Before You Buy a Small Munsterlander

History of the Small Munsterlander

The Small Munsterlander Pointer, one of the four original versatile hunting breeds, is a wonderful all-around gun dog and household companion. The Munster (pronunciation: 'mün-str)(loosely: 'moon-stur) can efficiently carry out the duties of a pointer and retriever of both fur and feathered game from land or water. With an increase in the number of hunters and hunting enthusiasts, and the systematic cultivation of game stock resulting from a change in the German hunting laws during the middle of the 19th century, the breeding of new German pointing dogs began. There are reports saying that around 1870 long-coated Wachtelhunds (German Spaniels) were well known in the Munsterland region. These dogs were firm in pointing; had enormous scenting abilities; and were also able to retrieve. In 1906, the well-known poet, Hermann Löns, made a public appeal in the magazine Unser Wachtelhund to give him a report on the still existing specimens of the red Hanovarian Heath Hound. As a result, he and his brothers discovered a pointing Wachtelhund they called Heidewachtel. The Löns brothers and other well-known dog breeders, like the Baron of Bevervörde-Lohburg, put efforts into getting Heidewachtel breeding stock into other regions in Germany as well. Mr. Heitmann, a teacher from Burgsteinfurt, achieved first success with his line breeding. Several other lines, known as the so-called 'Dorsten type', appeared during the following years in Westphalia.

On March 17, 1912, the Verband für Kleine Münsterländer Vorstehhunde (Club for Small Munsterlander Pointing Dogs) was finally founded. At that time, the Club expressed its aims as follows: "The Club pursues the purpose to promote the purity and the true breeding of the long-coated small pointing dog that has been bred in the Munsterland for many decades." A lack of fixed breed characteristics at that time inhibited breeding activities as well as Club activities. Starting in 1921, breeders finally began to follow the breed standard drawn up by Mr. Friedrich Jungklaus. Nevertheless, the true origin of the Small Munsterlander Pointing Dogs has not been proved.

In addition to being a tireless hunter and tracker, the Munster was developed to double as the family pet and watchdog. The Munsters of today do far more than just hunt. Because of their high intelligence, cooperative nature and calm demeanor, Munsters are also being used as Therapy/Assistance Dogs.

About the Small Munsterlander

According to the International Breed Standard for the Small Munsterlander, a Munster male should be 52cm-56cm (roughly 20.50"-22") tall at the withers (points of the shoulder blades). A female should be 50cm-54cm (roughly 19.75"-21.25") tall. Munsters males generally weigh between 45-55lb and females between 40-50lb. The weight for two dogs of roughly the same height can vary considerably, depending upon each dog's body condition and build. The Munster is an athlete, so should be kept in lean and muscular body condition. However, a Munster should have a build more like a truck than a bicycle. The Breed Standard calls for "strong and harmonious build of medium size, showing balanced proportions with a lot of quality and elegance." The Standard calls for every aspect of a Munster's body to be strong and muscular, with good angles and strong bone.

There is no color/marking of Munster that is more desirable nor valuable than another. The Breed Standard requires Munsters be a combination of brown and white in color with a white-tipped tail. Solid-colored Munsters have an eliminating fault and therefore cannot be bred. Some are a milk chocolate brown and some are a dark chocolate brown. Some are so dark brown they almost look black. Reddish-brown is improper, but occasionally seen. There is a rarely seen coloring exception dating back to one of the Breed's founders called "Jungklaus Markings." These are tan markings, typically on the muzzle/cheeks, eyebrows and around the anus.

Munsters come in two defined colors: Roan and Brown & White. They are equally common colors, but recently the roan color seems to have increased in popularity, despite being more difficult to see in the cover while upland hunting. Roan Munsters are white dogs with brown patches and a lot of brown ticking.

A Munster's head can be solid brown or have a blaze. A blaze is most often seen on the forehead, but sometimes extends down and around the muzzle. The blaze can be slight or prominent. A prominent blaze comes from the Spaniel influence in the breed. Spaniels were used to give the Munster its beautiful feathering and much of its head/facial features. This is why people often mistake Munsters for Springer Spaniels. In roan Munsters, the blaze often develops so much ticking that it becomes hard to distinguish from solid brown. A little bit of whitish coloring on the tip of the nose is common in roan Munster puppies and is lovingly called "fairy dust." As the puppy's coat matures, the fairy dust most often all but disappears. Many Munsters have. a white patch under their chin.

