A category of gundog originating in Münster, Germany, the Münsterländer refers to two separate breeds, the Large Munstlerlander and the Small Munsterlander Pointer. Both breeds have wonderful traits of loyalty, trust, and are both affectionate companion pets.
This guide will describe the Large Munsterlander rather than its cousin, the Small Munsterlander Pointer. Combine a fun-loving, playful, and sometimes silly breed with an athletic physique and intelligent temperament and you’ve got a wonderful companion for life.
Munsterlanders were bred as hunting gundogs in their native Northwestern Germany perhaps as long ago as the medieval period, but they are today companion pets suitable for many loving owners and their families.
The Large Munsterlander is a large-sized breed that appears athletic and muscular in his stance. His expression belies intelligence, nobility, and alertness. Their eyes are dark with tight eyelids, their ears are broad and set high, and their tail is characteristically set horizontal, flush with the outline of the body and without break.
Their black and white coats are of medium length, dense and sleek but not curvy. Other colour varieties for the coat include white with black patches, blue roan, or pure black. The head, however, must always be black.
This breed most closely resembles the German Longhaired Pointer, the predecessor of both the Large and Small Munsterlander.
How big do Münsterländer dogs get?
Height: males 60-65 cm; females 58-63 cm
Weight: males 23-32 kg; females 23-32 kg
Munsterlanders have a pleasant, cheerful temperament that is sure to please owners and their families. This is complemented with high energy levels, however, which must be put to good use through exercise and productive play.
It is highly desirable that your Large Munsterlander is trainable and dependable for use as a gundog, even if owners intend to keep them as house companions. As a highly intelligent breed, there is a double-edged sword in that they can be (ideally) taught fairly easily, but failure to train properly will just as likely lead to bad behaviour and habits.
As a gundog breed, Large Munsterlanders thrive in open areas and outdoor yards where they can best use their natural hunting instincts within about 200 metres of their owner, traditionally the distance used in waterfowl and duck hunting.
Are Münsterländer dogs intelligent? Yes, very.
Are Münsterländer dogs affectionate? Yes.
Do Münsterländer dogs have high or low energy levels? High energy.
Are Münsterländer dogs loyal? Yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs playful? Yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs aggressive? No, but they may be boisterous as puppies, especially when excited.
Are Münsterländer dogs easy to train? Yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs good guard dogs? Not really.
A major advantage that the Large Munsterlander has over many other breeds is that he is fairly easy to socialise and his gentle and cheerful disposition will rarely cause any problems in the home.
From a young age as puppies well into their development, train them well and get them accustomed to being around owners, their families, and other pets. They do tend to get along fairly well with other dogs and small pets, although they do have a prey drive and may tend to chase them around the house.
Around strangers, Large Munsterlanders may bark at first, but rarely will they show signs of aggression.
Do Münsterländer dogs get along with other pets? Yes, fairly well.
Do Münsterländer dogs get along with other dogs? Generally, yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs good with kids? Yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs good with strangers? Yes, provided they are well-socialised.
Large Munsterlanders are best suited to owners and families that can keep up with their high energy levels and provide them with a large, open space where they can play and roam at their leisure. Therefore, avoid purchasing or adopting a Large Munsterlander if you live in an urban apartment or small home, or if you do not have an active, outdoors lifestyle.
Munsterlanders are fairly adaptable to different climates and can withstand cooler weather quite well thanks to their breeding as hunting gundogs that often navigate watercourses in search of their prey.
For first-time owners, Munsterlanders are not the best choice. Other breeds can provide many of the same benefits with far fewer demanding responsibilities.
As a breed with a high prey drive, ensure that your Large Munsterlander is accompanied with a lead whilst in public spaces.
Are Münsterländer dogs good for first-time owners? Not really.
Are Münsterländer dogs hypoallergenic? No.
Are Münsterländer dogs prone to drooling? Somewhat.
Are Münsterländer dogs a good breed for apartment living? No.
Do Münsterländer dogs shed a lot? Not much.
Do Münsterländer dogs bark a lot? Yes, they may bark excessively.
Can Münsterländer dogs be left alone at home? No, they require frequent attention.
Can Münsterländer dogs handle the heat? Not too well.
Can Münsterländer dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes.
Are Münsterländer dogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes.
Large Munsterlanders are a fairly healthy breed, owing to their breeding as hunting gundogs. They do, however, tend to suffer a little more from allergies than many other breeds, as well as having a predisposition to a few other health problems.
Even if your Large Munsterlander appears to be perfectly healthy, it’s important that you take him into the veterinarian every so often to ensure that any potential health problems are diagnosed well before they become more serious problems.
