Marcy has experience caring for McNab dogs and raising a McNab puppy.
McNab Puppies: Cuteness in Common
Unlike human babies, all puppies have cuteness in common (I'm only partly kidding about the baby wisecrack). Any healthy puppy will boast spunk and curiosity, wags and whimpers, playfulness, and their own special form of destructiveness. They'll have bright eyes, warm pink puppy bellies, and those amazing phenomena that cause dog lovers to instantly sigh in bliss: puppy breath. There's that special way they have of trotting so that their paws lightly slap the floor—yes, it's a pitter-patter-paw sound, and it's pure music.
From there, though, puppies have infinite variation. There are short puppies, tall puppies, big-pawed puppies, fawn-legged puppies, curly-coated puppies, and puppies with coats so fine they are more like baby seals. There are puppies with big attitudes, puppies with less attitude, and puppies with so much sweetness they'll raise your blood sugar level just by resting their head on their paws. Best of all, there are McNab puppies.
What's So Different About a McNab Puppy?
McNabs are bred to be working dogs—stock dogs, specifically. Bred to cover vast sections of land while herding the wilder types of cattle, they remain primarily working dogs on working ranches rather than over-bred show dogs. They have been carefully selectively bred for specific traits, both physical and mental, that suit them to their environment and their job. Thankfully, they remain non-AKC, thus discouraging that bane of registry dogs: breeding for "typiness." They're bred for performance. As a result, they may not always fit a narrow "breed standard." Instead, they're form-to-function, and they're often crossed with other stock dog types to produce specific traits that a breeder or rancher desires.
Here is an introduction to the breed: A Personal Introduction to a McNab Dog. What makes a McNab puppy unique, though, I'll focus on here. Because unique they are. Certainly, they come with all the standard puppy features, but they have several options of their own. For those of you who may be having your first joyful experience with a McNab puppy, there are some things you should know.
McNabs Are Independent Thinkers
McNabs are bred to be independent thinkers, rather than wholly submissive followers of the human-given direction. That doesn't mean they're untrainable; anything but. In fact, it's often said that McNabs train themselves. They learn by watching and they'll stun you with how quickly they pick up on things you didn't even realize you were teaching them—which is often good, but can be a double-edged sword. Stock dogs in general are prone to being visual learners, as dogs will often be placed with experienced dogs to learn the business. McNabs clearly do so, but they'll also learn by watching you. This means you must be cognizant of the fact that any moment you are with your McNab, you're essentially training them. Just like when handling a horse, you're either training or untraining—so make sure you're aware of what that signifies.
Now, about that independent thought: McNabs tend to be problem solvers. Rather than staring at you constantly and waiting for your command, they'll often figure out the job and then do it for themselves—sometimes, not exactly the way you thought it should be done. They're highly intelligent and sometimes they'll do the job better than the way you planned. They are also bred for working cattle rather than sheep, and not as feedlot dogs but as dogs on large spreads. That means they "go wide." What this means to you is that when you call your McNab, he may not run straight to you. Our Earl will often run away from us when we give him a direction. For example, I'll say, "Earl, let's go to the barn," and as I walk straight to the barn, Earl will run off and take a roundabout route to get there. He always beats me there, though. He is following that fascinating genetic code that tells him innately, "Earl, there might be stragglers in the brush. Go the long way round and bring 'em in."
Little Molly McNab is but eight weeks old as I write this. Already, this tendency is clear in her. As she chased Earl about yesterday, she often ran out and around an obstacle rather than paralleling him. (The cats haven't figured this out quite yet.) She is already an independent thinker and clearly makes her own decisions when we are rambling about the ranch.
Aiming to Please and Quick to Learn
McNabs are famous for their desire to please their owner and perform their jobs well. This translates to an oft-keen sensitivity. Though physically tough dogs with courage and stamina, they require a gentle and oft-permissive hand in raising and training them. One word can devastate them. We learned that with Earl and are constantly aware of it as we raise Molly. These are not dogs that need to be yelled at, but rather guided; you don't break them, you shape them.
