In the early 1800’s, the Bruce McKinsey family left Northern Scotland and settled in the Grampian Hills of central Scotland. They brought with them their stock dogs, the Fox Shepard, the origin not known, but have survived in Scotland for centuries. Alexander McNab was a neighbor of the McKinseys who raised the Fox Shepherds and started the breed in the Grampian Hills.
Alexander McNab and his family left Glasgow Scotland in 1868, came to the United States of America and settled in California on a ranch known as the McNab Ranch in Mendocino County south of Ukiah. They brought with them one dog, but it died soon after they arrived.
In 1885, Mr. McNab returned to the Grampian Hills in Scotland for the sole purpose of getting some of the dogs he was used to working. He purchased two dogs, Peter and Fred. He brought Peter back with him, leaving Fred to have his training completed, and he was later sent to America.
Fred was strictly a lead dog; Peter worked both lead and drive. These two dogs were bred to select Shepard females of the Spanish origin, which were brought to this country by the Basque sheepherders, and that cross was called the McNab Shepherds because Mr. McNab perfected this breed of Stock Dog, which will head or heel. The McNab is NOT a Border collie.
John L McNab was the son of Alexander McNab and latter became sole owner of the McNab Ranch; John was not only a stockman but also a noted San Francisco Attorney.
John L. made several importations in the 1900’s from the Grampian Hills, one importation made about 1906 was red Fox Shepard named “Clyde” later another red dog called “Ready” was imported and that was the reason there will be an occasional red pup in a litter.
Ed G. Brown put in an order for a McNab pup in 1895. These dogs were in such great demand that he didn’t receive his pup until 1915 when Mr. McNab imported a female with pup. She whelped three weeks after arrival and Mr. Brown got pick of the litter.
He named this pup “Jet” he was black with a faint white line up his face, a white chest and a small amount of white on his feet.
Some of these dogs will have a wider strip up the face (Bentley Stripe) and a ring around the neck, there are also instances of pups with brown on their face and legs but will still be mostly black. They are never longhaired, nor will they have looped ears or speckled legs. Their ears are mostly prick; some will tip at the top.
The strain Ed Brown raised from Jet were true McNabs, as he never “outcrosses” with other breeds. This is not a pedigree, but just a bit of History of the McNab Dog we have raised and known.
By Myrtle G. Brown