30-50 lbs
United States
McNab Border Collie, McNab Sheepdog, McNab Herding Dog

The McNab is a friendly hardworking dog who is obedient, protective and yet still very well mannered. They are full of energy and enjoy being around children, often indulging in playful, energetic games and showing real affection towards them. This type of dog loves a bit of space to run around in, and would love living on a farm or a country estate. They adapt well to town living (but are too lively for apartments) as long as they get a good walk or run each day. The McNab is easy to train; they listen well and obey their owner. You will have less repetitions of lessons with this quick learner. They are eager to learn and then want to show you how well they have learned a new trick. The appearance of the McNab varies considerably but their fur is never long. They look well groomed with a slick single coat, or a bit fluffier with their dense double coat . McNab's never seem to tire, and have been used for search and rescue, as cadaver dogs, and as archaeology dogs. This truly amazing dog is only limited by the energy of their owner. 

Working Dog, Companion
Date of Origin
19th Century
Scottish Collies, Nomadic Basque Sheepdogs

McNab Health

Average Size
Male McNab size stats
Height: 18-25 inches Weight: 35-65 lbs
Female McNab size stats
Height: 16-21 inches Weight: 30-50 lbs
Major Concerns
  • None Known
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Infections
  • Multi-Drug Resistance Gene (MDR1)
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Eye Injuries
Occasional Tests
  • Ear Examination
  • Eye examination
  • Ophthalmic And Ear Exam
  • Regular Full Physical Examination By Veterinarian

McNab Breed History

The McNab is a recent innovation in dog breeds over more recent years. When Alexander McNab left his beloved Scotland to travel to California, he needed a good dog to help herd his 10,000 acre sheep ranch as he homesteaded out in the Hopland area. Rough conditions and changeable weather, along with wild predators always on the lookout for an easy meal, were some of the challenges he faced. The Scotsman decide to develop a herding dog that could handle rough conditions, was obedient, and had enough energy for the rugged terrain. McNab crossed the Scottish Collies he had brought with him with some of the tough dogs of the nomadic sheep herders he met in the area. The new breed became known as the McNab Shepherds. The land took its toll on the tough Scot,  and in the early 1900's he handed his ranch down to John, his youngest son. John was an attorney and a stockman, and he took a keen interest in the bloodline of the dogs his father had bred. He began to reinvigorate the breeding style of his father, adding addition bloodlines from dogs imported from Scotland. The McNab dogs became well known to be supreme herding dogs in the Californian area, with many ranchers eager  to get one of their own. As a result, the McNab has spread around the United States and Canada, with a few working as stock dogs in Germany and sporting dogs in Japan. They are highly valued for their abundant energy and strong work ethic, as well as their affectionate and loyal companionship

McNab Breed Appearance

The McNab has a sleek athletic look to them, with an alert curious expression on their friendly face. Often small to medium in size, their bodies are lean yet muscled. Weighing up to 50 pounds, the McNab loves to run and work. They have a deep chest and long elegant legs ending in cat like paws which gives them great agility. The long body slopes slightly towards the tail, and exhibits a slightly tucked up tummy. An elegant slender neck supports their pointed head which is rounded at the top. Ears are wide set and held high and alert, but some do flop over at the tips. The black McNab is the most known color, and these often sport white random patches but they do come in other colors such as red, brown or tri-colored. They have almond shaped eyes that are set wide apart; they will always see you coming no matter how quiet you are. The coat is never long on a McNab but can vary from slick and short to dense double coats. They are a smart looking dog, their coats are often glossy and fit neatly to their body. The classy McNab is an independent dog who is not adverse to a cuddle and attention.

Eye Color Possibilities
hazel McNab eyes
brown McNab eyes
amber McNab eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black McNab nose
brown McNab nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied McNab coat
red McNab coat
black McNab coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
McNab straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

McNab Breed Maintenance

The McNab is an easy dog to care for, with a coat that only requires a good brush once a week to keep its dapper appearance. Unless they roll in the mud, they rarely need a bath. Often a rub down with a damp cloth will have their coat gleaming again in no time. If you do decide to bathe them, use a gentle dog shampoo. These are made to protect the dog's natural oils that provide the dog's weather proofing. Check all over the body as you brush, just in case your dog has an injury or perhaps some burrs are stuck in the coat that are causing discomfort. Remember to brush your dog's teeth two to three times a week for a nice sweet breath and to keep those pearly whites bright. Regular maintenance includes checking in the ears and gently wiping them out occasionally as dirt and wax can set off inflammation. Then just a clip of the toenails and the McNab is ready to go and party!
Brushes for McNab
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
McNab requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

McNab Temperament

McNabs are known for the way they work, and how they can move stock to exactly where they want them. They are skilled at both herding and heeling stock, which in layman's terms means they can turn the stock from the front, or they can get in behind them and drive them forwards from the rear. They are not restricted to sheep, they have been used to good effect driving cattle as well. Not only that, this versatile dog can herd a flock of geese, herd of goats, llamas and even can gather the horses in from the pasture. These hard working dogs bond strongly to their family, even to other pets within the family group. They have a keen sense of territory and never wander far from home, content to be defender and protector of their loved ones. The McNab does have an assertive streak and if left to get away with it, they can become bossy. They need a strong leader who is firm and consistent with their rules, and who is skilled in positive dog training techniques. These dogs do need a lot of time with the family; they will become part of the family and as such, will love to be with you most of the time. Families who like the look of this amazing dog will need to have plenty of time to spend with their four legged friend.

McNab Activity Requirements

The McNab dog is no slouch, they love to run, and herd, and just mess around and can do it for ages. The country is perfect for this dog, although they can adapt to city living if they get plenty of exercise. If you like running, then you will have a perfect partner. This dog likes to be mentally challenged as well, and loves to work so agility trials and disc dog competitions will aptly suit this true athlete. Although they can be independent and spirited, they will respond well to training. They do need a good leader who is firm, but fair. They are never aggressive unless they are protecting you or the family, which they will do without hesitation. Long walks in the wide open country or on a beach suit this friendly dog who gets on well with other dogs and other species, such as your cat. Left alone, they can become bored and destructive; they need to flex their muscles to keep them out of trouble.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
18 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
90 minutes

McNab Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

McNab Height & Weight

6 Months
Male McNab size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 13 lbs
Female McNab size stats at six months
Height: 11 inches Weight: 11 lbs
12 Months
Male McNab size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 40 lbs
Female McNab size stats at 12 months
Height: 16 inches Weight: 34 lbs
18 Months
Male McNab size stats at 18 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 57 lbs
Female McNab size stats at 18 months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 45 lbs

McNab Owner Experiences

Leia Organa
12 Months
1 People
House & Yard
Walks, playing with her toys
I love having her with me. I drive a semi truck, and she goes everywhere with me. Only time she can't is when I'm checking in or out of somewhere
2 months ago
12 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Dog Parks
Diesel is timid at first, but very lovable and outgoing once he gets to know you. Very protective of me and my family along with my other dogs. Knows how to keep his own against his pitbull brother but also gentle giant with his Chihuahua brother.
2 months, 1 week ago
1 Year
2 People
House & Yard
All enjoyable !Great family pup, loves her kitten friends, curious, smart, very affectionate, and yes seriously sensitive.
6 months, 2 weeks ago
1 Year
4 People
This is my second mcnab in my lifetime. They are amazing dogs and i am thrilled with our Sticks.
8 months ago
19 Months
3 People
House & Yard
Loves to play frisbee
He runs laps around our house yard plays frisby or fetches his toys balls especially squeaky ones.
1 year, 4 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd