mcnab dog breed
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Quick Facts

  • Weight: 25 – 50 pounds
  • Height: 15 – 25 inches

The Look of a McNab

The McNab is an athletic, small or medium-sized dog with a short, black coat that usually has white markings on the muzzle, chest, feet and tip of the tail. Its distinctive, triangular ears are either pricked or flop over. Its tail can be naturally bobbed or long. It is also distinguished by its cat-like feet.


  • Agile
  • Fast
  • Calm
  • Protective
  • Great work ethic
  • Friendly

Ideal Human Companion

  • Farmers & ranchers
  • Active singles
  • Outdoorsy types
  • Families

What They Are Like to Live With

Warm and even-tempered, the McNab differs from other herding breeds that might act a little skittish sometimes. It is a friendly and tolerant member of any household, getting along with everyone in the family, including children and other pets.

It is not only hardworking and dependable, it’s also very protective. With attuned senses and a keen intelligence, it has a watchful but restrained way when meeting strangers. Overall, the this dog is a handy helper with a heart of gold.

Things You Should Know

The McNab can live as long as 15 years with relatively few genetic health issues. Grooming does not take too much work: Just brush the coat regularly and bathe when necessary.

Probably not the best apartment dog, the McNab was bred to run, roam and work. If you don’t happen to live in a wide-open space, take it for long walks every day. They also appreciate having a protected field—with a lake or river, if possible—to run around in.


It is said that Alexander McNab, a rancher who relocated to California from Scotland in the mid-19th century, developed the McNab by crossing his Scottish-born Border Collie with various shepherd dogs. They were, and always have been, exemplary herders.

3 thoughts on “McNab”

  1. We have a McNab. Like Border Collies ours wanted to herd everything, children, other dogs at the dog park, etc.. As a puppy Bear was a terrible nipper (more like a bit) to herd, which we successfully trained out of him. Herding and nipping other dogs at the dog park was unwelcome by the other dogs. Ours was a excessive barker as a youth, but that eased with age. They also require tons of exercise, if you don’t live on a ranch where they can roam free, under age three they need 5-10 miles a day (literally). As they age 3 or so miles a day will suffice. Being roamers they are generally not great on leash, and better off lead in wildlands. However, off leash compounds the problem that they are wildlife chasers (like border collies). When walking off leash they roam far from you but generally like to keep people in sight.

    They are generally good with people and other pets. They can be extremely playful and love their people Although they may have a strong prey drive and chase wildlife. Like border collies they are crazy smart.

    McNab is only a good dog for someone with acreage where the can roam free or a super outdoorsy/active lifestyle.

  2. Pingback: McNab – Pets Equips View

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