The Small Munsterlander is a German versatile hunting dog—a tracker, pointer, and retriever. He is also a great home and family dog who loves to be around people.
He is best suited to hunting families, or at the very least, families with active lives who will involve their Small Munsterlander in their outdoor activities.
The Small Munsterlander Temperament
This is a smart breed that learns quickly and is easy to train.
He needs a firm but gentle hand. He can be stubborn if you try to discipline him harshly.
The Small Munsterlander temperament is cheerful and sunny. He is a joy to be around.
There is nothing aggressive about this breed. He is wonderful with kids.
The Small Munsterlander needs gentle training and correction or he may ignore commands.
This breed needs to be with people. The Small Munsterlander temperament is not suited to spending a lot of time alone. He is prone to depression if you allow him to get lonely.
He is an ideal home companion who loves his human family. He will want to sit on your feet and sleep in your bed.
The Small Munsterlander temperament is friendly. He enjoys people, other dogs, kids, and strangers most of the time.
This breed loves to play with children and other dogs. Choose the game, and he’s all in.
The Small Munsterlander temperament is very affectionate.
Work or play, he is up for any activity you might have in mind—you won’t have to ask twice.
This breed is cooperative and calm. They make good search-and-rescue and assistive or therapy dogs.
As long as he gets enough exercise, the Small Munsterlander is happy inside or outdoors. He is not an apartment dog, though. He needs plenty of room to run.
The Small Munsterlander is not a good watchdog, but he is alert to his surroundings. He will let you know if a stranger approaches.
The Small Munsterlander is an excellent pointer. As a falconry dog, his job was to point prey. He needed to wait patiently in the point position until the hunter arrived to retrieve it.
This breed has a lot of endurance and is tolerant of both hot and cold weather.
He can be a tireless hunter who doesn’t give up easily.
The Small Munsterlander is all about the hunt. He is not easily distracted when working.
He is determined and hardworking when he has a job to do.
Small Munsterlander Training
The Small Munsterlander is intelligent and easily trainable. The Small Munsterlander temperament is gentle, so he needs positive reinforcement. Again, if you use harsh methods to correct him, you will only make him more stubborn.
That said, like most intelligent dogs, the Small Munsterlander temperament can be strong-willed. He needs a firm and consistent owner who can maintain control.
This breed takes nearly two years to mature. You will have to accept that you will have a puppy on your hands until that time. He may need to learn to control some of his Small Munsterlander behaviors in the home.
For example, with his enthusiasm and love for people, he will likely jump on visitors in greeting.
If you plan to hunt your Small Munsterlander, of course you will need a structured training program. The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) is a good resource for programs and tips.
Gun Dog Magazine is a good source of training information as well. You can also find training videos on YouTube.
Another option for training your Small Munsterlander as a hunting dog is “stay training.” Some breeders offer to train your Munsterlander for you in a boarding-type situation. An online search is a good place to start if you would like a “finished” dog.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Small Munsterlander dog
Small Munsterlander Appearance
The Small Munsterlander is a medium-sized breed. He has a short, straight coat with feathering on the ears, tail, backs of legs, and belly. He has a beautiful feathered tail. His coat color is white—with or without ticking—with large brow patches.
Small Munsterlander weight is 40 to 60 pounds, and height is 20-1/2 to 21 inches.
Small Munsterlander History
The Small Munsterlander breed originated in Munster, Germany. The breed is documented back as far as the 14th or 15th century.
Small Munsterlanders were favorites of the German nobility, who used them as falconry flushers and companion dogs.
There are differing opinions on this breed’s exact heritage. One common theory is that he is the result of a cross between the German Longhaired Pointer and the German Spaniel or Brittany Spaniel. The Small Munsterlander certainly has a spaniel-type look.
Don’t confuse the Small Munsterlander with the Large Munsterlander. Again, there are differing opinions on whether these were two sizes of the same dog. They are from the same area in Germany but considered different breeds today.
The Small Munsterlander was first brought to North America in 1971. It is currently not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Small Munsterlander Hunting
The early German nobles owned Small Munsterlanders before the invention of guns. At that time, they were used in falconry to flush prey for the birds.
The Small Munsterlander was trained to not take the prey from the falcons. His job was to point the prey and wait until the master arrived to retrieve it.
Hunters still prize the Small Munsterlander for his expert tracking and pointing skills. They have an exceptional sense of smell, so they now retrieve as well, and they excel at it.
They hunt both “furred and feathered” prey.
Small Munsterlander Facts
This breed’s life expectancy is 12-14 years.
This breed is called Kleiner Munsterlander in Germany. You may also hear it called a Small Munsterlander Pointer, Vorstehhund, Spion, Heidewachtel, or simply Munster.
He uses his long, feathered, upright tail to signal his owner from the ground cover during a hunt.
Small Munsterlander Health Issues
Other than those few cases, the only other issues this breed has are minor: dry skin in cold climates and water in their ears after a swim.
