All About the Breed McNab Shepherd

Have you recently fallen for the McNab Shepherd or do you simply love rare breeds? Learn all about the breed here, including: breed history, personality traits, train-ability, benefits and disadvantages of the breed, and common health concerns.

Also known as the McNab Border Collie, McNab Sheepdog, McNab Herding Dog, and simply the McNab, the McNab Shepherd is a friendly and obedient breed. But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you? This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.


The origin of the McNab Shepherd can be traced back to early 18th century California. Credited for developing the breed is Scottish native, Alexander McNab, who created the breed by crossing various Collie mixes. Enthusiasts believe that the McNab Shepherd is the result of mating the Border Collie and the Scottish Collie, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.

Throughout its history, the McNab Shepherd has been most commonly used for herding, driving, and protecting cattle from predators such as wolves and coyotes, as a watch dog, and for hunting small game such as rabbit, proving its superior abilities to work with an enthusiastic attitude while providing gentle companionship.

Today, while the McNab Shepherd has attained an underground popularity as a working and companion dog, the breed remains rather rare world wide.

Personality Traits

Best known for its friendly and outgoing nature, the McNab Shepherd is a genuinely happy breed. These dogs thrive on strong and dependable relationships with humans, love attention, and often look to their owner for assurance. This breed is very intelligent and generally easy to train. As a pet, the McNab Shepherd is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate. The McNab Shepherd is not suited for full-time indoor or apartment living, as it enjoys spending time outdoors, playing games such as fetch and frisbee, and taking long and leisurely walks.


Due to its eagerness to please and impress its owner and willingness to learn, the McNab Shepherd generally responds well to basic training and commands. These bright dogs have the ability to learn to perform most any task their trainer is willing to take the time to teach.

Establishing immediate trust and respect is key to successfully training the McNab Shepherd. This breed can be somewhat sensitive to criticism and responds best to positive reinforcement and reward-based training.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

There are many benefits to owning a McNab Shepherd, such as its no hassle, low maintenance coat. These intelligent dogs are easy to train, obedient by nature, and capable of learning to perform many impressive tricks and tasks. When properly socialized from a young age, the McNab Shepherd gets along well with small children and other pets, often making friends quickly with other animals due to its social nature. This breed is alert and aware of its surroundings, serving as an effective watch dog by announcing the arrival of guests and unwanted visitors. The McNab Shepherd is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate, making an excellent working dog, family pet, and companion alike.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a McNab Shepherd. This athletic and active breed requires large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play outdoors. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so. A McNab Shepherd not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, digging, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

The McNab Shepherd has a strong instinct to hunt and herd, and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these dogs are incredibly quick, and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. This breed must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.

For reasons unknown, the McNab Shepherd loves to dig, and is quite good at doing so. It is not unusual for this breed to dig a hole under a fence within the matter of only a few minutes. These dogs must be properly secured or supervised while outdoors.

As previously mentioned, the McNab Shepherd remains rather rare world wide and can prove quite difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, extremely high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.

Common Health Concerns

While the McNab Shepherd is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: hip dyplasia, likeliness to develop cancer, von Willebrand's Disease, epilepsy, primary lens luxation - dislocation of the lens, cherry eye, entropian - folding inward of the eye lid, and ectropian - folding outward of the eye lid.

Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a McNab Shepherd? Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.