Generally speaking a McNab is a short haired dog which stands 18" to 22" at the shoulders and should weigh about 40-50 pounds. There also seems to be a smaller version of dogs which are smaller at 12" to 15" and 15-30 pounds. One of the most prominent features of the dog is the ears, they are long pointy and stand erect although some flop over like a border collie.
As for working ability, the McNab is very cat-footed, very fast and agile. He generally is a more direct and forceful stockdog than his "cousin" the Border Collie, not as excitable as the Kelpie, and not as strong minded as an Australian Cattledog. He is very easy to teach, giving you his alert attention and complete loyalty. He is usually a one-man (or woman), one-family dog, does not tolerate stray dogs, strange people or animals.
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 Shepherds, the origin is 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 the ranch known as the McNab ranch in Mendocino, California south of Ukiah. They brought one dog with them, 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 (with). He purchased two dogs, Peter and Fred. He brought Peter back with him. Fred was left in Scotland to have his training completed, and was sent to America later. Fred was strictly a lead dog; Peter worked both lead and drive. These two dogs were bred to select shepherd females of Spanish origin which were brought to this country by the Basque sheep herders, and that cross was called McNab shepherds because Mr. McNab perfected this breed of stock dogs which would head or heel. The McNab is not a Border Collie.
John L. McNab was the son of Alexander McNab and became the sole owner if the McNab ranch south of Ukiah in Mendocino County. He made several importations in the early 1900's from the Grampian Hills in Scotland. One importation in about 1906 was a Red Fox Shepherd called "Clyde" -- later another red dog called "Ready" was imported, and that is the reason why occasionally there will be a red pup in the litter.
Ed G. Brown put in an order for a McNab pup in 1895 These dogs were so much in demand he didn't get one until 1915 when Mr. McNab imported a female with pup. She whelped three weeks after arrival, and Ed Brown got the pick of the litter. He named the pup "Jet". This pup was black with faint line of white up his face, white chest, and a small amount of white on his feet. Some of these dogs have a wide strip up the face and a ring of white on the neck. Also, some will have brown on the legs and face, but they are mostly black.
They are never long haired, nor do they have loop ears or speckled legs 5. Their ears are mostly pricked, some will tip at the top. The strain Ed Brown raised from "Jet" are the true McNabs as he never outcrossed on other breeds. This is not a pedigree but just a history of the McNab dog we raised and knew" --- Myrtle Brown.
He is known throughout northern California as an avid hunting companion, deer, wild pig, squirrels, and rabbits. The dog is also known as a protector, what's his is his, and if you are his companion, everything you own is his to protect, your spouse, children, livestock, truck, ranch, boots and saddle.
Most McNabs don't have the obsessive behaviour traits of the Border Collie and most don't tend to have "eye". They tend to intimidate via growling, barking, or biting.