Breed Type: Gun dog
Country of Origin: Germany
Popular Names: Munster, SM, Kleiner Münsterländer, Vorstehhund, Spion, Heidewachtel
Height: (At the withers) 45 – 55 cm
Weight: 20 – 27 kg
Best suited as: Pet or show dog with an active owner or family. May be used as a hunting dog
Lifespan: 12-15 years
The Small Munsterlander is not related to the Large Munsterlander, even though they share a very similar name. They come from the same geographical location, not the same genetic material.
These brown and white dogs are of medium size and have smooth, flat coats. They should have feathering on the inside of the thighs, back of the forelegs, the tail, and the underbelly. Roan variations or ticking are acceptable. They should have expressive, kind eyes in a warm brown shade.
These dogs were first bred in the Munster area of Northern Germany. Not much is known about their origins.
The SM has been used in Germany and other parts of Europe since the 1200s, primarily to flush bird and small game for falconers. Because they were used mostly by the nobility, there were not many of these dogs around, and the breed almost went extinct. Then changes to the governmental, social, and legal structures within Germany in the 1800s made it possible for regular people to have more leisure time to hunt. They adopted the use of the Small Munsterlander and realized it was able to perform many duties like finding, pointing, tracking, and retrieving. It was also used to hunt boar and deer.
They were well known for being able to assist a hunter to take food home to his family. At the end of the 1800s, people worked to increase the numbers from the existing stock in the Munster area. Part of their appeal was their personality as companion animals in addition to their hunting abilities.
These dogs are affectionate, happy, attentive, and intelligent. They learn hand and voice signals easily. As instinctual hunters, they follow their sense of smell and look back to the hunter for visual cues.
They can be strong-willed, and so need a trainer who is consistent, decisive and in control. They need a lot of exercise and if they are not used for hunting, then games that use the same skills work well to expend the dog’s energy. A bored, under-exercised Small Munsterlander will develop undesirable behaviours.
They tend to mature more slowly than some other breeds. It can take up to three years for an SM to fully mature. They commonly bond most closely with the person who does the training.
SMs love to be included in family activities, and are not to be kept in a kennel or relegated to the backyard. They need human interaction and get along fine with children and household cats if they are raised with them. They may even play “chase and point” with the cats. Other outdoor animals like squirrels, rabbits, and birds are not safe when this dog is around.
Grooming requirements are fairly simple. They need to be brushed once a week to remove any dead hairs, and to ensure the feathering does not get tangled. They are moderate shedders.
They require monthly nail trimmings as necessary and weekly tooth brushing and ear cleaning. It is best to start these practices when the dog is a very young pup, to acclimatize it to regular grooming habits.
This breed needs at least one hour of vigorous exercise each day. They make wonderful companions for people who like to jog, bike, or Rollerblade. They also enjoy hiking, swimming, and camping.
Careful breeding will ensure no health issues crop up. Hip dysplasia may occur in some dogs so make sure to obtain a Small Munsterlander from a reputable breeder.
Suitability As A Pet
These dogs are best used as a hunting dog and companion. People who don’t hunt must ensure they keep their dog’s mind and body busy. They make good family pets. Owners with some dog training experience might find it easier to train these dogs since they can be strong-willed and headstrong.