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A Personal Introduction to the McNab Dog Breed (McNab Border Collie)

Earl the McNab.

Earl the McNab.

Meet Earl The McNab Dog

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Wow, what a ridiculously handsome dog. What is he?"

Earl is a McNab—sometimes referred to as a "McNab Border Collie" or a "McNab Stock Dog." Around here, we have other names for him, such as "our little boy" and "Early Pearly" and an assortment of pet names so sweet and doting that I would blush to admit them. We love our Earl.

McNabs Are a Well-Kept Secret

Most people haven't heard of McNabs. Those who have still might not be able to identify them when they see them; they might guess a Border Collie cross or (gasp!) a mutt. We like it that way. Whenever a breed becomes popular, they are at risk of several hazards:

  • They might become overbred by unscrupulous breeders, without concern for quality or the animal's welfare.
  • They might be purchased by people who will keep them in a home or environment for which a particular breed is very ill-suited.
  • Perhaps they'll be bred for breed "type" to the extent that they'll be inbred, line-bred, and ultimately deformed in a relentless quest for overly exaggerated "typey" features.

We're happy that the McNab is a well-kept secret. On the other hand, I love our McNab and want to share a little bit about this amazing dog with you. The best way I can do that is to introduce you to Earl.

Earl is naturally athletic.

Earl is naturally athletic.

How We Adopted Earl

About three years ago, my future husband and I spent a week on a cattle drive in New Mexico. I admired one of the cattle dogs along the way and asked the cowboy who owned her to call me if she ever had pups. She was a Border Collie, and she was an extraordinary dog—smart, athletic, and capable. With our three dogs getting on in years, it was a good time to introduce a puppy.

Serendipity intervened. The day after we arrived home, my husband was outside cleaning up the horse trailer from the trip. He came in and called out to me, "You have a visitor!" He said it was a cowboy who knew me and mentioned his name. Delighted to know an old friend had stopped by, I hurried out to visit.

My friend, Mark, told me he was delivering puppies in the area and thought he'd just stop to say hello. We chatted in the shade of the barn for a bit, and he tipped his hat and said he'd better head back to the ranch. I finally couldn't resist asking, "Can I see those puppies?" He took us to the puppy box in the bed of his truck and opened it to reveal three black and white imps. They were cute—as puppies always are. One was a female; one had a mid-length coat, and one was a short-haired male.

The McNab Personality: Smart and Independent

I'd never heard of a McNab, I must confess. Mark explained a bit about them:

  • They were bred for working cattle, not sheep, and they are more independent.
  • If you show them their job, they'll figure out exactly how to do it, rather than being blindly obedient.
  • They don't slink down low as Border Collies do.
  • They work out wider, away from the animal, rather than getting in real close.
  • They mature at about 80 pounds—or so Mark told me. This did not turn out to be true, but he probably mentioned it because he knew I liked big dogs.

I asked him what he was asking for them and then turned to my beloved with my most beseeching eyes. "Can we?" Without hesitation, he said, "Let me get a check. Do I write it for one or all three?" (Is it any wonder I married this man?) I held up the short-haired little boy puppy and said, "This one!"

50 Pounds and Scary-Smart

That's how Earl arrived. Other than the fact that Earl is a mid-sized dog who matured at 50 pounds, Mark was right about everything else. Earl is definitely an independent thinker, and it was comical to watch my husband calling out to him, "Earl! Don't process—just come!" during training sessions. Earl is scary-smart, and he figures most things out long before we even think about training him. For the most part, he trains himself. Sometimes, he trains us, too.

Earl is naturally curious.

Earl is naturally curious.

The Reputation and (Brief) History of the Breed

If you research McNabs, you'll find a lot of people who rave about them as uncannily good stock dogs. Their brains and independence have earned them a fine reputation among ranchers.

You'll also learn that they're named after a California rancher named Alexander McNab, who brought stock from Scotland in the 1800s to develop exactly the line of cattle dogs he needed for his rugged terrain and wily cattle. You won't find anything in most breed books about them, though, and they're not even a footnote in the AKC standards book. I hope it stays that way.

The Characteristics and Temperament of McNabs

These are some of the unique aspects of the McNab that owners (and aspiring owners) should keep in mind.

They Are Sensitive

McNabs are not only smart dogs, but they're extremely sensitive, too. They're the sort of dog that'll do their best to please you, and they will crumple like a used tissue if you raise your voice. Earl was so sensitive as a puppy that I couldn't use the word "no," around him, even in a soft, gentle tone; he knew what it meant, and it devastated him.

If I said "no," he'd think it meant "never," and sometimes I only wanted it to mean "not right now." He couldn't differentiate. Early in his time with us, he was at the barn with me and I casually said, "No, Earl," to him when he got into a stall. I didn't want him to get stepped on. From that day forward, he believed he wasn't allowed at the barn.

. . . and Noise-Sensitive

Earl is noise-sensitive, too. He doesn't like clicking or snapping or clanging noises. Wind and thunder send him hiding in "his" closet. McNabs aren't for noisy households or for people with anger management issues. They require owners who understand that these dogs are doing their damnedest to be great dogs.

A snuggly McNab.

A snuggly McNab.

They Are Sweet

McNabs have a sweet nature and become strongly attuned to the others in the household. Earl makes his "morning rounds" every day—he waits for my old black Lab to awaken, and then he leaps off the bed and gives him kisses. He gives a similar greeting to my small-but-feisty warrior princess, a Papillon, and—last but not least—he gives me my morning kisses, too. He likes to snuggle up against me so I can barely move, and he rests his head on my legs. He loves his stuffed toys and brings one or more to bed every night, so he can sleep touching them.

They Are Energetic

McNabs, like their Border Collie cousins, are highly energetic. This can easily translate to neuroses if they are confined and not given the constant, daily work they require. They aren't meant to be chained or kenneled or kept in a tiny apartment while you're at work all day. They need space to run at full tilt and to be active even in the house.

Please don't try to make a McNab into a poodle or a Shih Tzu. It would be an act of cruelty upon this active, busy, work-oriented dog. Besides, they shed 24/7/365, and they will ruin your couch.

They Need to Keep Busy

We don't have cattle (yet). Because Earl doesn't have a herd to round up and chase and sort, we spend hours a day keeping him busy. He plays tug of war with the other dogs, goes running once or twice a day with my husband, and accompanies me on most of my trips around town. Most of all, he plays ball—literally, for sometimes hours a day. Not only must my husband throw the ball for numerous sessions daily, but every visitor to the ranch must throw the ball. Earl also plays the hose game, chases lizards, and goes hiking and walking with me.

