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. Rudolf Löns described the Small Munsterlander in the following way “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".
The SMs versatile and cooperative nature provides for a reliable foundation for all types of hunting. It is well suited for a variety of game, including the tracking of big game. SMs are adept at adjusting their search pattern relative to the cover conditions at hand, performing well outside of gun range in open country and reducing their range in dense cover. Under all circumstances, they remain responsive to the handler. SMs excel as bird finders before and after the shot due to their excellent noses. Many SMs point with intensity from early puppyhood, and many also honor naturally. Given their passion for retrieving, steadiness needs to be encouraged through training. Many SMs have voice on trail or scent when tracking game, which is a desirable trait especially in Europe. The hunter can hear the varied/different intonation of the dog’s voice and know what type of game it is tracking.
Small Munsterlanders are used for hunting but in the off season they can also be used for agility, obedience, retrieving and hunting tests or trials. The SM is a cooperative dog that seeks to please. But they can also be intense and persistent. When training a Small Munsterlander, it is important to teach them first, and train in different areas and degrees of difficulty with distractions before trying to test or proof the dog. When training your SM it is important to be consistent and not overly repetitious with drills. The stubbornness is a trait that can help make the dog a very persistent hunter. The Small Munsterlander needs regular mental stimulation and adequate exercise. If left alone in a kennel or not trained a SM can be bored and display unwanted behaviors. Small Munsterlanders, like many other German breeds are somewhat slow to mature and often start to show their full potential at about 2.5 years of age.
Generally, the Small Munsterlander is a healthy breed; however, a few cases of hip dysphasia, hypothyroidism, and seizures have been recorded. Proper adherence to the Breed Council rules of the SMCNA may prevent future genetic difficulties for the breed.
The Small Munsterlander was introduced to North America in 1971 by Tom McDonald when he imported Elko, a male SM from Germany. In 1974 Paul and Vibeke Jensen imported Bliss, a female SM from Denmark. Paul registered his Jaegerbakken kennel name with NAVHDA in 1973. Paul ran the first two SMs, Bliss and Peto’s Alpha, in the NAVHDA Natural Ability test in 1978.
Some facts about the Small Munsterlanders in North America, as of 2014:
- 106 SMs have been imported from Europe
- 3,155 North American SMs have been registered in the SMCNA database with either SMCNA registration numbers or tracking numbers,
- 1,013 SMs have passed the NAVHDA NA test,
- 34 SMs have passed the NAVHDA UPT test,
- 137 SMs have passed the NAVHDA UT test, and
- 15 SMs have passed the NAVHDA Invitational test.