McNab dog

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Other names McNab Border Collie
McNab Sheepdog
McNab Herding Dog
Country of origin Mendocino County, California, United States
Weight 16–32 kg (35–70 lb)
Coat smooth
Color black or red with white markings
Classification / standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The McNab Shepherd—also called a McNab Sheepdog, McNab Border Collie, or McNab Herding Dog—is a breed of dog whose focus is on herding. It originated from a smooth-coated dog typically reported to be the Scotch Collie or Fox Collie, which was also the ancestor of the Border Collie.



The appearance of dogs called McNabs can vary widely, though all-in-all, they closely resemble a short-haired Border Collie or general short-haired mixed cattle dog.

Height: 38 to 64 cm (15 to 25 in) at the shoulder. Some males may mature taller.
Weight: 16–34 kg (35–75 lb). Some males may mature heavier.
Coat: Short to medium. Never long.
Coat color: Black or red with white markings. They have distinct markings common to all McNab Sheppards: white strip on the head, white around the nose, under the chin, belly and tip of the tail.
Feet: tight - Cat-like on their feet.


The primary quality that these dogs are bred for is their herding ability; they are well known as cattle herders, but can herd other animals, such as horses, sheep, and llamas. McNabs are well-mannered dogs, are hard-working, have good personal hygiene, and are friendly with small domestic animals such as cats and chickens, but require extensive grounds in which to run and are happiest with a job to do. The McNab can also be an excellent deer and boar hunting dog. The McNab is also less 'high strung' or obsessive than the Border Collie. They were bred to have more "backbone" than the original Border Collie and are more protective.[1] It is common for a McNab to bark while they herd. They should exercise physically but also mentally by learning new activities or 'tricks' and being allowed to explore and learn new environments. This breed is sociable with other dogs and humans.


Alexander McNab was originally a sheep herder in the Grampian Mountains in Scotland, and emigrated to Mendocino County, CA in 1866. He settled on a 10,000 acre ranch, which he named the McNab Ranch. McNab, dissatisfied with the working ranch dogs available locally, traveled back to Scotland in 1885, to find the type of dogs he had worked with while raising sheep. He eventually bought two Scottish Collies, Peter and Fred. He returned to California with Peter, while he left Fred in Scotland to finish his training. He imported him back to his ranch later.[2]

Being males, McNab had Peter and Fred bred with two females supposedly of Spanish origin, brought by Basque sheep herders from the Basque region of Northern Spain. Other sources claim that they were, in fact, bred with other Scottish Border Collies.[3] McNab later imported several more collies from Scotland, some of which were red and white Fox Collies. Some McNab dogs share this coloration, as previously mentioned. The McNabs were bred as the perfect cattle dog, that could both head and heel. They are still used in California ranches and stockyards today.

McNabs are not recognized by the National Kennel Association, although they are slowly becoming more and more common and popular.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Donna Seigmund and Alvina Butti. "The McNab Dog". Retrieved 2006-02-28. 
  3. ^

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