If you caught sight of a Large Munsterlander roaming across a field, you’d be forgiving for thinking it was a type of large Spaniel. But while it shares the same athletic grace as the Spaniel, the same feathered tail, and the same droopy ears, it’s a very different breed. Developed in the Munster region of Germany, the Large Munsterlander is a descendant of the German Longhaired Pointer, a multipurpose hunting dog known for its versatility and efficiency as a hunter. The Large Munsterlander is similarly renowned for its prowess on the field, with extraordinary skills in hunting, tracking, retrieving, and pointing. To find out more about this little-known but super talented breed, read on for ten things you didn’t know about the Large Munsterlander.
1. They’re not easy to train
The Large Munsterlander might be incredibly smart and an incredibly efficient hunter, but they’re not necessarily the easiest dog in the world to train. As shootinguk.co.uk writes, the breed is slow to mature, with the result that early training takes plenty of patience and hard work. It’s not helped by the fact Large Munsterlanders tend to go through a rebellious stage between 9 and 16 months, which makes them prone to do everything other than what you ask them to. As a general rule of thumb, it’s advised to start house training and basic obedience when they’re around 10 to 12 weeks old. If they’re intended to be working dogs, any serious gundog training is best kept until they hit the one-year mark.
2. They’ve got distinctive looks
Although the Large Munsterlander has something of the Spaniel about them, their distinctive looks set them apart. Their athletic, well-proportioned bodies are topped with a beautiful, wedge-shaped head with a long muzzle, thin, hanging ears and a keen expression, and tailed with a thick, feathered tail carried upward. Their chests are deep and strong and their necks are distinctly carved from their bodies. The overall impression is of a graceful, athletic dog that may have been bred more for its working abilities than its looks, but that still manages to turn heads.
3. They have a black and white coat
Of all the Large Munsterlander’s features, it’s their coat that sets them apart. While other varieties of gundog tend to come in various shades of white, tan, black, liver, and fawn, the Large Munsterlander is a monochrome wonder. Its double-coated, black and white coat has a coarse, wavy topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. Luxurious feathering covers their legs and tail, which often has a sticking white plume at the end.
4. They’re a large breed
As their name suggests, the Large Munsterlander is no featherlight champion. Despite having a graceful, lean build, they still manage to pack a fair amount of bulk. Although sizes vary by individual, most male Large Munsterlanders measure around 24 to 26 inches at the withers. Female Large Munsterlanders run a little smaller, typically measuring around 23 to 25 inches. The average weight is around 66 pounds. Asides from size, another feature that tends to set male and female Large Munsterlanders apart is their coat, with females typically having shorter coats than males.
5. They’ve got moderate grooming needs
As animalsadda.com writes, the Large Munsterlander is an average shedder and requires a moderate amount of grooming. As their long coats can easily pick up burs, they’ll need to be brushed 2 to 3 times a week to remove the debris and keep them matt-free. As they tend to be the kind of dogs that aren’t afraid to wade through puddles and roll in the dirt, occasional bathing will be needed – although avoid overfrequent or unnecessary bathing as this can strip their skin and hair of the oils needed to stay healthy. Nails should be trimmed if they don’t wear down naturally. Ears should be regularly checked for signs of wax build-up and debris and cleaned gently with a soft cloth. To avoid dental problems, teeth should be cleaned around 3 times a week.
6. They thrive on company
The Large Munsterlander doesn’t just like company, they thrive on it. Despite being working dogs by nature, they need to live in the house with the rest of the family: a Large Munsterlander who gets asked to spend most of their life in the yard without any social interaction will quickly become bored, lonely, and stressed.
7. They hail from Munster
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Large Munsterlander was originally developed in the Munster region of Germany. They descend from the German Longhaired Pointer: when the German Longhaired Pointer club decided their black and white coat didn’t meet the standards of officially recognized German Longhaired Pointers, they were classed as a separate breed. Despite having a heritage that stretches way back into history, they were only officially recognized by the UK Kennel Club in 1971 and by the United Kennel Club in 2006.
8. They’re a field dog with a difference
As Wikipedia writes, the Large Munsterlander is a versatile field dog with a difference. When the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) compared Large Munsterlanders with 104 other versatile breeds, they found they work closer and are more responsive to their handler than other breeds. They also show superb concentration in tracking and retrieving game birds, even over a substantial area of ground.
9. They’re the ideal companion
Although the Large Munsterlander is kept primarily as a hunting dog, they also make excellent companions. Their calm, gentle temperament makes them ideal playmates for children – while interactions should be monitored, this isn’t a breed you need to worry about unduly. Lively, friendly, and calm around strangers, they have all the makings of a great family pet. Just be aware that their working instincts run deep – they’re happiest when they’re romping around a field, and need lots of physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
10. They’re usually very healthy
The Large Munsterlander is a healthy, robust dog with very few genetic health problems. Like most large breeds, hip dysplasia can sometimes arise in later years, but it’s not as common in the breed as it is in many others. Obviously, a clean bill of health on the genetic front doesn’t mean you can afford to take their health for granted. To keep them in tip-top shape, regular exercise, a healthy, well-balanced diet and regular vet checkups will be needed. Providing all goes well, most Large Munsterlanders live between 11 and 13 years.