The McNab Shepherd – also called a McNab Cattle Dog or McNab for short – is a herding dog that originated in the Mendocino region of Northern California beginning in the late 1800s.
The McNab was bred to withstand the tough conditions commonly found in Northern California such as heat, burrs, foxtails, and rugged terrain. Until recently, the McNab was little known outside California, but the last few decades have seen a gain in popularity as the breed has received notoriety for it keen herding and sporting abilities.
McNab Herding Dogs
McNab Shepherds have what is called a “loose-eyed” herding style which translates into them working more independently than most herding breeds. They are particularly adept at both heading and heeling stock, meaning they can turn stock from the front or get behind stock and drive them forward.
McNabs were originally bred to herd sheep, but stock handlers took note of the McNabs bold nature and strong work ethic and began using them for herding cattle. McNabs have proved themselves useful for herding virtually every type of farm animal including chickens, geese, goats, llamas and gathering horses in from pasture. Renowned for incredible endurance and quick agility, McNabs have been known to cover over a hundred miles a day driving their herds.
McNab Family Members
McNabs typically bond tightly to their family members, including other household pets. They can be vigilant guard dogs with a sharp sense of territory. Although they can be highly sensitive, they tend to be more tenacious and territorial than other herding breeds.
Because McNabs can be assertive and demanding, they thrive with guardians who are firm, consistent and skilled in positive dog training methods that don’t trigger the McNabs’ instinct to push back against obstacles. Highly intelligent and quick to learn, the McNab needs mental stimulation as much as daily physical exercise. Families considering a McNab for a pet should plan on setting aside plenty of time to spend with their dog.