Categories: Animals & Pets

Jamie Johnson

mcnab puppies

McNab puppies are an adorable, intelligent, and loyal breed of small herding or working dog originally bred in Scotland and northern California. These tiny-sized dogs have earned their fair share of devoted, life-long fans through the centuries, and continue to enjoy popularity in the present day. The key to their success lies in the combination of both their charm and usefulness. In this post, we’ll explore all aspects of McNab puppies, from their history and physical characteristics to their training needs, health concerns and tips for caring for an older dog. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of owning a McNab, and provide some useful questions to consider when researching and selecting a puppy from a reputable breeder. Whether you’re looking for the perfect cuddly companion or an active outdoor partner, this post will help you learn everything you need to know about McNab puppies.

History of the McNab Dog Breeds

The McNab Shepherd is a unique breed developed in the late 19th century by Alexander McNab in California. In 1885, McNab brought a pair of Border Collies sheepdogs from his home in Scotland to Mendocino County, and using selective breeding he was able to create the unique McNab breed.

The breed rapidly spread across the United States and it soon became the breed of choice for farmers, ranchers and even, as time went on, for law enforcement.

Unique Characteristics of the McNab Shepherd

Physically, the McNab Shepherd is a medium-sized breed with a muscular but elegant build. Its coat generally ranges in color from blond to black and is drier and wavier than other shepherds.

McNabs are known for their agility and herding instinct, making them highly dependable, and they often live up to 15 years. They are also intelligent and eager to please, and they make loyal and devoted companions.

McNab Shepherds’ Increased Popularity

The McNab Shepherd’s increasing popularity in recent years can largely be attributed to their intelligence and trainability. Many different law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Secret Service, have added the McNab Shepherd to their teams, and the breed has enjoyed success in activities such as flyball competitions. In addition, their loyalty and devotion make them popular companions for families of all sizes, and their strong herding instinct makes them ideal for keeping small livestock safe from predators.

Caring for a McNab Puppy

With regular brushing, occasional bathing, and flea/tick prevention, McNab Shepherds can remain in peak physical condition. It’s important to be aware of potential health concerns such as hip dysplasia and other hereditary conditions that can affect McNab Shepherds, and to make sure they avoid physical overexertion during their regular exercise sessions.

Examples of Famous McNab Dogs

The McNab’s stubbornness and energy have been put to good use across the United States. Many are used as herding and working dogs, but some McNabs have found ,more unusual purposes, including search and rescue operations and even bomb detection services.

One of the most famous McNab Shepherds is Kona, a 6-year-old pup that won the 2018 World Dog Surf Championship. Kona and her owner, Kim Murray, beat out 9 other competitors, showcasing the breed’s athleticism and drive.

Photo of Man Holding His Child While Walking on Grass Field

Appearance and Temperament of McNab Puppies

McNab puppies are medium-sized, short-haired dogs with a unique and distinctive coat pattern. They generally range between 18 to 22 inches in height and sport an athletic frame and lean body. While most colors of McNab puppies are black, white, or tan, white and red can also appear in a variety of shapes and splotches.

These energetic and active dogs have a lively, confident, and intelligent personality. Cheerful and amiable, these loyal animals crave human companionship and look forward to family time. They love playing and are highly trainable creatures. McNab puppies are perfect for helping farmers and shepherds with herding and flock management, and for active families who want a loyal and eager companion.

Activity Levels

McNab puppies require frequent and making sure that their exercise levels need to remain high. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become easily frustrated and will become more destructive. Committed owners who are able to provide adequate exercise for their pet on a daily basis will always be rewarded with a happy, healthy and obedient McNab.

Fetch games, jogging with their owner, and swimming are just some activities that would be suitable for these high-energy pets. Agility courses or even enrolling them in typical obedience classes can be a great way to burn off some of that excess energy.

Versatility and Trainability

McNab puppies are incredibly versatile animals, and they can easily adapt to new environments and surroundings. They’re also highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement. They learn quickly and will work hard to please their master, provided adequate structure and guidance. As such, these lively animals are a great addition to any family.

To develop a lasting bond with their puppy, owners need to create a nurturing and safe environment for them. Here, owners should establish a sense of trust with their pooch through consistency, performing obedience exercises and most importantly, showering them with love. Moreover, regular training is essential to reinforce learned behaviours and continue to challenge the pup’s cognitive ability.

