The McNab

Alexander McNab 


Also known as: McNab Sheepdog, McNab Shepherd

Origin: United States – California

Height at shoulder: 15–25 inches (38–63.5 cm)

Weight: 40–70 pounds (18–32 kg)

Coat:  Short and tight fitting

Color: Black and white (sometimes with tan trim) and brown and white

Ears: Upright or semi-erect, pointed at tip

Tail: Long or natural bob

McNab 1950s – Vonsen Feed and Milling Company, Petaluma, CA

Winners at the ARF Stock Dog Trials – C. J. Greer on the left, McNab Dog in the middle and Tom D. Stodghill on the right.

Though originally a sheepdog, the McNab is an all-around stockdog. Around 1866 Alexander McNab left the Grampian Mountains near Glasgow, Scotland and relocated in Mendocino. He brought his family and a dog known to them as a Fox collie or Fox shepherd dog. Over the course of 30 years, McNab returned to Scotland a number of times and brought back several more of the Fox collies.

His son John, a noted attorney and stockman, inherited the McNab ranch and continued to breed the line, producing dogs with natural bobtails and a short coat, able to work in the summer heat on the dry, rugged coastal range of Northern California. It appears that the McNab family crossed their dogs with brown Spanish or Basque dogs, which were prominent in the area at that time. One fancier described the breed as “a more direct and forceful stockdog than his “cousin” the Border Collie, not as excitable as the Kelpie, and not as strong minded as an Australian Cattledog.” McNabs are registered with the National Stock Dog Registry.

To learn about herding breeds from around the world, their temperaments, working styles and how to train them please refer to the book Stockdog Savvy (Alpine Publications) by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor:

Copyright © 2009 – 2010 by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ty Taylor.

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