Other Traits

For the owner with a lot of property and plenty of time to spend trying to keep up with a busy McNab, they're astonishingly good dogs:

  • They don't want to roam; they know where home is, and they come when they're called.
  • They are sociable if kept with other dogs, but they're shy with new dogs.
  • They also have some primitive-dog traits—Earl has a fetish for rolling in stinky things, and few things delight him like a fresh mound of manure. This is where the "hose game" comes in. Few dogs have baths as often as Earl does.
  • Fortunately, Earl sheds so frequently that his coat is clean and shiny at all times—we often joke that he turns over a new coat daily.
Just try to resist those eyes.

Just try to resist those eyes.

A Warning on Ivermectin

Anyone who is fortunate enough to have a McNab in their life should also know that McNabs are Ivermectin-sensitive dogs. This means that they often suffer serious side effects if given the remedy and preventative parasite control, Ivermectin. The most popular heartworm drug is Ivermectin-based, so make sure you discuss Ivermectin sensitivity with your veterinarian before administering.

Is a McNab the Right Dog for You?

The better question might be: Are you the right owner for a McNab?

McNabs aren't for everyone. Not everyone deserves a McNab, actually. Those who are lucky enough to be owned by one are special people:

  • They understand that dogs have excellent hearing and don't need to be yelled at in order to hear.
  • They accept that these physically tough dogs are keenly sensitive and can easily become fearful.
  • They realize that these are active and energetic pups who need frequent and regular high-speed activity.
  • They understand that it is cruel to spend dozens of years breeding an animal to be very good at specific things, then try to fit them into a lifestyle in which those attributes aren't welcome or encouraged.

McNabs are unique and interesting dogs. As unexpected as Earl's arrival was in our lives, he has been the perfect dog for us. Rarely does a day go by that he doesn't invent a new antic or adopt an odd new habit. He's always thinking. We're so fortunate that he's found his way into our lives.

More About Our Dogs: McNabs and Papillons

  • The Many Ears of Earl the McNab
    Everyone who knows the McNab dog is well aware of their very expressive ears. These unique ears have a perfect fold that allows great versatility. Many are "one ear up" dogs. Here's to the ears!
  • Information About a McNab Puppy
    Oh, you lucky dog—you've got a McNab puppy. Be ready for the ultimate puppy experience, complete with scary-smart behavior, utter happiness, high energy, tons of spunk and just enough naughtiness!
  • The Papillon: A Guide to Being Owned by One
    When you first see a Papillon dog, you may dismiss them as fluffy little lightweights. Behind the scenes, Papillons rule the earth. Move over . . . Papillons pull the real strings around here.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is with the constant chewing? We've lost shoes, clothes, and many dog toys. Our McNab is only 8 months old. Can she be trained?

Answer: Some McNabs do chew vigorously as puppies, and they're particularly fond of chewing items that have their owner's scent. My puppies have been most attracted to my shoes, eyeglasses, and socks - all of which they associate with me. Yes, with patience and consistency, they can be trained. They seem to abruptly quit the undesirable chewing at a year of age.

© 2012 Marcy J. Miller


Babette Francis on August 23, 2020:

I hope this gets to Marcey. I’ve never seen so many responses re a McNab. My husband and I wanted a border collie for the intelligence mainly and one of our neighbors has four herders. She knew a breeder who also had herders but had to retire one 4-yr old female due to seizures. Her name was Robbie and we brought her home. She had to be socialized bc she only herded and played with her pack. Such an adjustment for her and she was scared of my husband. In about 3 wks she was in love with both of us and let us know it! We enrolled her in agility classes where she excelled and my husband took her to the park everyday so she could run like the wind. Well then the seizures started which was devastating to watch. We gave her cbd and other rx’s which never helped. We had her for three months until one day she had five seizures in a row. We finally had to put her down and it killed us. She was such a part of us so it was cathartic to share our story with you. I’m so happy for all those who wrote in that they’ve been able to fully enjoy their McNab. We’ll never forget our Robbie. PS we didn’t realize Robbie was a true McNab until my husband saw a spitting image of Robbie halfway through our ownership and researched this incredible breed which made us feel even more blessed that we got to spend time with her.

Dawn Hatcher on June 27, 2020:

I recently lost my mcnab dog "Jamsie" (12 1/2) and he was everything I have read here and more. I adopted him as a rescue elderly dog and was a blessing we both were for each other. It was love at first sight. He loved sunning himself in the sunshine daily outside at the nursery at work with me and greeting all our customers. He was very easygoing and obeyed. My only complaint is that time went too fast and he got ill. We both got ill. We spend all day every day together and the times I did have to go see family far away I had a great house/dog sitter... When I recently came back home from having brain surgery (being gone longer than normal) he greeted me with crying and whining and what sounded like lectures. He had gotten worse while I was away. He waited for me tho, and never left my side after that, two days later (last week) he died. I'm lost without my best friend. I keep scanning my yard for him, his special places, or his chair... Empty.

D. J. Sloan on August 30, 2017:

McNabbs are fine and dandy. They are very popular, in my farming community. Had one once. But I think that good working line Australian Shepherds are better. Although they do share many of the same traits. Those traits come from their Scotch Collie ancestry. I have a Shetland Sheepdog that shares the same type traits too. A person can't go wrong with a dog from Collie heritage. But one does need to at least be as smart as their dog. And be a calm and consistent owner and trainer.

Ray on July 08, 2017:

Unless I'm mistaken McNabs don't run to 80 Lbs. Up to 65, but most are less. They were developed in the 1850's specifically for working sheep. They also work cattle, and horses, and can head, or heel. He looks like a McNab, but the cowboy mentioned his mother as Border Collie, with no mention of Australia Shepard (Basque shepherd) which opens the question of what is father was. McNabs are usually found in Mendocino County, Calif. and surrounding area where the original McNab ranch was. But as great ranch dogs have found their way into several States. They are keepers ! Mine (Hondo)is a tri-color male at 60 Lbs. from Elk creek, CA. now in Tennessee.

Pi on July 02, 2017:

After losing my dog, I one day was "talking to the Universe" and said, "when it is time please send me my next friend, maybe not today or even next year but when you know I'm ready and it's the right one." Two hours later a friend in WY heading to CO texted me and asked by any chance would I want a dog. He was failing at the cattle ranch and that was causing fights w other dogs and he was on the losing end of every fight. With teary eyes I ran out to my now husband and told him. He reluctantly agreed, and he was only reluctant bc he knew I still cried every day over my last dog. He was right, I wasn't "ready" but doing things only when you are "ready" means you allow many things in life to pass by.

The next day at a horse show I walked around the corner and saw him. I said, " well you must be Gil". He saw me and bolted straight to me (I would later come to understand that he was truly saying, "YOU! IT'S YOU! I WAS SENT FOR YOU! AND I'VE FOUND YOU!" bc he actually can be very timid and isn't a run up to strangers type dog). We have been inseparable since. He trains for my eventing and endurance racing w me. He never tires and has proven to be the smartest dog I've ever been around. Very sensitive. Easily "crushed" w just a stern look. I knew nothing about McNabs when Gil came into our lives. Now, I just want to keep the breed a secret bc I don't want them over bred. This breed could easily be misunderstood. Not a dog for every family. They need sensitive guidance and LOTS of activity. They do train themselves like you said bc they are always watching "there person". We find endless laughter in our Gilbert. He once slept each night in a horse trailer. He now sleeps every night in a king size bed until he decides it's time to go sleep on the couch where he can keep an eye on horses and humans. I cannot ever imagine being without my "lil man". Reading every person's stories we are all pretty lucky the Universe sent us these little secrets called McNabs. Our life is better and more filled w their funny expressions and true loyal love. Gilly is our laughter and smile.