Some common problems include:
Hyperuricosuria (HUU): also called ‘urinary stones,’ HUU can lead to kidney and bladder stones and cystitis;
Hereditary cataracts: cataracts can potentially lead to more severe eye problems such as nightblindness or complete blindness. Ensure your Munsterlander is regularly tested for hereditary cataracts;
Hip dysplasia: many breeds, including Munsterlanders, tend to suffer from irregular hip development problems such as hip dysplasia. It can be managed and surgical treatment may be necessary;
Black hair follicular dysplasia: this hereditary skin disorder can be inherited in Large Munsterlanders. Hair loss on black areas of fur is a common symptom, leaving the remainder of the coat intact.
How long do Münsterländer dogs live? - 11-13 years
Large Munsterlanders are a high energy breed and as such require ample exercise each and every day. Schedule no less than two hours every day to take them outdoors for some fresh air and quality exercise. Commence with a brisk morning walk or jog, and follow up with some afternoon or evening playtime. Playing catch is ideal since they are bred to be hunting dogs and love to follow their instincts of running and chasing objects.
Owing to their high intelligence and high energy levels, a Large Munsterlander that fails to see sufficient exercise can quickly become naughty and develop bad habits. They have a low threshold for boredom and may likely begin to bark excessively, chew, or perhaps even bite if they feel they’ve been neglected for too long.
How much exercise does a Münsterländer dog need? - At least 2 hours per day
Do Münsterländer dogs like water play? Yes, they tend to love swimming.
As a large breed, Large Munsterlanders consume an equally large quantity of dog food. As puppies, ensure that you are following the breeder’s feeding schedule to ensure that you are not overfeeding and that adaptations are made according to the puppy’s age and his eating habits. Any irregularities in feeding should be brought up with your veterinarian at the next visit.
Supplement their high energy levels and exercise requirements with a high-quality diet that includes plenty of healthy and nutritious minerals, vitamins, and proteins.
Are Münsterländer dogs prone to weight gain? Yes, especially as they age.
How much should I feed a Münsterländer puppy? About 260-600g per day, in 3-4 sessions.
How much should I feed an adult Münsterländer dog? About 300-410g per day, in total.
Grooming requirements for Large Munsterlanders are about average when compared to most other breeds. They do like to play outdoors in the soil, grass, and water, so keeping their coats clean and free of infection is critical.
Emotionally, Large Munsterlanders are ‘clingy’ and require constant attention and approval from their owners and family members. They do not tolerate being left alone at home, so always ensure someone is home to keep them company.
- Grooming: once or twice a week, take a soft-bristled brush and comb through your Large Munsterlander’s fur coat, removing any debris and dead hairs whilst untangling any knots, especially in areas where the hair is longer.
- Emotional care: do not allow your Large Munsterlander to remain alone for long periods of time. They are intelligent, but they are also quick to turn to boredom if they feel neglected.
The Munsterlander traces its lineage far back in history to the mediaeval period in Germany, where its ancestors were used as bird and hawking dogs. Through careful breeding of the Stöberhund and the Wachtelhund, then to the Pointer in the 19th century, the Munsterlander as it is known today began to take on his typical characteristics.
The closest ancestor to the Large Munsterlander is the German Longhaired Pointer, which happens to be the same breed from which the ‘other’ Munsterlander, the Small Munsterlander Pointer, was bred.
Despite his long history, he was one of the last German breeds to be recognised formally in breed and kennel clubs, near the beginning of the 20th century.
The breed is formally recognised by the Kennel Club and most major organisations but remains somewhat rare in the UK to this day.
Large Munsterlanders are often classified as HPR (Hunt, Point, and Retrieve) dogs;
The name Münsterländer is German for ‘one from Münster’ (a city in Northwestern Germany);
Although not popular in the show ring, a Large Munsterlander by the name of Doppelsorge Shady Geezer, or ‘Chester’ as known to friends, won Special Junior Dog class in 2008 Crufts.
Prospective owners of a cute and intelligent little Munsterlander puppy should carefully consider their purchase beforehand. Read our buying guide to understand the ethical reasons for avoiding puppy mills or deals that seem too good to be true (they probably are). If you wish to purchase a Münsterländer, rest assured that we only deal with reputable breeders here in the UK.
How much does a Münsterländer cost to buy? - Over £500.
How much does a Münsterländer cost to feed? - An adult Münsterländer costs about £1.50-£1.750 per day to feed.
How much does insurance for a Münsterländer cost? - About £30-£65 per month.
Sensible alternatives to purchasing a new Münsterländer puppy include rescue and adoption.
Additional resources can be found via Münsterländer registries and associations such as: