Prior to the 19th century hunting was the privilege of landed upper class who had the financial resources to breed, train and manage large kennels of specialty dogs. The middle class arose in the 1800's and gained access to hunting through land ownership. These hunters wanted companion dogs with diverse hunting skills. Within Germany, however, aristocratic hunters strove to preserve the traditional hunting ethic with its profound respect for game animals. This ethic necessitated versatile hunting dogs skilled in recovering lost and wounded game, and not just in locating or retrieving downed birds or animals. Thus, the concept of the versatile hunting dog, Jagdgebrauchhund, became popular at the beginning of the 20th century, and several versatile hunting breeds were founded at that time.
In the Münsterland area of Germany (roughly east of Holland to Hannover and north through the moors) a search began about 1870 for a versatile long haired Wachtelhund (quail dog) breed. Hunting dogs in this part of Germany were already noted for their staunch point, their enormous search drive and their outstanding nose, capable of both air scenting and tracking. Several hunting aristocrats as well the famous poet, Hermann Löns, and his brother, Edmund, were among the leaders of this group (see "History of the Small Munsterlander" by Edmund Löns below). On March 17, 1912, a group of 68 formed the Verein für Kleine Münsterländer Vorstehhunde (Heidewachtel) - the Small Munsterlander Pointer (Heath quail) Club--in the town of Osnabrück, north of the city of Münster.
The Small Munsterlander Pointer was accepted by the versatile hunting dog club (Jagdgebrauchhund Verein, or JGHV) that had been founded in 1899. To this day this club administers the tests that form the foundation for any versatile hunting breed. However, an acceptable breed standard did not appear until 1921 when Dr. Friedrich Jungklaus published a scientific work on Small Munsterlanders and their breed characteristics. His description of the breed is still fundamentally valid today. The smaller stature of the Small Munsterlander Pointer is distinctive among long haired German versatile hunting dogs.
Small Munsterlanders at that time were mostly plated, with many color variations (except black). Braunschimmel (roan) dogs first appeared in the mid 1920's, probably through one or more crossings with German Shorthairs. Liver and white are now the predominant colors for Small Munsterlanders, although glints of auburn are often apparent in their coats, particularly around the ears.
Germany is recognized as the parent country for Kleine Münsterländer by the FCI.
Small Munsterlander History
The Small (Kleine) Munsterlander was known in early days by a variety of names. Hermann Löns called them “heathland quail dog” or Heidewachtel. Some named them “The little Spy” or Spiönken after the characteristic fashion in which their small hunting dogs worked in the field. Many clergy and teachers owned the dog so they were soon nicknamed ‘Little Master’s Dog’ or Magisterhündlein. But when a club was formed in 1912 the Small Munsterlander name was chosen. The Small Munsterlander is a long haired versatile dog that maintains the strong hunting qualities that were found in them in the early 1900’s.
The little dog takes up the staunchest, intense point when encountering all game holding tight, keeping the point until the hunter arrives – then the game is flushed, the dead game is fetched, the crippled downers tracked, and securely retrieved with the utmost skill. – Rudolf Löns
The Small Munsterlander also known as the Kleine Munsterlander is an elegant strong dog with much self-confidence. It is a versatile hunting dog that combines intelligence, desire, and devotion enabling him to quickly adapt to the varied terrain or game and its masters hunting style. It is also a very clean dog that is most happy living in the home of its master. Typical characteristics are diligent ingenuity during fieldwork, solid pointing instinct, meticulous tracking ability, great endurance-even under difficult conditions. It has a great love for retrieving and enthusiasm for water work, voice on the trail and easy handling. Small Munsterlanders can be used for agility trials, obedience, or confirmation. The SM is a cooperative dog that seeks to please. But they can also be intense and stubborn. When training it is important to be consistent, not overly repetitious, and teach the dog what is expected of him. The stubbornness is a trait that can help make the dog a very persistent hunter. The Small Munsterlander is intelligent and needs regular mental stimulation and adequate exercise. If left alone in a kennel or not trained a SM can be bored and become destructive. The Small Munsterlander is many times slow to mature and usually reaches its full potential at about 2.5 years of age.
Origins of the Small (Kleine) Munsterlander
In the 17th century, German, Italian and Dutch artists included dogs that looked like our Small Munsterlanders in their artwork. However, the true origin of the dogs of that time is not exactly proved.
For several hundred years these small, handsome dogs had been the true companions of the hunters on the vast moors and bogs in the northwestern part of Germany, mainly in Westphalia. In 1840 when land reforms changed the viability of hunting as a trade, so Small Munsterlanders gradually lost their popularity, and it appeared that their extinction was inevitable. Only on remote farms on the moors did the farmers keep the line pure by keeping just one bitch for breeding and culling the rest of the females in the litters.
The development of the Small Munsterlander occurred in the middle of the 19th century. After the change of the German hunting law, with the increasing number of hunters and hunting enthusiasts and the systematic cultivation of the game stock 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 or staunch in pointing; they had enormous scenting abilities and were also able to retrieve.
In 1906 the well known heath poet Hermann Löns placed a public appeal into the magazine “Unser Wachtelhund” (Our Hunting Dog) to give him a report on the still existing specimens of the red Hanovarian Heath Hound or Hannover Bracke. However, instead of that he and his brothers, Edmund and Rudolf Löns, discovered a pointing Wachtelhund on the farms, that they called “Heidewachtel “(heath quail dog) on the farms of Lower Saxony. His brothers Edmund and Rudolf Loens found instead a dog, which they called “heath quail” or Heidewachtel, on the farms of Lower Saxony. They proceeded together to look for a basis for a breed.
Edmund Lons, in cooperation with Dr. Jungklaus, worked tirelessly to improve the breed and they came in contact with schoolteacher Clemens Heitmann from Steinfurt in 1907 and found in his dogs the basis for a breeding program. For 40 years Heitman had been breeding the same line, and was able to trace it as a purebreed for nice looking dog, short in the back, long legged with a great gait, plenty of smooth hair and with beautiful feathers on the tail. The head was long, and the nose often showed a slight downward curve. The mouth was strong, moderately full, but never short. The ears were small, about middle-length, with good coat and they give the head a refined expression; they were set high and at the bottom they become too small, good closure and they gave the dog a pretty and trustworthy expression. The height of the dogs was from 38 cm to 50 cm and none of them showed a distinct forehead stop. They had excellent hunting qualities, were dapper, easily handled, very social, and they bayed hen tracking.
In 1911 Löns discovered another breed family, the so-called “Dorstener Schlag”, which was bred near Velen, Reeken and Coesfeld. The Dorsten line was an excellent looking dog with a great chest, front legs and shoulders. The back was a little longer and the height was slightly taller than the Heitmann dogs often above 50 cm. The mouth was straight with tight lips and appeared a little more pointed. They had beautiful brown eyes, well-formed ears, a good coat, a beautiful tail with feathers, was an excellent expressive bird dog and they had in opposition to the Heitmann dogs a distinct forehead stop.
So, Heitmann’s stock was soon augmented by gamekeeper Wolberg’s in Dorsten-Hervest. This line could be traced back to the 1860s without a break. One of the ancestors was named “Caro”. In 1907, Wolberg had acquired three dogs, one male and two bitches, from watchmaker Heinrich Brüning in Tungloh. He kept two of these dogs, ‘Rino Hervest 36’ og ‘Mirzel I Hervest 37’, which were siblings out of a mating between another pair of siblings, ‘Caro’ og Polly’.
*All pictures above of Edmon Lons
The Development of the Small Munsterlander
Small Munsterlander News, 30 March & 6 October 1994