Thank all you for sharing your stories. We are all very lucky humans.

Lorraine on October 04, 2016:

I should have added that my son is 40 years old and has a mild form of Autism called Asperger Syndrome. Buster will hopefully be his emotional service dog. And if this does not work out he will be he very best buddy and we are fine with that. The two of them together is wonderful to watch. I would send you a picture of Buster but do not know how on this site. Love for you all to see him. We think he is very handsome. Lorraine

Lorraine Taylor on October 04, 2016:

We recently lost our Wire Fox Terrier and after a long grieving period started the look our next pal. We decided to get a dog that we could easily train to become my son's Service Dog. Off to a nearby rescue we went and met Buster. We believe him to be a MacNab Border Collie mix. We are in love. He has brought so much joy to our lives it is almost beyond words to explain. I have never met a dog with so much love to give. He has completed Obedience 1 and 2 and we are now giving him some time to grow up a little before we attempt Good Citizen and Service Dog training. He aced all his classes and the trainer adores him. I was wondering if the affinity to chew is part of this breed? I think maybe we just need to keep him busier than the mile walk he is presently getting followed by run and play games in our back yard. He has started to chase his tail at night and I think this too is indicative that he needs more exercise and more challenges. If anyone would like to chime in I would be appreciative. Getting him to stop mouthing us has been a long job. He still will open his mouth and sort of see how we will respond in the early am's. We have been very consistent with him on this. Also the inherit need to use his front paws has us stymied. We would like him to stop this as is scratches our arms and hurts us. He has gotten some better but I just think he may have some Boxer in him and this habit is just instinctive for him. Thank you for letting us meet your Earl. We adore Buster and think he was the best decision we EVER made. Lorraine

Ashleigh on September 22, 2016:

Wow. So many comments. You may have answered my question as I got a little lazy there towards the end as far as reading them all...We have a McNab - ish. She's only about 22-23 lbs with very short/almost wirey hair (no shedding!) so she's a mixture, but with prevalent McNab traits. I'm concerned about the Ivermectin reaction you mentioned. Can you go into further detail or provide a source I might read myself?

Shounak on April 13, 2016:

Looks like you were exactly describing my dog.

Bob B. on October 04, 2015:

Hello again, MJennifer. Last weekend wife and I and Sook went to Alturas, CA for the National Sheep Dog Finals. I thought Sook would enjoy seeing some of his relatives from the Border Collie side of his lineage. Because our previous dog, a border collie, looked quite different from Sook, (long haired, brown and black, slim, etc.) I expected only the vaguest similarity. Ha! One in five of those sheep herding border collies looked as though they were Sook's litter mate, including three of the top seventeen finalists in the trials. Those folks delighted me with their disdain for the overbred standards of AKC confirmation. Their joy (as my own) comes from the human/canine interaction, the love, energy, intelligence, joyous goal-oriented cooperation, etc. You know, like Earl and Molly...and Sook.

Kate on February 13, 2015:

I've just read your wonderful article on Earl and two years of delightful comments. I always knew our Periwinkle was special, but thought she was just an especially magical mix of breeds. Some said she was a short haired border collie, but she just didn't seem like the other border collies we knew. Now I have no doubt that she must be Mcnabish. People comment on how well trained she is, but I can hardly take credit. I've always thought that if I were plopped down in a foreign speaking land I wouldn't learn nearly as quickly as she did. Our girl is about 12 years now and still always wants to play. Many of the traits you describe are true for Peri as well. Circle tail wag. Checks back with me on a walk. Very sensitive to noises...will even slink away from the pop of a plastic bottle. A wreck with thunder. Usually grabs a soft toy to take upstairs to bed, but always waits for me to say ok before heading up to bed. Apparently I must've said no once! Whenever I've accidentally run into her I say I'm sorry and she always looks like she's saying I'm sorry too. Her shedding is atrocious and was really difficult for me to deal with at the beginning, but realized it's just the price to pay for the best dog in the world. She will listen to my daughter and I conversing, head moving to each of us as we speak, and she is just waiting to hear a word or command she can act on. She has a little brother, Emmett, a cute little mix of a terrier who relies on Peri for guidance. Even our other dog recognizes how smart his sister is. If we are going to the mailbox Peri gets the keys. If we are going for a walk Peri gets the collars. If we are going to the park Peri gets a toy. If I ask her to find Emmett she will go outside and come back in with him following. She is amazing. And quirky too. When we first brought her home from the shelter we nicknamed her the oddler because she was an odd toddler. As you can see I could go on and on about our girl. I can't wrap my head around the fact that she was at a shelter. Who gives up a creature like this? Except how else could she have wound up where she was supposed to be our home. Best $13 dog in the whole world, and wouldn't trade her for $13 million.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 06, 2015:

Awww, thanks, PS! We count our pups (and all the other creatures that share our home) among our greatest blessings. When they're happy, we're happy!

Best wishes to you -- and happy 2015!


Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 05, 2015:

He sounds like he found just the right and your husband obviously know what he needs and are willing to provide that environment and love with no reservations. It does take special people to have a special pet.

Good for you ....lucky pups, lucky you.

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 02, 2015:

Hi, Dave!

Congratulations on your McNab! They are priceless, precious dogs. Don't plan on ever tiring Jackie out -- no matter how much exercise they get, they recharge quickly and are ready to go. I wish I could count how many miles Earl and Molly put on every day, from chasing the horses and cows to running laps with each other in the arena -- and enough ball-chasing my husband got tennis elbow from throwing. I'd love to see pics! I'm on gmail at marcyjmiller06.

Best wishes,


Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 02, 2015:

Hi, Bob!

That certainly makes me laugh -- and Sook's intelligence doesn't surprise me! We've been going full-tilt with the new McNab puppy, Molly, in the house AND the new Papillon puppy at the same time. We bought Earl and Molly some cows to herd and it is something to see them immediately follow their instincts!

Happy New Year!


