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McNab Dog: All You Have To Know

McNab Dog: All You Have To Know

The Scotsman Alexander McNab came in the late 19th century from Hopland to California to breed sheep there. His herding dogs introduced from Scotland initially struggled with the rough underground, the heat and the local barbs-studded plants. So he crossed his animals with races of indigenous nomadic dogs. And that’s how the McNab dog was created.

The result is still called “McNab Collie”, “McNab Sheepdog”, “McNab Herding Dog” or simply “McNab”. After Alexander McNab’s death, his sons continued the ambitious breeding. Until the end of the last century, the McNab Dog was only known to regional farmers.

Meanwhile, it is spreading along the west coast of the USA. But this adorable crossbreed, of course, isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The characteristics of the McNab dog

The McNab is considered tougher and more aggressive than the European herding dog. He does not push the flocks crouched, but in an upright position.

An anatomical feature that he id known for are his feline paws. These allow him to act particularly confidently and can perfectly resist the aggressive plant seeds on the land he’s working at.

Traditionally, the McNab Sheep Dog had his ears often docked. Today, this practice is also frowned upon in the USA, but some farmers stick to it. We think it’s cruel and unnecessary.

The McNab Dog has so far been denied recognition by official associations such as the Kennel Club or the FCI. Lovers are currently trying to change this. In order to preserve the breed, they founded the McNab Shepherd Registry (MSR) on their own. This non-profit organization stores, among other things, collected genetic material from the animals.

Personality of the McNab

A McNab is a working breed through and through. The farmers say he is “necky” and mean a particularly independent personality who not only executes orders.

As a domestic dog, this bundle of energy is less suitable. He wants to run and guard. If you do not offer him this, he becomes aggressive or develops some destructive behaviors. They always need mental and physical stimulation. So if you are busy, live in a small apartment, and aren’t active at all — this absolutely isn’t the breed for you.

They have a lot of energy and they are fairly easy to train. As intimidating as these dogs may seem to some, they are actually pretty friendly. If trained correctly, these pups will be lively, obedient, easy to handle and loving pets. However, if you don’t give them the attention they need, they can become stubborn, out of control, hyperactive and destructive.


The McNab is only available in the USA and it should only be kept as a herding dog.

If you decide to buy a McNab dog, make sure that you do it from a reputable breeder. An unbelievably low price could be a sign o a sick dog that didn’t receive the right care.

Try to meet the parents of your future puppy too before handing over the cash. That way you can get a better idea on how your dog will look and act like.

Appearance and fur of the McNab

The McNab Collie is available in the typical Collie colors black and white, red and white, brown and white and tricolor. He can have standing ears, small fitting or large semi-floppy ears. The physique is slim and sporty. The coat is short and easy to care for.

Height withers males 45 to 64 cm
Height at withers bitches 40 to 54 cm
Weight males 16 to 30 kg
Weight females 14 to 23 kg

MDR1 defect

The MDR1 defect is a defect in the MDR1 gene that can occur in some dog breeds and in humans. This leads to the poor or missing synthesis of a certain protein, which is an important component of the blood-brain barrier, which leads to hypersensitivity to some drugs.

The McNab dog is prone to this condition. That’s why it’s advised to do medical testing before welcoming one of these dogs into your family. This disease isn’t a death sentence in any way, but it’s crucial to know if your dog has it.

The life expectancy of these robust dogs is 14 to 15 years.

There are many other crossbreeds worth getting to know:

My name is Katy and I am 27. I love to travel and you would be surprised how good I am at karaoke. 🙂 Passionate dog lover and a "mother" to a beautiful toy puddle named Zara. I work as a volunteer in a local shelter and I am a veterinary assistant helping our four-legged friends every day.