By keeping their training and activities fun, stimulating and positive—something that McNab puppies thrive on—they will be an enthusiastic, affectionate and loyal member of the household in no time. With proper care, nutrition and a good deal of attention, these puppies should be a beloved and dependable part of your family for years to come.

Two Yellow Labrador Retriever Puppies

Training and Grooming Requirements for McNab Puppies

McNab puppies can be an amazing addition to a family, but there are several important training and grooming requirements that need to be met in order to ensure a long, healthy life for the pup. We’ll go over the basics of early socialization and obedience training as well as the importance of brushing and nail trimming in order to care for your McNab puppy.

Early Socialization

It’s incredibly important to give your McNab puppy the correct socialization at a young age. This means taking them on walks and exposing them to other people and animals so they can start to gain the confidence they need to succeed in life. Make sure to take the time and introduce your pup to new people and dogs in a safe environment in order to give them the best experience.

Obedience Training

In addition to socialization, it’s important to ensure your McNab puppy is consistently learning new commands and has a basic understanding of obedience. This can help with problem behaviors and redirect the pup away from any potential danger. It’s important to build consistency with a command and reward for positive behaviors in order to avoid any potential setbacks.

Providing Distractions
Finally, it’s important to make sure that your McNab puppy is getting exercise and stimulation on a regular basis. Take the pup for regular walks and give them plenty of toys and games in order to reduce any boredom that can lead to destructive chewing.

Grooming Requirements for McNab Puppies

In addition to the important training requirements for a McNab puppy, it’s also important to note that you’ll need to stay up to date with the pup’s grooming requirements. Make sure to brush your pup at least twice a week in order to get rid of dirt and any debris. It’s also important to make sure to trim and file their nails regularly, taking special attention to their dewclaws. In addition, be sure to give attention to their eyes and wipe or clean them regularly or make a vet appointment if needed.


As an example, we can take a look at a real-life story of a beloved McNab puppy. The pup was given regular training and grooming and as a result, he led a long, healthy and happy life. This case can be used as an example of how good training and attentive grooming can go a long way towards having a healthy, happy puppy.

When it comes to brushing your pup, there are proper techniques that should be followed. The breeder is the best source of information when it comes to brushing and nail trimming and they can provide detailed insight on the best brushing technique that should be used in order to ensure that your McNab puppy is getting the best care possible.

In conclusion, there are several key training and grooming requirements for a McNab puppy that every owner should take note of. Taking the time for early socialization, obedience training and providing distractions will help ensure your pup has the confidence and skills they need to thrive. Grooming wise, it’s important to brush regularly, trim nails and pay attention to their eyes. Taking the time to do these things and follow the guidance of the breeder can help create a long and healthy life for your McNab puppy.

Happy ethnic family resting in bed with little dog

Health Concerns with McNab Dogs

McNab dogs are a relatively healthy and hardy breed, with an average lifespan typically ranging between 10 to 14 years. However, as with any breed of dog, they are predisposed to certain health issues, and prospective owners should be aware of these issues prior to purchasing a puppy.

Common Health Issues

The most common health issues or problems that McNab puppies may suffer from include hip dysplasia, orthopedic conditions like joint pain, weakened ligaments, and eye problems. As with any breed, early detection of these issues is key to managing them and ensuring the pup’s health and well-being.

Responsible Breeding Practices

When looking for a puppy, it is important to only purchase from a responsible breeder that follows best practices. To begin with, the breeder should provide proof that the littermates have been checked through a recognized and reputable center to confirm they are clear of any genetic diseases. Puppies should be at least eight weeks old before being sold, and to further safeguard against any potential issues, the breeder should provide a valid health guarantee.

Screening Tests

When selecting a puppy, prospective owners should ask for evidence of the tests that have been carried out to determine the pup’s overall health. Ideally, the following tests should have been conducted:

  • Hip X-rays
  • OFA’s eye exams
  • Genetic tests for major diseases


Nutrition plays an important role in the overall health and well-being of McNab puppies and should not be overlooked. It is advisable to feed puppies a premium brand of kibble for puppies, ensuring that it is specifically designed for their stage of development. As puppies grow, their food requirements will change and regular consultations with a veterinarian should help determine the most appropriate food for their stage of development.


As is the case with all puppies, an appropriate exercise program should be adhered to to help keep them fit and healthy. McNab puppies should achieved around 30 minutes of exercise each day, gradually increasing to an hour as they reach adulthood. If possible, access to a safe, open, grassy area will give puppies the freedom to explore, while still being within reach of their owners. Exercise is also good for their general mental health, as it helps to prevent boredom, stimulate their minds, and can help reduce the impact of inherited behavioral issues, such as aggression or reactivity.