Dave McCune on January 01, 2015:

I am so happy to have learned today, I have a mostly McNab mix. I rescued Jackie or One Eyed Jack from Fresno, where been barely surviving in a homeless encampment. When I heard her story, I drove 5 hours from Lake Tahoe to resue her (hit a deer on the way home and I didn't even care !!) She is exactly all the wonderful description you've so gracefully given on these pages. What an amazing animal- I struggle to get her all the excerize she needs, but were working on it. I'd love to send some pics if you want to see her. Thx Dave McCune

Bob B on December 16, 2014:

Hi, again, MJennifer! I'm back with another Sook-the-McNab experience to share. The motion-activated light in the common area of our condo complex comes on when I approach with Sook for his final pee each night. While he was doing his business, recently, the light timed out and turned itself off. By the faint residual light, I could see Sook was still doing his business when he wiggled his (large!) ears. Immediately the light came back on!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on December 04, 2014:

Hi, Dave! Thanks so much for saying hello and sharing your story about your lovely McNab! It makes me happy to know your dog found you and you made room in your heart to love him. They're amazing, joyful animals. So glad to hear from you!

Best -- Mj

Dave Orig on December 03, 2014:

Hi, I'm so very happy to read all the story about your dog Mcnab. Guess what? I have a Mcnab too, One day my uncle said he has a surprise to me it was on the blue box with many holes in it and later on when I'm going to open the box it surprised me with a dog with black and white body and it's only 2months old., I really don't love dogs but in that time when i see that puppy while his eyes staring at me It melts my soul that something with that puppy that i can't really explained and what's only in my mind is to love this puppy with all my heart! I really have no idea what kind of breed it is so I do a lot of reaserches. I'm thinking maybe it's only an ordinary dog that can be only found @ the sides of the street. till I found a dog with a black and white body with a name in it! I said: Mcnab? I never heared a Mcnab before!" and again I reaserched and see some description about Mcnab and it only says It's a very talented dog and some other charateristics that I'm not satisfied. I have very rough days understanding my beloved dog Mcnab until I read all of your story that helps me a lot .. I wish I can tell a story more but seems I'm already tired going on! All i wanna say is I'm very thankfull for all of this..

P.S Sorry for my bad English!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on August 31, 2014:

Hi, Dave -- thanks for your interesting comment. None of the McNabs I've known will "sing" but they do have some interesting vocalizations -- from some happy humming to some pretty expressive yowling when playing. Now, there's no chance Daisy has some Basenji in her, is there? They have the most "singing" sort of vocalizations I can think of -- along with distinctively furrowed brows. Plus, they're very popular in Japan.

Perhaps someone else will have some feedback on McNabs who vocalize in the way you describe -- please check back!

Best -- Mj

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on June 05, 2014:

Mary, thank you! I'm glad to be the one to introduce you to our beloved McNabs. Having one McNab in our pack was a joy -- but having TWO is so much fun it must be illegal. Each day brings something new and wonderful as little Molly the McNablet learns the ropes. Thank you for the share and pin!

Best -- Mj

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 05, 2014:

Well, I have just spent almost an hour reading about Earl. I watched your wonderful video, and read the many comments!

A d I thought my Miniature Schnauzer was smart! What a delightful dog. I have never heard of this breed, so I am so glad I read about Earl

Voted up, etc, and will share on Goole+ and Pin to my pets board.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 18, 2014:

Hi, Frauna,

Absolutely, you've got to visit McNabville and meet Molly! I do believe you've already stolen Earl's heart, though. You must see them while Molly is still Earls "Mini-Me." It's funny watching him with his little pint-sized shadow.

Hope to introduce you soon!

Best -- Mj

Frauna on May 18, 2014:

I need to get over and and steal Earl's affection and meet Molly! I live reading the posts from all the McNab lived out there!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 17, 2014:

Travmaj, thanks so much for meeting Earl. McNabs and traditional border collies do enjoy many of the same characteristics and traits, but they have their own unique style. Having a young McNab puppy for Earl to play with has been great fun as we watch a smaller version of Earl shadowing him and displaying the same quirky habits. Thanks for reading and commenting; it's always a pleasure hearing from another "doggie" person (the best kind of people, I think!)

Best -- MJ

travmaj from australia on May 17, 2014:

I just became acquainted with Earl, I'm so impressed. What a bright, breezy, beautiful, intelligent and fun loving dog he is. I'm a most 'doggie' person but had not heard of this breed. I had a border collie cross for many years, delightful and so intelligent, he was definitely the boss of this home. I enjoyed reading about Earl and his antics - thank you.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 08, 2014:

Hello, Gypsy Willow, and thanks for letting me be the one to make your introduction to this amazing breed! I am still learning new things about them … last night I stumbled across a winery that owns the original ranch where the McNab was developed. They winery now markets a "Fred's Red" wine, named after the foundation sire, with a McNab picture on the label! Do I feel another McNab hub coming on? One that invokes a road trip and a wine tasting? You bet!

Best -- Mj

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 08, 2014:

I am an avid dog lover and I'd never heard of this awesome breed before. Thank you for putting me right with your delightful hub!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:

SmartAndFun, is there anything more fun than a puppy? They're just pure joy.


Best -- Mj

SmartAndFun from Texas on May 06, 2014:

Congrats on your new McNab puppy MJennifer!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:

Hello, Heidi! I hope you have the chance, someday, to see a McNab in action. They're such a joy and share many similarities with the lovely Border Collies but have enough differences that there's a visible distinction in their behavior and personalities. I think they're the best-kept secret in the canine world … but I'm a bit biased, I admit!

Thanks so much for your comment!

Best -- Mj

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:

Hello, TirelessTraveler! You put that so well -- that McNabs don't speak the same language most dogs do. We just added Molly McNablet to the pack. She has just turned eight weeks old and you're right, it's a scream having two -- it's as if Earl has a mini-me trotting sideways, as they do, beside him. The McNab / Border mix is pretty amazing, isn't it?

Thanks so much for saying hello.

Best -- Mj

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:

Hi, Ms Lizzy -- and thank you so much for your comments. Stock dogs and herding dogs are almost scary smart, sometimes. Your dad had excellent taste in dogs!

You're right -- those good intentions aren't enough, sometimes, and it's sad when a good heart becomes a broken heart over a poor match in one's canine companion. Sometimes love isn't enough when we choose our animals.

Thanks so much for the up-votes and kind words.

Best -- Mj

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:

Thank you so much, FlourishAnyway! We do love our Earl (and our new girl Molly McNab, too!) We lost Argos at eleven just a month ago. He was perhaps the kindest, gentlest giant of a soul I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Earl is now adjusting to being the salty dog rather than the green puppy for the first time in his life! Thank you for visiting and letting me share my beloved McNabs.

Best -- Mj

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 06, 2014:

I have a dog trainer friend who works with border collies for herding competitions. But I have never really seen anything about these. Thanks for sharing the great photos and info!

Judy Specht from California on May 06, 2014:

Voted up and everything else because that is what McNabs are. All the above. We have Joe and Bandit. They are a mix of Border Collie and McNab. Joe looks like a Border Collie. Bandit looks totally McNab with a thicker Collie tail.

Having two of these fellows is a scream.

I was looking for something to give my life routine and I got these guys as 8 week old puppies. I don't know who works harder them or me.