They are ridiculously quick learners. Molly was ranch-bred and had not been indoors up to the point we picked her up six weeks ago. She had not been in a crate; she had been in a fabulous puppy corral with plenty of visual stimuli and fresh air. We crated her for much of our 500+ mile drive home. She was quick to realize that the crate was her refuge, not her prison, and she settled in for a happy nap when we'd place her back inside. On puppy breaks (where we used great caution not to expose her to areas other traveling dogs had left their mark—and bacteria and viruses) she stayed with us, came when called, and did not so much as consider romping off to meet strangers.
On arriving home, the little girl went out every two hours throughout her first night. She had no accidents in the large home crate. We made sure she was allowed to continue her outdoor exploration after doing her business—we didn't want her to learn to hold it when she went out, as the smart dogs quickly figure out so they don't have to go right back in. When we returned her to her crate, we gave her a treat each time (and of course, she had her many crate toys).
By the very first morning, Molly was already running to the door when she needed to eliminate. She has had many accidents—puppies do that—but she has always made a good-faith effort to get to the door. Sometimes her little bladder just couldn't keep up, but her mind was always in the right spot. It helps that she spends much of the day outdoors with me.
Equally impressive was how quickly Molly learned to sit. I began to teach her by holding a training bit in front of her nose while gently saying, "Molly, sit." She fell back on her plump rear end as she reached for the treat. That was all it took, and I'm not exaggerating: since then, she has happily plunked that puppy booty down at one word of "sit" as I hold the treat out. That night, I mentioned to my husband to say, "Sit," to her when she wanted to go back into the house. He did so in a quiet voice; she sat; we opened the door and she proudly walked through. They do learn that quickly. As such, we both talk to the dogs in conversational tones as we're doing things throughout each day. Earl has an impressive vocabulary, and Molly is already well on her way.
The McNab Lifestyle
In addition to the going-wide tendency, and the independent thought process that makes a great stock dog, McNabs are also going to want to work hard, play hard and herd cats. Yep, herd cats. More on that later. They require a great deal of exercise and intellectual stimulation. They are not intended to be apartment dogs and it is cruel to limit their range and activity. If you are an urban apartment-dweller with a sedentary lifestyle, please do not acquire a McNab puppy. Established breeds are bred for very specific drives and instincts. It is a great cruelty to deprive a dog of a lifestyle and activity that they are bred for (unless a legitimate substitute for that lifestyle or activity can be offered). There are so many incredible dog breeds available; please consider a dog that matches your lifestyle rather than making your dog "fit" into it. I promise there is a dog that is already tailored to your circumstances! It may not be the McNab.
Cattle dogs want to run. They want to round up other creatures. They want to leap over things, roll in horse manure, and chase. They may nip at heels and at noses. A conscientious and committed breeder will screen the potential buyer and make sure that they will provide the acreage, lifestyle and philosophy that will allow their McNab to thrive. Many will not let a dog go to a non-working home—and bless them for that. McNabs love to work.
The McNab puppy has two speeds: full "ON" and full "OFF." They play hard with great bursts of romping energy and then they will sleep soundly. Their schedule is, "Play, eat, pee, sleep, repeat." Unlike many breeds that tend toward obesity, McNabs will often prefer to leave their meal in order to play. We often must sit beside Earl, our five-year-old McNab, until he finishes eating—if we leave the room, he runs to be with us, fearful he'll miss a chance to run or go do livestock chores. We take extra care to ensure that Molly gets her meals and then has a chance to rest her tummy. McNabs love their treats but are not as food motivated as Labradors or Golden Retrievers are. We free-feed dry food plus give regular feedings of top-quality canned food, as well as offering plenty of fresh carrots and other vegetables. It is not normal for a healthy, young McNab to have a weight issue. If one does, something is likely very wrong indeed in their lifestyle or feeding program.
Runners, Not Roamers
We were careful to choose McNabs as "our" dog breed based on our lifestyle, needs and preferences. One trait we had to have was a dog that was not a roamer. We live adjacent to Tonto National Forest, filled with hunters, recreational shooters, dog-eating coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, dirt-bikers and off-road drivers. It is a hot and arid place dotted with cactus and spiny plants of great variety. Dogs that stray do not last here. I cannot have the heartbreak. Neither do I want to be roaming the streets at night yelling for my dog, as many of my neighbors do. I can no longer have a dog that chooses to roam.