McNab puppies should be groomed and have their teeth brushed regularly in order to keep them healthy and looking their best. Their coats should be brushed with a specially formulated shampoo at least once every couple of weeks, in order to prevent any matting of the fur. Additionally, regular brushing and combing helps to distribute the oils that naturally occur in their coats and prevents tangles from forming.

Veterinary Care

McNab puppies should have regular check-ups and visits to the vet should be scheduled at least once a year. During these check-ups, the vet can assess the overall health of the pup, look out for any signs of illness or disease, and provide advice on how to best care for the pup. Early detection of any medical conditions can then be provided and addressed, ensuring the pup receives any necessary treatments quickly.

Portrait Photo of an Adult Black Pug

Exercising a McNab Dog

Exercising a McNab dog offers a variety of benefits, from improved physical and mental health, to providing an opportunity for strong bond building between the dog and its owner. This breed does have an abundance of natural instincts like herding and running, that must be respected and encouraged. Training helps to provide the essential structure for owners and their dog to continually work together, resulting in a balanced and devoted relationship.

Exercise Options

There are numerous ways to keep McNab dogs active and healthy. Walking and jogging are two common methods of exercising, which not only allow owners to explore their surroundings, but also give the pup good mental stimulation. Exploring parks and trails provide endless opportunities for excitement, such as pits stops for playing fetch. For the more active McNab owner, agility courses can add some added challenge to the routine.

Training Considerations

Training must accompany exercising these dogs. In order to ensure good behavior and safety, owners must be consistent with teaching their pup commands. A reward based system works best, as McNab dogs are highly motivated by treats. Socialization must also be a top priority, as this breed is prone to getting easily scared around new people or situations. Additionally, owners must get comfortable with the leash and learn to recognize the signals their pup may be giving off when out for walks, for when it’s time to establish some boundaries.

Exercise Example

When it comes to building a routine for exercising a McNab, it’s important to have structure, but also some time for flexibility. A good starting point may be a brisk 10-15 minute walk twice a day, with a 15-30 minute run or agility course mixed in. In order to keep a healthy balance, 30 minutes of playtime should also be included. However, it’s important for owners to discover the types of activities their pup loves the most, and make sure to include those.


Controlling a strongly-willed McNab can be difficult at times. Establishing boundaries and consistency is key in order to ensure a safe and harmonious relationship. Additionally, it’s important to consider weather or temperature concerns when out and about. Rough terrain, in particular, can cause difficulties and should be avoided when necessary.

Exercising a McNab puppy is essential for both mental and physical health, as well as creating an opportunity for owners to foster a strong, balanced relationship with their pup. When owners have a clear understanding of the breed’s natural traits and needs, as well as the proper training to reinforce them, their pup can have a wholesome and fulfilling life.

White and Brown Puppy on Black Car

Finding a Reputable Breeder for McNab Puppies

When it comes to finding the right McNab puppy, my primary focus is on finding a reputable breeder. McNab puppies are known for their intelligence, herding abilities, and agility, and they make excellent pets. Working with a good breeder is essential to get a quality puppy accustomed to life with a family.

Breeding Practices and What to Look for

A good breeder should practice best-breeding practices for McNab puppies, including providing a clean, comfortable facility for their dogs and puppies. Responsible breeding also involves socializing the puppies from an early age and making sure they are healthy. Look for reputable breeders who check the litter for any health issues, provide vaccinations, and conduct health screenings.

Good Breeders

Good breeders take pride in providing healthy puppies to prospective pet owners. To find a quality breeder, I have had some success with family-owned businesses that have been breeding McNabs for generations. Asking friends and neighbors who have McNab puppies or consulting a specialized rescue is also a good way of finding a quality breeder.

Another option is successful breeders who compete at dog shows and agility challenges. These breeders tend to be more knowledgeable about the breed and provide better care for their puppies.

What to Look for in a Breeder

When looking for a McNab puppy breeder, it’s important to find out as much information as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the breeder’s practices. It’s also important to visit the breeder in person. This helps to ensure that the facility is clean, the puppies are well-socialized, and any health issues can be identified.

What to Avoid

Finally, it’s important to beware of puppy mills and avoid adopting puppies. Puppy mills often ignore the health and welfare of dogs and puppies, while adopting a puppy can also lead to health and behavioral issues due to lack of proper socialization or lack of information about its health background. Either way, these can be catastrophic to the pet’s future, so be sure to research the breeder before making a purchase.

