Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: United States
Average Size: 40-65 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 20-30 kg
Average Life Span: 11-13 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: High


The McNab Collie is a relatively new breed, developed in California in the mid 1800s. A Scottish rancher named Alexander McNab moved to the western part of the United States and sought to develop a breed of dog that would match or exceed the collies he worked with in his native Scotland. In order to do so, he bred Scotch Collies with herding dogs from Mexico and the United States.

The result was the McNab Collie, which excelled in agility and herding, particularly livestock such as cattle, sheep and horses. This is a breed that works until it drops and is highly valued for its skills. During the beginning of the McNab’s history, the breed was known only to local residents who saw the dog’s hard work firsthand.

While they are a handsome breed, they were initially bred for their work rather than their appearance. As more McNab Collies are seen on agility courses, it is gaining popularity and recognition, though it still remains a rare and unique breed.


The McNab Collie is similar in appearance to the Border Collie, particularly in its colouring. The McNab is typically black and white or red and white; both types generally have a white blaze going up the muzzle and onto the forehead. Its coat may be short or smooth in texture and length. Both are average shedders and require weekly brushing in order to remove dead fur.

The tail of this breed may naturally be bobbed or long. If the tail is long, it is thick with short fur. The ears of the McNab can vary between folded or large and pricked like one of its suspected ancestors, the Australian Cattle Dog. Its eyes are alert and typically any shade of brown, though on rare occasions one or both eyes may be blue.

Male McNabs are generally larger in size than females and weigh approximately 20-30 kg and are 40-65 cm in height.


It is crucial to the McNab’s well-being that it has plenty of physical and mental stimulation. It is happiest when it is herding livestock or participating in another activity that gives it an outlet for its high energy and stamina. It is similar in appearance, but is slightly less excitable than the Border Collie when it is not working.

When it is on the job, the McNab is focused on the task at hand and will not rest until its work is completed. Away from work, this breed is loyal and affectionate towards it owner. It does well with children if it is raised with them, though it may attempt to gently herd people and other animals within the home.

This breed is prone to barking, particularly while working, so it is best-suited for an open environment. If herding work is not available, the McNab will enjoy agility exercises or playing catch, as it needs to be challenged both physically and mentally.


This is a hardy breed that does not tend to be plagued by conditions that affect many other purebreds. One reason for this is that the McNab is not recognised as an official breed in many dog organisations, so it is therefore not afflicted with genetic conditions that are brought on by improper or irresponsible breeding.

Still, it is at risk for common conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis, but this is generally a healthy breed. The McNab Collie lives an average of 11-13 years.

McNab Collie Organisations in Australia
No club information listed

McNab Collie Organisations in the UK
Bearded Collie Club of Canada

McNab Collie Organisations in the US
Bearded Collie Club of America

Did we miss your organisation? Let us know. Contact Us