Animal Research Foundation - The First Lacy Registry

The first registry to recognize the Lacy as an official breed was the Animal Research Foundation. An amateur genealogist with a great love for cow dogs, Tom Stodghill started the ARF in 1951 to register working English Shepherds and Catahoulas. He registered the first Lacy 1976, a male named Preston's Big Blue, born in 1971 of Preston's Old Blue and Preston's Ellie.

This excerpt from a longer article tells the story of how the ARF became the original Lacy registry.

"In his magazine, [Tom Stodghill] also featured other breeds of canines than the English Shepherd and Catahoula. He wrote about Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattledog Queensland Heelers, etc. He reprinted letters he had received from various breeders, from his customers, and from those just seeking information. At the end of each letter, he closed with the following statement, 'I am, very sincerely yours, Tom D. Stodghill.'

There is one thing I know for certain; we do live on a small planet after all. When you talk dogs, word can travel fast. Starting with 'Cowboy' Williams, the Catahoula people gravitated to Tom very quickly. In that group of Catahoula owners was Mr. J. D. Whittington. Not only did Mr. Whittington own Catahoulas, he also knew people who owned Lacy Cowdogs. As good things are always waiting to be shared with others, someone, like Mr. Whittington or Mr. Williams, happened to tell Mr. Lee Preston about the ARF, or they handed him a back issue of our ARF Magazine and explained that he could register his 'Lacy Cowhogdogs' with our organization. No sooner had Mr. Preston learned about the ARF, than others, who owned the same breed, began to contact the Foundation - men such as H. C. Wilkes (from Marble Falls, Texas), Joe Bell (Buffalo, Texas), Wilson Chitwood (Terrell, Texas), Chester Wager (Lafayette, Louisiana), John McBryde (Hubbronville, Texas), Carl Wilson (Johnson City, Texas), Wylie Lee (Charlotte, Texas), Frank Perry (Throckmorton, Texas) and many, many others. All of the above-mentioned names competed in the Whittington’s Johnson City Cowdog Rodeo, and all were winners.

At the ARF Cowdog Rodeo, October 28, 1979 , Mr. Wilkes made history. Tom received a phone call from a Mr. John Haskins, Refugio, Texas, wanting 'six best ARF-Registered Cowdogs that money could buy.' Tom told him, 'Give me a little time, and I will fill your order.' [In 1979, a good working dog was priced at $600.00.] Mr. Haskins wanted the dogs brought to his 100,000-acre ranch to pen cattle. Tom knew Mr. J. D. Whittington, and that he had the dogs that could pen the roughest of cows. However, when Tom phoned Mr. Whittington, he said he did not want to sell his dogs, but to phone Mr. Wilkes, as he, too, had dogs that could pen the cows. As soon as Tom got off the phone with Mr. Whittington, he phoned Mr. Wilkes and told him who wanted the dogs, and explained he wanted him to bring his dogs to the 100,000-acre ranch and show Mr. Haskins the dogs could pen cows.

Mr. Wilkes told Mr. Haskins that he had lived on the Lacy Family Old Pioneer Home Place where the Lacy Cowdogs had been renown for more than 100 years. He was thrilled to show Mr. Haskins what his Texas Lacy Cowdogs could do. Mr. Wilkes’ dogs penned 80 to 90 Brahma-type cattle. Mr. Haskins paid him $3,600.00 for six Texas Lacy Cowdogs, and also $500.00 for a good-size Texas Lacy Cowdog pup. All were ARF Registered."

Below is a copy of the ARF's original description for the Lacy Dog, the first written standard for the breed. Though there are discrepancies regarding color, we strive to uphold the working ability, drive and good health described in this document.

Original ARF Lacy standard 1
Original ARF Lacy standard 2