You presented McNabs beautifully. They are not for a low energy family. They don't speak the same language most dogs do, and the Aussie cattle dialect is completely different. Great article.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on May 06, 2014:

What a great article! I'd never heard of a McNab. They do look rather like a short-haired Border Collie. My dad had a Border Collie in his bachelor days, and reported him to be a very smart, thinking dog.

I appreciate your cautions and advice about who should and should not own one of these special dogs. Not everyone is a fit pet parent, and some people do, indeed, adopt the wrong type of dog for the wrong reasons, even if they are well-intentioned toward the animal.

Voted up, awesome, useful and interesting.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 06, 2014:

What a wonderful description and tribute to a special dog. He was cute to watch in action in that video, and Argos is special too. Voted up +++ and sharing.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 02, 2014:

Oh, Toni, thank you! It was most certainly a great visit.

Best -- Mj

Toni on May 02, 2014:

Mj, I am so glad you had such a wonderful experience coming home with Molly. It sounds like a great day spent at the ranch with Teri and the pack. I haven't seen the Molly article! I don't know you posted one. I will search for it-I can't wait to see pictures and read the delightful stories. Thank you so much for sharing such joy with all of us.


Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 01, 2014:

Hi, Bob! Awwww, thank you. I love the phrase "terminally cute!" It just amazes me that such a young creature -- gosh, eight weeks is just a blink -- can have such a defined personality and ability to reason and communicate. As I write this, she is having her nighttime wrestle with Earl -- he is all grins and snuffles. I'm so fortunate to be able to be home with the dogs as they mature; I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Best -- Mj

Bob B. on May 01, 2014:

Wow! I just read "Introduction to a McNab Puppy." What a treat! Molly is terminally cute. And alert/bright eyed. And etc. Your writing is superb. At eight weeks there was already sooooooo much going on! Reminds me of my two kids...they were always ahead of where I thought they were. You are obviously enjoying the privilege of interacting with Molly during the growing of her McNab-ness!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 01, 2014:

Hi, Toni! We are so happy with Molly. Did you see the new article I posted on her? We did indeed go to the ranch. What wonderful people and what a lovely, serene place -- it has a special energy. We did get to meet the rest of the pack as well -- the two litters (Holly's and Nellie's) and the mature dogs -- and Teri took us on a great quad ride to run them. Molly was quite the happy traveler on the return trip and has since taken over the house completely. She has also stolen Earl's heart -- and has rapidly become the favorite dog of one of the kitties, who rolls on his back and lets her pounce on top of him. All is well in McNabville, Arizona!

Best -- Mj

Toni on May 01, 2014:

I am so looking forward to meeting Molly McNab :)

Did you go to the Garcin ranch and meet any of the other dogs?

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 30, 2014:

Hi, Bob! Molly is amazing … and I am working on that Introduction to a McNab Puppy just for you and Sook to meet her! I should have it finished by tomorrow evening at latest (absent the usual life-pranks that happen as soon as I make a timeline!) Our new little girl has been keeping all of us -- Earl, kitties, self and husband -- on our toes, that's for sure!

Check back soon -- work in progress!

Best -- Mj

Bob B. on April 30, 2014:

Hi! Been checking daily for a couple of weeks. Hope all is going well for Molly, et al. Sook sends wags.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 18, 2014:

Thank you, Toni! Hmm … I'm trying to picture Earl being worn out … so far I can't wrap my imagination around it -- what I wouldn't do for 1/10th of his energy! Maybe I'd better start eating what he eats. Thanks again and more to come soon!

Best -- Mj

Toni on April 17, 2014:

WhooHoo MJ! CONGRATS! I can't wait to see pics and hear stories about Molly McNablett. I hope Earl eats his doggy Wheaties :) I think she is going to wear him out

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 16, 2014:

Hi, Bob! We will meet our Molly the McNablet in just three days! I'm preparing for the road trip now -- the crate is cleaned and has puppy-approved chews and toys inside; the puppy food is purchased and waiting; the house is a disaster. Priorities, you know.

Earl turned five last week and he, too, is still very much the pup as well. I think that McNabs are the most joyful combination of working dog and silly puppy-ness I've ever known. Last night, like Sook, Earl had us laughing as we were watching silly kitten and puppy videos on Youtube and every time someone squeaked a toy or meowed, Earl jumped on top of us and tilted his head, one ear up, at the iPad. Every day he melts us somehow.

There will be a McNab puppy appearance very, very soon!

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on April 15, 2014:

I guess it's over six weeks since Molly McNab joined the outside world and I've been waiting anxiously for a new stub to be called, no doubt, "A Personal Introduction to a McNab Puppy." Because my McNab, Sook, was a year old when we got him from the shelter, I never saw him as a (chronological) puppy. But he's more than made up for that by being a "puppy" for the entire seven years since. He gave us another laugh over the weekend when the three of us were in a motel room. Sook is very quiet and never barks except a BARK-BARK when the doorbell rings. Imagine my surprise when I heard his sharp BARK-BARK while I was in the bathroom and Sook was in the other room where my wife was watching TV. There was an Avon ad on the TV: "Ding-Dong, Avon calling." An hour later he had his first encounter with a mirror. He tried to go into sniff-wag mode but only succeeded in bumping his nose. It took him about ten seconds to come to the universal canine conclusion that if it don't have a scent, it ain't worth a cent. Love that dog.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 09, 2014:

Oh, Arnica, thank you so much! That is the greatest compliment. I appreciate it greatly!

Best -- Marcy

Arnica Kala from India (Mussoorie) on April 09, 2014:

Oh My God, Its just a Blast, a mixture f everything I wanted, It is Awesome From the beginning to end ..

Great Waiting for more Marcy

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on March 31, 2014:

Oh, Bob, that's perfect: "Ear-nest!" Here's to one ear up!

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on March 31, 2014:

What an opportunity for some lucky McNab lover. We don't have the room or I'd be tempted. However, I'd have to change his name to Ear-nest... :-)

Toni on March 30, 2014:

Ha ha I sure know what you mean about the puppy breath :) I recently went to visit my sister and her new puppy. How totally precious it was to hold (and smell) that precious little pup. That is wonderful that you passed on the info about Ernest. I hope he gets a great home. He is a very good dog.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on March 29, 2014:

Hi, Toni!

I appreciate the information on Ernest (I love that name -- I seem to have an affinity for "e-names" for dogs). I have a couple of contacts who might be interested. Thank you for posting.

I am counting down the days until we meet our McNablett. I am bonding with Molly before I've even met her. I can really use a good dose of puppy breath!