McNabs, even as puppies, are inherently non-roamers. That's not to say that there aren't naughty errant Mcnabs out there; I'm saying that it is not a breed trait. They recognize their home and property boundaries through some strange Mcnab ability all their own. From her first day here I took Molly to the barn with me for chores, as Earl did Earl things around the property. Whenever Molly lost sight of me, she'd head back to the front porch and there she'd wait—just as Earl has always done.
The Angsty McNab
McNabs are sensitive dogs. I repeat that again and again because it's critical information. There are tough and obstinate breeds of dog who fare well with heavy-handed, loud, rough handlers, and there are sensitive dogs who succeed with gentle, quiet, thoughtful owners. The McNab requires a kind and gentle owner who will not destroy their wonderful motivation and psyche.
Earl is a highly-sensitive dog, keyed in to my own emotional state to such a degree that if I sigh in mock exasperation, his ears drop and he runs to me with a worried expression. If we tell Molly the McNablet "No" in even the quietest voice, Earl moves toward us with the worried ears on. He cannot stand conflict or scolding— and we are happy to avoid both. We realize we have a nurturing, kind, acutely sensitive dog and we cherish that. I've known cowboys who had outstanding stock dogs that ultimately traded them for different breeds; they were too abrupt and harsh, and the dogs didn't work well for them. A Catahoula or Kelpie is better suited to a more aggressive handler, while a Mcnab or Border Collie is sure to be devastated if spoken to the wrong way. Naturally, individuals within the breed vary greatly; however, as a general guideline, don't choose a McNab if you're one of those folks who think all dogs are naturally deaf and you can only speak to them in a shout.
If you are handling a McNab puppy, it's a good idea to have varying "degrees" of commands. For example, rather than just "No," it's wise to teach them, "Not now," or "Gentle," or "That's all." If you want a dog to work livestock one day, don't yell "No!" the first time they give chase—after all, no means NO. The more sensitive dogs may never want to work livestock again if you do so. Instead, put them on hold with a "not now," or "wait." They're smart enough to know the difference. You can even incorporate the command into feeding by holding them back from the food and saying, "wait" before giving them, "Okay!" and releasing them to eat.
Other Traits You May Observe in Your McNab Puppy
Again, there are variations within every breed and line. These are general observations about Mcnabs.
- They're not noisy dogs unless they've been made neurotic by poor handling, excessive confinement, etc. McNabs, even the puppies, generally only bark when there's a darned good reason to do so. Their barks are also easily interpreted: Earl, for example, has a specific bark that we only hear when there's a rattlesnake nearby. He will not bark at the trash truck, people's vehicles that he recognizes, or other routine occurrences—but he will bark when a stranger drives up.
- They're not dig-happy. A McNab is not going to tear up your turf or bury his bones like hounds will do. If they dig, it's for a specific reason—as in when it is so hot they need to scratch out a cooler place to lie down.
- They're not aggressive dogs if handled and socialized properly as puppies.
- They shed. Lots. Give them salmon oil on a daily basis. I feed "coat booster" appetizers that contain the salmon oil and other nutrients (see link to top right for the one I feed.)
- Although puppies do chew, especially when teething, I've observed my McNabs to be far, far less prone to chewing things that don't belong to them (bad chewing!) than other breeds I've had. Give them plenty of toys, tell them what's theirs and what's yours, and they'll usually leave your things alone.
- They're herders, and will often want to run right in front of tires and wheels of oncoming vehicles. Use caution!
- McNabs are gentle dogs and although not necessarily protective, they're nurturing. On our rambles, Earl is always cautious to look back and ensure the older dogs, puppies and slower humans are okay. He won't forge ahead and leave me or the older dogs behind.
For McNab Owners and Prospective Owners
Tips on Raising Your McNab
Here are some tips for raising your own McNab pup.
