Large Munsterlanders (or 'Munsters') are well-proportioned dogs who carry themselves well. Their coats are flowing and dense with a good deal of feathering on the legs and tail. Their smaller relations are more setter-like, but in all other aspects, apart from colouration, are similar in appearance. Large Munsterlanders are either black or blue roan with white, while the smaller version is brown (liver) and white or liver roan. The Large Munsterlander adult dog stands at 60-65cm and weighs about 25-29kg, and females are 58-63cm and around 25kg. The adult Small Munsterlander stands at 54cm for adult males and 52cm for females, with weight around 15-17kg.
In the 1800s bird dogs in Germany came in all shapes, sizes and coat colours. In the latter part of the 19th century, because of the growing interest in the individual breeds, the different types were separated. When the German Long-Haired Pointer Club drew up its standards, for some reason, the only colour allowed was liver and white. Black and white puppies, many with excellent blood lines, were given away to farmers and hunters from the Munster area in Germany. Colour did not matter to them and, so these puppies were bred, possibly bringing in other breeds, e.g. spaniel or setter types, until in 1919 the Large Munsterlander dog breed was given recognition in his own right to differentiate him from the smaller version.
These lovable, affectionate dogs bond well with the family, other dogs and pets. The majority of them have great patience with children. Munsterlanders will, however, act as watch dogs when necessary and can be quite vocal. They are brave, eager to work and have a very gentle nature, wanting to please at all times. They need owners who will spend a lot of time and give plenty affection to them. They give the impression that they totally enjoy life and want their owners to do the same!
As with many breeds, the Large Munsterlander can occasionally suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems), but they are not common. Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is advised. The Small Munsterlander does not have any widely recognised breed specific health problems.
Large Munsterlanders are primarily field sports dogs but will adapt quite readily to family life as long as they are given plenty of exercise. They love water and so care must be taken to ensure their safety when they are running loose. They make super companions for active people, being content either to work or play.
The smaller breed of Munsterlander needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food. Being a large breed dog, the Large Munsterlander, as well as having a large appetite, benefits from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The breed can be prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Large Munsterlanders require little in the way of grooming - a weekly comb and brush over will suffice. Their feathering on the ears, front and hind legs and tail will need the occasional tidying up. Excess hair between the pads on the feet should be trimmed when necessary. They are dogs who enjoy all types of weather so be warned, mud and dirt can be a problem!