Gentle and well-mannered, the herding dog McNab needs a lot of activity and exercise. This DogAppy article presents interesting facts and information about the less known dog breed ‘McNab’.
Did You Know?
Herding dogs are some of the most intelligent and active breeds of the dog world. Many times, people start raising sheep, because they love training herding dogs.
The breed ‘McNab’ is also known as McNab shepherd, McNab sheepdog, McNab Border Collie, etc. McNabs look like short-haired Border Collies and are known for their herding ability. They were originally bred for brains and not for beauty. Many times, sheepdogs get over-excited easily and have difficulty settling down, but McNabs are even-tempered herding dogs. They are happy when they are allowed to lead the livestock. Their keen intelligence, vigorous energy, and work ethic make them a farmer’s invaluable companion.
Being friendly and tolerant, they easily get along with different family members, including children and other pets. They may inspect strangers cautiously, but would soon accept them as another member of the household. With attuned senses and a natural ability to herd, McNabs control the movement of other larger animals by nipping at them, or by barking or circling around them. Although the breed is not recognized by any major kennel club, McNabs are slowly gaining popularity all over the world.
McNab Dog Breed Information
15 – 25 in (38 – 64 cm) at the withers.
40 – 70 lb (16 – 34 kg).
Mendocino County, California, U.S.
About 15 years.
Coat Color and Type
Mostly black with white markings or red with white markings. Sometimes tri-colored.
Brown, hazel, or copper, almond-shaped. Border Collies have blue eyes.
Triangular, they are either pricked or the corners flop over.
It can be naturally bobbed or long.
Distinguishing Characteristic Feature
They have cat-like feet that offer them agility.
The coat is short or medium, but never long. Regular brushing and occasional bathing are enough to maintain the looks and health of the dog. It grooms itself expertly and keeps itself clean. McNabs really don’t like getting dirty. Brushing helps form a strong bond between you and your dog. Moreover, it allows you to check over for injuries, sore body parts, and flea infestation.
The McNab is a strong, small or medium-sized dog. Usually, it comes with a short, smooth, black coat with white markings on the muzzle, chest, feet, and tip of the tail. These markings may vary from dog to dog. McNabs never have mottled patches of color over their coats.
It is believed that the Scottish rancher ‘Alexander McNab’, who shifted to California in 1866, developed this breed by crossing his Scottish Border Collie with various shepherd dogs. McNabs were thought to be perfect for herding cattle. Even today, they are used in California by farmers and ranchers. However, they are not recognized by the National Kennel Association.
Personality Traits and Temperament
Although McNabs are well-known as cattle herders, they can herd other animals too, for example, horses, sheep, and llamas. They enjoy to be the ‘boss’ and are happy when they get a chance to show their herding skills. They are also used for deer and boar hunting. They have a tendency to tug and bark to get their own way, but they are sociable and friendly with small domestic animals like cats, ducks, and chickens. They are used to control wild geese on golf courses and airports. They are hardworking, dependable, obedient, and protective.
To keep them happy and healthy, the owner should provide them extensive space to run and a job to do. In case, the owner doesn’t allot a job, they would find one for themselves, for example, digging the yard or chewing a shoe. Not only ‘physical’ exercise but ‘mental’ exercise also plays an instrumental role in personality development program designed for McNabs. They enjoy learning new activities and tricks. They like to explore new environment. You may design activities accordingly, and thus, can stimulate them mentally. The breed is more suitable for outdoor life. Overall, a McNab is very kind, affectionate, helpful, and good-nature.
As the breed was developed to run, roam, and work, a McNab would not feel comfortable in an apartment. But it would love to be a part of the household. McNabs are renowned for their loyalty towards their owners.
Exercise and Training
A protected field, preferably with a lake or river, to run around, would be an ideal home for the dog. If you have limited space, you should take the dog for long walks every day. It requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation. This is an easy-to-train dog.
Puppies should be socialized and trained from young age only. A puppy may chase and nip at the heels of a child, as he would naturally like to herd something that is moving. You should ask the child to ‘stop running’ and should tell the puppy ‘no bite’. The young puppy would learn this quickly. They like to play with children. They would gladly bring back a tennis ball or flying disc. Untiringly, they would do this for hours.
As a McNab is active and agile, he performs well in ‘Frisbee’ competitions. A lively and faithful companion, the McNab would like to jog with you. He is the perfect choice for people who live in the country and spend most of their time outdoors. The owner should utilize the dog’s herding instinct in various ways, through jobs as well as dog sports. These dogs love and enjoy sports that involve tracking, obedience, herding trials, and agility. McNabs are one of the best therapy dogs. They are perfect companions for disabled people as well as policemen.
Common Health Problems
In general, the breed has relatively few genetic health issues. However, a McNab may suffer from hip dysplasia, epilepsy, Von Willebrand’s disease (a congenital blood clotting disorder), ‘Cherry eye’ or canine nictitans gland prolapse, (a congenital defect), primary lens luxation (PLL, a painful and blinding inherited eye condition), sagging, droopy eyes (in case of ectropion), or lids curled painfully inwards (in entropion). Check its ears and teeth regularly, and consult a vet for vaccinations. Regular check-ups by the vet help maintain the overall health of the dog.
Early training and socialization play an important role in the personality of a dog. The owner of a McNab should be strong and determinant enough to control it. His lifestyle and stamina should match the dog’s energy needs.