Best -- MJ

Toni on March 29, 2014:

Hi MJennifer,

I recently received an email from Teri (Molly”s breeder) that she has a 4 month old male from one of her litters that the owners had to return due to some serious human medical problems. His name is Ernest. I wish I could take him, but I just can’t at this time. I thought I would mention it here in case some one here on the site is looking for a wonderful McNab pup. I can’t wait for the Earl and Molly update. I am so excited for you.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on March 17, 2014:

Hi, Bob! Yes, our puppy has been born … She made her grand entry on March 5th but I have yet to see photos. As a Johnny Cash fan, I might name a boy dog Sue but certainly not Molly, you're correct! We have been trying to warn Earl that he will have to share his toys -- it has been a challenge for him to get used to sharing life with two kitties (he steals their stuffed mice). Molly will turn his world upside down, I'm afraid. Earl is definitely used to being our soon-to-be-five year old puppy and I hope he never grows out of that puppy-ness even if he does adapt to being the "big brother."

Isn't salmon oil a wonderful thing? I need to reorder some (thanks for reminding!) My black lab definitely benefits from it, too.

I hope to be sharing Earl'n'Molly pics soon!

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on March 17, 2014:

Hi again, MJennifer. I've been checking in almost daily to hear the news on the Molly McNab front. I sure hope the litter wasn't all boys...I assume you wouldn't name him Molly! Sook is doing as well as ever, in fact better than ever in at least one way. In addition to the salmon based dog food I upped his dose of fish oil to about three times what it had been and -- miracle of miracles -- Sook virtually STOPPED SHEDDING! Certainly less than 5% of what it had been. The dose is now a full tablespoon or maybe a little more once a day on his kibbles. A $30 bottle lasts a couple months. We make up at least part of the cost in having to buy fewer dry mop heads. So, that's it for our soon-to-be eight year old PUPPY. Hope to hear something soon bout your (eight DAY old?) puppy.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on March 05, 2014:

Hi, Bob! Molly should make her grand debut in about three days. She's several hundred miles away so I'm not sure if I'll get to see her before pick-up -- although I'm considering it, if I can get everything organized here on the ranch. I am getting itchy for that new-dog smell! You can imagine my excitement. I'm not sure Earl is prepared to share his stuffed toys yet, though … How's Sook?

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on March 04, 2014:

So, Molly McNab will make herself visible soon! I don't know how much you'll get to see/hold her before you get to take her home, but I bet it'll seem like a loooooong time. You might be able to get some great videos of Earl's early reactions. I look forward to hearing all about it.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on March 02, 2014:

Thanks, Toni! Counting down six days until expected delivery date! Woohoo!

Toni on March 02, 2014:

Congratulations MJennifer! I will have to watch the Garcins website to see if she posts pics of the pups. I am so excited for you and can’t wait for your updates :)

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on February 24, 2014:

Toni, Holly should be whelping our own puppy in early March. We can't wait to see how Earl reacts to a new "sister." We've got many adventures planned!

Best -- Mj

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on February 24, 2014:

Selah, congratulations on joining the McNab family! You will be utterly smitten with your new pup. I won't be bringing our new addition home until early May … how will I ever make it? Thank you for commenting and sharing the joy of your new addition. I hope you'll visit again to update!

Best -- MJ

Selah strand on February 23, 2014:

I had heard the name McNab before but I always thought it was the name of one of the families who started the Border Collie Breed. I didn't know it was a breed all in itself!

That said, I'm in the process of buying/adopting a 9 week old McNab right now! I was so excited that I was literally jumping up and down for almost 10 minutes straight! If all goes well, my new puppy will be here in my own home by the end of the week!!!! :) :D :):):):)

Toni Brock on January 30, 2014:

MJennifer, that is sooo exciting. I just received an email from Teri, telling me that Brie is due to whelp in March! I just love her. I can't wait to see what pup you get. There are a few females due to whelp and the are all great dogs.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 29, 2014:

Hi, Toni -- sorry for the delayed reply. Let's just say I'm hoping that Teri's next litter will have a puppy with my name on her! I am keeping everything crossed! Thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello -- and let's hope there will be pictures and "tails" ahead! Best, MJ

Toni Brock on January 16, 2014:

Hi M Jennifer, I am so happy you are getting a puppy soon. Is by chance coming from Teri Garcin in California? I am looking excitedly forward to stories and pictures.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 16, 2014:

Hi, Bob,

I have a habit of choosing for my dogs and horses before they even arrive! I guess I'm like a parent that way. Now, Earl arrived before I knew I was even getting a puppy -- but I already had the name in my head. Our new puppy will be Molly McNab. I do hope someday to hear the story of Sook's name. I know there's a place on Vancouver Island named Sook … am I close?

Best -- Mj

Bob B. on January 16, 2014:

MJennifer, Great news on the new puppy-to-be come May. I hope the process of naming a new puppy is is much fun for you as it always has been for me. Often, it's several days of observing until suddenly the (now-obvious name) just appears. Sook's naming is a very interesting story too long to relate here. Several years ago, Ian, a then-local ultrarunner who has since moved to Arizona had a McNab named Zoroaster. I always assumed there was a good story behind that name but never had the courage to ask...

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 15, 2014:

Awwww, thank you SmartAndFun! We are ridiculously excited and I suspect I will make everyone crazy with puppy photos, puppy tales (tails?) and puppy videos attached to puppy-sized hubs. I'm looking forward to some puppy-meets-horses and cattle videos as well.

Thanks so much!

Best -- MJ

SmartAndFun from Texas on January 15, 2014:

When May and the puppy arrive, please post a hub with TONS of puppy pictures! I can't wait to see the little baby! :)

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 15, 2014:

Hi, Bob! So good to hear from you again. I hope Raven checks in and sees your comment -- that's a good training tip on teaching a reluctant dog. McNabs are so sensitive it is easy for them to be turned off an activity and they do require careful, positive coaching to recover their initiative.

We will be bringing a new McNab puppy into our home in May. Never will four months seems such an eternity! Earl will soon be the middle child instead of the baby. Of course, he now has two kitties to call his own. He was terrified of the little fur balls for three months and now he plays with them, cuddles up with them, and is protective of them.

Bob B. on January 15, 2014:

Hi again, MJennifer. I noted the comment above from Raven319 re her new McNab, Daisy, not fetching nor playing ball. My McNab, Sook, did not fetch nor play ball (tug) when he first arrived from the shelter. What worked for Sook was me rolling the ball slowly toward him while he was lying down. It gently bumped him in the nose, which started to get his attention and interest. Combining the slow roll with an occasional tiny dog biscuit treat (3/4 inch long), and not doing this too often (to avoid him feeling hassled), it didn't take long for Sook to catch on and enjoy. Then, while he had the ball in his mouth, I'd offer one of the tiny treats from a few feet away. When Sook arrived at my feet with the ball, I'd offer the tiny treat in exchange. Then I increased the distance, rolled/threw the ball to one side and Sook's doggy instincts to chase did the rest. Oh, and I soon discovered the fetch, return and drop were so much fun for him that the treat was unnecessary.

SmartAndFun from Texas on January 01, 2014:

I will keep an eye out now that I know about them. I live near Weatherford, Texas, which bills itself as "The Cutting Horse Capitol of the World," so surely there are at least a few McNabs in the area.

