Originally from Germany where they are known as the Kleiner Münsterländer (and formerly as the Kleiner Münsterländer Vorstehhunde), the Small Munsterlanders (SM) or “Moonsters” are continuing to gain popularity in the US as the newest versatile hunting breed, although they are one of the oldest hunting breeds in Europe. Their intelligence makes them readily trainable. They are best known for their natural ability to point, retrieve and track for all realms of hunting, such as waterfowl, upland game birds and fur bearing.
Unlike other hunting breeds, the Small Munsterlander is not high strung or skittish indoors, but rather calm and loving, a very affectionate breed who give kisses freely and will gladly sleep in your bed if you let them! They love human companionship and make great house dogs, but what makes this breed truly amazing is their sharp intelligence, intense hunting drive, keen sense of smell and their tracking and retrieving skills. Munsterlanders are becoming valuable in local communities as Search and Rescue dogs because of their sense of smell/tracking abilities, and because of their high intelligence and calm demeanor they are becoming highly sought after as Service Dogs for the handicapped.
WHAT ARE “MOONSTERS” LIKE TO LIVE WITH?
After a long hike or an hour of active play, the Small Munsterlander will likely take a nap or chew quietly on a toy. However, this dog forms tight, affectionate bonds with family members and doesn’t appreciate being left alone. In fact, it can get rowdy and destructive if left to its own devices for long periods of time. The Munsterlander is a team player and loving family member, getting along with everyone in the family—including other pets such as cats. Overall, this is a sweet, life-loving breed.
- Loyal & affectionate
- Loves the outdoors
- Great swimmer
- Easy to train
Small Munsterlanders are very intelligent, trainable and attentive but require gentle and patient training, which provides excellent results. They are also strong-willed and an owner who is inconsistent or indecisive might find that his dog is hard to control. Both voice and hand signals are used, and an SM looks back at the hunter for silent signals at intervals when on hold or pointing.
Small Munsterlanders have a very strong drive to follow their keen sense of smell and thrive with hunting or comparably challenging exercise for an hour or more every day. They love swimming and are very fast swimmers which makes them ideal for waterfowl – they have downy undercoats, webbed feet and their tail is a strong muscle that acts like a propeller to increase their speed in water. Some Munsterlanders will also dive underwater to retrieve birds too.
Munsters mature rather slowly over 2.5 to 3 years but a well-trained, mature SM is a hunter without peer, and the upland bird hunter hunting over such a dog will enjoy both the experience and great success.
The Small Munsterlander is a happy, affectionate family pet when in the house, while remaining a keenly focused, even driven, hunter-pointer-retriever when in the field. They are not suited to life in a kennel because of their sociable nature and need to interact with people— they need to live in the home with their human family. Munsters will pick an individual person to bond most closely with, typically the one who hunts with the dog, but will revel in the company of the rest of the family, too and are wonderful with children.
When raised with other pets in the household, such as cats, they can coexist happily though they may enjoy a game of chase and point. However, unfamiliar small animals outdoors will not be tolerated in the same way.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- The Small Munsterlander can live as long as 13 years with relatively few health issues. However, some may develop hip dysplasia. which is something Mustain Kennels vigilantly guards against by ensuring all of our dogs are PennHip tested and ranked in the lowest percent possible. Our dog Asia has the second lowest PennHip score in the US today for the breed.
- Grooming the Munsterlander is easy, just brush its coat every few days and check its ears and eyes for signs of infection. Longer coats will need to be brushed more often — especially during spring and fall shedding seasons.
- Both Small and Large Munsterlanders are medium-sized dogs with a love for the outdoors. Apartment living might not suit them. A home with easy access to a fenced yard is ideal.
- Daily walks are essential, but time off the leash is also highly recommended. The Munsterlander loves to hike and explore.
- The Small Munsterlander is a beautiful, lean, well-balanced canine covered in a slightly wavy coat that is feathered on the front legs, back legs and tail. Its flat head has a long muzzle, brown nose, thin hanging ears and dark brown eyes. Its strong neck leads to a deep chest, nimble legs and a long, thick tail. Overall, the Munsterlander has an elegant and agile look.
The Small Munsterlander is a rare breed in the United States, numbering perhaps in the low thousands, and demand from hunters outstrips the number of available dogs, so breeders typically give preference to hunters – they are especially hard to come by for non-hunters in the US. They are more numerous in Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. In the United Kingdom, the breed is rarer still. Recognized by The Kennel Club as an imported breed in 2006, they are still to be established in the hunting community. Other names for this breed include “Spion” in Germany and “Heidewachtel” in the Netherlands.
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References: American Kennel Club (AKC) | Dogster | Puppyer