The Munsterlander is a pointing dog of spaniel type used for hunting small game. Its origins go back to the black and white bird and hawking dog of the Middle Ages. In the past, dogs of this type were found mainly in the Munsterland region, but today, the breed is seen in many parts of Europe and North America. In Germany, active regional groups can be found in almost all provinces.

There are two varieties of Munsterlander: Large Munsterlander and Small Munsterlander. Both belong to the family of the longhaired German Pointing Dogs. In the past, breeders of Longhaired German Pointers viewed the Munsterlanders as black and white copies of their breed. After the German Longhair Club finally excluded the black color variety from breeding in 1909, the Large Munsterland Club (Verband Grosse Münsterländer e.V.) was founded in 1919 and the breeding program started.

Large Munsterlander Large Munsterlander
Photo courtesy of Verband Große Münsterländer e.V.

The Large Munsterlander has a strong muscular body. According to the breed standard the ideal height at the shoulders is between 58 and 65 cm. The coat is long, dense and well feathered on back of front and hind legs, and on tail, while on head it is short and smooth. The color is white with black patches and spots or blue roan. The Large Munsterlander's temperament is described as lively and dependable.

Small Munsterlander Small Munsterlander
Photo courtesy of Verband für Kleine Münsterländer Vorstehhunde

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The development of the Small Munsterlander started in the middle of the 19th century. After the change of the German hunting law which introduced systematic cultivation of the game stock, the demand for purebred hunting dogs increased dramatically which, in turn, encouraged the breeding of new German Pointing Dogs. At the end of 19th century, several German canine enthusiasts and hunters started a breeding program that included bloodlines from the red Hanovarian Heath Hound, German Spaniel, and a pointing Wachtelhund ("Heidewachtel"). Their efforts produced the Small Munsterlander, a dog with excellent pointing and retrieving abilities and a great sense of smell. The Small Munsterlander Club (Verband für Kleine Münsterländer Vorstehhunde was founded in 1912.

The Small Munsterlander is intelligent eager to learn, calm and friendly. Although the breed has preserved strong prey instincts, these dogs make good family companions ad love the company of children.


  1. FCI Standard #118, 102
  2. Verband Große Münsterländer e.V.
  3. Verband für Kleine Münsterländer Vorstehhunde

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