- Provide appropriate mental stimulation. McNabs are thinkers. Talk to them, take them places, show them things.
- Don't be overbearing or forceful.
- Speak and give commands in a quiet, conversational tone.
- Praise well and often.
- Offer abundant exercise—but not to such strenuous excess that your puppy will develop a growth disorder such as epiphysitis.
- McNabs are often ivermectin-sensitive dogs. Discuss alternative wormers with your veterinarian.
- Realize your McNab is watching everything you do and picking up on your feelings and behaviors.
- Do not keep them closely confined in small spaces for great lengths of time.
- Be consistent. If something is never acceptable, don't ever allow it. It will only confuse the dog and be unfair to them to later discipline them. If something is sometimes acceptable, offer a unique and consistent command for when it is appropriate.
- McNabs tend to be noise-sensitive. Expose them to a variety of noises early in their puppyhood. Do so in a positive, upbeat manner. Don't "teach" them to be afraid by being overly coddling. When your McNab is frightened, don't feed his fear by acting as if he has good reason to be frightened—get happy and upbeat and go about your business so he realizes everything is just fine.
Now, About That Cat-Herding Thing
When we first acquired two tiny kittens last year, Earl (already a four-year-old) was devastated. He was terrified of those two bundles of fur—even though he would eagerly chase off the large bobcat that hangs around the barn. He'd never seen a kitty before we brought the youngsters home. Now, he adores his kittens and is gentle and loving to them—and he plays with them.
Molly the McNablet, though, had been around adult barn cats since birth. No fear for her! However, our two now-year-old kitties had never seen a rambunctious puppy. The paw was on the other foot. Froggy Isabella promptly laid down the iron-law-of-the-paw and smacked Molly in a presumptive first strike, whereas Shotgun Willie decided Molly was a new and wonderful playmate. Molly herds Willie, nipping at his rear end, and even ambushes him as he sleeps, pouncing on top of him. As for Froggy Isabella, she has established the necessary boundaries and Molly quickly learned to accept them. All is well and good in the McNab-kitty chaos world in which we live.
Questions & Answers
Question: I have two rescue dogs, one looks and acts so very much like a McNab, Luna. The other looks like a Border Collier terrier - Lily, she is fully grown but looks like a puppy Border Collie - a forever puppy! Is there a test to find out if McNab is in Luna or Border Collie is in Lily?
Answer: You can do a canine DNA test to check for the breed. They sell these tests on Amazon.
© 2014 Marcy J. Miller
Sandra D. Webb on August 13, 2020:
I adopted an 8 month old puppy from Boxers and Buddies in Reno Nevada. I was told he was a Great Dane and Labrador Mix. I was told at Day Care that I had a Mc Nab. I never heard of this breed and find so many others have not as well. We have had a few problems but solved them. I love this precious boy dearly and I do take him to day care. He plays for five hours constantly with the other dogs. When I have walked him he actually pulls out of his harness when he sees another dog to play with. I honestly thought he has been raised with other dogs but think it's been in shelters. He was found on the freeway and the previous owner couldn't handle the bathroom in the house problem and wasn't able to solve it. Now the problem, I love this boy and when I read that I am being cruel to him by keeping him it is makes me ill. I live in a townhouse. Walking him isn't enough exercise he needs to play with friends. I really wish you could tell me I'm not being cruel by keeping him.
Barb on September 16, 2019:
I just came acrossed your page... I have the wonderful blessing of a McNab in our family also. Izzy has a long story how she came to be part of our tribe but she has blessed us each and every day. My daughter says we need to have custodial visits set up because everyone wants time with her and she is eager to share her love with each of us in the family. I look forward to future postings. Will be looking to breed my girl next year if you have know any breeders. I love this breed and several family members already have their requests in and are holding off for one of her pups. Thanks for the info
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 29, 2019:
Hi, Diane. At that age, it's normal for Mylo to be mouthy and to chew. Redirecting the behavior is the best approach; when you catch him chewing, tell him in a low voice, "Mylo, LEAVE IT." Then immediately give him something positive to do, whether it's "Sit," or "Mylo, take this," while offering him an approved toy. I've found with my McNabs that teaching them "Not now" or "Leave it," is better in many instances than "No."