Rare Colors/Markings:
The rarest marking is a Munster with Jungklaus Markings. This marking may have been fairly common when the Breed was first being developed, but today you will likely never see a Munster with Jungklaus Markings in real life. Originally, the most common coloring/marking combination was Brown & White with a prominent blaze on the forehead and muzzle. Today, it is one of the rarest at about 10%-15% of Munsters.

Male or Female?

We charge the same price for either sex, as they are equally good hunters and family companions. By Standard, there is just 2cm difference in height between males and females, so they are about the same size. However, males generally have an overall bigger build and usually weigh about 5lbs more than females of the same height. It is absolutely untrue that females are better hunters, are easier to train, or are better with children. Actually, Munster males tend to do better with young children and are often easier to train than are females. Males are generally easy-going, openly affectionate, patient, wanting to please, sensitive and loyal. Since they are a little bigger than females, they tend to handle a youngster's rough housing in stride and are more capable of retrieving large waterfowl.

Therefore, if you have young children or are going to use your Munster to retrieve waterfowl, we recommend you select a male puppy. Munster males have a temperament similar to Labrador and Golden Retriever females. Female Munsters are also very affectionate and love people of all ages, but they may be more difficult to train due to stubborness. Females also tend to attach the most to one member of the family and can be somewhat aloof as adults.

If you have other dogs who will be sharing your home with your new Munster, you should give serious consideration to which sex is likely to get along the best with your current canine family member(s). If you have a neutered male, regardless of breed or size, it makes no difference what sex your new puppy is. They will get along fine. If you have an intact male, he will get along equally well with a neutered male or spayed female Munster. Two intact males can get along fine sharing a home/kennel, unless/until an intact female comes along. Then they may fight. It generally is best if the intact males are not close in age. An intact male and an intact female will, of course, get along well. However, the intact male may experience medical problems if not bred. Therefore, if you do not plan to frequently breed your male, you should have him neutered if he will be in constant contact with an intact female. Even spayed females can be very dominant. If you have a dominant female 'ruling the roost' at home, she will get along best with a male (intact or neutered). Two females (spayed or intact) can get along fine sharing a home/kennel, but you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that one of them may some day challenge for dominance.

How can you tell what color your newborn puppy will be when he or she grows up?

All Small Munsterlander puppies are born brown & white in outward appearance. The roan ticking develops over time, but it is possible to tell if a puppy will be Brown & White or Roan shortly after birth.

First, look at the bottoms of the puppy's feet. At 1-3 days old you can tell if your puppy will be roan or brown & white by looking at the color of the pads of your puppy's toes. If the toe pads are pink, your puppy will be brown & white. If the toe pads are brown or mostly brown, your puppy will be roan. On roan puppies, the pads of the back feet tend to darken in color more quickly than do the pads of front feet.

Next, look at the tops of the feet. If the fur has a grayish cast, your puppy will be roan. This grayish cast will intensify and travel up the legs and onto the belly as the puppy matures. Eventually, the roan coloring will cover all the white areas of your puppy. Your puppy's roan coloring will continue to intensify and darken until your puppy is two years old. You can get an idea of how dark roan your puppy will be by looking at how quickly the grayish color travels to your puppy's belly.

A 5-day-old puppy with fairly dark gray paws and legs, with gray on his/her belly, will be a very dark roan dog as an adult.

Hunt Testing Your Puppy

We encourage you to prepare your puppy to take the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test or VHDF Hunting Aptitude Evaluation, even if you do not plan to breed him/her. These tests are designed to evaluate the success of a breeding and to provide information for making future breeding decisions. It is an important evaluation of a dog's natural hunting ability, especially if taken before twelve months of age. Most importantly, preparing for the Test helps develop a puppy into a good hunting companion.

Puppies who are well-prepared to take these tests/evaluations are generally capable of doing a good job hunting for their owners during the following hunting season.