Are you considering adding a McNab dog breed to your family? If so, you’re in for a loyal and energetic companion. McNab dogs are a versatile breed that excel at herding, hunting, and as a loving household pet. Known for their intelligence, athleticism, and devotion to their owners, McNabs are a popular choice for those seeking a high-energy dog. However, before bringing a McNab into your home, it’s important to understand their unique characteristics and needs to ensure they’re a good fit for your lifestyle.

Breed Category: Herding
Country of Origin: United States
Average Size:46-64 cm
Average Weight:18-27 kg
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Grooming Requirements: Low
Exercise Requirements:High

History and Origin

The McNab dog, also known as the McNab Shepherd or McNab Collie, is a breed of dog that originated in the Mendocino region of Northern California in the late 19th century. The breed was developed by Alexander McNab, a Scottish immigrant who settled in the area and began breeding dogs for herding purposes. The McNab dog is known for its intelligence, agility, and loyalty, and is often used as a working dog on ranches and farms.

The McNab dog is believed to be a cross between Scottish Collies, Border Collies, and Australian Kelpies. Alexander McNab is said to have carefully selected and bred dogs with the best herding instincts and physical characteristics, resulting in a breed that was well-suited for the rugged terrain and harsh climate of the Mendocino region. The McNab dog was originally used to herd sheep and cattle, but also proved to be an excellent hunting dog and companion.

The McNab dog was not officially recognized as a breed until the 1960s, when a group of breeders formed the McNab Shepherd Registry. The registry established a set of standards for the breed, including physical characteristics such as size, coat colour, and temperament. Today, the McNab dog is recognized by several breed organizations, including the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club.

Despite its growing popularity as a working and companion dog, the McNab dog remains relatively unknown outside of its native California. However, the breed has gained a following among ranchers, farmers, and outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate its intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. McNab dogs are known for their ability to adapt to a variety of environments and tasks, and are often used for herding, hunting, search and rescue, and even as therapy dogs.

In recent years, efforts have been made to preserve and promote the McNab dog as a distinct breed. Breeders have worked to maintain the breed’s unique characteristics and temperament, while also addressing health concerns and genetic diversity. The McNab dog remains an important part of the history and culture of the Mendocino region, and continues to be valued for its contributions to ranching and farming communities.

McNab Collie Dog

Size and Breed Category

The McNab dog is a medium-sized breed that originated in the United States. They are known for their athleticism and agility, making them excellent working dogs. McNabs typically weigh between 30-50 pounds and stand at a height of 18-24 inches at the shoulder. They have a lean, muscular build and a short, dense coat that comes in a variety of colours including black, red, and blue merle. McNabs are highly intelligent and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are often used as herding dogs, but also excel in other activities such as obedience, agility, and flyball.

The McNab dog is classified as a herding breed, which means they have a strong instinct to control the movement of livestock. They are highly trainable and have a natural ability to anticipate the needs of their handler. McNabs are known for their high energy levels and require plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are loyal and affectionate towards their owners but can be reserved around strangers. McNabs are not recommended for first-time dog owners, as they require a firm and consistent hand in training. With the right training and socialization, however, McNabs can make excellent companions for active families or individuals who enjoy outdoor activities.

Fur Length and Colour

The McNab Collie boasts a coat that is characteristically short and dense. This fur type not only serves a functional purpose, providing the dog with protection against various environmental elements but also underscores the breed’s working heritage. The compact nature of their coat means that they require minimal grooming, making them a relatively low-maintenance breed in terms of fur care.

In terms of colouration, the McNab Collie exhibits a diverse palette. Predominantly, their fur is black or brown, often accompanied by distinctive white markings, especially on the chest and feet. Some individuals also showcase a brindle pattern, which adds a layer of complexity and uniqueness to their appearance. The combination of their fur length and colour variations makes each McNab Collie distinct, yet unmistakably true to their breed.

Temperament and Trainability

McNab dogs are known for their high energy levels and intelligence. They are a breed that requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. McNabs are also very loyal and protective of their owners, making them great watchdogs. However, they can be wary of strangers and may need socialization training to help them feel more comfortable around new people and animals. When it comes to training, McNabs are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. They are eager to please their owners and enjoy learning new tricks and commands. With consistent training and plenty of exercise, McNabs can make excellent companions for active families.

One thing to keep in mind when considering a McNab as a pet is their strong herding instincts. This breed was originally developed for herding livestock, and they may try to herd children or other pets in the household. This behaviour can be managed with proper training and socialization, but it is important to be aware of it before bringing a McNab into a home with small children or other animals. Overall, McNabs are a highly trainable and energetic breed that can make great pets for active families who are willing to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

McNab Collie Dog ready for training

Known Health Conditions

McNab dogs are known to be prone to certain health conditions. One of the most common issues that affect this breed is hip dysplasia. This condition occurs when the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to pain and discomfort. McNab dogs with hip dysplasia may experience difficulty walking, running, or jumping. In severe cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem. Additionally, McNab dogs may also be at risk for eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. These conditions can cause vision loss and may require medical intervention to manage.

Another health concern for McNab dogs is allergies. These dogs may be sensitive to certain foods, environmental factors, or even flea bites. Allergies can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, redness, and inflammation. In some cases, allergies can also lead to secondary infections, such as ear infections or skin infections. McNab dogs may also be prone to certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care can help to identify and manage these health issues before they become more serious.

McNab Collie Dog fresh air good for health

Openness to Strangers

McNab dogs are known for their friendly and sociable nature towards strangers. They are quick to approach new people and are not easily intimidated by unfamiliar faces. This trait makes them excellent companions for those who enjoy meeting new people and having guests over. McNab dogs are also known to be very curious and inquisitive, which further adds to their openness towards strangers. They are always eager to explore new environments and meet new people, making them a great choice for those who enjoy an active and social lifestyle.

In addition to their friendly nature, McNab dogs are also very loyal and protective of their owners. They are known to be highly intelligent and trainable, which makes them excellent watchdogs. Despite their protective instincts, however, McNab dogs are not aggressive towards strangers and are generally very well-behaved around new people. They are also very adaptable and can easily adjust to new environments and situations, which makes them a great choice for those who enjoy travelling or moving frequently. Overall, the McNab dog’s openness to strangers and friendly nature make them a great choice for those who are looking for a loyal and sociable companion.

Playfulness Level

The McNab dog is a highly energetic and playful breed that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. These dogs are known for their love of play and their ability to keep up with even the most active of owners. Whether it’s playing fetch, going for a run, or simply exploring the great outdoors, the McNab dog is always up for a good time.

One of the defining characteristics of the McNab dog is their playful nature. These dogs are always eager to engage in games and activities, and they thrive on interaction with their owners. They are highly intelligent and quick to learn, which makes them excellent candidates for training and agility competitions. However, they can also be quite mischievous and may need to be supervised when playing with children or other pets. Overall, the McNab dog is a fun-loving and lively breed that is sure to bring joy and excitement to any household.

Suitability as a Pet for Children

McNab dogs have a high energy level and require plenty of exercise. They are intelligent and trainable, making them a good choice for families with children who are willing to put in the time and effort to train them properly. McNab dogs are loyal and protective of their families, but may be wary of strangers. They have a short, easy-to-maintain coat and are generally healthy and long-lived. However, they may not be suitable for families with very young children or those who are not able to provide enough exercise and mental stimulation.

McNab Collie Dog comfortable with kids

Exercise Needs

McNab dogs require a significant amount of exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. These dogs are highly active and energetic, and they need plenty of opportunities to run, play, and explore. A daily walk is not enough for a McNab dog, as they require more intense exercise to burn off their excess energy. Owners should consider taking their McNab dog on long hikes, runs, or bike rides to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. Additionally, McNab dogs enjoy playing games such as fetch, frisbee, and agility courses, which can provide them with the necessary exercise they need.

In addition to physical exercise, McNab dogs also require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour. These dogs are highly intelligent and thrive on mental challenges. Owners should consider providing their McNab dog with puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions to keep their minds engaged. McNab dogs also enjoy participating in activities such as obedience trials, flyball, and herding trials, which can provide them with both physical and mental stimulation. Overall, McNab dogs require a combination of physical and mental exercise to maintain their health and happiness.

McNab Collie Dog running exercise

Suitability for a Multi-Pet Family

McNab dogs have a reputation for being highly social animals. They are known to be friendly and outgoing, which makes them great companions for other pets. McNabs are also very intelligent and adaptable, which means they can easily adjust to living with other animals. However, like all dogs, McNabs need to be socialized properly from a young age to ensure they get along well with other pets. With the right training and socialization, McNabs can make great friends with other animals.

Housing Requirements

McNab dogs require a living space that is large enough to accommodate their high energy levels. They need a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day, which can be achieved through walks, runs, or playtime in a secure outdoor area. Therefore, it is essential that their living space has access to a garden or a nearby park. McNab dogs are also known for their intelligence and need mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Providing them with interactive toys and puzzles can help keep their minds active and prevent destructive behaviour.

In terms of sleeping arrangements, McNab dogs prefer a comfortable and cozy space to rest. A soft bed or cushioned area is ideal for them to relax after a long day of exercise and play. They also require a quiet and peaceful environment to sleep in, away from any distractions or noise. McNab dogs are loyal and affectionate companions, and they thrive in a home where they receive plenty of attention and love from their owners.


McNab dogs are highly intelligent and energetic dogs that require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They are known for their loyalty and trainability, making them suitable for experienced dog owners who are willing to put in the time and effort to properly train and socialize them. Due to their high energy levels, they may not be suitable for apartment living and require a large yard or open space to run and play. Overall, McNab dogs make great pets for active individuals or families who are looking for a loyal and intelligent companion.


McNab Collie Dog FAQS

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Yes, McNab dogs are highly intelligent and trainable, but they require consistent and firm training.

Yes, McNab dogs are known to be good with children and make great family pets.

McNab dogs are not recommended for apartment living as they require a lot of space and exercise. They are better suited for homes with yards or farms.

McNab dogs are vocal and may bark to alert their owners, but excessive barking can be managed with proper training.

McNab dogs are generally healthy, but they may be prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems. Regular vet check-ups are recommended.

Yes, McNab dogs have a thick double coat and shed moderately year-round. Regular brushing can help manage shedding.

McNab dogs typically weigh between 18-30 kg and stand 46-61 cm tall at the shoulder.

McNab dogs have a lifespan of 12-15 years on average.

McNab dogs are high-energy and require at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day, such as running, hiking, or playing fetch.

A McNab dog is a breed of herding dog that originated in California.