As for mouthing and biting you, use "no," and give him a positive command. Good luck, Diane!
Diane on April 28, 2019:
l just bought a mcnab puppy and needing assistance in how to stop him from chewing up my cords, l gave him lots of toys but hes still chewing, also he wont stop bitting me how do l get him out of that. mylo is 2 and half months old, mylo was 6weeks old when l bought him and hes a family pet not a working dog. tyvm
SUSAN OLSEN on February 17, 2019:
Thank you Scott for your report on your McNab . I inherited mine from my son when the dog was 3 months old. Now I am concerned that at 80 I am not able to give him enough exercise ...since I do not have a ranch, a yard etc. I am encouraged to hear that walking on a leash and an hour at the dog park is enough exercise.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on January 17, 2019:
Vikki on January 17, 2019:
Ron on December 16, 2018:
How long have you had McNabs
Kenna McHugh from Northern California on September 17, 2018:
I have a McNab. She's a great dog, they are a special breed.
RTalloni on September 17, 2018:
They are so very cute and your description is delightful and compelling. In reading through I'm thinking a McNab could turn me into a dog owner, especially since they do not roam but stay home.
Barbara Huntington on September 17, 2018:
We just got home from Giesta Island where someone told me Tashi is a McNab. She looks just like the first picture on Wikipedia. I have a few stories about her on my blog. Barbarahuntington.com from a few years ago (search on puppy). Eager to learn more. Can send pix
Scott Johnson 47 on March 29, 2018:
My first McNab, Jimmy, died last spring after 17 years of joy with him. Jimmy had a vocabulary of around 1000 words (English and Spanish actually), I never had to "train" him - he was happy to figure things out on his own. If he wanted to go outside, no problem, that French handle on the patio door was easily figured out. He would even nudge the door closed behind him when he observed that's what I would do each time.
For months, we couldn't figure out what was wrong with the TV.. if we left the house, it was usually on when we came back after a short trip. Problem solved.. for "longer" stretches, we would put Jimmy in the back yard to romp around, for only an hour or two we would leave him in the house and he had figured out the red button on the remote would turn it on. Not necessarily to animal planet.. but something was better than nothing I guess. After that, we left his favorite shows on.
Horses were fascinating to Jimmy. Just smelling one from the car window would drive him insane with excitement. He had never been around a horse, he didn't actually want to get close to one, but he would stare with amazement.
The only thing I wasn't that successful at teaching him was pheasant hunting.. he was happy as can be to be along for the trip - but either the nose wasn't good enough or he was too easily distracted.. but it was fun to bring him along just the same.
This weekend we're getting our second McNab. I cute little girl named Valencia. Like Jimmy, she's a cute brown/red color with tan features, eyebrows, and a white chest. Unlike other dogs, this breed lives a long life, most certainly contributing to their trainability and intelligence. At 47, I'll be eligible for social security by the time Valencia is reaching her end of life.. so an important consideration is how long of a commitment this is. I'll probably get a GSP or a Vizsla as well in a couple of years, McNabs are a little "difficult" as the single dog in the family for empty nesters, but I'll have Valencia just hold the leash for the other one when we go for walks (we do have leash laws after all - just doesn't actually say the dog has to "wear" the leash).
Linda on December 30, 2016:
Great article. Thanks!!
Ronald Prentice on August 12, 2016:
I lived in Northern Calif actually rode on the McNab ranch, spent numerous hours and days gathering cattle. I hAve raised McNabs for 45 years. You are misinformed about being touchy about loud noises. My McNabs are good at hunting bids with a shotgun or anything loud. My bloodlines have produced a 4 time world champ in Frisbee and the ancestors won the hedit at the Red Bluff bull sale.
