NK cells are important mediators of viral control with the capacity to form adaptive immune features following infection. However, studies of infection-induced adaptive NK cells require adoptive cell transfer to lower the precursor frequency of .Ag-specific. NK cells, potentially limiting the diversity of the NK cell response. In seeking an unmanipulated model to probe the adaptive NK cells, we interrogated a wide range of Collaborative Cross (CC) inbred mice, inbred mouse strains that exhibit broad genetic diversity across strains. Our assessment identified and validated a putative .ideal. CC strain, CC006, which does not require manipulation to generate and maintain adaptive NK cells. Critically, CC006 mice, in contrast to C57BL/6 mice, are capable of developing enhanced NK cell-mediated protective responses to murine CMV infection following m157-mediated vaccination. This work both furthers our understanding of adaptive NK cells and demonstrates the utility of CC mice in the development and interrogation of immunologic models.