By Jags Goldie Last updated: 27th October 2022

McNab Dog


Jags Goldie
Last updated: 27th October 2022

The McNab Dog or the McNab Shepherd is a medium-sized working dog developed in the Mendocino County in Northern California. Its appearance can vary considerably, as its triangular ears can be either floppy or pricked and its tail either long or naturally bobbed. It has cat-like feet with a lack of dew claws on their rear feet. Over the last three years, the McNab has gained popularity outside California for its ability to work in harsh conditions.

McNab Dog Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesMcNab Herding Dog, McNab Collie, McNab Stock Dog, McNab Sheepdog
CoatShort, smooth
ColorBrown, black, tricolored, white markings
Breed TypePurebred
CategoryPastoral dog, Herding dog
Lifespan13-15 years
WeightFemales: 30-50 lbs
Males: 35-65 lbs
HeightFemales: 16-21 in
Males: 18-25 in
TemperamentProtective, obedient, friendly, hard-working, sociable
Litter Size7 puppies or less
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inUSA
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationDRA

Video: McNab Dog Herding Cattle


Alexander McNab, a Scottish rancher, left his native land and arrived in California during the late 19th century. Soon afterward, he set up a 10,000-acre ranch in the Rancho Sanel (present-day Hopland, California). There he crossed Scottish Border Collies, which he brought from Scotland, with tough Shepherd dogs of the Basque people he met near the ranch.

Named McNab, the ranchers in California started using these dogs for herding cattle and livestock. Today, the popularity of McNabs has spread across the US and Canada while some of them are being used as stock dogs and sporting dogs in Germany and Japan respectively.

Temperament and Behavior

The McNab is an affectionate family companion that bonds closely with its people and other household pets. Having a keen territorial instinct, it fearlessly defends its family members against any threat. Although it is friendly with humans, it remains watchful and cautious when meeting strangers.

When herding livestock, the McNab works more independently than some of the other breeds. Known for its incredible stamina and persistence, the dog can turn cattle or sheep from the front or go behind them to drive them forward.



The McNab, being an energetic and intelligent breed, requires physical activities as much as mental stimulation. It likes the most when running, roaming, and working, and so it needs to be taken for long jogs and walks every day. Since the McNabs are now becoming famous in different dog sports and competitions, you can train it to participate in dock diving, agility trials, flyball, and disc dog.


Its coat is easy to maintain, as it needs weekly brushing along with an occasional bath using a vet-recommended dog shampoo. However, the McNab needs regular brushing during the shedding season.

Health Problems

McNabs are hardy animals, but research studies have shown that some of the individuals in the US have the MDR1 gene mutation, meaning they are sensitive to multiple drugs and medications.


Being self-assured and demanding by nature, the McNab needs firm, consistent, and positive training techniques.

It is essential that you lay the foundation for obedience as soon as you bring your McNab home. Train your dog to sit or stay in one place, come to you instantly when called, and start or stop herding stock on command. Keep the sessions short to avoid boredom.

Stopping it from herding or mouthing people
Provide your McNab puppy with a variety of chew toys. Owing to their herding instincts, McNab puppies will likely chew or mouth on humans if they do not have appropriate outlets for the behavior. Teach your pet to play with toys like rubber or large plastic balls and also allow it to herd those toys so that your McNab pup can have a safe way to express the behavior.


While you can feed your McNab dog commercial dry foods, you may give it home-cooked food containing organ meats, salmon, tuna, and eggs combined with barley, brown rice, sweet potato, apples, bananas, and pumpkin.

Interesting Facts

  • The McNab is an “all-weather” dog, currently used as archeology dogs, cadaver dogs, evidence search dogs, as well as search and rescue dogs for missing people.

4 responses to “McNab Dog”

  1. Nancy Kralicek says:

    looking for a puppy for home pet only. Thank you, have a blessed day.

  2. Ilene seymour says:

    I live in Easthampton ma. I had a wonderful dog that I believe was a Mcnab he was a stray that was captured by a friend and I adopted him. I must say he was one of the best dogs I ever had and he was recently put to sleep. My heart is broken and I cry everyday for the loss of my sweet Barney. We spent over 30,000 on medical treatment for him and would do it again if he would have survived. We are both retired and his companionship was so wonderful and kept us active.if there is anyplace where we could get another one I would like to know. Barney was reddish brown and white with brown eyes.

  3. JJ says:

    I would like to feed my Red Mcnab a home cooked diet is the above suggested home cooked food a complete diet choice or would I be required to supplement?

    Thank you for your time help and guidance.
    JJ and Isabella Red Mcnab

    • D Lupear says:

      Dr Pitcairns book for Healthy Dogs and Cats. Been doing it for 20+ yrs for all my Border Collies and they’ve all been super healthy. He has supplement recipe that is easy to make. Their coats are just beautiful and never a bad check up.

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