Jeanie on November 21, 2015:
I rescued a McNab under the discrption of a pure breed Border Collie. I new she was not Border Collie when I got her. Several years after I rescued her, I was at an outdoor cafe eating when two beautiful stately women and a gentleman who looked like a ford model walked up to my table and ask if Snickers my McNab was my dog. I said yes and they ask if I new she was a McNab. I told them I suspected she was when they introduced themselves as Alexander McNabs grandaughters by his mistress. You never know what surprises come with a rescue dog!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 07, 2015:
I don't know anything about McNabs so I was happy to see your hub. What an interesting breed. Congrats on HOTD.
Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on June 07, 2015:
This was a delight to read, and it makes me think of my Sweet Angel--a Pomeranian. He is full of energy and wants my attention most of his waking hours.
I am sure Sweetie would not make a good ranch dog because he thinks other animals are just that--animals. He is so smart therefore, I believe he thinks he is human.
I spoil my animals, but they do mind and are well mannered. I loved your McNab pictures and videos. A great job and thanks for sharing.
I am sharing with Twitter, and pinning on my re-pin board on Pinterest.
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on June 07, 2015:
What a fun read and great videos! I wasn't familiar with the McNab breed, so I learned a lot. I also suddenly realized why Daisy (our Lab) doesn't go "piddle" right away when we take her out. Clearly, she knows when we're in a hurry so she holds it, as you described, until she can have some exploring time. She's a smart girl, too! Congrats to you on Hub of the Day honors!
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on June 07, 2015:
Hi Marcy, Molly is such a cute puppy and sounds like an easy dog to raise. My puppy listens great for me, because I am consistent with the same commands, but dad throws away the rules. Great hub and nice to meet you. Stella
kbdressman from Clinton Township, Michigan on June 07, 2015:
Thanks for this article! I love puppies, but don't know much about them. It was neat to read your explanation of the McNab puppies and learn a few things!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on June 07, 2015:
OMG! Such adorable photos... and good info, too. Congrats on Hub of the Day! Well deserved.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 07, 2015:
Congrats on HOTD, MJ! Molly is so adorable. If I ever want to have a dog as a pet in the future, I might consider the McNab breed. Voted up!
John Albu from Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102 on June 07, 2015:
I've heard about this bread before, but had no idea that they were working dogs, and all of the other qualities listed here. Thanks for the info!
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on June 07, 2015:
Congrats on HOTD!
What an interesting article. This sounds like a wonderful breed of dog. Sadly, though, our dog-owning days are over; we no longer have the physical stamina ourselves to keep up with a dog, so we are now a cat-only family.
Voted up, interesting, useful and pinned.
Michelle MA on June 04, 2015:
We have a McNab dog, Hanna that was found in the Tijuana estuary on the Mexican border as a small pup. We took her in to find her a home as we already had a Shepard Husky mix with epilepsy and two cats. You're so right about how quick they are to learn. Hanna proved her intelligence to me by quickly learning sit, come, stay and drop all in one afternoon. I didn't want to keep her at first but she is the best dog I have ever had and won my heart. She is fiercely loyal but extremely friendly and gentle.
When our Shepard mix would have seizures Hanna would be right there to lick her face and help lead her outside. Hanna even comforted her when our Shepard mix passed one afternoon. We found them laying together in the backyard.
My husband and I have always stressed the importance of adopting from shelters but we don't see how we could ever adopt anything other than a McNab.
Laurie12734 on May 05, 2015:
My McNab puppy will arrive in my home May 22! Thank you for a great preview and the sage advice to prepare for him.
I would also love to see updated photos and video clips of Molly and Earl.
Renee on April 05, 2015:
I was so happy to see this post! I have never read such an accurate description of McNabs! I have a a three year year old male and was blessed enough to welcome a 9 week old female to our family yesterday. For us, there is truly no better dog breed. Your advice on traing was spot on. Our 3 year old potty trained in 2 days and he is so sensitive and in tune with me that I can whisper commands or ask my daughter to get something and he will go get it or try his best to do so. I have never met a more sensitive, loving, loyal, and smart animal. And for all of you beach lovers, he goes out on the ocean on our surfboards and paddle boards! Thank you for this article and helping educate people on McNabs!
