usually confirm if your dog is a purebred Blue Lacy.

However, not every Blue Lacy has an extensive pedigree. Some are adopted from shelters with unknown parentage. You’ll need to rely more on their physical traits, personality, and DNA ancestry screening to determine if they are a Blue Lacy mix.

DNA Breed Testing

One of the most accurate ways to pinpoint your dog’s breed makeup is DNA breed identification. Companies like Wisdom Panel, Embark, and DNA My Dog analyze your dog’s genetic markers to predict their breed mix.

To perform a DNA breed test, you collect a simple cheek swab from the inside of your dog’s mouth using a kit provided by the company. Mail it to their laboratory to look for the presence of Blue Lacy DNA. Within a few weeks, they will send you a certificate stating the percentages of each breed detected in your dog’s heritage.

DNA tests are about 99% accurate for first generation crossbreeds. For dogs with more complex mixes over multiple generations, the results may be more speculative. However, they still provide helpful insight into your dog’s breed background.

Some added benefits of DNA testing include:

  • Information on inherited health conditions your dog may be prone to based on their breed risks.
  • Traits analysis predicting your dog’s size, coat colors, metabolism, etc.
  • Matches to canine relatives in their DNA database if close cousins have also been tested.

While DNA analysis can verify Blue Lacy ancestry, it does not confirm registration status. Purebred dogs must have documented pedigrees through a major kennel club to be officially registered as their breed.


The National Blue Lacy Registration Association (NBLRA) maintains the official breed registry for Blue Lacys. To be registered with the NBLRA, a Blue Lacy must:

  • Have a certified NBLRA registered sire (father) and dam (mother).
  • Meet the breed standard for physical characteristics and temperament.
  • Have three generations of registered NBLRA ancestry.

Registering provides proof that your Blue Lacy has pure breeding. Registration is required if you want to show your dog in conformation events or breed them. Other benefits include access to NBLRA breeders and events as well as validating your dog’s pedigree.

Since the Blue Lacy is primarily a working farm dog bred for performance, not conformity to a standard, many have unknown ancestry. These unregistered Blue Lacys can still compete in dog sports and events based on skill.

Comparison to Similar Breeds

Some breeds share similarities with Blue Lacys either in appearance or temperament. By comparing characteristics, you can gather clues if your mystery dog is part Blue Lacy. Breeds often confused with Blue Lacys include:

Australian Cattle Dog

Trait Blue Lacy Australian Cattle Dog
Size Medium 17 – 25 inches tall Medium 17 – 20 inches tall
Coat Short to medium length Weather resistant medium length
Coloring Blue, red, or tricolor speckles Blue, red speckles, or red
Ears Erect Erect or semi-erect
Energy Level High High

While both breeds have similar coats and energy, Australian Cattle Dogs tend to be stockier with a less lean build than Blue Lacys. The breeds share speckled coats, but Blue Lacys have a more narrow pointed muzzle.

Australian Kelpie

Trait Blue Lacy Australian Kelpie
Size Medium 17 – 25 inches tall Small to Medium 17 – 20 inches tall
Coat Short to medium length Weather resistant medium length
Coloring Blue, red, or tricolor speckles Black, red, blue, fawn
Ears Erect Erect or semi-erect
Energy Level High High

While both breeds are energetic herders, Blue Lacys tend to be more driven and intense than the sociable Kelpie. Kelpies also come in solid coat colors instead of the signature Lacy speckled pattern.

Border Collie

Trait Blue Lacy Border Collie
Size Medium 17 – 25 inches tall Medium 18 – 22 inches tall
Coat Short to medium length Weather resistant medium to long
Coloring Blue, red, or tricolor speckles Black, red, blue merle, sable
Ears Erect Erect or semi-erect
Energy Level High High

Both breeds are extremely driven and energetic. However, Border Collies typically have long coats without speckling. Their energy also manifests as more obsessive herding instincts compared to the versatility of Blue Lacys.

Assessing Traits

If your dog’s ancestry is uncertain, assessing their physical traits, temperament, and abilities can provide clues about any Blue Lacy background. Some things to look for include:

  • Athletic build – Lean and agile body shape.
  • High stamina – Can run and play for hours.
  • Speckled coat – Blue, red, or tricolor spots on white.
  • Intense expression – Intelligent, focused, alert.
  • Erect ears – Pricked upright ears.
  • Docked or bob tail – Naturally short or surgically docked tail.
  • Energetic temperament – Needs constant activity and attention.
  • Trainability – Learns commands easily, aims to please.
  • Prey drive – Strong instinct to chase small fleeing animals.

While not proof of breed, these hints can indicate Blue Lacy ancestry when combined with other evidence like DNA testing.


Identifying if your beloved dog is part or full-blooded Blue Lacy requires a bit of detective work. Examine their physical traits, personality, pedigree papers, and DNA test results for clues. Blue Lacys are uncommon outside of Texas, so any signs of Lacy ancestry likely come from a relatively recent ancestor.

While confirming Blue Lacy breeding can satisfy your curiosity, it’s most important that your dog receives proper care based on their unique needs. Knowing your dog’s breed mix provides health and temperament insights to help them thrive as your faithful companion.