Country Portrait

Canine companions … and a working dog’s best friend.

By Karl Wolfshohl

Wyman Meinzer and Ditto. Photo by Sylinda Meinzer

Wyman Meinzer and Ditto. Photo by Sylinda Meinzer

Wyman Meinzer grew up with dogs in the 1950s and ’60s on the 27,000-acre League Ranch in West Texas. His dad was foreman there. “It gave me a connection with canines,” says the famed shooter, who was named Texas’ official photographer by the state legislature in 1997.

Meinzer, who is based in the little town of Benjamin, Texas, recently set out with writer Henry Chappell to produce a book on pooches that earn their keep. The collaboration produced Working Dogs of Texas ( The men encountered everything from luggage-sniffing beagles in airports to hounds that chase mountain lions in the rugged Davis Mountains of Texas’ Trans-Pecos region.

The dog in the picture at right, named Ditto, belongs to Meinzer’s son Pate, who is a horse trainer and feral hog hunter. Meinzer says, “Ditto is part Catahoula cur and part pit bull. Someone gave him to Pate, and he turned out to be the most incredible hog dog you’ll ever see. He’s a gentle giant, a precious dog. Kids ride him like a horse, and he loves to be petted. But when it’s time to hunt a hog, he turns into a complete professional.”

More on Wyman Meinzer

See more photos and buy Meinzer’s books at the official Wyman Meinzer website.