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on August 31, 2014:
Hi, Bob! I've recently taken some new Molly photos and will try to update both my McNab blog (The McNab Pages) and article here this coming week. You're right, her ears remain in the lead in the growth-race but she's filling them a bit better these days. She's mostly butt right now! And attitude -- wonderful, spunky sweet attitude. I like the way you describe "semi-klutzy, hyper-cuteness" -- that pretty much describes our Molly! Check back in later this week and I'll see if I can get the new pics edited and added! Hope you and yours are all well --
Bob B. on August 16, 2014:
Hi, MJennifer. Have been looking in now and then but, so far, I've missed any images of Molly McNab since she was quite young. Since my McNab, Sook, was a year old when we got him, I missed his half-grown stage and all the semi-klutzy, hyper-cuteness as different parts seem to grow at different rates. As I recall, Molly's ears seemed waaaay ahead of every thing else in the last photo I recall.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on August 07, 2014:
Hi, Krissa! I'm glad your brother's dog won you over. That ability to distinguish people by name is classic McNab. Our Molly will fetch my husband, run to various parts of the ranch (I.e., barn, arena, chicken coop, etc.) on command. It amazes me how she recognizes just what I'm telling her. Now she's learning hand signals -- equally impressive.
Thank you for commenting!
Best -- Mj
Krissa Klein from California on August 06, 2014:
My brother has a McNab-Pitbull mix that was rescued as a puppy. I'm not usually a huge dog fan, but that dog is amazing, and super smart. He knows the names of all the family members, and can be told "Go find [name]!" and he'll go outside and track them down. It's impressive.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 23, 2014:
Good for you, Rebeccamealey! I've loved the dogs I've rescued, as well.
Best -- MJ
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 23, 2014:
I don't think I could bring myself to BUY a dog when there are so many in shelters on death row!
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 23, 2014:
Thanks so much, Ologsinquito! I appreciate that. It is such a unique breed and I love showing our McNabs off to people.
Best -- Mj
ologsinquito from USA on May 23, 2014:
These are very cute dogs. I'm pinning this to my Dogs and Puppies board.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 09, 2014:
Lisa, I know exactly what you mean about those sweet, happy, naughty dogs. My mother and I were reflecting on dogs we'd had and she commented what a good dog Bonnie (the foxhound) was. I laughed, commenting to the effect of, "Bonnie was the worst dog I've ever known. She dug up the yard, killed my chickens, peed on the carpet, buried my grandmother's socks, jumped the fence and ran, climbed the pine tree and got into a fight with a raccoon, and got sprayed by a skunk …. but I loved her with all my heart and miss her to this day." Even the worst criminal dogs like Bonnie are part of us -- she was my closest companion from my teenage years to adulthood.
So happy to connect with you! I hope you'll be here a lot -- I'm looking forward to reading all of your work that I can.
Best -- Mj
Lisa René LeClair from the ATL on May 09, 2014:
OMG... Sadie is our dog and she is pretty good about staying in the backyard, but a lot of times when I take her for a walk, she will jump out into the street if she sees a mailman, etc. She's pulled it right out of my hand a couple of times and last week she took off in the woods near our house. *Sigh* But she is the sweetest, happiest dog I've ever met and we love her dearly!
Thanks for your comment on my page as well... It truly meant a lot to me! I haven't been on here much (try to do one a week, but sometimes it's hard as the hubs take me a lot longer to write than my other (less serious) blogs. Glad I found you! ;-)
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 09, 2014:
Lisa, I have always loved Corgis! They have wonderful spunk and such a big-dog personality. I've never had the pleasure of owning one, though. Roamers are too stressful for me now and I can't run as fast as I used to. I had a foxhound from the time I was 12 until I was 28, and what a roamer she was -- over the six-foot wall and off she'd go. I adored her but oh, those memories of running along the roadside, leash in hand and tears on my face -- I still recall my constant panic each time she'd scale that wall and take off right before my eyes.
Thank you for visiting and saying hello!