White-and-brown Puppies

Questions to Ask Before Adopting a McNab Puppy

Pets can bring so much joy and happiness to our lives, but when it comes to owning a McNab puppy, there’s a lot of questions you should ask before taking them home.

Is the Puppy Registered?

The first question you need to ask when adopting a McNab puppy is if the pup is registered with the American Kennel Club. This validates the puppy is purebred and is an important step for future registration.

Physical Characteristics

As McNab puppies are known to have thick and medium-length coats, be sure to ask what the physical characteristics of the puppy are. While they’re a combination of black and white, there can be variations in the appearance and texture of their coats.

Health Conditions

Before bringing home a new pup, ask the breeder or pet store if there’s any existing health conditions to be aware of. McNab puppies may be prone to hip/elbow dysplasia or hereditary deafness, though these are typically normalized by careful breeding.

Parent Training

A huge part of successful pet ownership is training. It’s important to ask the individual selling the puppy what kind of training their parents have had. McNab puppies are notoriously intelligent, so ask about positive reinforcement techniques that the pup has encountered before.


Grooming the McNab puppy should not be a hassle. Be sure to ask how often you need to groom in order to keep the pup’s coat looking and feeling its best, ideally once every two weeks.

Activity Levels

Activity levels for McNab puppies is a mix between moderate and high. They’re born to herd, so ask about how often the pup should be active.


Along with any schedule you’d like to keep, it’s important to ask what kind of exercise activities the pup should participate in. Taking them on constant hikes or runs would be a great idea, or walks around the neighborhood and playing with toys.

Eating Habits

As every breed requires different amounts of food and nutrition, inquire how much a McNab puppy should be eating and when they should be fed.

Veterinary Visits

Taking the pup to the vet is a major issue to take into consideration, ask the seller and vet what regular check-ups should take place and enlist the help of the vet for any care the pup needs.

Breed-Specific Behavior

McNab puppies may be notorious for their aloofness and agility, and have very independent personalities. Be sure to ask if there’s any specific attitude issues you should be aware of before adopting a pup.

When it comes to adopting a McNab puppy, it’s important to be sure that you are making the right decision and being an informed buyer. Ask these questions and make sure you are getting the right pup for you, your lifestyle and your family. With the right questions asked, you will be on track to a wonderful relationship with your new McCab puppy.

mcnab puppies

The Pros and Cons of Owning a McNab Puppy

McNab puppies are known for their herding ability, intelligence, and loyalty.

Pros of Owning a McNab Puppy

McNab puppies make devoted, loving companions and they are easily trainable and obedient, making them an ideal breed for households with children. They are also highly active and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

If you are looking for a pup that loves to learn, these intelligent pups respond to training quickly and eagerly. Though they are active and require regular exercise, they also love to snuggle up and relax with their owners, making them an excellent choice for people who have the time to devote to them.

This breed is also very sociable and loves to be around other pets and people. They do, however, require regular socialization as puppies; without it, they can become slightly timid and shy as adults.

Cons of Owning a McNab Puppy

McNab puppies can be territorial, so it is important to socialize them as puppies and teach them proper behaviors. If left alone for extended periods of time, they can become stressed and may develop behavioral problems.

Regular grooming is also required for these pups in order to maintain the beautiful, soft, and glossy look of the McNab’s coat.


Brenda has owned her McNab puppy, Cody, since he was a pup. She explains that while there were teething, barking, and occasional chewing, overall, Cody has been remarkably well-behaved and loves being part of the family.

According to Brenda, it’s important to give a McNab puppy the time and attention it needs, but the results are worth it in the end.

Photography of Three Dogs Looking Up

Caring for an Older McNab Dog

Living with an older McNab dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The unique combination of intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty make these dogs perfect companion animals. With the right care and attention, an older McNab dog can enjoy a long and happy retirement.

Understand Physical Activity Needs

Exercise is essential for an older McNab dog to stay healthy and happy. The exact activity needs may depend on the individual dog, but a good general guideline is no more than 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. This could include short walks, jogs, or hikes, as well as interactive games such as fetch. Making sure that playtime does not exceed 45 minutes, as older dogs tend to tire easily and may become overheated.