Please write a hub about the new McNab when you find one. I'd love to see photos of the pair in action together. :)

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 01, 2014:

Hi, SmartAndFun -- thank you for stopping by! I'm currently searching for a second McNab to add to the family -- twice the McNab ought to mean ten times the fun! I hope you have the chance to meet one in person someday. They're amazing dogs and I always get such a kick out of seeing people meet Earl for the first time -- they're often stunned at his intelligence and funny, quirky ways. With a little luck, I'll get some calves this spring that the McNabs can call their very own.

Thanks again for your kind comment.

Best -- MJ

SmartAndFun from Texas on January 01, 2014:

I loved reading about your McNab, and as a dog lover I can't believe I didn't already know about this breed. So smart, independent and loving -- over all just a really cool dog. I'm jealous! I'd love to have one some day; I have a huge yard but no livestock, so the dog probably wouldn't be too happy here.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on October 25, 2013:

Hi, Raven (and Daisy!) What a lovely comment. I'm so thrilled to hear that Daisy found you and adopted you! (Smart girl, that dog.) You know, I'm not aware of any other sites right now that might be helpful to you -- with a little luck, maybe someone will see this and make a recommendation! If I might recommend an excellent book, though, you may enjoy Bruce Fogle DVM's "The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior." Also ... for an amazing true story of a dog that is also jam-packed with insight into the nature of dogs ... you're in for a treat if you haven't read "Merle's Door." My dog vet recommended it to me since I have quite the dog library.

Just remember that McNabs are far more sensitive than most, and use the least verbal force and volume possible to shape their behavior -- ask, rather than demand -- and think of it as coaching rather than dictating. Have you tried playing laser-tag with Daisy? If she's been conditioned to not play orally (i.e., carry / fetch) she may just LOVE the laser game. Earl goes bonkers over it!

Please keep in touch! You're welcome to look me up through my website (listed on my profile page).

Best wishes!


Raven319 on October 25, 2013:

Thank you MJennifer for your informative and entertaining hub! I just found Daisy at Miranda Rescue in northern California and wasn't sure what she was, but now I know! I have learned a lot from Earl (and thank you Bob, Sook has taught me much, as well). My girl and I have a lot to learn from each other (she's about 9 months and won't fetch or play ball with me, though she does play with me in other ways). Can you recommend good sites for me to read? I have sooooo many questions!

Thanks again!

Raven and Daisy

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on July 19, 2013:

Hi, Bob,

I can't even fathom Earl being brave enough to chase these cats -- although he's slowly starting to recover from the shock of having the infidels in his home. It amazes me that he'll roar like an angry giant when a coyote sets foot on the property, and won't so much as acknowledge bunnies unless they are in the fenced portion of the backyard (they can race around right next to him and it's as if he doesn't even see them), but he's so worried about these cats! Finally, weeks later, he'll let them give him a nose-bump, and even sleep next to him, but as soon as they touch his tail with a paw -- he walks away with his head lowered, the very picture of dejection.

I love hearing Sook's adventures! I'll tell Earl that there is at least one cat-chasing McNab out there, and that perhaps being chased BY cats is not the only avenue.

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on July 19, 2013:

I just re-read your comment from five weeks ago about Earl's attitude wrt cats. That brings back memories. The tag on the cage at the animal shelter (where we got him for only $75) gave the reason his previous owner had given him up: "Chases Cats." My reaction was, "No! Really?" A few weeks after we adopted him, we were in the common area of our condo complex when a cat whizzed by and Sook chased it behind a bush. A loud ROWRR! let me know that Sook had just learned that chasing cats and catching up to them can be two quite different experiences. He trotted our from behind the bushes looking back over his shoulder.... His previous owner had obviously kept him outside because he seemed to lack the ability to distinguish between outside and inside when having to relieve himself. At first I threatened (to no avail) to trade him in on a $100 dog. Then, when I threatened to trade him in on a cat (a CAT?!!!) he got the message. I don't have a cat now to test my theory, but I think that Border Collie-related dogs might have some difficulty accepting cats. This is, of course, surprising for a breed so wonderfully gentle and friendly as a McNab.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on July 17, 2013:

Hi Bob! Wow, that subtle shift of focus is just the sort of thing that makes you really stand back and ponder their intelligence, isn't it? They know and understand each of "their" people so fully. Lately we've been taking Earl and the senior dogs for "rambles" around the property. Earl assumes a middle position, deliberately slowing himself down, so he can keep an eye on me and the two old, slow dogs, rather than keeping up with my husband who forges on ahead without us. Earl is clearly looking out for us as he stops and looks back at frequent and regular intervals.

We recently brought home two kittens -- he has not forgiven us yet.

Best -- MJ

Bob B. on July 17, 2013:

My McNab, Sook, is very alert (ears up, forward and locked; eyes wide open and focused, but not staring; etc.), especially when I or my wife is working in the kitchen preparing food. For me, Sook's attention is focused up at the food I'm chopping or otherwise preparing. For my wife, who has moderately advanced arthritis in her hands, he instead concentrates his attention at the floor in front of her. Smart dog. More McNab smiles.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on June 10, 2013:

Thanks for your insightful comment, Epbooks. Funny -- one of Earl's many nicknames is "E.P." You're so right; dogs are far more attentive and responsive to a very quiet person. It's the same with the horses: if you want a responsive animal, you use the lightest cues possible. The more forceful you get, verbally or physically, the more they harden themselves to what you're communicating to them. Isn't it amazing how few people seem to grasp that?

Thanks for stopping by and comment! -- MJ

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on June 10, 2013:

Fantastic hub. I loved that your husband said: "Do I write it for one, or all three?" How awesome. I also was nodding my head in agreement that dogs don't need to be yelled at in order to hear- a common mistake that SO many people make. Dogs actually obey a yeller LESS than they would someone who speaks in a calming tone. Voted up!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on June 08, 2013:

Bob, that is so McNab, isn't it? Earl is so very gentle when he's given a treat or a bone, as well. When he goes with me in the car, we have a little ritual: I take a large biscuit along, and once we get in the vehicle, he gently nudges my arm. I ignore him until we hit the blacktop, and then I reach back with the bone without saying anything. He oh-so-gently and slowly reaches out and takes it so lightly I almost don't feel his touch. Funny thing is, he won't eat his biscuits in the car -- he puts them in a pile, and I reuse the same ones again and again!

We adopted kittens recently -- and Earl is very unhappy about it. At first he was afraid of them; now he just resents them. He is not a greedy dog about food or treats, but he'll sneak in and eat their cat food late at night, and although he takes very good care of his stuffed toys, he has stolen their little stuffed mice and shredded them to bits.