Best -- Mj
Lisa René LeClair from the ATL on May 09, 2014:
And I thought OUR dog was cute... I think I want one of THESE! We have a Corgi mix. She is super sweet and great with our 6YO, but will take off in a hot second if she sees/hears a squirrel, FedEx truck or the mailman. She almost got run over by a bus once when she took off after it. I love that the McNab is not a roamer. They say "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," but maybe yours can teach ours a thing or two! ;-)
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 08, 2014:
Toni, training dogs is easy. Training a husband has been an entirely different endeavor. The cats, however, have had no problem training him at all -- they lift a whisker and he jumps up to do whatever they bid.
And those McNabs … they are smart enough to just "get it." Love goes farther than anything else!
Toni Brock on May 08, 2014:
I just laughed out loud reading your last post. So funny! It almost the exact opposite in our house. I, admittedly, am the wet noodle at our house. Fortunately we still have great dogs. They are so smart, they have figured out what is ok and when its ok :)
Thank you for your wonderful hubs,
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 07, 2014:
Traveler, it strikes me as funny that these black-and-white dogs are so smart about black-and-white speech! They require nuances, don't they? I'm using a lot of "not now" and "wait" commands with Molly (hmmm, as I type this I see she's walking away with a piece of paper in her mouth -- gee, is that "no," a "maybe," or a "only if you're going to use that for a paw-painting" moment?) She's already figured out that "no" means "no" unless my husband is anywhere in the same zip code, in which case there are no rules, none, ever. I've always been big on consistency. Then I got married and realized it's impossible when two very different individuals raise a puppy together!
Best wishes -- Mj
Judy Specht from California on May 07, 2014:
Molly is a real cutie. You managed to point out how a McNab needs to have "No" mean "No". Sometimes Bandit is confused because my husband says "No" and I ignore the rule.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 06, 2014:
Oh, thanks so much, SmartAndFun! We are having the times of our lives with little Molly and her big attitude. I'm so glad you took a look! Puppy breath is for sharing, after all.
Best - Mj
SmartAndFun from Texas on May 06, 2014:
Awww, so cute! Congrats to you on the newest member of your family! That video is adorable!
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 04, 2014:
Hi, Auntie Cyclocat and Hermie --
"Your Molly" most certainly enjoys the pink pig and the Duraball most of all and they're holding up well to her barracuda teeth. She likes picking up the Duraball and then dropping it on the floor to hear it bounce, while she is more cuddly to the pink pig.
Thanks for stopping by!
Best -- Marcy
Cyclocat on May 04, 2014:
Marcy, Excellent article about my baby girl :-). Glad she likes the pig. It looks like it is still intact too! Amazing.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 02, 2014:
Toni, I'm so glad you found the new article. Thank you for admiring our sweet little Molly. I'm hoping to get a better video of the little tyrant with her Uncle Earl soon. She is sleeping beneath me as I write this -- I dare not move the chair forward or back. They are such loyal pups.
Toni Brock on May 02, 2014:
I found your article! :) What a wonderful family. Molly is so totally adorable as I knew she would be. Great tips that we all need to be reminded of frequently. Oh, please keep the stories and photos coming. The video of Earl and Molly playing was such a treasure.
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on May 01, 2014:
Alicia, thank you so much! Little Molly is definitely her own dog already. This week we discovered her persistence and her independence -- and we love both of those things about her, although they're a double-edged sword. Thanks for taking time to meet my Molly!
Best -- Mj
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 01, 2014:
I love this hub, MJ! It was fascinating to read about a breed that I knew little about. I love my dogs dearly, but I must admit that none of them have shown the intelligence of McNabs. Molly looks and sounds like a lovely girl!
Marcy J. Miller (author) from Arizona on April 30, 2014:
Thank you so much, Dearabbysmom! You know, I think that if a person loves the herding-type dogs, they appreciate all the herding-type dogs -- not just "their" breed. If McNabs hadn't found us first, we'd have a Border Collie, too. Thank you for saying hello!
Best -- Mj
dearabbysmom from Indiana on April 30, 2014:
Molly is adorable! I really enjoyed reading this. The whole time I kept thinking, "Wow, this looks and sounds like my border collies," then I read that McNabs share ancestry with border collies. So that makes sense! Very interesting, and informative. I always enjoy learning about another herding dog breed.