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your Small Munsterlander friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
Caring for the Small Munsterlander
Small Munsterlander Grooming
The Small Munsterlander has a short coat that is easy to care for. He needs brushing once a week to remove dead hair. He sheds his undercoat in the spring and needs more frequent brushing then.
If you hunt your Small Munsterlander, he will also need more frequent brushing. The feathered areas of his coat can get tangled and matted in the field. They will need detangling and maybe a leave-in conditioner from time to time.
This breed should be bathed only as needed to protect the oils in his skin. Even then, bathe him only with a gentle shampoo made for dogs.
You will need to check his ears frequently and wipe them clean. Like all dogs, he needs his teeth brushed and nails clipped regularly.
Small Munsterlander Diet
In general, the Small Munsterlander should do well on a high-quality dry food. For those who hunt their dogs, some recommend a performance diet with a food that has 30% protein and 20% fat. You should check with your vet before making this decision.
Small Munsterlander Exercise
As a hunting dog, the Small Munsterlander is a high-energy working breed. He needs daily exercise and both mental and physical stimulation.
Hunting is the ideal form of exercise for this breed, but he would also be happy with canine sporting events such as Small Munsterlander agility or rally.
Search-and-rescue is another activity that the Small Munsterlander excels at and enjoys.
One of the best ways to exercise a non-hunting Small Munsterlander is by including him in outdoor family activities. The Small Munsterlander temperament is playful and enthusiastic.
He will be happy to join you on a hike or in any games you choose. (He loves hide-and-seek!)
At home, he needs a good-sized enclosed space outside to play. Because of his instinct to hunt, the Small Munsterlander will roam if he is not contained.
Finding a Small Munsterlander
Buying a Small Munsterlander Puppy from a Breeder
This breed is becoming more popular because of the versatile Small Munsterlander traits. They are still somewhat rare in North America, though.
If there is no hunter in your family, you may have a difficult time finding a Small Munsterlander for sale.
There is usually more demand from hunters than there are available dogs. Most Small Munsterlander breeders give preference to hunters for that reason.
Some breeders will consider a non-hunting family for Small Munsterlander puppies but only if family members participate in regular outdoor activities.
The best place to start your search is the Small Munsterlander Club of North America (SMCNA). They maintain a breeder directory.
There is one other Small Munsterlander club in the US, and that is the Klein Munsterland Group North America (KLM-GNA). You might also find them helpful in finding a reputable breeder.
While searching for your Small Munsterlander, beware of breeders selling puppies online. Although there are certainly good breeders online, it’s easy to stumble on a puppy mill.
The best way to find a responsible breeder is through a trustworthy referral. Try attending a canine sporting event or NAVHDA testing session to speak to other gundog owners. Online forums are another good source for breeder referrals.
Once you find your breeder, a site visit is a good idea if possible. Look for clean facilities and healthy-looking dogs. A good breeder will welcome your questions.
They will be able to tell you about the health history of their puppies and the parents. They will guarantee the health of their pups. You will never get a guarantee with a puppy mill dog.
Small Munsterlander price ranges anywhere from $650 to $1200.
Small Munsterlander Rescue/Adoption
Again, finding a Small Munsterlander for adoption may be difficult. It makes sense to alert any shelters in your area that you are looking for one, but you will need patience if you choose this route.
Small Munsterlanders are occasionally surrendered to rescues. The SMCNA rescue is your best resource for this.
SMCNA will do their best to find the right home for a Small Munsterlander. If the dog has been a hunter, they will want to place him with a hunting family.
Not all rescued Small Munsterlanders were hunters, though. If a Small Munsterlander has been a companion dog, the rescue would place him with an active family that would provide plenty of outdoor activity.
The SMCNA does not give an estimate of Small Munsterlander cost of adoption on their website, but they will ask for a financial donation.
A final tip on adopting a Small Munsterlander: Let the shelter or rescue know if you would consider a Small Munsterlander mix. A mixed breed could be a great choice.
Of course, you would be offering a home to a dog who needs one. You would also get a dog that has already been spayed or neutered
Immunizations will be up to date. It will probably have at least basic obedience training and be housebroken.
Being willing to adopt a mixed breed could also shorten your wait considerably.
Is a Small Munsterlander the Breed for You?
The Small Munsterlander is a remarkable breeding success story. He would make a delightful addition to almost any home. However, he would only be happy in one where he has a job to do.
Are you looking for a gundog for hunting or a companion to join your active family for regular outdoor activities? The Small Munsterlander could be just the breed for you.
Are you looking for a loyal and lovable home companion who will be content to relax at night and snuggle in with his family? This breed is perfect for that, too.
Are you committed to training him with a firm but gentle hand with respect for his sensitivity? If so, the Small Munsterlander has the potential to be a loving friend and playmate to every member of your family.
The Small Munsterlander temperament is ideal for all of these situations. This breed will reward your investment with years of unmatched companionship, devotion, and loyalty.
Calvin is the co-founder and one of the main contributors to dogtemperament.com. He has been an avid dog lover all his life. He enjoys researching and sharing great ideas on how you can avoid common pitfalls of dog ownership and build the most loving and enjoyable relationship with your dog.