The Macnab Dog

The McNab Dog is a breed found primarily in California. It came about when Alexander McNab moved from his home near Glasgow to California in 1868. He decided that he would like to have dogs for herding in his new home and returned to Scotland to obtain dogs which he could then use to breed in California. These dogs were likely Border Collies, but Alexander’s specific breeding distanced his dogs from their ancestors. The McNab dog is named after him.

This image is thought to be Alexander McNab with his first McNab dog, Flora


Some specific characteristics that make the McNab dog different from other herding dogs are its short coat. Unlike a Border Collie, a McNab is never long haired. It typically has at least a white chest and collar, with the remainder of its coat typically being black. Also, their ears are not always erect, but sometimes flop forward. Some McNabs are bred to be a slightly smaller size than other herding breeds, with a range of 25-50 pounds. They are more known for cattle herding and apparently do not “slink” as Border Collies do.


They are known to be excellent herding dogs who are full of energy. As one source says, “they are probably not the best apartment dogs.” If you are interested in having a McNab dog, you need to have a large space for exercise and time to let them run off their energy. This breed is known to be highly intelligent, sensitive, and protective as well.



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