Bob B. on June 08, 2013:

Another laugh generated by my McNab, Sook. We hide a chew in the house each day and Sook excitedly tears around to find it. We can hear his "CHOMP" even from another room when he finds it. Last week, I'd run out of new places to hide it. My wife was reading, so I slipped it between my wife and the seat of her reading chair with only a half inch or so showing. My wife looked slightly apprehensive and told me, "If Sook bites me in the (bleep), you're in trouble." In true McNab fashion, Sook saved the day for me by being VERY careful with his teeth when he found the chew.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on June 02, 2013:

Oh, Bob, that's a riot! That's such a perfect example of McNabs -- they predict actions (even if sometimes they're incorrect) based on their doggy understanding of physics. I like to play laser tag and "eyeglass tag" with Earl, shining the laser light or the reflection from my eyeglass lens on the floor and watch him romp around and chase the light. The funny thing is that he understands the light source, and he will often skip the reflection and go straight to the source. It is similar to how he understands that when my husband talks to him over the Facetime program on the computer, he will "talk" back for a minute and then run down into the basement where my husband is. So they have an understanding of physics and technology ... and mirrors!

So glad to hear from you. I love to hear Sook's adventures.

Bob B. on June 02, 2013:

My McNab, Sook, gave us another special laugh. We bought him a new tug toy that he loves to chase. With Sook standing to the side of the bottom of the stairway in the living room, I threw the tug toy up to the second floor landing. But Sook watched only the first six feet of travel before he tore out of the living room and to the exact place in the dining room where the tug toy would have landed if the stairway had not been there. He looked everywhere in the dining room and seemed confused while we roared with laughter. He had done what some baseball outfielders are able to do: take off at the crack of the bat and run to the exact spot where the ball will be coming down...except they do not have to contend with an intervening stairway!

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 30, 2013:

VVladimir, you write beautifully in English, and I sincerely hope you'll be writing about those dogs. I look forward to learning more about them. And yes, Earl is certainly one of the most trust-worthy, reliable of friends -- he is a very honest dog, and there's not a bit of treachery in him!

I am looking forward to your hubs!


VVladimir from Novi Sad, Serbia on May 30, 2013:

I apologize for assuming you didn't hear about Croat-shepherd. Your memory serves you very well, these dogs are present in Macedonia, in pretty large number. But, I'm not quite sure if it is prevalent dog breed there. I would say that one another sheep-herding guard dog is Macedonian representative - The Macedonian shepherd dog "Sharplaninec" (from his origin "Shar Planina", the "Shar" mountains in Macedonia)- Also, very thankful, brave and smart dog, but it is not dog for "beginners", or just "dog fans". Requires special management and conditions. With this dog you must be confident, stable person, strict pack leader. "Dogs are like their owners", and this rule corresponds with this kind of dogs in its full meaning. Life is easier when you have just funny, silly friend you can always trust beside you (and Earl just look like one to me :).

English language is not my native, so I am not sure how good novelist could I become, but there is certainly a lot of material to write a hub or two on these dogs. Maybe, one day.


Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 28, 2013:

Hi, VVladimir -- what an interesting comment! I do believe I've heard of the Croatian sheepdog. If my memory serves me correctly, a student of mine from Macedonia had a Croatian sheepdog -- does that sound likely, or am I having memory failure? I do love learning about the dogs that are prevalent in various countries, and I often puzzle people from other regions when I meet them as I like to ask, "So, what's the most popular dog in your country, and what do you consider the national dog?"

I haven't yet looked at your profile, but when I do, I hope I'll see a hub on the Croatian sheepdog -- if not, perhaps in the future?

Thanks for your comment!

-- MJ

VVladimir from Novi Sad, Serbia on May 28, 2013:

Nice intro to McNab dog breed. Never heard of this breed before, but I like herding type of dogs. I am proud owner of Croatian sheepdog. You probably haven't heard about this breed, 'cause it's mostly spread in southeastern Europe area (former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania). They can be either black or white, and there are varieties of this breed. It is really hard to see difference between three very similar breeds - see this photo: . Look for "Croatian sheepdog" on YT to see more. There is a saying here: "You don't just go and buy croatian shepherd puppy. It should be given to you as a gift - meaning: you have to deserve dog like that". Anyway, great hub. Have fun and enjoy with Earl.

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 22, 2013:

Hi Toni! My husband is still chuckling today. I think he'll be amused by that little joke for years to come. Thank you for your comment and for the website information. I will definitely take a look. Perhaps our future McNabs will be family!

Best wishes,


Toni Brock on May 22, 2013:

Hi Jennifer

That was a cruel joke mean husband :)

I am patiently waiting for my next McNab pup to be born in July. If you have extra time, check out Teri Garcin' web page. Garcin ranch on a Google search. She is in California. The website is a work of art. Happy puppy hunting. Earl will be a wonderful mentor.


Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 21, 2013:

Hi, Bob!

Oh, what a wonderful list of McNab gifts -- and I especially thank you for the very last one -- that's the loveliest thing to say. It's funny how you captured McNabs so concisely and so well. We always laugh at the clitter-clatter noise Earl's toenails make at two a.m. when he trots down the hallway in the darkness on what we call a "mission." It's always trot away, accomplish mission (i.e., midnight snack, grab a favorite toy, etc.) and trot back. We love the sound. And that surprise you mention ... it's daily. They are such insightful creatures. Lately we've been taking the dogs on a daily ramble about the perimeter trail on our property. Earl will always wait for me when I'm walking the slower, old dogs -- he sits on the trail ahead and won't go along with my husband until the rest of us are caught up.

I've been itching to get a puppy, and my husband played the cruelest trick on me this week while we were on vacation through most of the western states north of us. We were driving through some small town in northern Wyoming and my husband casually says, "McNab puppies for sale!" I shot up from my seat like a prairie dog, only to find he was just playing a joke on me. He laughed like a little kid to see my quick reaction. I hope he laughs as hard when he comes home to find another McNab in the house!

Bob B. on May 21, 2013:

From "my" McNab, Sook, I have learned that being a McNab-owned person means:

-- not having to apologize for my dog's behavior

-- having alert energy and enthusiasm in the house

-- much more wag, much less bark

-- wonderfully expressive ears and eyebrows

-- the clatter of claws on hardwood floors

-- human/dog activities: fetch, seek, hike, jog, etc.

-- tail thumps on the kitchen floor at breakfast time

-- energetic non-verbal communication

-- surprise ("How did he know THAT?")

-- and so much more...including having the maximum appreciation for

this superb hub.

Many thanks, MJennifer

Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 04, 2013:

Thanks, Sgbrown! I also feel that fate brought us Earl as well. Although I initially had no idea what to expect from the breed other than generic stock-dog characteristics, I could not have chosen a better match or better dog. He's a gem. Thanks for your terrific comment!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 04, 2013:

I have never heard of this breed, but they sound like wonderful dogs! It sounds to me fate stepped in and sent you the perfect dog for you and your family. This is a great hub, wonderful information and so well written! Voted up and interesting! :)