Older McNab puppies should not be exposed to too many unfamiliar people or situations during their retirement years as this may create stress and anxiety. However, it is important not to underestimate the value of gentle socialization and companionship. A few dedicated playmates will help an older McNab dog stay mentally and physically stimulated, as well as help prevent behavioral problems.

Behavioral Training & Obedience

Never underestimate the importance of continued obedience training for an elderly McNab. Even small successes, such as sitting on command or coming when called, can help to keep an older McNab dog feeling proud and confident. Behavioral problems such as barking, chewing, and aggression should be addressed with positive reinforcement training.

Proper Diet & Nutrition

Proper diet and nutrition is fundamental to health and vigor in aging McNab dogs. As the body changes with age, so do its dietary needs. Foods that are higher in fat and protein, as well as containing adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, should always be offered. In particular, older McNab dogs may require more vitamin E and fatty acids than their younger counterparts.

Encouraging Quality of Retirement Life

Older McNab puppies should have a comfortable area in the home that is free of distractions and open to lots of cuddles and rest. Exposure to loud noises should also be minimized, where possible. Introducing an older McNab to a buddy, such as a mellow older canine, may provide extra companionship and stimulation.

Medical Considerations

Regular visits to the vet are important for older McNab dogs to assess any potential medical issues such as arthritis, eye problems, and dental disease. Taking steps to prevent and manage these conditions in the early stages will help ensure your dog enjoys a comfortable and productive retirement.

Caring for an older McNab dog can be incredibly rewarding. With age comes wisdom and with the right care, love and understanding an elderly McNab can provide companionship and joy for years to come.

Short-coated Black and Brown Puppy in White And Red Polka-dot Ceramic Mug on Green Field

Helpful Tips For Pet Parents of McNab Puppies

McNab puppies are active and intelligent, making them great pets for families who want to enjoy their time together. As their pet parents, there are some basic tips to keep in mind to ensure the wellbeing of your pup.

Provide Proper Socialization

It is important to introduce your pup to different people, places, sounds and situations right away. This will ensure they are comfortable and confident in nearly any environment. Exposure to other animals, especially dogs, is also beneficial as early socializing is essential for any puppy.


Early training and positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping your pup to become well-mannered and obedient. Exposing them to an organized training class, will help them learn important skills, such as knowledge of basic commands and good behavior. Establish acceptable behaviors early and consistently reinforce the rules to prevent bad behaviors from developing.


Exercise is crucial for all dogs, but especially for active, high-energy dogs. McNab puppies will benefit from regular walks and lots of playtime. If you have the outdoorsy type, activities such as tracking, agility and herding can help to tire them out, plus teach them important skills.


Grooming is an important part of keeping your pup healthy and comfortable. Weekly brushing and monthly ear and nail cleaning will help maintain their coat and reduce the risk of infection, matting and excessive shedding. Your pup should also be given regular baths to keep them smelling fresh and their skin healthy.


Healthy, balanced nutrition is important for puppies, as they are still growing. Feeding them quality dog food, specifically formulated for puppies, will help to ensure they get sufficient nutrition they need and support healthy growth.

Health Care

Regular vet visits and vaccinations are essential and should be scheduled as soon as possible. The vet will be able to advise on the best course of action to maintain the health of your pup and prevent illnesses from occurring.

Loving Care and Companionship

Of course, providing a loving and safe home for your pup is the most important duty of any pet parent. Show your pup as much love and companionship as possible by playing with them, teaching them commands and providing cuddles every chance you get. Giving them the security of your love and attention should be the foundation of your pup’s life.

Before taking on the responsibility of parenthood, pet parents should ensure they have the resources and commitment necessary to properly care for their McNab pup. By providing essential socialization, training, exercise, grooming, nutrition, health care, and lots of love, your pup will be happy and healthy throughout their life.

Mother and Her Children Playing at the Kitchen


McNab Puppies are an intelligent and loyal breed, making them excellent family pets. They have a unique appearance combined with a calm and sweet personality. Training a McNab Puppy is not difficult when done correctly, but make sure to ensure it is done properly with patience and consistency. Grooming a McNab Puppy is relatively easy, but it is important to brush them often and pay attention to any signs of health issues. When looking for a reputable breeder, be sure to ask lots of questions and perform thorough research in order to make sure the breeder is legitimate. Be sure to consider all the pros and cons of adopting a McNab Puppy, and ask yourself if you’re prepared to provide what is needed in order to make sure it has a long, healthy and happy life. Lastly, if you already have an older McNab Dog, follow the same tips and keep up with their care in order to give them the best quality of life.

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